Quebec City: European Skiing – No Jet Lag

Canada’s Quebec City ski region is as close as one gets to a European après-ski experience without crossing the Atlantic. Wandering the Old City’s cobbled, snow-laden streets, sampling fondue, touring the very cool Hotel de Glace (Ice Hotel)… all of it serves as an intro to a Europe-like, winter ski vacation.

Skiing in this region can be spectacular, too. Steep Mont-Saint-Anne, festive Stoneham, the eco-conscious and elegant Le Massif — all three are within easy driving distance, or transit via luxury train… just like Europe.

Mont-Sainte-Anne

One of the grand-daddies of Quebec skiing has to be Mont-Sainte-Anne (MSA). Its 625-meter (2,050-foot) vertical and 67 ski runs make it a force in the ski world — a huge number of travelers come from Europe and Britain just to ski it.

Sainte-Anne is known best for its slick, race-steep runs on the north side, and its Foret Noir (Blackforest) gladed section on the south side—both worth the price of admission. In March though, MSA is less about the hardcore and more about the family fun. The spring bumps build up on the mountain’s steeper faces; the meandering top-to-bottom runs are race-car worthy. But MSA’s best spring family feature is its traditional slopeside Sugar Shack, dolling out maple taffy on snow that’s so sticky and sweet it makes your teeth ache.

Quebec Sugar Shack

Quebec Sugar Shack

The newly renovated Chateau Mont-Sainte-Anne houses an abundance of ski-in/ski-out accommodation. There’s a pool and a recreation room, too. In 2014 watch for the Chateau’s debut of a brand new, multi-purpose recreation centre.

Mont-Sainte-Anne is roughly 30 minutes from Quebec City, Stoneham and Le Massif. See www.montsainteanne.com

 

Stoneham Mountain Resort

MSA’s sister resort is Stoneham (both are owned by Resorts of the Canadian Rockies). As the closest to Quebec City, Stoneham is known for its day-skier market, and is very popular among snowboarders and park ‘n pipers. The music blasts from Stoneham’s slopeside speakers; the après-ski (bar) scene is consistently voted tops in ski country. Stoneham hosts World Cup snowboarding events nearly every season; as a result, its halfpipes are world class. It’s no surprise; Stoneham’s always a hit among teenagers.

The shortest of the three, Quebec’s Stoneham is still no slouch, with 420 meters (1380 feet) of vertical and 39 runs spread over no fewer than four mountain faces! The slopeside Stoneham Hotel has 60 rooms; there are fully-equipped condos at the base of the resort as well. See www.skistoneham.com

 

Le Massif de Charlevoix

Likely the most exciting resort presently on the Canadian ski map is Le Massif. Located in Charlevoix, about 30 to 40 minutes past Mont-Sainte-Anne, Le Massif is the lovechild of Daniel Gauthier, co-founder of Cirque de Soleil. The entrepreneur began pouring money into Le Massif about 10 years ago and the investment’s really paying off for skiers and riders.

Everything at Le Massif is top notch, from the lifts and lodges to the grooming, the view and the perfect pitch of the runs. Le Massif is the kind of place the whole family can ride together. Two family members can ski a high-rolling run, while the other two dip into the endless, well-gladed trees. Skiers meet up at various trail heads and then start all over again.

With a 770-meter (2526-foot) vertical, Le Massif has an astounding view of the St. Lawrence and its ice-crashing freighters. To be frank, the view is distracting. The table d’hôte in the cafeteria is strictly non-fried and always gourmet. Think: smoked tenderloin in maple syrup or trout and shrimp flan with orange hollandaise sauce instead of fries and a cheeseburger. Le Massif’s new sledding (rodeling) excursion down a closed-to-skiers section of the mountain is exhilarating fun for kids aged 10 and over.

Le Massif has just launched its Hotel La Ferme for near-slopeside accommodation. For this rustically elegant, eco-conscious hotel, Gauthier is planning Cirque de Soleil-type shows to grace its theatre. There’s also a plethora of ski chalets for rent within a five to 10-minute driving distance of Le Massif.

Book a scenic luxury train direct to Hotel La Ferme from Quebec City. See www.lemassif.com

For ski resort descriptions, information and lodging information in the Quebec City region, see www.quebecregion.com

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