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Recommendations for a ski safari in Quebec


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Hello, I would love some recommendations for a trip. As soon as the Canadian/US border reopens I would like visit Quebec for a ski safari. This will be my first visit to Quebec. I have envisioned the trip as follows:

  • Montreal
    • ski at Mt Tremblant
    • visit Montreal
  • Eastern Townships
    • ski at 5-resorts: Mt Sutton, Mt Orford, Bromont, Owls Head, and Jay Peak
  • Québec-Charlevoix
    • ski at 2-resorts: Mt Ste-Anne, le Massif de Charlevoix
    • visit Québec city

A few questions:

  • Am I missing anything? Are there any ski resorts or other sights that should be added to the list? Conversely, is there anything I should consider removing from the list?
  • Which town should I stay in the Eastern Townships?
  • Should I stay overnight in Québec for skiing at Mt Ste-Anne and le Massif or would you recommend a town nearer to the ski areas?
  • How many days should I plan to spend at each ski resort?
  • Is the Canada/US border crossing for a day-trip to Jay Peak a smooth experience (I am a US citizen)?
  • When is the best time to visit?
  • Any other recommendations or advice would be greatly appreciated.

A little about myself... avid skier currently living in Southern California. In addition to skiing I am a francophone who is interested Québécois culture. I like all the usual stuff... good food and drink, friendly people, pretty scenery, live performance.

Thank you for any recommendations or advice!!! :)

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@Après Skier The border crossing near Jay Peak is basically a hut, super fast and easy. I have a feeling with COVID though Canada is not going to open its border anytime soon.  You may have to wait a

@Après Skier, one of my go to places is Sommet St-Sauveur. With St-Sauveur, you also get Versant Avila. Mont Avila used to be a separate area altogether, and now has been incorporated into Sauveur. Ol

@Après Skier rather than prepare an inflexible itinerary, I would suggest watching the weather for the timing of your trip and then travelling to the best spots....for instance if there is snow in Cha

Welcome aboard Après Skier, thank you for your interest in SlopeEdge!

All four of the areas in the Eastern Townships are great choices to ski. If you are into ski glades, Mont Sutton would be the place to go. If you are looking for steeps, Orford has a great variety. Looking for some nice cruiser trails, Owl's Head is the one. If you are looking for a full on resort, hotel, ski package deal, Bromont has that. I would consider Bromont as the mini "Tremblant" of the Townships where you have everything very close by. The largest mountain in terms of vertical is Orford, and for trail count, it's Bromont and it's numerous sections you can ski. A good central place to stay where all 4 areas are within a 30-45 minute drive from where you stay is the Hotel Suites Lac Brome. I am not sure if this still exists, but if you stayed at one of the 4 areas and booked a package, your lift ticket was interchangeable between them. This was usually available when you reserved your lodging and ski package for the week. You can spend the day at each ski area, however with the number of trails and versants at Bromont, spending just the day there wouldn't do it justice. You'd need to spend a few days to get the full experience of Bromont. Last season there was a discount card that you could get called the l'Est Go card that you could use to get discounts on lift tickets for Bromont, Orford, Owl's Head, and Sutton. Information on that card can be found at www.easterntownships.org 

At Tremblant, you have numerous lodging options to choose from. Right in the village at the base of the mountain there is a variety of shops, restaurants, and activities at your disposal. Tremblant is a place where one day of skiing and night of lodging may not be enough. That would depend on what you are looking for in a large resort. I have stayed at the Holiday Inn Express and the Marriott in the heart of the village, and both places are very nice, with restaurants nearby. You could either walk to the upper part of the village, or take the Cabriolet, a detachable style of lift where you can stand while riding. It is going to be an hour and a bit travel time by car from Montreal to Tremblant on Autoroute 15. You'll also be travelling through the heart of the Laurentian ski area with a Sommet St-Sauveur, Gabriel, Olympia, Chateclerc, Belle Neige and others along the way. 

With Ste Anne's and le Massif, I would see if I could find a place in between the two areas to balance out the drive. With Jay Peak, you can't go wrong there, however I would probably aim to ski there first before crossing the border in to Quebec to carry on with the remainder of the trip, or hit it last on the way back home. Not 100% sure about the cross cross on the border crossings with one being from the US and if there any hassle. 

We have a section on Ski Areas with profiles on each place to give you a bit of an idea on what to expect. That would be a good start in checking out where you'd like to go. 

If you have any more questions, or general inquiries, please do not hesitate to ask. 

All the best,

Paul

 

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Thank you, Paul! This is very helpful :)

You mentioned several resorts in the area traveling between Montreal and Tremblant. Are there I should add to my itinerary? 

I’m excited to experience skiing in Quebec. I’ve heard Mont Sutton is a very unique resort and I’m looking forward to skiing in the glades. I’ve also heard the views at Le Massif and Owl’s Head are very beautiful. Tremblant is a famous destination resort and I definitely want to see that as well.

Thank you!!!

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@Après Skier, one of my go to places is Sommet St-Sauveur. With St-Sauveur, you also get Versant Avila. Mont Avila used to be a separate area altogether, and now has been incorporated into Sauveur. Olympia is another in the Sommets family of ski areas. You have a group of hills in the Sauveur area like Mont Habitant, Sommet Olympia, Sommet Gabriel, Chanteclerc, Sommet Morin Heights. All worth checking out, depending on your travel schedule. Further up the Autoroute en route to Tremblant you have Belle Neige, Vallée Bleue, and Mont Blanc. Each mountain has its own charm.

Sutton is very unique, they have mostly older double Mueller chairs which gives it that old school charm. They do have 3 quad chairs. All the areas have great views, but yes Owl's Head, le Massif, Ste Anne's, and Orford have spectacular views. 

