At the age of 5, my parents helped me navigate the bumps for the first time on Pineault at Camp Fortune in the Gatineau Hills. My passion for skiing really took off once we arrived at Ski Vorlage, the birthplace of my mother's skiing legacy. Snowy days, to long nights under the stars, it was here that I got the itch for skiing and the...
At the age of 5, my parents helped me navigate the bumps for the first time on Pineault at Camp Fortune in the Gatineau Hills. My passion for skiing really took off once we arrived at Ski Vorlage, the birthplace of my mother's skiing legacy. Snowy days, to long nights under the stars, it was here that I got the itch for skiing and the excitement that came along with it. After several seasons, eventually skiing every resort in the area, I became obsessed with the sport. Over the years, with family and friends, I began to explore more ski mountains, farther from home, discovering many unique, exciting and breathtaking resorts. What makes me excited? Is it the amazing views from the mountain tops, the high speed thrill of carving up the slopes, or a technical curiosity of the ski lifts... one thing is for sure, it's definitely the best way to enjoy the best season of the year, and one amazing life long passion.
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Cold Air: All Systems Go at Sunday River

Photo : Nick Lambert

As temperatures fell at Sunday River Resort overnight, the snowmaking team fired up the snowguns at 4AM for their initial systems test on Saturday, September 24, signaling the beginning of winter 2016-17 just three days after the first day of fall. Sunday River typically opens for skiing and snowboarding on or around Halloween, and this annual snowmaking test confirms: all systems go. During this morning's test, snowmakers ran 10 snowguns on the Lower Downdraft ski trail, just below the top terminal of the resort's signature Chondola chairlift. This season's opening plan will include top-to-bottom skiing and snowboarding on Aurora Peak, accessed by the Chondola out of the South Ridge base area. Though the resort has not yet set an official opening date, this test does give Sunday River's snowmakers the go-ahead to crank the system at full capacity—8,100 gallons of water and 60,000 cubic feet of air per minute, producing four acre feet per hour—at the first sustained cold spell with tem...

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Vail Resorts elevates the guest experience with $100 million in Resort Improvements for 2016-17


Vail Resorts, Inc. continues to raise the bar for skiers and riders as the Company invests approximately $100 million in the guest experience for the upcoming winter across its resorts, bringing its five-year, industry-leading resort investment total to more than $500 million across the Company. The most significant improvements include a new restaurant on Peak 7 at Breckenridge, an upgraded high-speed chairlift accessing Vail's Back Bowls, significant renovations to the guest rooms of The Pines Lodge, A RockResort at Beaver Creek, and $13 million to completely re-imagine the guest experience at Wilmot Mountain, located near Chicago, Ill. "Guests expect a premium experience when they visit one of our resorts, including the highest levels of guest service as well as the cutting edge in lifts, restaurants, lodging and other elements of their vacation," said Kirsten Lynch, chief marketing officer of Vail Resorts. "This year's resort improvement plan reflects our goal to continue to delive...

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What's New for Winter 2016-2017

Photo Credit : Mount Pakenham

What's New for Winter 2016-2017 ​Each and every year, ski resorts continually add and improve their mountain offering. From new quad chairlifts replacing old trusty doubles, to new trails, to snowmaking and base facility improvements. This blog entry hopes to give you a small glimpse into what's in store for this coming winter. It will be updated as new developments become announced throughout September and October. QUEBEC -Bromont - Increase in capacity of the Chalet du Lac by 20%. 25 new high-efficiency snow guns. 2 new snow parks (one on Versant de la Cote Ouest and the other on Versant des Cantons), and a redesigned Experience Zone for beginners on Mont Soleil, which also now includes a beginner's snow park. Replacement of the main cable on the detachable quad of Versant du Village. Webcams at base of Versant du Village and du Lac. -Camp Fortune - Investments in the snowmaking reservoir. A new paved entryway and drop off zone by the main lodge. A new environmentally friendly s...

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Hiking - Lusk Cave Trail - Gatineau Park


A sunny late summer Saturday always signals the perfect time to go exploring and hiking. Having been interested for some time to see what all the fuss over the Lusk Caves was about, Ana and I ventured out to the Philippe Lake area to hike the trail and check out this unique attraction in Gatineau Park. The Lusk Caves were created some 12,500 years ago from melting glacial waters. This melting water was forced into cracks of the Marble rock, eroding them more quickly than the other type of rock present, which led to the creation of the unique tunnels that are explorable today. To this day, water continues to stream through the cave, continuing this erosion and gradually shaping the cave. Exploring the cave is an experience all on its own, clearly, a fact recognized by the number of people visiting. The Lusk Stream flows through the cave and as a result, exploration consists of passages of water, some dry and shallow, others with water levels as high as a metre or more. There are brief s...

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Vail Resorts and Whistler Blackcomb agree to strategic combination

Photo : David McColm

Vail Resorts, Inc. and Whistler Blackcomb Holdings, Inc. today announced that they have entered into a strategic business combination joining Whistler Blackcomb with Vail Resorts. Under the transaction, Vail Resorts would acquire 100 percent of the stock of Whistler Blackcomb, whose shareholders would receive C$17.50 per share in cash and 0.0975 shares of Vail Resorts common stock, for consideration having a total value of C$36.00 per share. The share exchange ratio is based upon closing stock prices and currency exchange rates as of August 5, 2016 and is subject to a currency exchange rate adjustment, as described below."Combining Whistler Blackcomb with Vail Resorts' portfolio of outstanding resorts provides Whistler Blackcomb with increased financial strength, marketing exposure, guest relationships and broadens the geographic diversity of our company with resorts across the United States, as well as in Australia and Canada. This relationship will bring greater resources to support ...

