The Great White North – Québec’s Ultimate Ski Guide

With more skiing than you can shake a stick at, finding the best of Québec’s ski hills can be a little overwhelming when trying to decide where to go for your next powder holiday.  It’s like traveling to Japan for sushi, you know you’ve chosen the right place, but dialing in the details might feel a little overwhelming.

Let’s start with some basic geography (don’t worry, there is no quiz) and help focus your attention to which region is best suited for your skiing and off slope plans.  Then we’ll dive in deep to build you a hit list worthy of pinning on your fridge as you plan that next trip.

With three main regions to choose from there is snow, cuisine, social life and plenty of family fun to go around.

 

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Quebec Ski Hills

Laurentian Mountains

The Laurentians is the westernmost region with three resorts positioned just northwest of Montréal.  The first to get the storms and the last to close the hill, the Laurentians are famous for pioneering night skiing that has become a quintessential Québec tradition everyone can enjoy.

Busting slopeside villages full of life, fat bike trails galore, Nordic spas to rejuvenate at the end of the day, apres and endless family fun. The Laurentians are a true one stop shop for the next road trip or family holiday.   

Convinced yet?  Let’s explore the Laurentians and look at each resort to see what they uniquely offer.

 

Sommet Saint-Sauveur

Sommet-Saint-Sauveur
© Sommet-Saint-Sauveur

Driving from Montréal you’ll hit Sommet Saint-Sauveur, only trouble is, you might not leave.  With everything a family could want, Sommet Saint-Sauveur has 142 acres of skiable terrain and 26 runs that stay open after dark.  If someone isn’t feeling the skiing there is still plenty of fun from the Viking Alpine Coaster to the Dragon double Zip Line, both open throughout the winter.  

Winding down the day the village is brimming full of restaurants and bars to keep the fun going.  Still not done yet? Take a lift up for some night skiing or enjoy the ice skating trail in the village to close out a wonderful day at Sommet Saint-Sauveur.  

 

Tremblant

Tremblant
Photo courtesy of Tremblant

It’s hard to sum up all Tremblant has to offer. Voted the best resort in Eastern North America for 19 years and with a history as large as the skiable terrain there is a reason skiers and boarders return again and again to Tremblant.

Well known for their world class terrain parks (there are three!), everyone from local professionals to new skiers and riders can be seen learning and honing their skills on the many creative and well made features.  

Not into freestyle?  Tremblant just opened 90 more acres of skiable terrain and a new high speed detachable quad chairlift so you can cram even more runs into every day.  With legs sore and tired, take a last run down and get lost in the myriad of apres, fine cuisine, pubs and nightlife that make up the pedestrian village center.

 

Mont Blanc

Mont Blanc
Courtesy of Mont Blanc

Driving out from Montréal the next winter paradise is Mont Blanc.  Hard to miss as the Laurentian’s second highest summit, this resort is a must visit.  Nestled among the other resorts of the Laurentians, Mont Blanc offers authenticity in spades.  Without the glamour and crowds you’ll find a more quiet atmosphere perfect for the family.

Recently Mont Blanc has been investing heavily into their ski experience.  There is a new “Little Giant” family beginner zone and they just added an all inclusive program called ONSKI for young families.  The snoZone terrain park has also been updated and a whole new rental fleet to keep those feet happy during long runs on the slopes.  

After a day of skiing do you still need a place for the kids to burn off some more energy?  Jungle Magique lets them keep going while parents can relax. As a great resort for all ages Mont Blanc is certainly worth a look for the perfect family vacation.  

 

Eastern Townships

Nestled between Montréal and Vermont the Eastern Townships offer serious character.  4 major resorts and 4 National Parks all within 50 kilometers, how can you do better than that?  Famous for their “New England charm with a Québec flair” the resorts of this region bring you back in time to when life was simple, snow dusts the slopes, fires crackling, and the only thing you worry about is skiing another run or not.

With easy access for the American neighbors this region is a popular destination for those looking for a quick escape, yet want a full resort ski experience.  It’s easy to see why people fall for the Eastern Townships.

 

Mont-Orford

Mont Orford
Photo by Marco Bergeron

Located in Mont-Orford National Park this resort boast some of the biggest skiing around.  With 4 slopes, 3 mountains, and a vertical drop of nearly 2,000 feet there is enough skiing for a few lifetimes here.  Because of the wonderful location within the park, there are snowshoe trails and cross-country ski trails littered throughout the area.  If you’re looking for a vacation full of activities, you can’t get much better than this.

With all the play to be had at Mont-Orford there are bound to be some amazing eateries fueling all the skiers and boarders.   A quick stroll and you’ll come across the Bistro 4 Saisons along with many others. From the delicatessen or quick and tasty to groups enjoying drinks on an outside patio, Mont-Orford has exactly what a tired skier craves at the end of a long day.

 

Mont Sutton

Mount Sutton
Photo courtesy of Sutton

Any time we hear the phrase “micro-climate” our ears perk up and yours should too.  Sutton is well known for their micro-climate of predictable snowfall and world class glades.  Time and time again Ski Canada has declared Sutton to have “Canada’s finest glades”. Need we say more?  

