9 Top-Rated Ski Resorts in Quebec, 2021
Although the best known, the fabled slopes of the Laurentian Mountains north of Montreal are not the only place to find ski resorts in the Canadian province of Quebec. Farther east, near Quebec City, and south along the US border with Vermont, skiers of all skill levels will find both challenges and miles of easy cruising.
The northern latitude promises good snow conditions from late November through April at most of these; expect extensive snowmaking and professional grooming, too.
Least known of these ski regions is the Eastern Townships, a group of towns along the US border that were settled by refugees (Loyalists) fleeing the American Revolution. Most people here speak both French and English, and everyone involved in the hospitality industry can communicate with ease. The same is true of the major ski resorts near Montreal and Quebec City, so English-speaking skiers needn't worry about language barriers.
Changes for the 2020/2021 Ski Season in Québec: For the protection of visitors and staff at ski resorts, the Québec Association of Ski Resorts has announced a set of uniform health and safety standards for the current season. The province has adopted a zone system based on the rate of spread in each region. These zones are set by Québec's Public Health offices and are constantly updated. So before planning a trip, check the official website and that of the resort for the latest status.
A graded set of opening rules applies throughout the season, with predetermined levels governing what facilities and services are open. If red level is reached in any area, indoor facilities will be closed. In other zones, access to lodges, food service, and other indoor facilities will be limited, and all ticket sales will be by advance reservation (except for season pass holders). Gondola capacities are reduced by 50 percent, and bags or belongings cannot be left in the lodges.
Skiers used to the Western Canadian mountains will find skiing somewhat different in the east. Elevations are lower, and deep powder rarer, but snowmaking is so advanced here that it's often impossible to tell the difference between made and natural snow.
You won't find as many long, precipitous runs as on higher western peaks, but Canada's eastern mountains aren't short on white-knuckle challenges, with plenty of steeps, moguls, and glades. And you'll enjoy the variety: in each of Quebec's three major ski regions, resorts are close enough together that you can ski several in the same trip.
Choose the best place for your family's winter vacation with our list of the top-rated ski resorts in Quebec.
1. Mont Tremblant
One of the best-known ski resorts in North America, Mont Tremblant has the look and flair of a French Alpine resort, with a cozy traffic-free village of hotels, restaurants, and shops at its base.
About 128 kilometers north of Montreal in the Laurentians, the mountain's 2,871-foot altitude adds to its northern location to assure plenty of natural snow; state-of-the-art snowmaking tops that off to extend the season. This, combined with a wide range of on- and off-mountain activities, account for why Mont Tremblant has been voted #1 Ski Resort in Eastern North America 20 times by SKI magazine readers.
The more than 755 skiable acres are well-divided between beautifully groomed beginner and intermediate runs, with nearly half the 102 trails designated for experts; the advanced terrain includes some good mogul trails and nearly 200 acres of glades. The longest run is 5.9 kilometers.
Terrain parks for boarders and free-stylers are in three separate areas of the resort. As a full-service resort, Mont Tremblant is very family-friendly, with ski and boarding lessons, play centers and lots of off-slope activities.
Also worth noting, for a more laid-back ski experience with fewer people competing for lift space, the much smaller Mont Blanc is a 10-minute drive away, with 43 trails that include beautiful tree-lined runs.
Official site: https://www.tremblant.ca
Accommodation: Where to Stay at Mont Tremblant
About 40 kilometers northeast of Quebec City, Mont-Sainte-Anne's 70 trails stretch across three mountains, opening more than 2,000 acres of beautifully groomed mountain terrain for skiers and boarders. It is particularly loved in this latitude of short winter days for its 19 trails lighted for night skiing; it has Canada's highest night skiing vertical. Lifts are fast and include a base to summit gondola and four high speed quads.
The terrain is well mixed for different abilities and is especially family friendly, and there's an easy three-mile-long trail from the summit that's rated for beginners.
Expert skiers appreciate the challenging glades and the mogul runs. The north side of the mountain, while it doesn't have the great panoramic views of the south slopes, has some superb intermediate terrain, and its northern exposure gives it more certain snow for spring skiing.
A recent addition to mountain attractions is the trailside Cabine a la Sucre - sugar shack - serving maple syrup on snow.
Official site: www.mont-sainte-anne.com
Accommodation: Where to Stay near Mont-Sainte-Anne
3. Le Massif
Overlooking the broad St. Lawrence River in Quebec's Charlevoix region, Le Massif is known for its spectacular views and for its demanding steeps, as well as its "upside down" layout. The main lodge is at the top of the mountain, which is also where the ski school and beginner slopes with magic carpet lifts are. You can drive to the summit (the larger parking area is there) or you can begin at the bottom and take the lift.
With Canada's highest vertical east of the Rockies and a new 100 acres of glades, Le Massif is popular with more advanced skiers; more than half its trails are graded black diamond, double diamond, or triple diamond. Several intermediate runs account for one-third of the terrain and only 15 percent are rated easy, with two beginner summit-to-base options and not much more.
Unlike many resorts where cross-country ski and snowshoes trails traverse wooded valleys, those at Le Massif lead to magnificent views of the river, L'Isle-aux-Coudres, and the Archipelago of the islands of Montmagny. The 7.5-kilometer Luge run adds appeal for thrill-seekers.
Le Massif is known, too, for its outstanding food service, with chefs preparing sophisticated dishes in place of the usual ski-lodge burgers and fries.
Official site: https://www.lemassif.com
4. Mount Sutton
The closest of the Eastern Townships ski mountains to the US border and only a 45-minute ride from Montreal, Mont Sutton is known best for its trees. From its beginning, the ethic here was that trees are part of the mountain experience, so there are glades for all levels of skier.
