Ski Reports

Sommet Edelweiss - March 2, 2022


What a fantastic day out on the slopes at Sommet Edelweiss. Horray! It is the Quebec March Break and the weather couldn't be more perfect. Bluebird skies and all slopes are open with full complete snow coverage. On this day, there were many U-12 competition teams from Quebec ski areas present at the mountain. They were doing some training and exercises at Edelweiss. This likely contributed to there being more people on the mountain than likely would have been otherwise, but with two of the three quad chairlifts running, the wait times were fairly short and reasonable. At the detachable Edelbahn Express, the wait varied from less than 1 minute to no more than 5 minutes. At the Meister 4000, it was always less than 1 minute. The Streif quad was not operating and seems to only run on the weekends when it is busiest. Conditions were fantastic, all trails were perfectly groomed. If you didn't know it had rained a week ago, you would have never known by skiing the slopes. Any effects from th...

Sommet Saint-Sauveur - April 18, 2022


What a perfect day on the slopes! The temperature was just right, and the sun was shining. Today I visited Sommet Saint-Sauveur, a ski mountain that holds a special place in my heart. There is just something magical about every visit, and this time was no different. With an early departure at 8am from Gatineau, I arrived at the mountain at 10am. The parking was already starting to fill, despite having only opened at 9am in the morning. Gearing up at the car, and strategically parking close to the Côte 71 chairlift, I started skiing shortly before 11am. I must confess, this is my first visit back to Sommet Saint-Sauveur in around 3 years. The arrival of our child and the pandemic put a temporary pause on my skiing. Having skied at Saint-Sauveur for many, many years (feeling like a second home every weekend), I had impatiently waited for quite some time to return and see what had changed... so that was what I quickly did before heading up for my first run. No doubt, the two biggest chang...

Mont Orford - April 6, 2022


For what would most likely be my last day of the 2021-22 ski season, I felt that it was appropriate to end it at my home mountain. With the forecast for the next few days of rain and warm temperatures, it was time to take advantage and not wait. I arrived at the mountain early at 8 under a beautiful blue sky and temps already above 0. First ride was up the Alfred Desrochers Quad for a warm up lap on the Toussiski and then over to the bottom of the Super under the Hybride Chair. The coverage was still pretty good since it has been warm and sunny Monday and Tuesday. In the shade the snow was still a bit firm, but once out in the sun it was soft. The brooks were running which made for a nice soothing ride on the chair.  The Toussiski, and a view looking up the Maxi and Mont Orford. I caught up with my ski buddy Christian for a run up the Hybride for the 4KM trail. Again coverage was pretty good and was also groomed. Not all trails were groomed so we stayed on those trails. The s...

Sommet Edelweiss - March 20, 2022


With night skiing coming to a close in the region, a few friends and I decided to go night skiing one last time. We went to Sommet Edelweiss, as I had not been in 2 years, and always loved the Swiss Vibe, long runs, and fast chairlift of the hill. That Sunday night was set to be the last night of night skiing at the mountain. I initially was expecting a large crowd, due primarily because of it being a weekend, as well as it being the last day of night skiing. However, the fact the rain led to a last minute cancellation of the prior night’s night skiing, coupled with the warm and rainy weather in the Ottawa valley, led to the hill being almost eerily quiet.  The conditions were extremely slow and slushy. Snow coverage was pretty decent, with all trails off the Edelbahn Express lift open. The black trails were the only ones with some dirt patches. We started with skiing Streif, then Shotgun, two of the hill’s steepest black runs. While one side of Streif had excellent cove...

Mount Pakenham-February 18, 2022


After 20 centimeters of fresh powder fell upon us, some friends and I decided to spend an evening night skiing at Mount Pakenham. Though the temperature was -20, the phenomenal snow conditions made for some amazing glade skiing. Due to my friends' ability to push me out of my comfort zone, I began skiing gladed runs much more frequently, and am much less terrified of the idea of zooming through and around trees. My newfound confidence can honestly be attributed to the glades at this hill! Pakenham is an interesting mountain when compared to others in the region due to it designating all off-bounds terrain as "glades". Most of the 10 marked glades are unmaintained, making for some terrain not for the faint of heart. I had always considered Pakenham to be a "beginners" or "boring" mountain, and in many ways (groomed runs for example) it can be stated that it is not the most interesting. However, the amount and variety of gladed terrain at Mount Pakenham really su...

