I had been thinking of skiing one more day and earlier in the week I was looking at the remaining available options in the province in which to go, and Massif du Sud was starting to look interesting. A buddy of mine texted me the next day, and was wanting to go out himself to end the season, and he told me that he was going to Massif du Sud and well they say the rest was history. We left Sherbrooke at around 6:30 for the drive out there. Massif du Sud is about an hour or so Southeast of Quebec City, or about a touch over 2 1/2 hours from Sherbrooke. We arrived at the mountain just after 9am to beautiful sunny skies and the temperature was around +2 degrees. By arriving early this gave us plenty of time to wind down from the drive and to get ready for the day. We got our tickets and headed out for lift opening at 10. The Quad, and the Poma for the beginners area were operating. These are the only 2 lifts at Massif du Sud. The conditions were fantastic. The trails were well covered with absolutely no bare patches nor any ice patches anywhere. Actually I have not seen snow like this so late in the season! The trees at the summit were white as if it was the middle of winter and even the glades were open with plenty of snow. There were groomed and non groomed trails to choose from, and there was a wide variety to choose from.
The warm up runs were down the Familiale, a Green easy trail, a very nice cruiser that takes you out and around the farthest left side of the mountain, looking uphill, and the Villageoise another nice Green easy trail. After that it was onto an Intermediate trail, le Promenade. The conditions early were still a touch firm in the shaded areas and were starting to soften up in the sun exposed areas.
The upper and middle sections of La familiale:
Lower section of la Promenade:
By noon the trails had softened up and we were skiing some classic mashed potato type snow with soft bumps that you basically would ski through. Nice soft turns that made you work a little harder as the day went on. There was a decent crowd that came out to enjoy the sun and the skiing. The wait at the Quad was no longer than a couple of minutes. We had a bit of a late lunch to avoid the rush. A classic poutine and cheeseburger was the choice. Sorry no pics. Then it was out for some more turns to burn off what I ate.
the Olympique and the Grand Allee:
Later in the afternoon the conditions were still amazing and trails were well covered. The sun was nice and warm, and I was just a touch overdressed, but nothing that was unbearable. I could have lost one more layer but I just opened my jacket a touch more and let the breeze from skiing take care of the cool down. There was a soft breeze riding up the lift. I did not ski the glades as I am not a glade kind of skier but boy did they look nice though.
The Bi-Polaire Glade:
I ended up skiing until 3:15 as my legs were screaming they had had enough so the last run of the day was another trip down la familiale. As I said earlier, the conditions were fantastic and I haven't seen spring conditions like this in a longtime. The temperature by now was +8 degrees. My buddy skied a bit longer to get some extra runs in and we met up with a group of his friends for a few well deserved cold ones on the balcony out front of the chalet to celebrate the end of our season. The views here are really spectacular, and from Massif du Sud you can see the trails of Mont Ste-Anne across the St. Lawrence river in the distance. Everyone I met today was quite friendly. I really enjoyed my day here and I definitely would like to come back here again sometime.
Here are some extra scenes from the day:
The beginner's area with the Pomalift:
The trails of Mont Ste-Anne in the distance:
The Spring Season began exactly one month ago, and yet today was the first day of skiing for me that actually felt very much like spring. While people may be disappointed with the late start, it has also permitted ski mountains to stretch their season even longer than average. Camp Fortune is usually first to open and last to close in the Ottawa-Gatineau region, but this year all the main trails on Skyline are open, with full snow coverage. The biggest contrast I can make to past years is that by now they would have already been closed, so very exciting turn of events indeed.
Being an early bird and personally preferring firmer snow conditions, I arrived to ski for opening at 9am. The parking already had more cars than I was expecting at that time... I guess the great news that spring skiing had arrived was heard loud and clear.
Ski conditions today, excellent. As previously mentioned, the snow coverage was complete on all open trails. The base was hard with little to no ice. As the sun warmed up the snow, the surface softened out very quickly, allowing some bumps and moguls to form on the trails, the typical trademark signature of spring skiing. As far as lift lines, almost every run was ski on without stopping.
Open trails were Heggtveit, Chute, Upper and Lower Canadien, Bud Clark and Sparks, served by the Skyline quad. An outdoor BBQ was set up between the Skyline Lodge and the quad chairlift.
After 10 runs, it was time to call it a day. Leaving by 11am, the snow was really softening out and the classic watery spray that results from the carving of skis was in the air. With the even warmer temperatures in the afternoon, I can only imagine that the skiing got even better as the day progressed.
What a phenomenal day to ski, I just loved every moment of it. Blue skies, warm weather, perfect spring snow... Camp Fortune is spoiling us with the goods!
Camp Fortune will be open once again tomorrow (Sunday) from 9am-4pm. Tickets are only $25/ day or $20 for 4 hrs for adults and $20/day or $15/4 hrs for kids. Sunday will also be a retro ski day, so bring out your fluorescent and bright coloured ski outfits and rock the slopes like it's still the 80's.
What a great way to end the ski season in the region. You definitely owe it to yourself to come out and enjoy the great ski conditions before they come to an end, you are sure to be amazed.
Here are some more pictures from today.