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Mont Ste Marie (and Camp Fortune) - January 17, 2023

Matteo C

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After wanting to ski at Mont Ste Marie for the past three seasons, the opportunity finally came 2 days ago! I headed to the hill and arrived at 10am, and picked up my student day pass for only 49$! Both the Vanier and Cheval Blanc high speed lifts were running, with most terrain open on the Vanier side, and Dustin Cook and Frank Pouliotte on Cheval. Temperatures were in the range of -10 to -5 C, with a mixture of sun and clouds forecasted. I spent my first few runs on the Vanier side, enjoying the low crowds, fast lift, and amazing groomed snow on the Serenade and Bellevue runs! 95CBA0D9-B481-4024-8D9E-B8C0E7BFA8B0.thumb.jpeg.1d2fbe461c6afa126b3a8f7ae2452d09.jpeg9D5DAA2E-295C-4D67-B2C5-958DBC802755.thumb.jpeg.6b391adfc526a12b125a32ae8ea20e5a.jpeg4AA1EEBC-C871-4080-8DB7-AC2E8C53F42E.thumb.jpeg.3203337f8b8e212ad19e8509f4cf5931.jpegD045587F-58EE-49F1-845E-75A57933341C.thumb.jpeg.a1ae2fb24f41b7235e1ed95993e38e86.jpegAfter the warm up, I boarded the shuttle to the more difficult Cheval Blanc side. The signature dustin cook run was mostly open (due to some snowmaking still in progress), and it made for a fast and steep descent! 722DD4AE-DED2-45C6-A556-FAD32941CBCB.thumb.jpeg.0d72a51f07a1a819e409b1ce2e81afc2.jpeg31F0B98E-856A-4D61-8F0F-4AC51C7A3DD2.thumb.jpeg.e8c161a26605bb298318b8255e7b7694.jpeg43D11EBA-6723-4C67-BE21-75ED122FB6B5.thumb.jpeg.7a0eec0df277718b2fbba2e6d100f1a7.jpeg0924E863-19AA-430B-9150-055B973E16D4.thumb.jpeg.57479c09299fb88439e1aa4af82a9f83.jpegAfter a few runs on DC, I took the long   connecting trail Frank P back to the main area, where I took a quick break for lunch. After lunch, I continued to enjoy the beautiful views, ice-less groomed snow, long runs, and no crowds on both sides of the mountain! ED2AA80D-1092-48F7-A864-612D1301A765.thumb.jpeg.75194d8e87e8df0ed6c1f77ea7801bbb.jpegSnowmaking was in full swing on the Cheval side, with some massive whale humps (easily 20+ feet) of snow on Betsy, the double black run:EA8C0249-DE5A-4894-96E0-AC357D743586.thumb.jpeg.901961cc883603d3940f5439ef36ed90.jpegI was surprised to see Mont Tremblant in the distance from the top of the Cheval side!086792B5-CA35-4690-A575-8452898E830B.jpeg.2e7f98b7aecfc3d17a8372745b0c2315.jpegD23C2D26-5FA1-4647-BE80-E5D4F61C6B2B.thumb.jpeg.adf872a84f3a25e87dac8aea523c1cd5.jpeg86080AB4-2264-412A-9F34-701B7F50B414.thumb.jpeg.ba23fc43d2a4c12f6a659f9c3485142a.jpeg3E8D13D0-0099-44A3-AD30-0F653EB41B35.thumb.jpeg.773f513fb31dfda0c30efbf22a24793f.jpegIn the lodge, I found a map of an old development plan (from 1966) of MSM, which I thought would be an interesting tidbit to share (note the planned third chairlift to the true summit!):087B2F7B-76CF-4013-95B0-6F334110C483.thumb.jpeg.5c91d72b12ebe742751c71ef684c51ff.jpegBy 2:30, I had skiied 18 runs, and decided to start heading out before the snow/ice storm hit. Though nearly half of its trails were closed, Mont Ste Marie easily became my favourite ski resort, due to its combination of low crowds, fast lifts, 1200 foot vertical, cheap tickets, and long runs, all giving it ‘Tremblant’ or larger-resort feel. Its only downside is its distance from the city. Nevertheless, I look forward to returning some other time this year, and skiing its full potential! 4F923B6A-0F96-4608-891D-CC55FEC7133E.thumb.jpeg.6bfceaf571e6c279ac3b30ec94ef5ed6.jpeg
Some friends had planned to ski Camp Fortune that evening, so since I had my ski equipment and night skiing pass with me already, I decided to challenge myself and ski 2 hills in one day! I made the hour-long drive through the icy/snowy storm (I did not manage to beat the storm lol) to Chelsea and parked at Skyline. The conditions there were also excellent, with no crowds (in contrast to the 20-minute lines the previous Friday) and soft snow! We managed to ski another 11 runs at Fortune, enjoying all areas, before heading home.4B77006C-D3DD-466D-8826-5F0BFFB673A1.thumb.jpeg.97c34562ab70af5eb3cc5ba1146ce1fd.jpegAF727047-C4C6-4CC0-8B19-6C901CC6C7E7.thumb.jpeg.c660afc4705cf8e8d6215895b7411445.jpegAll in all, it was a tiring but amazing day at two ski hills! 


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The old map is really fascinating. Always curious to see ways mountains can further develop. The beauty of Mont Ste Marie is there is a lot of potential for more, as it is big and very open.

To me the biggest improvement would be to have a more continous link from Vanier to Cheval. While the tram shuttle is nice, if there was a small chairlift that did the crossing back and forth, it would be really nice. But if there was a ski trail from Vanier to lead to Cheval, much as there is with Frank P to come back, that would be best, although hard to say if the terrain would even allow for that (probably why it hasn't been done already).

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@ShaneI am still skeptical as to how much the mountain can develop, as their terrain is different from other resorts. For example, a quick look on google maps shows that nearly every other part of undeveloped terrain is either too flat or too steep to build on, save for Suderman’s ridge, though I don’t see room for more than one run on it. 

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I guess what I mean is a more solid connection from Vanier to Cheval Blanc. Perhaps a replacement of the Poma beginner lift with a little chairlift, which would be much easier for novice snowboarders as well as skiers. Beyond this, perhaps a bit more development on Sudermann's Ridge, and a chalet or warming hut for the public at the summit, or an observation tower to enjoy the region from up high.

In any case, I still think there is opportunity for some more trails between the existing ones. They did the Snowcross trail between Yodel and Bellevue where there was nothing before, for example.

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