Well remembered for their unconventional resort experience this is a wonderful place to go if you’ve hit up some major resorts in your travels and looking for something new.  Sutton is sure to stick out as a wonderful memory, a place you’ll likely return to again and again. As they say, it sticks with you when you leave.

With such an authentic on mountain experience the base is no different.  With live music every Thursday and Friday the good times don’t stop on the slopes at Sutton.

 

Bromont

Bromont
©Bromont

Bromont does everything 110%.  They quite literally offer the most night skiing on the East coast, groom three times a day and possess 1,300 snow guns.  This all culminates in a A-Class resort offering top notch, well, literally everything.  

Bromont is also famous for their Nuit Blanche events that attracts skiers and late night revelers from all over.  Named after a similar event in Montréal the skiing last until 2am with sausage and marshmallow roasting, music and often surprise pop-up events to top off the fun.  

Bromont is a complete package for those who just can’t get enough skiing, or perhaps have a hard time waking up before 3pm.  The fun times never slow down here at Bromont.

 

Owl’s Head

Owls Head
©Owl’s Head

Owl’s Head wins the cozy, unique and intimate category hands down.  Families who return here year after year claim it’s the family focused vibe that keeps them coming back.  With an excellent ski school your little ones are in great hands as they progress their skills. That leaves you with the day to yourself, lapping run after run with no lift lines.

Perhaps the only thing better than the lack of crowds and quality of ski instruction are the views from the top.  Legs burning from your endless laps? Just take a moment to soak it all in as you enjoy the 360 degree views of the Eastern Townships and the amazing Lake Memphremagog below. Owl’s Head packs a serious 1 – 2 punch in the quality category.  

 

Québec City & Charlevoix

 

Are you a city lover who has a heart made for the mountains?  How about a country girl or boy at heart but still love a good dose of city culture with the hustle & bustle?  If this is you then the Québec City/Charlevoix region is shouting your name. With over 20ft of snow a year and a close proximity to the city it literally has everything a nature and city lover could ask for.  Turns out sometimes you can have your cake and eat it too.

Characterized by stunning ski lines dropping right down to the water’s edge of the St. Lawrence River, deep snow, night life, culture – this place has it all.  So let’s dive into the surrounding ski hills of the Québec City and Charlevoix regions to see what they’re all about.

 

Mont-Sainte-Anne

Saint Anne
Photo by C. Mercier

One of Canada’s well renowned ski hills, Mont-Sainte-Anne provides endless history along with endless activities.  While you won’t be hiking up the slopes as the first skiers had to in the 60’s, you will find the excitement skiers and riders have for this place hasn’t waned since then.  With the quintessential view over the St. Lawrence River the ski slopes are surprisingly only a fraction of the activities to be found at Mont-Sainte-Anne.

Boasting cross country skiing, snowshoeing, dog sledding, paragliding, fat biking and ice skating. There is something for everyone.  Notably there is a whopping total of 212 km of cross country trails available to choose from making Mont-Sainte-Anne the largest network in all of the East Coast.  

So if you have a mixed group who might not all be into skiing, Mont-Sainte-Anne will fit your bill perfectly.

 

Stoneham

Stoneham
Photo by Olivier Croteau

A close 20 minutes from downtown Québec City, Stoneham is certainly a city ski hill at its finest.  Perfect for the group or family that loves city life as much as they love ripping down groomers. Though groomers is only a portion of the selection here, with an excellent park and half pipe, Stoneham has terrain for both day and night.  

Exhausted from the day of skiing?  Take your pick between among Stoneham’s lively apres and nightlife scene. With a wonderful bar you can relax and grab a drink with friends after your ski day. However if all those laps were a bit too much, head over to the Arctic Spas Zone for a wonderful massage and pamper session. 

Craving some city life?  Stoneham proximity to Québec City offers a unique blend of posh downtown hotels/small quaint accommodations, groomers/halfpipe, large concert/unplugged intimate show, cheap city burritos/high class cuisine… The options are endless because you are truly in one of Québec’s best cities with a ski hill right in your backyard.

 

Le Massif de Charlevoix

le Massif
© Le Massif de Charlevoix / B.Gagnon

The giant of the Québec/Charlevoix region, le Massif de Charlevoix rises proudly above the St. Lawrence River.  Literally, the skiing here rises above the rest. With a vertical drop of 770 meters it’s the biggest relief in Eastern Canada.  Not stopping there, it also boasts some of the largest annual snowfall East of the Canadian Rockies at a total of 650cm.

It’s also not just the visitors or locals who think le Massif de Charlevoix provides some of the best skiing around.  As home to the longest sledding track in North America and with the steepest pitch measured at 64% it makes the decision quite easy – if you want to rip, make your way to le Massif de Charlevoix.  

To find more information about all that Québec has to offer and help planning your next trip – make sure to visit Québec Ski.

 

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