by Jillian Dickens
My husband and I are at Le Massif, a resort project as epic in scope as a Cirque du Soleil show. This scale is fitting, as the owner of the mountain, the hotel and the train connecting it all, is Cirque co-founder, Daniel Gauthier. I can’t wait to get suited up and try some skiing.
At this time of the year, I really need a long weekend getaway to help break up the last of the winter months, and find Quebec to be the perfect place to do just that. It’s close, but still gives me the feeling of really getting away – they speak another language, the culture is distinct and the food, delicious.
I’m impressed with how easy Le Massif is to access. We fly Porter from downtown Toronto to Quebec City, where we board the Le Massif train to take us through Charlevoix’s sweet and rustic countryside right to our doorstep at Hotel La Ferme. And oh-la-la, the train also goes right from La Ferme to the mountain. The hotel is Canadiana-chic, with assorted rooms designed using exclusively Quebec products and artists. My favourites are those in the “Le Clos” building where the theme is barnyard wood walls, soaring ceilings and bathtubs front and centre.
But back to the skiing. There are enough trails to keep a novice to intermediate skier happy for a few days at least. The longest run takes about 14 minutes from start to finish, which is longer than you’ll find anywhere in eastern Canada. It’s also less crowded than Mont Tremblant and has four high capacity lifts, taking 11,220 riders to the top every hour.
On the one day of skiing our schedule allows for it is achingly icy, so a scraping soundtrack frames many of my turns. (Our timing was off, since the very next day there was a big dump of fresh snow.) But I still enjoy the long, wide runs and how many easy route options there are. Looking up between turns to see the backdrop of the deep blue St. Lawrence below really makes the day’s skiing top-notch, despite the icy conditions.