Quebec Ski Resorts: Best Bets Near Montreal
Quebec ski resorts—we've got 80 and counting—come in all shapes and sizes. Some are ideal for Sunday strollers. Others are party central. And among them are a handful of runs that have what it takes to humble a pro.
New to the Quebec ski scene? Consider trying out the following Quebec ski resorts, all vetted by an experienced skier, each possessing its own brand of appeal. And all of them, except for Le Massif, are a two-hour or less drive from Montreal.
And for a close-to-complete list of Quebec ski resorts, consult the Quebec Ski Area Association website. Not all ski stations are members, but the vast majority are.
Quebec's poster child ski station if there ever was one, Mont Tremblant has been voted the top Ski Resort in Eastern North America by Ski Magazine 18 times.
The place to ski and be seen, the party vibe is undeniable with après-ski options galore. There's also quite the family friendly vibe in the area although everything costs more at Tremblant and long, annoying lineups are nearly guaranteed.
As for the the mountain itself, it might not be the highest one in the region but slope inclines reach as much as 42 degrees. With that considered, it's odd that Tremblant runs seem more ideal for beginners and intermediates than experienced thrill-seekers. But I digress.
Overall a great spot for tourists and snow scenesters.
Interested in skiing Mont Tremblant but less interested in the admission price and tourist trappings?
Not to be confused with the tallest peak in the Alps that goes by the same name, Quebec's Mont Blanc is the second highest mountain in the Laurentians and is close to $40 cheaper a day than its taller, trendy neighbor Tremblant, just 10 kilometres away.
Its other one-up is that unlike Tremblant, Mont Blanc has double diamond runs and a preponderance of challenging trails in spite of its smaller scale. So experienced skiers looking for a challenge are advised to at least give Mont Blanc a try. Not the top resort choice for beginners though, with only six novice slopes.
Are you serious about skiing? Le Massif is.
Try Le Massif's La Charlevoix trail, a triple diamond feat and the only elite athlete training run in Canada east of the Rockies, ideal for Super G practice. Apparently -in other words: nope, haven't tried this one- the vertical drop coupled with the view gives the illusion of skiing off into the sea. For obvious reasons, Le Massif is picky about who they let on this run so you'll have to get a green light from staff.
A strong show of diamonds and double diamonds across the resort, there are also several intermediate trails and eight novice runs. Less than two hours from Quebec City, Le Massif is about a five-hour drive from Montreal but if you ask city-dwelling regulars, this is one hill worth every pee stop and crack-of-dawn departure. Also, lift prices are on the high side, close to Tremblant's rates. But the trails and the view are top-of-the-crop spectacular.
Mont Saint-Sauveur is a common choice for city-dwellers at less than an hour from Montreal.
It's got that see and be seen vibe with local yuppies converging in nearby condos if they aren't soaking it up the world of après-ski and fine dining -they've even got a Gibbys in the area. And yes, Mont Saint-Sauveur has that pickup spot vibe, at least in the evening.
But what about the skiing, you ask? A great hill for beginners, families, (and night skiers), the runs are fairly straightforward. In other words, the black diamonds suffer from vanity dress sizing or the "I got an A at Harvard" syndrome. Diamond runs feel more intermediate. In other words, your humble Montreal expert can go down them barely carving turns.
A two-hour drive from Montreal, I LOVE Mont Orford. It's the perfect resort for a group composed of beginners, advanced types and bored experts.
Their trails are long and challenging enough to keep different experience levels on their toes, picturesque and meandering one moment, steep and moguled the next. Meanwhile, novices adore Mont Orford's cruisey 4km run and experts can join them while opting for some crazy double diamond shortcuts along the way. Everybody wins.
As for intermediate trails, they offer a solid challenge. Let's just say that if you master blue square trails here, Saint-Sauveur's black diamonds will put you to sleep.
And daredevils? Take note. Rocks, cliffs, narrow glades, double fall lines... you MUST try Orford's triple diamond slopes. Mind you, they've been downgraded to doubles over the last decade or so, at least from what I saw on the official map, notably the Boogie, Labrècque, Passe de l'Ours and Porc Épic trails. But still. It's not like management removed the cliffs. There are heart-stopping jollies to be had if you dare.