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  1. Made it up to Mont Ste Marie for one last spring rip. The hour drive north from Ottawa was an easy one, though many fields were full of deer. The coverage on the two mountains is still impressive with all of the 20 groomed trails still open. Even the off-piste runs had good coverage but they were mostly closed. The snow was just to sticky in the glades. The groomed trails ripped though. The snow was soft and fast in the morning then became your typical spring skiing conditions in the afternoon. I missed the sun of Saturday but with no wind and temperatures just over zero I couldn't complain. Dustin Cook and Formidable were the best bets on the Cheval Blanc side. On Vanier Serenade and Tornade were great cruisers. We ducked into the glades on Carroussel but the snow was so sticky that you had to hop turn to get through the trees, not recommended. Had lunch at the bar where the food and service is always excellent. Ripped down Cheval for a few more hours in the afternoon till we'd had our fill. What a great season. MSM plans to be open April 12-14th and maybe even Easter weekend. Looks like snow is on tap for Tuesday!
  2. Welcome to the white room. 35cms of fresh light powder had fallen over night and it was still snowing when we arrived at Mont Ste Marie. Only a single run was groomed everything else was left as virgin powder. Total nirvana. The temperatures were mild at around -5c and hardly anyone had made the hour drive up from Ottawa. In fact the lifts started a little late because there was so much snow to shovel out from the entrances and exits of the quads. The new glades are killer and add so much to the terrain. Deep Purple and Vertigo fall through a steep pine forest before exiting at the bottom of Crescendo. You enter the three runs (also the old Klotz trail) from the left of Formidable. I'll let the photos tell the rest of the tale. My legs were jello by last chair. The best day of the year so far! Vertigo or maybe Deep Purple Carroussel Glades The entrance to Deep Purple involves a bit of trekking.
  3. We rolled into Mont Ste Marie just before 10 after a long drive that included being stuck behind plows, big trucks and driving in a white out. Well the drive was worth it. MSM with 1200ft vertical across two mountains was 100% open. The resort had about 10cms of fresh light powder and snow would continue to fall on and off all day. In the morning the snow fell heavy and it was rather windy. So windy that the Cheval Blanc quad was restricted to two a chair. This caused a pretty long line up but by noon the wind died down and we were back to normal. The conditions were pretty much perfect with consistent light powder covering all the runs. New features this year included a new racing building at the top of Dustin Cook. We also checked out the new glades off Carroussel. This steep section includes some nice cliff drops through mature hardwood. The entrance is a little tricky though as there is no signage and you need some serious speed off Carroussel to enter. On the way back to Vanier for lunch we took the old Klotz trail which has now been reopened. The entrance is a mess though as it’s a thin tunnel through overgrown bush. This area needs to be cut back and cleaned out. The rest of trail is fine with the right side giving access to some glades/forest skiing through mature pines. After a late lunch we skied the Vanier side. The snow was plentiful and soft enough to ski the power line cut next to Chanson then down onto the natural snow run of Crescendo. We stayed till the last chair at 4pm. The skiing was that good. Almost a white out The new starting hut at the top of Dustin Cook. Glades off Carroussel Power line cut
