Where should I ski/stay in Quebec?
January 12, 2006 9:04 AM   Subscribe

I'm thinking about taking a ski vacation in Quebec sometime in February. Looking for advice.

Traveling from Western, MA. I've spent time in downtown Montreal, but haven't explored much of Quebec. We are two intermediate skiers used to skiing groomed packed powder in Southern Vermont. My favorite mountain is Okemo -- we're comfortable on their greens and blues, but not quite daring enough to try their black diamonds yet. We can ski like a million bucks in good, packed powder but when the conditions start to get icy and/or piles of snow/bumps we feel a little bit shaky.

I want to take a ski vacation (maybe 2 or 3 nights) this winter and it seems like the lift tickets / lodging are a lot cheaper in Quebec than they are here in Vermont/Maine. And that's not even taking the exchange rate into account.

I would love to stay on-mountain (hot tub!) if there's somewhere where it could be affordable (< $150 usd / per night). we're also interested in nightlife and dining for some memorable apres ski. so what can i expect in quebec? what are the best mountains? how does the snow compare to the states? is the grooming done to the same extent? specific recommendations for lodging at specific mountains? from my preliminary research, a href="http://www.tremblant.ca/index.htm">Mont Tremblant and Mont Sainte-Anne look pretty cool, but I want some insider info.
posted by TurkishGolds to Travel & Transportation around Québec, QC (8 answers total)
Response by poster: Duh, I swear that looked OK on preview.
posted by TurkishGolds at 9:05 AM on January 12, 2006

Well, I haven't been there in a few years (and I've never been to Okemo to compare) but Tremblant is great. For skiiers at your level, there is a wonderful really long green run that has loops of intermediate off to the left (so you can do part green, part blue, or all green), and there are plenty of nice wide intermediate runs all over the moutain. There are some insanely intimdating blacks diamonds I never tried, too, but I always had plenty of trails to choose from anyway.

The grooming is as good as any I've encountered in the NE US - I recall occasional icy patches, sometimes it's very windy at the top of the mountain and so the powder blows off in places, but it shouldn't be dramatically different from your experiences in VT. It can be incredibly cold - a couple of times when I was there they closed the top of the mountain because it was too windy and cold. Still, it's a huge place, and the bottom half was always open with plenty of runs on those bitter days.

I wasn't paying when we were there, but I know my family often went there rather than stay in the US because of the favorable exchange rate. Everything is just generally cheaper. As for apres ski, Tremblant has a large "village" (which is rather newly built, meant to look sort of European - could be construed as fake an annoying or awesome, depends on your point of view) filled with shops and restuarants and other things - I found there was plenty to do at night. If you do go, send me an email. There's a place off the mountain where we went to eat that was amazing, and I'll find out the name from my parents.

Monte Saint-Anne is a bit closer to Montreal, as I recall, and very popular with locals. I never skiied there, though. One other place you might want to check out is Gray Rocks, a smaller mountain in Tremblant. It's where I learned to ski quite a while ago. Perhaps the prices there will be friendlier than Mont Tremblant and you can stay on the mountain, ski Gray Rocks for a day or two, and head over to the bigger mountain for one day.
posted by katie at 11:11 AM on January 12, 2006

I stayed at the Fairmont hotel at the base of Tremblant a couple of years ago. It was quite nice, I enjoyed the outdoor heated pool (I've never swam laps in a snowstorm before!!) as well as the delicious outdoor hot tubs.

I can't comment on the skiing there unfortunately, although it looked great I didn't get on the slopes at all. I did have some delicious dinners/drinks in the village though.

The Fairmont offers a ski and stay package for $329 CAD per night, which is a room for two adults and a lift ticket for each, which seems to be in your price range.
posted by skinnydipp at 1:12 PM on January 12, 2006

err, in your price range assuming you meant $150 per night for lodging and expected to pay $50 or so per person for a lift ticket as well...
posted by skinnydipp at 1:32 PM on January 12, 2006

Mont St-Anne is not closer to Montreal, it is further away. In fact, it's not close to Montreal at all, it's close to Quebec City, which is about 2.5-3 hours' drive from Montreal

First thing, for a ski trip I don't think you want to seriously consider anywhere OTHER than St Anne or Tremblant. Those are the two big hills with lots of runs and all mod cons etc. There are many other ski areas in Quebec, but they mostly tend to be much smaller and more suited for day trips from the city.

(There are actually two exceptions to that - Grey Rocks near Mont Tremblant and Stoneham near Quebec City, both are very nice areas,)


Mont Tremblant is great. It can be very cold from time to time (like nothing you've ever experienced in your life) but that's relatively rare and there's lots to do nearby if it gets so cold they have to close the lifts for the day. All the amenities you'd want or need are available right at the base of the ski hill, and there's also rapidly improving town of St-Jovite a few kilometers away.

Mont St-Anne is great too, but it hasn't benefitted from the same kind of development that Mont Tremblant has. So, at the base of the mountain there's quite a bit less to do. In fact, many people who ski there actually stay in Quebec City - where you can benefit from the entire city of restaurants and bars - and drive up to St-Anne for the day. It's not as convenient as staying at the base of the hill, but it's totally reasonable.

The skiing at both is quite comparable to the big mountains in Vermont in terms of size and quality. I prefer the skiing at St-Anne but Tremblant is very nice too.
posted by mikel at 1:40 PM on January 12, 2006

I grew up in northern NY state. The only Quebec ski resort I went to (once in high school) was Mount Sutton near the Vermont border--I liked it. The grooming there was similar to Vermont resorts.

Not sure why no one else has mentioned it--if it's really much worse than I thought it was, please let me know.
posted by A dead Quaker at 8:46 PM on January 12, 2006

I totally forgot about the Eastern Townships places. There are a few good ones and while not as large as Tremblant or St-Anne they're pretty good.

I the area are Mont Sutton, Owl's Head, Bromont, and Mount Orford. I've skied Sutton and Owl's Head and both are very enjoyable and the area is fantastic.
posted by mikel at 6:04 AM on January 13, 2006

I would actually recommend Mt St Anne. It has a lot of nice crusier runs (especially on the backside) and it should be cheaper than Tremblant. You can also go for a day at Stoneham from there.

If you're a bit more adventurous, you could also go for a day at Le Massif, east of Quebec City. It has amazing views, since the bottom is basically on the shore of the St Lawrence canal, and is a really fun mountain with very good conditions.
posted by sinical at 10:28 AM on January 15, 2006

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