This Saturday was the fourth in the series of eight Nuit Blanches at Bromont, where you can ski from 8AM til 2AM. We were also graced with a forecast for a reasonable storm that would bring 15 to 20 cm to the townships. The storm was to begin at 5pm, leaving plenty of time during the day to relax and prepare for some serious night skiing in prime conditions. I didn't rush and planned to go after 9pm, giving the snow some time to accumulate on the granular and icy base (which was still recovering from last week's ice storm). After spending the afternoon lounging around the house and getting a few neglected chores completed, I got ready to go, and packed myself a Creemore and deli sandwich snack since there are very few snacking options in Bromont after 2AM and I have reached my quota for tolerance of Tim Horton's already this season.
I headed out about 9:30, and snow had already accumulated on the car so I took some time to clear off the snow and remaining ice from the previous storm before heading out. Of course, I immediately got stuck behind a plow before even leaving the city....and then another one. Once I hit the 10, it was a comfortable place all the way to Bromont with no visible accidents thankfully, despite the blowing snow and low visibility. I rolled into P5 around 11:30pm and started getting ready to go. My snowboarding companion Ilana had already arrived a short time before me. I was ready to hit the Lac du Lac chair just before midnight.
I started out with a few easy runs on the Versant du Lac side - I'd skied seven out of the previous eight days and took some time to warm up properly before heading down the Versant du Village side where I met up with Ilana at the base. We got in about ten nonstop runs down Brome, Bromont, Knowlton, Cowansville, Coupe du Monde, and Bedford, and while we mainly caught the chair for efficiency, we also took advantage of the gondola for a couple of rides where there was no line.
Conditions were excellent all around - there was not a single icy run to be found, although Coupe du Monde still had a few questionable spots in the middle of the steepest pitch, and the wind was blowing snow around at the peak, making the point of departure a bit slick. The snow was accumulating quickly and each run had a new layer on top each time. Surprisingly, Nuit Blanche wasn't as busy on a powder day as we would have expected - it was steady, but not busy, and we rarely had to wait in line. For that reason, there was plenty of untouched terrain to plow through if you stick to the edges and little side trails.
In total, I managed to get in about ten nonstop runs in two hours. It was truly wonderful to surf the freshly accumulated powder with cold but reasonable temperature and no overcrowding. For our final run we took an easy run from Toronto to Halifax to Pittsburgh on the Versant du Lac side. We got back to the car, split the Creemore and I put my sandwich artist skills to work for a delicious ham and cheese on ciabatta snack. The drive back to Montreal was a bit more forgiving, and my partner had prepared a late-late-night snack of lamb tacos with tamarindo tequila jarritos.
It was a bit cold on the lift and far too wet to take my phone out too often, so here are some quick snaps of the night - one of the best evenings of the season so far!
Riding up the chondola about 2/3 of the way to the top! Just look at that beautiful accumulation and it's still coming down hard!
Riding the chondola chair with Ilana, the stoke level is high!
It's the beginning of March Break in Quebec, the weather is warming up, and spring skiing has had an early start. Today's destination was Bromont, a place I really enjoy but had not visited in 5 years. The weather was mild, hovering around and above 0 degrees Celsius.
Heading up from Ottawa, the 3-hour drive goes quickly thanks to the route being made up entirely of highways. The 'new' highway 30 that bypasses downtown Montreal is completely worth the $2.80 toll required to use it.
Arriving at Bromont shortly before 11 am, the main parking is about half full, and the chalet has plenty of seats and tables free. After quickly getting ready, I headed out to start off on the classic Versant du Village, one of Bromont's 7 hillsides. The ride up the mountain's 385m of vertical goes quickly on the #4 chairlift, which is finishing its final year of service. It is to be replaced by a new six-passenger chairlift in time for next season.
The mountain has trails suitable for all skill levels, from beginner slopes to expert terrain. Versant du Village has it all, from the tame Brome to the Coupe du Monde trail.
Bromont has over 100 trails, and it is impossible to experience all that the mountain has to offer in one visit, there is just too much. Wanting to make the most of my visit, I set out to experience one or two trails per hillside.
Starting off with Versant de la Côte Ouest.
Next, the Versant du Midi.
Versant des Epinettes.
Versant du Lac.
Versant du Village.
A quick pause in the chalet for lunch, with some tasty paninis and some traditional poutine, then back out on the trails to visit Mont Soleil. This separate part of the mountain is home to the main beginner trails and learning area. It is also bordered by many homes, condos and ski chalets, and gives great views of the Versant du Village nearby. (Sorry, I didn't snap any pictures this visit).
Scooting over to Versant des Cantons, which I almost forgot this visit...
Overall, conditions were excellent. As the mountain has 7 hillsides in all directions, the ski conditions were different all over based on the orientation with the sun. Mainly it was spring skiing, due to the soft and forgiving snow. Several trails also had nice moguls and bumps forming, which I am sure pleased a lot of people.
Main Summit of Versant du Village and Versant du Lac.
One area that I particularly like is the summit of Versant du Village. It is very small, so small that no sooner do you get off the chairlift, you are already coming back down. This gives the unique thrill of being at the very top of the mountain.
Bromont is a great mountain to visit and discover. The facilities are modern and well maintained. Many slopes are re-groomed during the day to refresh the ski conditions. Plenty of trails and hillsides ensures you never get bored. You really can't go wrong. With the town of Bromont only minutes away, there are plenty of hotels, restaurants, and even factory outlets to round out your visit.
With a new chairlift coming next season, and plenty of trails still waiting to be discovered, I can't wait for my next visit.