  4. It's the final day of 2018 and wanting to end it in true skiing style, a ski double-header was on the menu. Mont Ste Marie in the morning and Camp Fortune in the afternoon. (Be sure to check out the other report here). Arriving at Mont Ste Marie just before opening at 9am, I was quick to get ready and start the day. Heading up Vanier Mountain, the first trail was Serenade. This intermediate trail definitely has a big mountain feel to it. It really weaves its way down the mountain and you feel yourself being transported to another place. Serenade is surely a Mont Ste Marie classic. Next up was Bellevue, another big mountain type trail. I'm going to stop and clarify for a moment what I mean by big mountain. Mont Ste Marie is the largest ski mountain in the Ottawa-Gatineau region, with generally double the vertical drop of anywhere else. Add to this its location being even more out in nature and the surrounding mountains and you have a ski mountain that really does feel like a mini-Tremblant, of course minus the lift lines, the high prices, and the sometimes intimidating atmosphere. So a big mountain trail to me means it creates the same feeling and excitement on the slopes you'd get on one of those at a mega resort. Luckily, Mont Ste Marie has an ample supply of those to keep you going happy all day long. Changing things up, it was time to head over to the Cheval Blanc mountain to experience the more advanced and expert terrain. On this side, only Frank Pouliotte, Outaouais and Dustin Cook were open. Outaouais and Dustin Cook are the signature trails of Mont Ste Marie, with the later being FIS homologated. Starting from Outaouais, you have a relatively tame trail, taking you down while following the chairlift line and tossing you some spectacular views of Lac Sainte Marie below. Things quickly change as soon as the trail turns to the left and become Dustin Cook. Named after the Canadian World Cup alpine ski racer, this trail has it all, steeps, plenty of zones to carve at high speeds, drops and more.... enough to get your heart pumping with adrenaline and excitement. During my visit, there was grooming taking place on some of the closed trails, and Mont Ste Marie announced on Facebook in the afternoon that indeed several more trails will open tomorrow, including Chanson, Carousel, Betsy, among others. Perfect for the large snowfall expected overnight and in the morning. Overall, the snow conditions were great all over the mountain. With the coming new snow, the mountain will be in excellent shape to finish off the holidays. Happy New Year to all and Happy Skiing! Here are some photos from today's visit The chalet at the base of Vanier Mountain. The base of Vanier Mountain, with Caroline Calvé on the right and Exhibition on the left. Top of Serenade. Bottom of Serenade leading into Caroline Calvé. Top of Vanier Mountain, heading towards Bellevue and Chanson. Bellevue. Exhibition. Heading up Cheval Blanc, with Dustin Cook trail seen to the right. Passing over Outaouais. The summit observation point at the top of Cheval Blanc. You can see Vanier Mountain, so far away, yet so close. Some more pics of Outaouais. Dustin Cook. Our friends at Kunstadt Sports holding a ski demo day at the base.
  5. We made it up to Mont Ste Marie just after 9am to find beautiful mind-winter conditions in April! The temperature was around -2C and there was little or no wind and the sun was out. The skiing was so good that we stayed till last chair. The runs were nicely groomed fresh snow with no ice, that gave you the confidence to really rip. Pretty much everything was open with the best runs of the day being Dustin Cook, Formidable and Tornade Bas. I can't think of a year with conditions this good at MSM this late in the season. Usually by now only the Vanier side is open the conditions are slush. Hopefully they will stay open another weekend. Yes its been a cold April but make the best of it people, ski ski ski.... no golf yet. Where is everyone? My buddy has some weird skis. This lunch might slow me down. Where the Klotz are we! Tornade Bas Dustin Cook Sous Bois in April
  6. Looks like the ski season may get into mid April. This is from Mont Ste Marie's facebook site (April 4th): SNOW REPORT (Lots of Snow April 6th-8th) We received 10-15cm last night at the base of the mountain and over 20cm at the summit of Mont Ste-Marie. This is setting up to be the best skiing of the season when we re-open this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. All runs will be open with perfect ski conditions groomed to perfection. They also mention that they will be open the April 13-15th weekend. and todays webcam, another 5cms is expected on Friday. Tremblant got 16cms over night.