Mont Orford - March 16, 2022


With the long range forecast anouncing warm, and wet weather for the next few days I made it out to Orford today before it gets messy. I arrived at the mountain for 8:15 and the parking lot was filling up fast. The temperature was mild already at just about freezing under partly cloudy skies. Booted up at the car, headed off to the Hybride for first runs until I saw a crowd already waiting. I turned my attention to the Alfred Desrochers Quad and headed that way. I made third chair up for first runs! I ended up making 3 laps here. The conditions were sweet with groomed loose granular over a firm base that was softening up quickly. Warm up run on the Toussiski over to the bottom of the Super then back up the new Quad for the Grande Allee.  The Toussiski and Grande Allee: From here it was over to the Giroux North Quad for a run down the Magnum. I then headed over to the Giroux East Quad via the Passe Montagne trail which I have never skied before in all the years skiing at Orfor...

Camp Fortune-March 12, 2022


After what likely was the last powder dump of the season (10cms), we spontaneously decided on a quick 4 hour trip to Camp Fortune, before leaving on a little March break trip to the Laurentians the following day. For a Saturday, the resort was surprisingly quiet upon arrival. We booted up in the car, and immediately headed to my favourite area: Meech!  After 2 laps on Paradis, I decided to attempt Heggtveit on the Skyline side, though (as usual) my confidence plummeted upon the sight of its steep pitch. Despite the decent snow conditions, Hegg remained icy and mogully (it was -10 outside), and I decided to do a single black (Bud Clark to Canadian)  instead and delay my first attempt of the infamously steep double black run another season;).   After eating some lunch, I returned to Meech to ski the La Cache glades, knowing full well that it might be my last glade experience this season.   This was my first time in the Meech glades, and I...

Mont Orford - February 16, 2022


Today with the day off I got out to Mont Orford for visit number 2 of the season. I arrived at the mountain at 8:15 and the parking lot P2 was filling up quickly! On a Wednesday! I still managed to get a decent spot so the walk wasn't too bad. It was a fresh -14 degrees under a cloudy sky. While I was booting up at the car, you could hear the wind blowing around the mountain. The wind wasn't bad at the base. The Hybride, The Giroux  North & East Quads, and the Alfred Desrochers Quad were in operation today.  Normally I would have taken the first run up the Hybride to warm up, but this time I did something different. I rode the new Alfred Desrochers Quad for first run. The ride is quite nice on this new lift compared to the old Double Chair. The first run was down the Tousisski. The wind was blowing a bit up near the top of the ride. The conditions were of groomed packed powder over a firm base. Coverage was really nice. From there I crossed over to the Hybride f...

Calabogie Peaks - December 21-23, 2021


Over the Christmas break, we rented an Airbnb on the slopes of Calabogie Peaks, and enjoyed three days of skiing and exploring the Calabogie Region. I took my drone up the day we arrived, and captured some the following aerial photographs of the landscape.   For the 3 days we skied, the resort was relatively quiet, with no lines-possibly due to only two trails (one green and one blue) being open. Warmer temperatures and no snow unfortunately caused a slow start to the season in the Ottawa Valley. That being said, the snow coverage on the trails was deep, and snowmaking was in progress throughout the rest of the mountain.  The conditions were fairly decent for the three days, with the exception of the last being quite cold. Surprisingly, the artificial snow did not get as icy as I had thought it would, due to excellent grooming, low winds, and less traffic. Below are some photos from the three days.  We had an amazing time, and despite h...

Snowshoeing - Mont Cascades

IMG_0502.thumb.jpg.010251fcd35b168a6120db387a69580e.jpg

It was a beautiful Sunday morning at Mont Cascades. After several days that brought some fresh snow, the trails were all covered nicely with fresh powder and a soft but firm base. The trails at Mont Cascades are suitable for all skill levels and difficulties and are free to access. There is a parking lot located right at the trail entrance. Almost all trails lead you to the summit via the backside of the mountain. The #5 trail is the most direct route but is the steepest to travel. For today's visit, we took a combination of the #2-3 trails, and then the #4 trail to the summit area. This route is on average easy to intermediate but provides a nice scenic trek through the forest. As you near the summit, you are treated to views of the Gatineau River and the surrounding region. The trip up to near the summit...

