I live in Gatineau, but love Montreal so as a result, I've found myself traveling down the 417 and Highway 40 many times. Minutes after you cross into Quebec, you spot a ski mountain in the distance. Then the road turns away and you continue to Montreal. Little did I know what I had been missing.
I have been reading Jake's reports on the forums of Mont Rigaud for too long, something had to be done to rectify this situation, gone on long enough. So Wednesday morning I packed up and set-out towards Montreal... I meant Rigaud.
Arriving at the base at around 9:30am, the mountain is already open and there aren't too many cars present. I enter into the chalet and find that it is very well laid out. A wood burning fireplace helps create a warm feeling and that classic mountain smell.
Strapping on my boots and heading outside, I get ready to board the Quad chairlift. This lift was equipped last year with a Loading Carpet, that makes boarding the lift that much easier and smoother.
Once at the summit, the entire mountain opens up to you. Mont Rigaud only has one chairlift, but it gives easy access to all the mountain's terrain.
I start out on the beginner trail O'Keefe. It is a gentle trail that flows smoothly down the mountain. It is also notable that it has a constant pitch (in contrast to some other mountains that have a drop, then a flat, then a drop...). This kind of terrain is perfect for getting some speed and being able to develop a steady rhythm for your turns. The trail finishes off with an optional glades area.
Another great trail is the advanced Qui-Sait-Tout trail. It starts out with a quick drop to get you going, and follows up with narrower passages and lots of turns and undulations, great fun to take with some speed!
Other trails such as Pepsi (located along the Quad chairlift) are nice intermediate cruisers, great for getting some speed and working on your carving.
For absolute beginners, there is a magic carpet area with a small slope, perfect for learning the basics.
Conditions were perfect, no ice anywhere and a smooth corduroy groomed surface. All trails except two advanced trails located to the left of the chairlift were open. Those trails should open shortly as they were working on preparing and grooming them during my visit.
The mountain is open daily from 9am-9pm. Lift tickets are well priced, offering the regular full day or evening as well as blocks of 1,2,3 or 4 hours. You can even get a ticket to just access the magic carpet area at the base.
Overall, I was very impressed during my visit. It's clear that it is an ideal mountain to learn to ski or snowboard due to the terrain available, that works with you rather than against you as is often found in many other mountains. For me, I have most of my enjoyment skiing in intermediate terrain. Mont Rigaud takes it up a notch by providing trails that have constant pitch and slope to them so I can settle into my rhythm and not have to fight to hold it the whole way down.
I will definitely be back and I encourage you to discover Mont Rigaud as well.
On this rainy late summer day that is feeling more and more like the start of fall, I was checking out Mont Rigaud's website and noticed that they seem to have updated their trail map.
I'll be up-front, I've never visited this mountain but it's on my short list for the near future. It seems that there is a new trail that was not on the map previously, trail #12, to the right of the O'Keefe trail. It's marked as a glade... Anyone familiar with this mountain know if it's new, or something that previously existed but only now is being recognized on the map?