  7. Fantastic bluebird day at Mont Ste Marie, the tallest mountain in the Ottawa-Gatineau region. I always love skiing here, whether it is for the high-speed lifts, or the large vertical drop, or even the trails that have that big mountain "Tremblant" feel... Mont Ste Marie never disappoints. I was able to make it out in the afternoon when it was starting to warm up in temperature. Ski conditions were fantastic, with a nice groomed base and virtually no ice. The temperature was a bit on the cool side with some strong winds, a little surprising for weather at the end of March, but it is doing its job at holding the snow in excellent condition. These are no doubt some of the best late March skiing conditions I can remember in a long, long time. Standout trails today were Serenade on Vanier mountain (for the big mountain feel) and Formidable on Cheval Blanc (for its steep drop and thrilling rush you get at the bottom of the pitch). A big shout out to Bob Sudermann, Mont Ste Marie's owner, who allows his own passion and love for skiing to infuse the mountain itself with lots of energy, guaranteeing an amazing time and experience for all. Mont Ste Marie may be the farthest mountain in the Gatineau region, but for the extra 30 minute drive time, you are rewarded with world-class skiing, little to no lines (even on weekends) on fast lifts, long trails, challenging and varied terrain, and a pure skiing ambiance. The best skiing is now, with warmer weather on the way, the end of the season is quickly approaching. You need to come and enjoy the slopes. Here are some pictures of the day if you need a bit more convincing. Outaouais. Formidable. Carousel. Betsy. Dustin Cook. Riding up Cheval Blanc. The base of Vanier. Looking towards Vanier mountain from the summit of Cheval Blanc. Happy skiing!
  8. Club Mont Ste Marie Announces $747,000 Investment for Increased Snowmaking Capacity and Technology at Mont Ste-Marie Ski Resort including on the new Dustin Cook Run Major investment will lengthen the ski season for all alpine enthusiasts and enable aspiring athletes to train sooner and longer on the region’s only FIS homologated Giant Slalom run. Saturday February 24th 2018 - Mont Ste Marie (Quebec): Club Mont Ste Marie was pleased to announce today $747,000 in funding for snowmaking at the Mont Ste-Marie Ski Resort, including on the Dustin Cook run, in partnership with the Resort, Tourism Quebec and Tourism Outaouais. This represents the second Phase of a multi-phase project to enhance the snowmaking capacity for the entire ski area and create a world-class racing and training facility at Mont Ste-Marie called the ‘Dustin Cook Training Centre.’ This is great news for all skiers and the ski racing community. Funding for this unique private / public / non-profit partnership with Club Mont Ste Marie is comprised of: funding grants of $249,000 from Tourism Quebec – PSSDT program; $75,000 from Tourism Outaouais through the PDTO program and one additional anticipated grant of 2 $100,000. The Resort will provide the balance of the required funding, to bring the total project value to $747,000. The announcement of the significant Quebec Government grant was made by Ms. Stéphanie Vallée, Member for Gatineau, Minister of Justice and Minister Responsible for the Outaouais region, on behalf Ms. Julie Boulet, Minister of Tourism Quebec, during a press conference held this afternoon at the MSM Ski Resort. Also in attendance were Mr. André Groulx, Director of Business Development at Outaouais Tourism, Mr. Yves Juneau, CEO of the Quebec Ski Areas Association, Mr. Gary Lachapelle, Mayor of the Municipalité de Lac Sainte-Marie and Mr. Robert Sudermann, MSM Ski Resort Owner. Daniel Boivin, Outaouais Ski Zone President and Club MSM member hosted the event, along with Paul Turner, President of Club MSM, Chris Klotz and Patrick Murray, Club MSM Directors of Funding and Sponsorship respectively, and other Club MSM members. Work is expected to commence in the summer of 2018 and be fully completed by the fall of 2019. The snowmaking enhancements will allow for early, mid and late season racing, training and skiing across the resort that will benefit all skiers. The earlier Phase 1 of the project raised $190,000 from 160 families across the Outaouais skiing community as well as from local businesses, the Municipality of Lac Ste. Marie, regional ski clubs, the Outaouais Ski Zone and large donations from Club Mont Ste Marie and Mont Ste-Marie Ski Resort. The funds were used to build and homologate the new FIS approved Slalom and Giant Slalom run, which was named after Dustin Cook, member of the Canadian Alpine Ski Team, current World Cup skier and recent PyeongChang Olympian. Dustin is also a Club MSM member. For further information on the Dustin Cook Training Centre project please visit: https://www.gofundme.com/MontSteMarie Source : Club Mont Ste Marie
  9. Wow. Lets see 20cm of fresh light snow, warm temperatures and Cheval Blanc was left ungroomed. I think this may have been one of the best days at MSM ever. I arrived right at the opening, took in the Vanier side for a few runs, then trained over to Cheval when it opened at 9:30. Then I skied beautiful powder for a good 3hours, had lunch and skied another hour or so. By about 11 most of the powder was chop but since it was so light you could just steam roll over it. People should remember on big snow days not to turn to much! save the snow. Dustin Cook was the favorite. The steeps of Formidable and Besty were also great, a nice change from the icy hard pack. I was surprised by how much snow they got considering Ottawa only got like 5cm and Camp Fortune around 10cm. The footnote to this great day is when there is a big snow storm go to Mont Ste-Marie and ski unrolled snow. Lets hope for a few more days like that....or how about a dozen. Cheers. Exhibition on the Vanier side. Snow Cross course on the right. Betsy Dustin Cook More Dustin Lunch! Serenade Deer on the way home So fresh!
