Mount Saint Annes Trip report. I am going to keep this breif since I am now swamped at work after having 6 days off.
My girl friend and I skies MSA in Quebec from 1/10 - 1/15. We ended up getting 5/6 Days. I am glad we went so far north and I think we picked a good week too. THe unseasonably warm temps here translated to unseasonably warm temps there (about 20 High and 10 as low all week long). not the usual high 10F low of 0F. With the exception of some lateweek freezing rain the conditiosn were great.
The mountin is large 2000' on the fron 1500' on the back. The trails are a nice mix of blue groomers, blue ungroomed (moguls and glades), and black steeps both groomed and un groomed. They also ahve a number of nice black and double balck gladded trails on the front side. Despite being fully opened you could tell the wamer winter so far had hurt them as there were rocks and other obstacles on most of the steeper pistes. I never skied any of their double black terrian becuase my girl wasn't down to join me and I preffer to ski in company when at all possible. And I was worried about the not quite perfect cover given my new skis. I think the trails and expert glades would be better arround late february when they have another few feet of base on them. Overall there is a ton of challenging black and double black terrain. