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  1. I got in a quick morning ski at Mont Cascades which is about 20mins from downtown Ottawa on the east side of the Gatineau River. The weather was perfect with a high around zero and the sun coming out around 10am. All the main trails were perfectly groomed with soft snow under your skis. Fun Run, Crazy Creek, Detour and the Facade were left natural with loose snow and moguls. Cascades was busy, its a top to bottom park trail with jumps, rails and a twisty ski cross like section. Exhibition had race training on it but there was still space to blast down the middle under the old triple chair. Exhibition, Promenade, Gratton, Fun Run, Facade and the Cascades were my picks of the day. Today was the day to be out skiing with the perfect combo of conditions and weather. The top of Hogan with Camp Fortune in the background. The Gatineau river Facade Exhibition
  2. With another beautiful weekend filled with bluebird skies upon us, we decided to answer the call of the mountain and return to Mont Cascades for some more snowshoeing adventure. On this visit, we started our trek through the mountain from the World Cup side, versus the main chalet side. The trails from both ends link up once you reach the summit. The trails on this side start by passing in front of the World Cup chalet. Here you will find a large trail map flanked with snowshoes (reminiscent of those we used to use in elementary school). We choose trail #8, which is classified as double black diamond for difficulty. For the most part, the trail is fairly easy to hike, however as you approach the summit, there are two sections where the climb really increases in difficulty. Nothing impossible but the snow on this particular visit had a tendency to slip away under the snowshoes due to the steepness, and there were rocks along the path during the ascent. Along the trail, the views afforded of the Gatineau River as well as the surrounding region only got better the farther we went. Nearing the summit of the Triple chairlift, we could see Camp Fortune in the distance. From here, the trail continues with little change to the elevation until you approach the other summit of the Promenade Quad chairlift. At this point, you can branch off onto one of the other trails that will lead you to the main chalet, or loop around for a longer return to the World Cup side. We decided to do our route in reverse for the return trip. Well, the steep sections we previously ascended turned out to be a tad more challenging to descend, although nothing that couldn't be handed without a bit of patience and concentration. Overall, another great visit, filled with plenty of adventure and enjoyment. Surprisingly it would be hard to argue that the trails at Mont Cascades are not some of the best in the region. We always have a great time here. From easier more tame trails to steep challenging terrain, there's definitely something for everyone.
  3. Another perfect day for spring skiing, today at Mont Cascades. The weather was once again cool but without the strong winds from yesterday. I arrived ready to hit the slopes at 11am and already the snow had begun to soften. Nearly all trails were open with a few exceptions (Gratton and two of the cross-over trails between the East Quad and the main side). It honestly felt more like skiing in the winter than the spring. Standout trails this visit were Hogan (which I chose to enjoy over and over), as well as Alouette and Interlude. With no lines at the lifts, it was refreshing to run lap after lap, enjoying the fantastic snow. After lunch, there was actually a few snow flurries that were falling, a little sign that one last snow storm may still be on the way, let's hope it won't be too late. Mont Cascades has seen several improvements over the past years, including the new East Quad and the longest magic carpet in the region. The maintenance and care put into the facilities and infrastructure is very commendable as everything is in excellent condition. The chalet at Mont Cascades is perhaps one of the most inviting in the region, due to its look, style and views afforded from the windows. I was happy to see that the picnic-style tables in the chalet, which to me are a little too common in the Quebec ski industry, have been replaced with conventional tables and seats, a detail that does not go unnoticed and no doubt will be very appreciated by all. Overall, a perfect day out on the slopes. Sadly... the coming 20-30mm of rain over the next two days will no doubt do some damage to the snow, and so it remains to be seen if Mont Cascades will be able to continue the ski season next weekend or if the last chair was today. If today was the end, then the season went out with a bang, you couldn't have asked for a better day spring skiing on the slopes. The inviting chalet, the warm atmosphere and ambiance and the excellent line up of trails and terrain always win out at Mont Cascades. Well done! Here are some pictures of the day. Happy Skiing! Hogan. East Quad. The new Viking magic carpet. Inside the Chalet. Competition and Exhibition. Top of Alouette and Interlude. Express. Facade. Views of the Gatineau river.