The top section of the mountain is mostly expert territory, webbed with black diamond and double diamond challenges.
One blue trail follows the ridge from the summit to the base, and the central section of Sutton is filled with beautiful blue trails that link together nicely for an almost endless choice of options. Some wind down through widely spaced hardwood trees whose placement allows for good control.
To the right of the base lodge is a Zone Famille (family zone) with its own lift, a dedicated area for beginners and kids.
Because Mont Sutton is in its own natural micro-climate, snowfall is heavier and more frequent than in neighboring mountains, making Sutton a good choice for those who love powder skiing.
Official site: www.montsutton.com/en
The largest of the Eastern Townships' ski resorts, Bromont's 155 trails spread across seven slopes on four mountains, which gives it an astonishing variety of terrain. Although the mountains look benign from below, nearly 40 percent of the trails are classed for experts and double-diamond skiers. That still leaves plenty of terrain, with 25 percent rated for beginners and 35 percent for intermediates.
An advantage of having so many mountain faces is that there is always good skiing somewhere.
Night skiing is a big draw for Bromont, which has the largest lighted area of any ski resort in North America. The resort is well equipped for families, with a separate learning area near the lodge and a cluster of green and blue trails on Mont Soleil, not to mention the popular water park at the base. The resort facilities at the foot of the mountain include the luxury Hôtel Chateau-Bromont.
New outdoor dining spaces have been added this year to compensate for limited lodge access.
Official site: https://www.bromontmontagne.com/en/
6. Mont Orford
Surrounded by the forests of a national park, Mont Orford's skiing and snowboarding spreads out over three mountains and combines well-groomed trails for all skill levels with an entire section of undisturbed natural snow on Mont Alfred-Desrochers.
The signature mountain, Mont Orford, is the tallest in the Eastern Townships, and its face provides an exciting rank of formidable black and double-black diamonds, some nearly vertical drops that will challenge the best.
Mont Giroux has slopes on two faces, one of which is a nice mix of blue and green trails. One of the greens winds four kilometers from the top of the gondola to the base. Two of the 17 glades are designed for beginners, three for intermediates, and a dozen for experts.
Also in the park, cross-country skiers will find about 48 kilometers of trails at the Discovery Center Le Cerisier.
Because of its park location, the base is not surrounded by hotels and condos; these are nearby in the town of Orford and throughout the Lake Memphremagog region.
Official site: https://montorford.com
7. Saint-Sauveur and Les Sommets
On the Laurentians about halfway between Montreal and Mont Tremblant, Saint-Sauveur and the slopes on the opposite side known as Avila account for 40 of the 156 trails in the valley's five resorts, collectively called Les Sommets. Terrain at Saint-Sauveur and Avila, which are connected, ranges from a gentle learner hill to expert-rated runs studded with moguls (mogul skiing is especially popular in Quebec, and you'll find them aplenty at all the major mountains).
Eight lifts, including four quads, access 142 acres of ski terrain, much of which is lighted for night skiing. The Rockstar MS Snopark at Avila is the largest in Quebec. The valley resorts, which are all within a few minutes of each other, have a total of six ski schools.
One of Quebec's oldest ski resorts, Saint-Sauveur offers slope-side lodging, dining and shopping as well as other outdoor activities. A passenger-controlled mountain coaster, The Viking, and a double zipline called Le Dragon keep thrill-seekers happy. New this year is a sugar shack serving maple syrup on snow, a popular Quebec treat.
Official site: https://www.sommets.com
8. Owls Head
Owl's Head Ski Resort, in the Eastern Townships, has the relaxed atmosphere of skiing as it was in the 1960s, except that the snow-making and grooming are 2020s state of the art. There's a two-nation view from the top that includes a panorama of the sprawling Lake Memphremagog, which you see as you ski down almost any run.
A good variety of trails are almost evenly divided between the three skill levels with 30 percent each for beginner and expert, 40 percent intermediate.
Most of the novice areas are separate from the more challenging trails, with several green trails on the mountain's lower east face, where there is enough terrain to keep novices and even intermediates busy. This keeps most of the more experienced skiers away from novices polishing their skills.
In all, the mountain has 52 trails served by four quad lifts and covered by an annual natural snowfall of 175 inches.
The lift to the summit accesses blue and expert terrain, which includes big, bold verticals that will challenge even the best skiers. Owl's Head is also well known for its big back-country skiing space, undeveloped wilderness areas open only to experienced expert skiers with the proper equipment.
To complete the throwback feel, the base lodge has comfortable double and family rooms with the feel of an old-fashioned ski dorm. There are also slope-side condos, and the town of Magog, about half an hour away at the head of the lake, has several lodging options.
Official site: www.owlshead.com/en
About 20 minutes north of Quebec City, Stoneham Ski Resort has 42 trails over three mountains; trails are served by four chairlifts and three surface lifts. Although its vertical drop is only 345 meters, the terrain is steep enough for 39 percent of the trails to be rated expert and 16 percent as double-black.
One quarter of the trails are classed for intermediates and 19 percent for beginners. The longest trail is 3.2 kilometers. Nineteen of the trails are lighted for night skiing, and on weekdays the $20 night pass includes skiing from 2pm.
Stoneham is a particular favorite for boarders, with Quebec's only Olympic half pipe and an Intro Park for beginners with four different modules. Kids love tree skiing in the Family Fun Glade, with its bright colored characters.
The resort has a skating rink and snowshoe trails, and condos and a hotel are at the base, along with dining and two spas. Quebec City has a lot more lodging options within easy reach.
Official site: https://ski-stoneham.com/en/
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