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The Black Diamonds of Quebec City
By Vince Kenney, Guest Contributor
October 17, 2008

My family and I went to the Quebec City area of eastern Canada in late march 2008. We skied two days each at Mont Sainte Anne and Le Massif ski areas. My dad and I were the only ones who skied the black diamonds. My mom and sister came too, but skied easier things. I tried my best to ski every black diamond trail that was open at both ski areas. I was off of school the entire week for Easter break and this part of Canada had record snow fall at the time. There was a ton of snow everywhere and the skiing was great.

Front face of Mont Sainte Anne, Le Canyon trail is second from right. Photo provided by Jim Kenney.

Mont Sainte Anne is about 30 minutes from Quebec City and has some terrific bumps, glades, and steep groomers with a vertical drop of 2,000 feet. I liked a trail called Le Canyon the best. It’s a double black bump run less than ten yards wide. Nearby is another good mogul trail called La Saint Laurent. La Brunelle is a nice black diamond glade, but Triumph was even more memorable. Triumph was the steepest part of a big gladed area about a half mile wide at Mont Sainte Anne called the “Black Forest.”

La Saint Laurent trail at Mont Sainte Anne. Photo provided by Jim Kenney.

I skied another big bump run down the front face of the mountain called Les Sept-Chutes. About half way down I was exhausted. It was 20 degrees Fahrenheit, but I was so warm I had to remove some of my multiple layers of hoodies. La Super “S” was the steepest groomed run. Even though it was groomed it was so steep that I felt I had to make turns to keep my speed in check. The backside of Mont Sainte Anne is not as steep as the front, but some of the blues were good for carving, like La Paradeuse.

Le Massif is a one hour drive from Quebec City. It has a 2,500 vertical drop and also has excellent bumps and glades in a very scenic area directly adjacent to the Saint Lawrence River. La Charlevoix trail was closed, which was a shame because I was really interested in going down it. It’s marked as a triple black diamond, something you don’t usually see.

Next to La Charlevoix was La 42. When I first encountered this slope it was actually a mistake. I was intending to go on another and meet up with my dad and our tour guide, but I accidentally went down this slope. La 42 is a very good and very long bump run. The bumps are nice and big. It shares some of the steepness of La Charlevoix. I also enjoyed the bottom part of La 42 where it joins with La Charlevoix. This section was partially groomed and therefore you could “mad bomb” the second half.

Vince Kenney on La Couillon trail at Le Massif. Photo provided by Jim Kenney.

L’Artimon, L’Ecore, and La Couillon were other challenging black diamonds near La 42. This whole southwest part of Le Massif has very scenic views of the Saint Lawrence River. Most of these runs stay steep for a full 2,000 vertical feet. On the far eastern side of the ski area there is also some interesting black diamond terrain, although the runs are a little shorter. The run I liked the best in this area was La Fortin. It’s a really dense glade and you have to work very hard to get through it. There were a couple of other black diamond runs over here including La Simard which has a terrain park.

Jim and Vince Kenney on L’Ecore trail at Le Massif on March 26, 2008. Photo provided by Jim Kenney.

I had some interesting experiences on this trip. Comparing both ski areas I think the toughest run I skied was the steep narrow bump run at Mont Sainte Anne called Le Canyon. I rode a t-bar for the very first time at Mont Saint Anne and it had a rise of 1,000 vertical feet. Le Massif was fun, but we were sorry the triple diamond wasn’t open. On the way there we saw plowed snow on the side of the highway that was as tall as the roofs of the houses! We just missed the Massif Open Rossignol race, held two days after our visit. They were building huge jumps for this skier-cross type of race on a trail called La Richard. We had four days of skiing and I probably did more glade skiing than I ever had in my life. If you are looking to ski late in the season these are good places to go.

Video of La Crete trail at Mont Sainte Anne - provided by Jim Kenney

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Iwan Fuchs
9 years ago
Wow…I like the view from the top of the mountain. Great job on the article.
colleen
9 years ago
great article and pics!
Connie Lawn
9 years ago
Love the fact we are passing the torch to another generation. Was it steep there? Icy? Yours, Connie Lawn
JimK
9 years ago
No ice due to record snow pack, but plenty steep. Although both areas have many long beginner and intermediate runs.
robbieA
9 years ago
Great read to wet the appetite for the approaching season! thks!
Sharpen your edges. And pencils.
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