The best time to ski normally would be mid to late January into February. There is also some great spring skiing to be had as well. 

It's a pleasure to help out. 🙂

Paul

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@Après Skier The border crossing near Jay Peak is basically a hut, super fast and easy. I have a feeling with COVID though Canada is not going to open its border anytime soon.  You may have to wait a extra year for your Quebec trip.  If I could only ski three resorts on the list it would be Tremblant, Sutton and Massif.  Lots of glade options at all three.  The view of the St. Lawrence at Masstif is amazing. 

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@PaulThank you again! This is really very nice. I was unaware there was so much in the St-Saveur area and will have to check it out. 

@GordoThank you for the info about the border crossing. I agree with you; international travel does not look promising for US residents. Oh well... I’ll already be very happy if my local ski areas remain open. And thank you for helping narrow down the selection.

Fingers crossed we can all enjoy a nice ski season!!!

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@Après Skier rather than prepare an inflexible itinerary, I would suggest watching the weather for the timing of your trip and then travelling to the best spots....for instance if there is snow in Charlevoix start there instead of Tremblant.  You could also potentially fly into Burlington VT and rent a car there, and then start or end your trip at Jay Peak (or Stowe, Smuggs, MRG, Burke, or others). This also makes the Eastern Townships an easy start or end point since it's basically on the way to VT. 

Lodging recommendations between Montreal and Tremblantt:

Cap Tremblant - about a ten minute drive from the mountain, with a view of the mountain, great rates, ski condo/timeshare type place. imo it's not worth it staying in the Tremblant village, the beds are always terrible. That said Marriott is ok.

You can also get a package deal related to Le Scandinave nordik spa which is a short drive from Tremblant and it partners with a number of hotels for stay and soak if you want to include some soaking in your trip.

Manoir Saint-Sauveur (and its Charlevoix equivalent, I forget the name) - the Manoir has a nice nordic spa and amazing food plus is around the corner from Sommet Saint-Sauveur and its night skiing. I do find it a bit pricier than I'd like to pay for hotels in general but the amenities are worth it.

Also: you can ski every run on Saint-Sauveur/Avila in just under three hours if you bomb all the runs and there are no lift lines. It's a great midweek choice.

Best time to travel: I find it too cold in January, personally. February is hit or miss (big storm, or rain, or both), and March definitely has miracle moments :)

Ski passes: Tremblant is Icon and will favour passholder this season. All the others you may need to reserve/pre-purchase tickets (specific details tbd but those that have announced so far will operate at 50% capacity).

 

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On 2020-09-16 at 4:44 PM, Après Skier said:

 I noticed Saint-Sauveur has the world’s largest night skiing. 

hahahaha is that what they are promoting! lol

Manoir beds are comfy - can confirm!

It is actually Bromont that has the world`s largest nightskiing with 7 versants and skiing til 2am every second weekend at Nuit Blanche (unclear if they will do that this year). St-Sau is great though and in close proximity to Montreal. The hot tub at Manoir closes at 9 and skiing at 10 so you can`t do both on the same day unfortunately. I do wish they`d consider opening the nordik spa later at night! 

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Welcome to SlopeEdge @Après Skier

You have received some good suggestions and feedback for your trip. I would like to share a few of my own thoughts.

I am a big fan of Sommet Saint-Sauveur. The mountain isn't extremely challenging but quite accessible for all skill levels. The night skiing atmosphere there is very enjoyable and the apres ski at the T-Bar (pun intended) is top notch. I think the claim of largest night skiing in the world is actually when you combine all their mountains in the area (Saint-Sauveur, Avila, Gabriel, Olympia and Morin Heights). They are not located next to each other so a drive (typically 15 minutes to atmost 30 minutes to Morin Heights) is required. The other mountains except for Saint-Sauveur and Avila are more of the small average ski areas in size. Still I find on the busiest days, the lines move quicker and there are seemingly less people crowding on the slopes at Saint-Sauveur than Bromont. And I do love the Manoir Saint-Sauveur too.

That said, Bromont is bigger than Saint-Sauveur and does have some more challenging trails in their lineup. They also have a new summit chalet at the top which is quite nice (although I wasn't able to visit it last year but the photos portray it as being impressive).

For the rest, Tremblant is a classic, but weekends can be long for the lift lines (comparable to other major destinations). The village is what really makes it unique, and I have stayed at several on resort locations, such as the Hilton homewood suites, Sommet des neiges (although wasn't as impressed at this location), the Johanssen or Deslauriers are very nice as well and you get a great view down onto the village street below.

For the best views, Owl's Head and Le Massif would be the best. Le Massif is unique with the views of the St Lawrence River but also by the fact that typically you park at the summit of the mountain and start your runs down from there. Your last run of the day concludes with a chairlift ride back to the summit and the chalet/parking... that's rare to find elsewhere, again not missing out on the views.

Sutton has great glades, and groomed trails but is mainly distinguished by the retro feeling of the facilities and lifts. The other unique aspect is the junctions between trails, which makes it that you can start on one, switch to another, and keep switching a handful of times in one run down. There would seemingly be endless combinations, and the snow can often be fairly abundant on this mountain when we have a good winter season.

Hope this helps. Let us know what you decide to do, and be sure to check out some of our past Ski Experiences (Winter Experiences) on the site and forums for more great photos.

Happy skiing!

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I should add that Mont Sainte Anne has what is likely the highest vertical for night skiing in the world. The night ski terrain isn’t massive but it makes up for it by offering top to bottom runs over approx 2000ft vertical. 
Bromont is about 1200ft on the main side and the others can go as low as 500 ish. 
Saint-Sauveur is around 650 all over. 

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