Sunday, April 25, 2010

Spring skiing in Québec

(a little trip report from Easter! better late than never!!!)

Still in the need for skiing, I took some days off to go skiing in Quebec's rocky mountains: the Chic-Chocs.

The Chic-Chocs are about 6 hours east of Québec City and 8-9 hours from Montreal. They are the closest you can be from "mountains" around this part of Canada. The tallest mountain around the park is Mt Jacques Cartier at 1268meters high.

Amelie had won a nice trip for 2 at the Vallée Taconique near Mt Saint-Pierre. The trip included a day of sled skiing and a night at the nice mountain hut on a private terrain. We were welcomed by the owner Giovanni Mancini who is operating the Vallée Taconique for the third year from Mt Saint-Pierre village.

From there, you jump on a sled with your camping gear and you are off for a 20-30minutes ride to their skiing ground. After dropping our gear at the luxiourous ski mountain hut, we were off for our first ride. It was really warm (read here +15Celcius) so we were in full spring skiing mode.

The terrain consists of 5 main courses that have been cut into resort-like runs and one tree skiing run. I have been greatly surprised of how steep the runs are. The terrain is rather small, but they are looking about expanding the tree skiing in between the runs.

The sled was waiting for us at the bottom and quickly drive us back to the top. The sled setup is really nice since you don't have to wait for the ride to go back up.

A typical day includes 8 runs for about 4000meters vertical. There wasn't any others clients that day, so we didn't rush and fully enjoyed the view of the surroundings.

Our guide dropped us at the lodge after we were done and we watched the sunset dropping right in front of us. The lodge is really nicely equiped with 2 fondue-set and a kitchen set much better than what I actually have at my place!!!

On the following morning, Giovanni came to pick us up with the sled to drive us back to Mont Saint-Pierre. On our ride back some avalanche path catched my attention and we decided to give them a try.

The temperature was now really warm so we were sinking fairly deep hiking up. We picked what I tought as the safest way down possible and we skied rather fast to get back to the bottom after some really hard carved turns.

From there, we drove to the Parc de la Gaspésie to meet some friends. It has been a really bad year for snow quantities in Québec and the Park had been hitted hard. The snowpack was really thin and rocks were everywhere. We hiked to the Mur des Patrouilleur at Mt Albert to check out how it looks. It was the warmest day I ever ski (+21 Celcius) and I was actually fairly concerns with avy danger. After watching some cornices breaking starting some huge wet snow avalanche, I decided to check out a mellower run that was seeing less sun.

The run was actually really nice as we were carving our turns in only 4-6in of corn. After our runs, one of the park ranger came asking that everyone should head down as soon as possible as one of the creek that we are crossing hiking up was swallowing and threatening of getting out of his bed....

What you actually have to know is that the Park de la Gaspésie is probably one of the less skier friendly place around North America. They only let you ski some designated snow fields and giving you fines if you are caught outside of the designated areas... This is a major clash from everywhere I have skied but we are so different in Québec......

So the following day, there wasn't much left to ski since they closed Mt Albert access and most of the others mountain didn't have enough snow to ski....

We decided to drive back to Mt Saint-Pierre area to ski around the same spot we skied two days ago. Well the warm temperatures have hitted hard and some signs of wet slab were everywhere. We put the skins on anyway figuring we might give it a try anyway. Well 2 wet slabs were triggered in about 5 minutes interval on a similar aspect of the one we were looking to ski.

That did cut our inspiration and we decided to build a little kicker and spend the rest of the afternoon enjoying this out-of-season temperature!

This close my 2009-2010 season! I'm now looking forward at paddling the rivers of Quebec until next season!

I will be working hopefully full time until next december. Until then, I will be working on putting another trip for next winter!!!

See you next winter!


Brandon said...

Evans, I'm glad that you had a great time skiing in Quebec. The pictures of the slopes and log cottage looks amazing!

Last month, we took our children to ski in Mammoth. Rentals of equipments are available in the nearby town. Visitors can opt for such just in case they forgot their own gears.

Interestingly, there are also a lot of restaurants in Mammoth. Vacation rentals are near such businesses, making them just a walk away from where our family was staying.

Thanks for sharing your experience. Looking forward to more vacation adventures from your blog. Thanks!

Jean-Yves said...

Salut Snoe Chaser, où vas-tu cette année? Reviens-tu au Japon ou vas-tu explorer d'autres horizons?