  4. It was a beautiful Sunday morning at Mont Cascades. After several days that brought some fresh snow, the trails were all covered nicely with fresh powder and a soft but firm base. The trails at Mont Cascades are suitable for all skill levels and difficulties and are free to access. There is a parking lot located right at the trail entrance. Almost all trails lead you to the summit via the backside of the mountain. The #5 trail is the most direct route but is the steepest to travel. For today's visit, we took a combination of the #2-3 trails, and then the #4 trail to the summit area. This route is on average easy to intermediate but provides a nice scenic trek through the forest. As you near the summit, you are treated to views of the Gatineau River and the surrounding region. The trip up to near the summit and back to the parking is approximately 3.5 kilometres, with a vertical of 90 metres. We did not venture to the absolute top on this visit due to coming poor weather (freezing rain). To give you an idea, continuing to the top would add an additional 40 metres of vertical to the trip for an approximate total of 130 metres. Mont Cascades is a great location to hike and enjoy. The trails are easy to follow and are quite enjoyable to explore. The views along the way make you want to press forward and continue on. There are two trails (the yellow and grey) that start from the World Cup side of the mountain and head towards the summit. Something we will try on our next visit... We thought it would be a relatively cold day to go snowshoeing as the temperature was being advertised as -16'c with the windchill. Yes, in the open area of the parking you could feel the fridged wind, but once you enter into the forest and as you ascend the mountain, you no longer feel the cold, and actually end up removing some layers, notably the neck warmer. Don't let cold weather fool you into not going out to snowshoe, you'd be missing out on a great experience. The quiet sounds of nature and snow. Surprisingly there was an area filled with birds up above in the trees, as you will hear in the below video clips.
  5. Some more retro action. A brochure from 1973 promoting ski resorts in the Outaouais.
  6. My first night out skiing of the season. The past few years, it always seems to take place at Mont Cascades. Why not, the mountain is fun, the ambiance is great, and the trails really come alive for me at night. The past week again saw some more mild weather and rain, and this time it did have some effect on the mountains, although nothing major. The skiing is still great, although the snow is now softer and more forgiving. It definitely feels closer to spring skiing than it was two weeks prior. I started on the World Cup side of the mountain. Here the terrain is the steepest and most challenging at Mont Cascades. This side also has a different orientation with the sun, so it is normal to expect that the conditions will vary from the rest of the mountain here, as was the case this evening. The snow was more sticky, choppy and bumpier in general. As the night progressed, I later returned as the temperature was dropping and getting colder and the conditions had improved. Personally, I prefer smoother groomed trails so I quickly made my way to the rest of the mountain. Visiting the East Quad section, trails such as Alouette and Touraine were in great shape. Nice intermediate cruisers with some decent pitch to them. Fast and fun, the skiing here presented less challenge for me than the World Cup side due to the better conditions. This side is also not very busy at night and there are several trails to choose from. One of which returns to the main chalet by a narrow windy trail that is great fun to take at speed and zig-zag your way though. I will admit, I did it several times during my visit, it is just too fun to pass up. Moving on to the main side, served by the Promenade Quad, trails here were in the best condition overall, and the snow grooming here definitely held up the best into the evening. My standouts were Promenade, Facade and the top part of Cascades that drops into lower Promenade. The weather all night was great. A little damp but it was very easy to stay warm due to the mild temperatures, a bonus if you prefer spending the night out on the slopes rather than inside the chalet. Overall a great visit and my first night out of the season. The trails of the East Quad are definitely the hidden gems of the mountain. Come on out and experience Mont Cascades yourself. Don't forget that on Friday nights they are open until Midnight. With a great ambiance, music, DJ and fun, you better be there. Have a great week and happy skiing.
  7. After a week of serious snowfall, 51cm in Ottawa, you can be sure that ski conditions were going to be among the best you will ever find. So this Friday night, I set out after work to meet up with René and Sam to ski the snowy slopes of Mont Cascades. All the trails of the mountain were open, minus Hogan and Gratton (which are not lit for night skiing). The weather was not as cold as it has been the past few weeks making it easy to enjoy the snow without freezing. However, ice pellets were falling on and off throughout the evening. This in no way reduced the enjoyment of the evening, for the conditions were worth every moment. No ice but soft snow everywhere. Being Friday night, the mountain is open till 11:55pm, making it the perfect place to start the weekend. The new Doppelmayr quad chairlift adds great value to the mountain. Easily accessible, just steps from the chalet, takes an entirely new path up the mountain, revealing secret stashes of powder snow everywhere. Halfway up the mountain, the chairlift begins to descend into a small creek to then once again begin its climb to the summit. While riding up the new Quad, looking to the left you can see the intermediate trails of Touraine and Alouette. The proximity of the top of the lift being very near the triple chairlift, gives Mont Cascades the feeling of a much larger mountain, where several lifts coming from different mountain sides all meet at the summit. This new lifts re-energizes the mountain and infuses it with new potential and adventure. My buddy René and I, both agreeing that tonight was a ski outing not to be missed, for any reason. Bottom of Promenade and the main chalet. This trail is very fun, to descend doing a slalom around the snow guns located straight down the middle. Bottom of Promenade. The bottom exit of the snowpark. The Fun Run, rarely open is a natural mogul trail, with large bumps and drops. Thanks to the abundant snowfall, it's one bounce after another down the slope. Easily one of the most popular trails for those looking for a bit of adventure and excitement. Trying to get a picture at the summit, I slipped off the packed snow and fell into the powder off to the side. Like a beached whale, I failed with every attempt to get out of the bottomless snow. René looking off towards the World Cup side, and Exhibition trail. Exhibition. Popular for speed and racing, it was a carvers delight last night. Overall the ski conditions were impeccable, and it was hard to call it a night after a few hours of skiing. The mountain is in great shape and I encourage everyone to get out and enjoy the great snow we received this past week. Don't forget, Mont Cascades have several lift ticket options, including options to buy by the hour. Have a great weekend and happy skiing!