Sommet Edelweiss - January 26, 2018

P1070503.thumb.jpg.2dbccf0d1af27ee33b81493c8c048b10.jpg

It was a Friday night and there's nothing better than leaving the office with a stop at the mountain to start the weekend on the right ski. Destination was Sommet Edelweiss. Offering the highest vertical drop for night skiing in the region, all the trails except two (Easter Bowl and Descente Telesiege) were open. A decent amount of people were present but the lineup at the Edelbahn Express, the only lift open aside from the Magic Carpet, was non-existant the entire night. Just ski up and go. Conditions were quite good, full snow coverage, firm base with little to no ice anywhere. Meeting up with my good friend René, and his pals Pat and Jay, we conquered the slopes. The weather was hovering around -5 to -10'c however the winds at the summit were surprisingly strong and I wouldn't have been surprised if the temperature at the top felt a good 10 degrees cooler...

Mont Orford - January 17, 2018

P1070464.thumb.jpg.f5f023b4936b9e3865fd99dc3dfdc0ab.jpg

Being a big fan of skiing in the Eastern Townships, today's destination was Mont Orford, known for having one of the highest vertical drops in Quebec. This was my second visit ever to Orford. The drive was smooth with no traffic, although a bit long from Gatineau (about 3h40). Taking the highway 30 to bypass Montreal definitely saves a lot of time and frustration. Arriving at 10am, the mountain was already starting to fill up with cars but nothing major. The weather was much warmer than it has been recently and the sun was starting to shine. Heading into the main chalet, I was quickly impressed by the sheer size of it, spread across 4 levels, that begged me to quickly drop my bags and go explore. Of particular note, there is a nice sandwich/coffee bar on the same level as the customer service.  Quickly putting on my boots and gear, I...

Camp Fortune - December 26, 2017

P1070325.thumb.jpg.097a9054c78bfce687dfd03fe294662f.jpg

  The best Boxing Day deal today was going skiing. It was fairly clear that the majority of people you would have expected to be skiing had chosen to go shopping instead, leaving the mountain in pristine condition and contributing to no line-ups at the lifts. Thank you! As yesterday was Christmas Day and Camp Fortune was closed, the snow and conditions today were excellent. The fresh snow from the recent snowfall made the slopes perfectly soft and smooth. In fact, the only hard spots or ice I found was in the steepest portions of the expert trail Bud Clark. The rest of the mountain was offering the fresh fluffy stuff, with several spots to sneak in some first tracks. The skiable domain continues to grow, and already the Valley side is almost completely open, with the exceptions of Slalom and Duffy. Meech is in great shape with Paradise. It's sister trail,...

Mont Ste Marie - February 1, 2018

IMG_0366.thumb.JPG.11221ad1ea62bd78a8bb92564033b337.JPG

Wow. Lets see 20cm of fresh light snow, warm temperatures and Cheval Blanc was left ungroomed.  I think this may have been one of the best days at MSM ever. I arrived right at the opening, took in the Vanier side for a few runs, then trained over to Cheval when it opened at 9:30. Then I skied beautiful powder for a good 3hours, had lunch and skied another hour or so.   By about 11 most of the powder was chop but since it was so light you could just steam roll over it.  People should remember on big snow days not to turn to much! save the snow.  Dustin Cook was the favorite. The steeps of Formidable and Besty were also great, a nice change from the icy hard pack.  I was surprised by how much snow they got considering Ottawa only got like 5cm and Camp Fortune around 10cm.  The footnote to this great day is when there is...

Camp Fortune - January 31, 2018

DSCF1109.thumb.jpg.b695ae86f61e90f3e96df0aa4d5c7745.jpg

Thank Ullr we have snow again! After a drought of several weeks we finally got the good stuff. The snow started light and fine in the Ottawa area around 1:30 but by 3 it was coming down heavy.  I made it to Fortune around 4ish and there was already close to 10cm on the ground.  The skiing was great! light champagne over the hard pack making for great turns. The place was pretty quiet and the wind was minimal with a temperature of around - 15c.  Word of warning, don't leave you ski boots in the car all day! Man they were hard to get on. Never again. All the main night skiing trails were open. I was hoping to get a few runs on Heggtveit before dark but it was closed. They had just had extra snow on the trail and still needed to push it around. I suspect it will be open on...

