Le Massif de Charlevoix – 3/15/2013

Date Skied: 3/15/2013

Ski Area: Le Massif de Charlevoix, Petite-Riviere St. Francois, Quebec

Conditions: 25-10 F; Minimal Wind; Mostly sunny; Hardpack on piste with the lower mountain more solid than the upper mountain; Glades had some fresh snow but crusty in parts

Trip Report:

I have heard so much about Le Massif and this trip was building up to this big crescendo. Despite Charlevoix not being open (though I was tempted to poach it) and hardpack conditions on the lower mountain, Le Massif delivered in a big way. If you plan a ski trip to Quebec, make sure you spend at least a day here. It lived up to its billing.

It's an upside-down mountain where you park at the top and ski to the river. If you tried to ski it to the bottom, you're basically just about at the river's edge. First few runs were off the gondola. The views of the river were stunning. The theme of this trip seemed to be skiing areas where you ski with a great view of a big body of water (Owl's Head-Lake Memphremagog; MSA and Le Massif-St. Lawrence). This one was the most awesome. I've never skied while looking at cargo ships in the water until now. Pretty neat.

I switched over to the Maillard chair which accesses the skiers' right side of the mountain where Charlevoix (triple black) is located. Unfortunately, Charlevoix was roped off. I saw some people poach it and was tempted to do so but I decided against being a miscreant in a foreign country and dropped down La Fenomene instead. I dove into L'Artimon for my first glade run of the day. While it was crusty in parts, soft snow could be found everywhere. I stayed in the Maillard sector most of the morning and broke for lunch at 130PM. Do yourself a favor and have a meal here. The food service reminds me of places out west, specifically Whistler.

After lunch, I headed for the Secteur Hors-Piste, which is the huge forest on skiers' left of the mountain. Someone on this forum called it the original Brackett Basin. That's a pretty good description. The main feature of this sector is Mont Liguori and glades can be clearly seen from its summit. It will take a good 30 minute hike or skin to get to it. There are no named runs in there, however, and there's only a topo map at the entrance to give you an idea of the lay of the land. I included a shot of the map (not a good copy) to help future skiers.

The Secteur closes at 2PM so be mindful of that when making plans. I did not know that they closed that early and got there at 215PM. Well, I didn't drive all this way just to be turned down at the door so I dove right in. I didn't push far into the Secteur and kept close. It was great skiing. Soft snow and untracked in parts. Amazing! It spits out onto a traverse much like the flat traverse at the end of Beaver Pond at Jay. I tried going for seconds but patrol beat me to it.

The final hours were spent maching down groomers to get in as many runs before the end of the day. End of the day conditions on the lower part of the mountain were really tough with ultra-hardpacked trails. I had to help out a number of skiers who had wiped out on the slick steep surfaces.

Overall, it was a great trip to Le Massif. At the recommendation of madpatski, I capped it off with a sidetrip to Baie St. Paul. Wonderful views of the river too. I highly recommend a trip to Le Massif and to this region of Canada. You'll ski and eat well.

That's all for now from Quebec. Au revoir!

La Martine
ImageUploadedByAlpineZone1363402797.879800.jpg

La Fenomene
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L'Abattis
ImageUploadedByAlpineZone1363402917.747736.jpg

L'Artimon
ImageUploadedByAlpineZone1363403010.750400.jpg

That mound at the top of Charlevoix
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