  8. New Year's Day on the Slopes of Mont-Cascades. What's better than starting the year off on the slopes? Nothing really! Having the day off, and our favorite place open on January 1st was a no brainer for us. We left home and got on location at Mont-Cascades right on opening hour. Got our season pass in 5 minutes and off we went! Only the main trail was open, and was getting crowded more and more as the morning progressed. At last, at noon sharp, the new quad chairlift opened. The reason that we still got our season pass at Mont-Cascades was finally available for us to try. Located right in front of the main lodge, this new quad lift takes you a bit higher than the previous "old" 2 seater that was completely taken off the mountain. A smooth ride to the top, of course, it's new! Only thing we noticed is the hard seating, consisting of hard fabric with no cushion. Once on top, you will have the choice of 5 trails down from this new lift. Ski conditions were good, all thanks to the big snow storm we got between Christmas and New Year's. Still, we do need more snow for the other trails to open. The new Quad is a welcome initiative and we hope the mountain will keep improving like this to offer enough entertainment and value for our group of now seasoned snowboarders (4th year members). Maybe a new mountain side in the coming years?
  9. Skiing at Mont Cascades has improved dramatically over the last few days thanks to the first major storm, and cooler temperatures which have allowed the snow guns to run around the clock. Cascades seems to be taking advantage of the cooler weather with snow guns running throughout the day today on Promenade and a number of other runs. Skiing is still limited mainly to Promenade, although they have been able to widen it up in places. I skied most of the day and found the conditions and snow to be in good shape throughout the day despite the heavy traffic from the racing club, Nancy green program and general public. The lower half of Alliance should be open very soon, lots of folks were venturing over there today making the best of the powder. Other runs which opened today were Traverse, Link and the magic carpet. Pretty sure they are working on getting Alouette open so they can start up the new chairlift. Visibility was somewhat limited today with some fog but that didn't seem to stop people from coming out. With only the one lift running there were times during the day where there was a lineup for the lift. Lift lines seemed well organized and chairs were bare of snow (Always a plus !!!). Staff in the cafeteria were friendly and helpful. From their website they will be open the following hours in the coming days: Dec 31st 9-4 ; Jan 1st 9-4 ; Jan 2nd 9-10 ; Jan 3rd 9-9 ; Jan 4th 9-10 Temperature: -7C, Overcast
  10. Many people of Ottawa/Gatineau know Mont Cascades, as a nice, family friendly ski mountain. With trails on three distinct sectors, the mountain offers skiers and snowboarders a little bit of everything. What very few people know is that Mont Cascades also features some of the most fun, the best views, and most challenging snowshoeing trails in the region, and that's exactly what Ana and I went today to experience ourselves. If you have snowshoes already, then you are all set to start, but the mountain also rents them for a reasonable cost if you don't. When you arrive at Mont Cascades, park at the far end of the parking where the lot goes in towards the right side of the magic carpet beginner slope. Go to the end, and the snowshoe trail entrance is to the right. The trails are well planned out, and well indicated, with small maps posted at key locations and junctions, to help you get your bearings and position. There is a total of 6 trails, ranging from easy to intermediate, to difficult, and to expert. Trails 1-3 are easy trails, staying mainly around the base of the mountain, with not much vertical to ascend or descend. Perfect for your first time out or just a relaxing exercise. Trail 4 is an intermediate trail, and no doubt offers the best views on the second half of it's length, showcasing the Gatineau river, and the surrounding region. Trail 5 is just a steep wall to the top, which is to be expected as it is the most direct of the trails to the summit and the shortest. Trail 6 is the longest trail as well as among the steepest, following the contours of the mountain, and having lots of steeps to ascend, then descend, then ascend again before reaching the summit. Either way you choose, you are in for a great experience. And the views at the lookout points at the summit, or near the top of Trail 4 are worth the time and effort. Our recommendation would be to have some good snowshoes and accompany that with poles, to help you be more stable and solid with your footing, if you plan on tackling Trails 5 and 6. We were going to attempt Trail 5 to go back down the mountain, but it was above our skill level to descend, so make sure you only try it if you are an expert snowshoer. At a reasonable pace, plan for about an hour and a half per direction, allowing for time to rest and enjoy the magnificent views of the mountain and region. Don't forget to bring a camera as the views at and near the summit are worthy of a souvenir picture. On our visit, we started with the Trail 3, up till Trail 6. Trail 6 proved to be a challenge due to the many steep sections. Once at the summit, we decided on taking Trail 4 (and discovered its great views and vistas, that were absent from Trail 6) to return to the base. We highly recommend you give Mont Cascades a try on your next snowshoeing adventure.
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