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 changes are the new Sommet Express (six-pack detachable chairlift with heated seats) that replaced the legendary Atomic Express back in 2019. The old customer service building, which originally housed a double chairlift, way back when, was replaced this year with a new Atelier Les Sommets, regrouping part of the boutique with the ski shop and the lockers. It also features a small café and an outdoor terrace, only steps away from the Sommet Express. I also noticed that Red Bird (the main beginner trail) now has permanently mounted snowmaking guns from top to bottom, which is great news and will surely help get that trail open sooner, and ensure great conditions all season long. Long story short, the mountain is always improving and innovating, with an emphasis on the ski experience.
Finally, it was time to hit the slopes.
I started with La Plagne (beginner trail) which passes alongside many beautiful homes. I proceeded to work my way across all the trails towards La Dévaleuse at the far left of the mountain. I was stunned, all the open trails (which consisted of nearly all the trails except the glades) had virtually full snow coverage. Sure there was the occasional bare spot here or there, but that was minimal. You could easily believe it was mid-March, but here we are in mid-April 2022 where anything is possible.
Of course, the standout trails are the usual ones, such as Côtes 70 Est and Ouest, Jay, Côte 68 and Dévaleuse. But in all fairness, you can't go wrong with any trail at Sommet Saint-Sauveur. For those wanting a quieter experience, Epervier and Tom Barbeau are wide-open trails that always seem less frequented than the surrounding trails. A small snowpark with modules and jumps was set up in the SilverPark (located between Côtes 70 Est and Ouest). For those looking for moguls, the Stadium trail (accessed to the right near the final pitch of 70 Est) had big deep bumps for you to enjoy. I even saw a skier take them telemark style!
Overall, the trails were well-groomed, and as the sun warmed up the air and snow, the slopes became softer as the day progressed. The snow held up quite nicely until I called it a day around 3pm. It was important to bring a change of clothes or to layer so that as the temperature and sun-warmed up, you could remain comfortable without getting too hot. Lineups at the lifts were minimal, with the Côte 71 and Flèche d'Argent having no wait loading all day and the Sommet Express having at most a 2-3 minute wait during the busiest moments of the day.
A fantastic day out on the slopes, which likely will be my last for the season. Having said that, Sommet Saint-Sauveur has no shortage of snow and will easily make it into the month of May. I would expect this week and next weekend to be the last for many of the ski trails before they concentrate on the traditional final two, that is Côte 70 Ouest and Nordique.
Once the skiing ends for the day, the ambiance at the mountain base takes you in. The half-moon terrace with a barbeque, DJ and plenty of picnic tables out in the snow let you enjoy the spring sun amongst family and friends.
As the sun sets on another ski day, I wonder what new improvements and innovations the mountain will have in store for next season.
Take care and happy skiing!