Le Massif is in Petite-Riviere-Saint Francois (the Charlevoix region of Quebec) overlooking the St. Lawrence River, 1-hr east of Quebec and 3-1/2 hrs from Montreal. It has a vertical drop of 770m (2,526ft), the highest east of the Rockies, and gets above average snowfall compared to other Eastern hills.
The temperature on March 11th was -27C in my car as I arrived at the Summit Chalet. I expected to be alone on the hill in these temperatures but the upper parking lot was full! Certainly, not overcrowded on the slopes but I was impressed.
I don’t know the hill that well, only skiing here twice before, so I checked out the large map outside the Chalet. Le Massif provides knowledgeable (Bell) guides to answer any questions so I asked where I should go. After answering some of their questions about my interests, they pointed me towards groomed runs in the Maillard area. The glades and moguls have hardened up over the previous week so the groomed runs sounded like a better option. Definitely make use of this service! They personally ski the runs each day to give you real-time conditions reports.
I spent the morning on the longest runs (La Fenomene, L’Ecore) from the Maillard section, skiing 4km continuously from top to bottom and getting 750m drop each time. It was awesome to have clear terrain and decent snow with surprisingly little ice. It was really good conditions to work on beautiful carving turns! At the bottom, it was a short skate and then boot hike across bridge to Massif Express (gondola) and a brief wait in line before the welcoming warm ride up with other excited skiers.
It was wonderful that the hill was so busy with all kinds of skiers. Lots of families with really tough kids! Everyone I met had rosy cheeks and big grins.
Les Jardins du Centre was operating their mobile cabane a sucre outside the summit lodge and were serving hot drinks alongside the maple taffy on snow.
Large groups were enjoying the sledding excursions. You need reservations but the 2-hr, 7.5km guided run in large groups on sleds is very popular. There’s even a mid run break on the hill with beverage at the mid-way chalet. I definitely want to try this the next time I’m here.
There’s always something happening at the hill. March break activities are on until March 18th and offer tons of fun things for the kids such as Mini-Sled, Mini-Guide, Mini-Patrol, Mini-Monitor and even a Mini-Olympiad!
On March 25th, Le Massif is holding their annual (and free) Massif Open Rossignol
According to the website: “A must-attend event! On-mountain sports challenges, the Rossignol fashion show, Summit Chalet après ski worthy of Le Massif’s reputation, participation prizes, a costume contest, DJs and a free show! It’s THE party of the year!)” And it’s all free!
I always tell people, there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing choices! Another great day enjoying winter was had by all