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Shane

Mont Ste Marie - December 31, 2018

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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 visitIMG_0024.thumb.jpg.70d2c0edc973457ed9dddebc5cc7778b.jpg

The chalet at the base of Vanier Mountain.

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The base of Vanier Mountain, with Caroline Calvé on the right and Exhibition on the left.

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Top of Serenade.

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Bottom of Serenade leading into Caroline Calvé.

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Top of Vanier Mountain, heading towards Bellevue and Chanson.

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Bellevue.

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Exhibition.

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Heading up Cheval Blanc, with Dustin Cook trail seen to the right.

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Passing over Outaouais.

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The summit observation point at the top of Cheval Blanc. You can see Vanier Mountain, so far away, yet so close.

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Some more pics of Outaouais.

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Dustin Cook.

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Our friends at Kunstadt Sports holding a ski demo day at the base.

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Great report Shane. I may go up tomorrow if this snow storm stays as snow tonight. Happy New Year! 

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Great report! Nice photos. They sure give you a good idea of how everything is laid out there at Mont Ste. Marie. Looks like they didn't get too badly affected by the recent weather like how we were.

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Double header trip, way to ring in the new year! I haven't been to MSM so love seeing all the photos!

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    • By Gordo
      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! 





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    • By Gordo
      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.

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