  10. I arrived at Mont Ste Marie at 9am just as it was opening. The temperature was about -5C. The day before was like + 5C with spring like conditions and looked pretty busy from the webcam shots. Today was almost the opposite. Very quiet, pretty much zero lines with fast hard packed conditions. I also discovered a fair amount of crusty icy spots. Not the best, we need snow, we need lots of snow. The fields below the mountain now have zero snow cover and were full of deer eating the exposed grass. Mont Ste Marie did manage to have 18 out of their 20 main runs open so they must have been making a lot of snow over the past few weeks. The best runs were Tornade Bas, Serenade, Dustin Cook and Formidable. Besty was pretty icy and I'm glad my edges were in decent shape. Overall though you really can't complain, we got a tonne of runs in skiing the 1200ft vertical from 9:30-3:30 with a quick lunch at the bar. I love it when you can basically ski right on the lift. Pray for snow and ski on! A quiet Sunday morning The Poma lift on Promenade between Cheval Blanc and Vanier Fields looking bare in the valley below. This is about as busy as it got. The ski train that drives you to the Cheval side. Caroll-Ann needs some snow. It was not open.
  11. Great news. Cheval Blanc opens Jan 1st. Heres the details from the email newsletter that came out today. —— SKI REPORT (Cheval Blanc Open) For January 1st Cheval Blanc opens for the season with our signature run Dustin Cook, Outaouais, Frank Pouliotte, and rue Radar. On January 2nd we will be opening Betsy and Carrousel with a forecasted temperature of -12. Snowmaking operations will move to Chanson and Upper Carrousel. All ski lifts are in full operation servicing both Mountains. Ski conditions have never been better. Torchlight Parade and New Year's Eve Party Mont Ste-Marie is the place to be for New Year's Eve. Starting at 9PM sharp will be the torchlight parade of skiers followed by our New Years Party in the main lodge. Dance your way into the new year with DJ Music. This is a a free event and no cover charge.
  12. I pulled into Mont Ste Marie around 9:30 expecting lots of cars and the place to be busy. Not so even though its Quebec March Break. The conditions were surprisingly good as the mountain got 12cms of fresh snow after the rain on Wednesday, if fact it was snowing a little when we arrived. No lift lines and great conditions resulted in a great day of skiing. The temperature was around -12 with a little wind so you had to bundle up but I've skied in far colder conditions. Formidable and a section of Tornado with 12cm of ungroomed snow were our favs of the day. After we drove over the top (Trans-Outaouais Road) to a cottage on Lac Sam. Fun Times!
  13. Well I finally made it up to Mont Ste Marie. Last year I skied on the closing day and it was blast. Conditions this time were hard packed with a little dust on crust, not bad but we need some new snow. I really think Mont Ste Marie is your best bang for your buck, 1200ft vertical, only a hour from Ottawa, short or zero lineups, and high speed lifts. Also if you buy passes during the summer you can get lift tickets for like $30. Anyway it was a great day, myself and a buddy skied all day from about 9:30 still last chair. Everything was open with the exceptions of Crescendo (which we skied anyway), some sections of Toronade, and the glade run Sous-bois( which looked fine). The Dustin Cook run was busy with racing but we did get on it in the afternoon. Formidable and Betsy were fun steeps as aways, I just wish they had a better run out so you don't have to scrub your speed for the sharp left turn onto Carrousal. All in all a super fun day and great weather. Lets hope the mountain gets lots of snow next week!