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Hiking - Champlain Lookout Trail - Gatineau Park


The Champlain Lookout trail takes you around the edge of the Eardley Escarpment, showcasing stunning views and vistas. With a length of approximately 1.2km, it is not the longest trail, but definitely one of the more enjoyable ones. Several sections are on the edge of steep cliffs, bordered by wood fences, further adding to the awe inspiring landscapes and experience. Interpretive panels explain the unique geology as well as unique and rare species found in this area. The ever elusive milk snake for example can on occasion be spotted along this trail near rocky formations. Crossing several small streams passing through rocky formations, there is plenty to enjoy on this trail in Gatineau Park. Accessed from the Champlain Parkway's lookout, the trail should be considered intermediate in difficulty. With two perfect viewing points, including one that juts out from the mountain on a platform, don't forget to bring your camera. Once finished, be sure to also enjoy the view and scenery by th...

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Hiking - Lauriault Trail - Gatineau Park


Another day in Gatineau Park, another trail to discover. Today it was time to venture down the Lauriault Trail. This trail is accessed off of the Waterfall Trail, previously visited last week. The Lauriault Trail is about 3.5km in length, over relatively intermediate terrain. Nothing overly steep, or challenging. Weaving through the trees, while crossing several water streams, the halfway point of the trail arrives at a lookout point, giving a grand view of the surrounding region from above. Continuing on the trail, you come across the Mulvihill Lake, the perfect place for a picnic lunch or gazing into the water. This area is calm and peaceful, with a platform extending out over the water. The return trip on the opposite side of the loop is just as eventful, with more sloping terrain and passages to cross. You also see the stream that feeds the waterfall, which surely must rage during the springtime with all the melting snow. The entire adventure took about 1.5 hours to complete, and d...

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Hiking - Waterfall Trail - Gatineau Park


The Waterfall trail is located along the Gatineau Parkway. While not the longest hike in Gatineau Park, it certainly has its own charm. Featuring the Bridal Veil falls (named by former Prime Minister Mackenzie King) which culminate this experience, it is another must-see destination in Gatineau Park. The trail is about 1.5km in length (to the falls and returning), mainly flat, with only the approach and descent to the falls offering any additional challenge. The trail leaves the parking and passes under the Gatineau Parkway through a tunnel. From there, you pass through some wetlands and over a few wooden bridges. I recommend you visit the falls either in the spring, as the snow is melting or after heavy rainfall, as the water flow will be much higher. Once you have visited the falls, the nearby Lauriault trail offers a longer trip back to the parking and adds another 2.5km to your hike. This trail is in the form of a loop, taking you past Mulvihill lake, the perfect place for a picnic...

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Hiking - King Mountain Trail - Gatineau Park


The King Mountain trail, located on the Eardley Escarpment of the Canadian Shield offers a hike unlike any other. With incredible views and interpretive panels that explain the unique ecosystem and historical sites along the trail, it definitely ranks as something you need to experience yourself. It is located near the intersection of the Gatineau and Champlain parkways. The trail is approximately 2km long, in the form of a loop, with a vertical of about 70 metres. The trail contains several areas of rocky formations to traverse, but nothing is overly challenging, and takes an hour or so to complete. Along the way you will discover a unique micro-climate on the mountain, passing from a relatively dry area to one that is noticeably more humid. Passing several different types of forests, as well as many types of trees, the interpretive panels allow you to learn about the natural wonder and treasure that is Gatineau Park. You will also visit the a National Historic Site, when you come acr...

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Cycling - Just Another Monday

There is snow on the horizon. Anyone reading this blog is excited about that and daydreaming about the first downhill slide, be it on skis or a snowboard. I know I can't wait for that first chairlift ride and the anticipation of strapping into my plush, Burton bindings and dropping in for some long awaited turns. Snowboarding is my first true love, but that's not what I want to talk about today. I have a new love in my life and it's a fat...bike! Like any passionate skier/snowboarder, the end of the season is always a drag. We put our boards away and and reflect on the season. Same goes for mountain biking, every year the leaves fall from the trees, the trails get slippery and muddy and it's time to put the bike in the crawl space. It's always a little bittersweet because at least we'll be snowboarding soon, but those killer summer rides with the crew are gone until the trails dry up in the spring. Well...not this year, this year I'm gettin' fat in the off season! Fat Bikes are becomin...

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Cycling - Another Best Ride


Hashtags rule our fast-paced lives these days and with mountain bike season in full swing, a few that are dominating posts in my Twitter and Instagram feeds are #exploremore #anotherbestride #goplayoutside. The inspiration for today's post comes from MEC and an Instagram photo they posted recently with an awesome quote that unfortunately doesn't fit in a catchy hashtag. It goes like this: "Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt." Makes you stop and think for a moment, doesn't it? In a world where we are forever connected, most things we do can be summed up by a clever #hashtag and we track our rides on Strava it's important to slow down sometimes and take in the beauty of the mountain bike trail which is usually just a blur in your peripheral vision. A challenge, I suppose. Better not record this one on Strava, it'll hurt your averages! I recently had the pleasure to ride at the Mono Cliffs Provincial Park which is a section of the Bruce Trail that extends ...

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