Mont Ste Marie - January 22, 2018

IMG_20180121_090427142.jpg

I arrived at Mont Ste Marie at 9am just as it was opening. The temperature was about -5C. The day before was like + 5C with spring like conditions and looked pretty busy from the webcam shots. Today was almost the opposite.   Very quiet, pretty much zero lines with fast hard packed conditions. I also discovered a fair amount of crusty icy spots.  Not the best, we need snow, we need lots of snow. The fields below the mountain now have zero snow cover and were full of deer eating the exposed grass.  Mont Ste Marie did manage to have 18 out of their 20 main runs open so they must have been making a lot of snow over the past few weeks. The best runs were Tornade Bas, Serenade, Dustin Cook and Formidable.  Besty was pretty icy and I'm glad my edges were in decent shape.  Overall though you really can't complain, we got a tonne of runs in...

Camp Fortune - January 8, 2018

IMG_20180108_101558726.thumb.jpg.bc13764e9a58bbec2a021daf427fec36.jpg

Powder Day = Sick Day.  My first plan was to drive up to Mont Ste-Marie for an epic day.  Take note Mont Ste-Marie advertised on their website that they didn't groom all the runs, leaving the snow free. More hills should do this! whats with all the grooming on a epic powder day.  Anyway by the time I dug out of my driveway and got out of Ottawa it was already 8:30 and I needed to be back in town by 2. So Camp Fortune it was.  Made it to Skyline by 8:45, got first chair. Though most runs had been groomed there was lots of fresh powder was on top, in fact the snow was picking up and it would snow heavy throughout the day. Free refills. First tracks were on Heggtveit which opened the day before.  Swan Dive is not yet open but with more snow in the forecast for Saturday it should be soon.  Sparks had...

Mont Gleason - February 17, 2018

IMG_2302.thumb.JPG.9b3158a7346bd56168c29217897d6792.JPG

After a couple of weeks since my last outing, a visit to Mont Gleason was in order for the day. Leaving Sherbrooke at 7:15 I arrived at the mountain an hour later. Temperature was -12 under a sunny bluebird sky. The Quad chair opens at 9:00 so with the early arrival I had plenty of time to wind down from the drive and take my time getting ready for the day. Also when you arrive this early, parking is great, right close to the chalet. Today the Quad and Double chair were spinning along with the Magic Carpet in the learning area. the T-bars were not operating today. After the short warm spell with a touch of rain from the past couple of days, the conditions were actually pretty good. Groomed granular over a firm base was what was awaiting everyone this morning. Coverage was decent everywhere. The glades were not on the...

Owl's Head - February 3, 2018

fullsizeoutput_22.thumb.jpeg.1527d78a69d29d3936adf82b429b94d9.jpeg

The morning started out not as early as the last road trip. The destination today was Owl's Head. On the road by 7am and arrived at the mountain for 8, with a temperature of -24 and no breeze at the base. 45/52 trails announced open along with 6 chairlifts. The 5-10 cms of snow they received during the week helped out a little. The conditions were of groomed, packed powder over a hard base. There were some little powder stashes that had been tracked along the side of some trails. The first runs of the day were up the Main Quad to Lilly's Leap, Centennial to the Kamikaze, and then over to the Lower Standard via the Crossover. The coverage was pretty good to start. It's well known that the upper trails here can get scraped down pretty quickly depending on the crowd. Today the crowd was moderate and no waiting at any of the...

Sommet Mont Olympia - January 20, 2018

IMG_0566.thumb.JPG.3613bfbbc503cb284659b6cb4367c34c.JPG

This trip today to Sommet Mont Olympia was a last minute decision made easy by an invite by friends from New York who were skiing in the Laurentians this week. The morning started very early with my departure from Sherbrooke at 5:45 am. The trip through Montreal was decent even though construction was at pretty much full tilt on the Turcotte Exchange. I arrived at the mountain at 8:00 and the temperature was a mild +2 degrees under cloudy skies. The was a moderate wind blowing as well, but to me it was actually not bad because of the mild temperature. Better than the -18 degrees and winds that were blowing a few weeks ago. Getting there early paid off for some decent parking behind the ticket building, and a good wind down from the trip. Cars were rolling in one by one and the lot was filling at a steady pace. Line up for the...