  14. Here we are the second day of the New Year 2017. Getting up early on a day off can only mean one thing, it's a ski day. Destination... Mont Ste Marie, for its two mountains, long trails, high speed lifts and highest vertical in the region. Ski conditions were great, firm base with a small layer of powder on top. On the Vanier mountain, all trails except Caroll-Ann and Tornade were open. The best conditions in my opinion were on Bellevue, although Sérénade was a close second. Those trails had nice grooming, and quick lines to carve. Chanson, the main beginner trail that runs from the top of the mountain to near the bottom was open, however it was clearly marked with a sign indicating Marginal Conditions as it did not have a full snow base to be fully groomed. This resulted in some bumps and moguls, but I'm sure this will change in the coming days. The beginner zone served by the Poma lift is open and in great condition. This area really looks great. The condos as a backdrop create the feeling of being at Vail or Breck in Colorado. Yesterday marked the opening of the Dustin Cook (Outaouais) trail on Cheval Blanc. This long trail is loved by racers and all skiers and snowboarders alike. With plenty of drops and turns, it is extremely enjoyable and a great workout to ski. One of the great aspects of Mont Ste Marie is the high speed lifts, getting you up the mountain in 5 minutes. Even more, the lift lines are short or non existent. Running lap after lap on the mountain is easy, the only problem... breaking for lunch. The large panoramic windows of the chalet definitely keep you in the middle of the action when you are resting. The New Year is off to a great start. With just a few days left of the holidays, you owe it to yourself to get off your couches and go skiing. Have a great week.
  15. What an incredible day. My first visit of the season to Mont Ste Marie and it sure did not disappoint, with ski conditions you would expect in January and February. The time was 7am, actually it was more like 6:30am. I woke up with the feeling of being eager and ready to go skiing. After having a nutritious breakfast, and quickly packing my ski gear, I was out the door. Looking forward to the drive up, and once again experiencing the new Highway A-5 extension, which feels like you are driving in the Laurentians, I carefully was taking note of the time spent getting to the mountain. Exiting the highway after 25 minutes of driving in Wakefield, and then continuing on the windy path to the mountain, the entire trip took an hour. Being used to many years of doing the 2 hour drive up to the Laurentians, this was definitely refreshing and motivating. Jumping out of the car to take in some fresh mountain air, I was greeted by the oh so classic ski resort sound, the sound of the chairlift. No lines, and few people on the slopes. A quick dash to get my lift ticket, then back to the car to get my ski boots on. After the past weeks snowfall, you could really tell those that were present were definitely excited by the snow and conditions. My friend Ren and his son Sam also joined me on this ski day, looking for the best snow, and a great way to end the weekend. The detachable quad chairlifts offer a quick 4 minute ride up the mountain, which offers double the vertical drop of any of the other ski mountains in the Outaouais. Glancing around during the ride up, the open trails were offering perfect snow coverage. The contrast from bare trees to ones frosted over in snow is always a special sight. It definitely felt like we were in the middle of winter (even though the calendar still says Fall). For the first few runs down the mountain, the summit was partially in the clouds. For my first run, I chose Bellevue, a nice intermediate cruiser, that winds its way down the mountain, while offering great views of the region. I took my second run on Serenade, another intermediate cruiser, that is more challenging than Bellevue. Both trails had perfect snow, and a nice base, perfect to open up with some speed or to practice technique. Mont Ste Marie isn't a mountain that pushes itself as a big ski resort, yet you can't help but feel like it is, thanks to the quality and length of the trails, the snow conditions, the fast lifts, the views and the spacious base lodge. This mountain often referred to as "the best kept secret of the Outaouais" offers many advantages over mountains farther away, the biggest being no waiting at the lifts, affordable and proximity to the city. I for one definitely plan to visit this mountain more over the course of this winter, and I encourage you all to do so too. I guarantee you won't be disappointed!
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