Mont Bellevue - January 17, 2018

fullsizeoutput_7.thumb.jpeg.a0f32bc42fd4e33a0e8e855b62db121d.jpeg

It had been about 3 weeks since my last visit to Mont Bellevue, and at the time it was -15 degrees plus a breeze and 4 trails open. This night everything was available. I arrived at the mountain at 6:45 to a full parking lot. Not a space to be had, so street parking was in order. Actually it wasn't too bad. Parked down near where the Quad is and it was just a short little hike to get to the chalet. When I got to the chalet to pick up a lift ticket, there was a line up from the ticket windows to about 2 thirds of the way to the Pomalift. The wait was about 15 minutes. I had never seen this in the times that I have been to Bellevue, but being that it was Ladies Night everyone decided to come out and enjoy their mountain. Good business was...

Mont Orford - January 3, 2018

IMG_2283.thumb.JPG.54ad204fddb233f041eb7c2bb8473d76.JPG

After the Siberian like deep freeze we just experienced this past week and a bit, and with the announced temperature of -10 or so today, a trip to Mont Orford was the selected destination............. like everyone else had the same idea! I arrived at the mountain at 8:20 in hopes of finding a decent parking spot. There were cars from both directions rolling in and it wasn't about to slow down anytime soon. I did manage to find decent parking before the mad rush. Temperature on arrival was -11. A lot more bearable than the -20 or so with the last outing. 30/44 trails were open along with 8/17 glade trails were open along with the Hybride six seater/gondola combo lift and the Giroux North Quad. The Alfred-Desrochers double chair and sector was not open. The first runs were up the Hybride to ski the 4km trail and then the Grande Coulée. There...

Cochran's Ski Area - December 31, 2017

IMG_2242.thumb.JPG.858131f33ff38065ef3e9d932a1d6590.JPG

With a planned road trip to visit friends near Burlington Vermont over the holiday weekend to ring in the New Year, I threw my gear in the truck to take the opportunity to ski for a couple of hours while there.The destination was originally supposed to have been a larger ski area but with the temperatures hovering around the -20 to -25 degree mark, plan B was put into motion and a smaller hill in a protected valley and surface lifts only was the choice. The option today was Cochran's Ski Area in Richmond, VT. I arrived there at 9 am, as they they were operating on a Holiday schedule on New Year's Eve from 9 till noon. The temperature was a balmy -21. The parking lot was not full but there were still cars rolling in, parents dropping their children off and hauling their gear to the chalet. I bought...

Mont Bellevue - December 26, 2017

IMG_2208.thumb.JPG.a7b3b1d40f114ded7d230065459bc49e.JPG

A visit to our community ski area, Mont Bellevue, was in order this evening for a few runs. I got to the hill just after 6 pm to a fairly small crowd and a temperature of -15 degrees and a small breeze blowing which made it feel colder than that. There were 4 of 10 trails, the Quad Chair, and the Magic Carpet on the menu for the evening. The conditions were as always excellent, with a great coverage of man made snow, and the snow received from the previous dump of a couple of weeks ago and the small amount received from the Christmas snowfall over a firm base. The Pomalift was unfortunately not in service tonight.Trails 1, 2, 3, and 4 were opened. The first runs were down underneath the Quad on Trail 3 with a crossover on 4. Something that was done on the off season was the blasting and the leveling...

Bretton Woods, NH - December 15, 2017

IMG_2168.thumb.JPG.796f6bf0bd9563c8e3aced356e58ba34.JPG

Friday morning started pretty early, and pretty chilly. I left Sherbrooke at a little after 6 in the morning with a chilly -20 degrees and clear skies. Destination today was Bretton Woods, NH where I had been a couple of times before but during very early season last year and closed out their season the year before that. With the border crossing, the voyage was just a touch over 2 hours. I arrived at the mountain at 8:30. The parking lot was pretty empty to start so it was great to be able to park up front close to the chalet. It was starting to fill up afterwards once I got ready to go pick up my lift ticket. No line up at the desk and was nice and quick. Plenty of time to wind down from the drive and to take time to get ready to go as the lifts opened at...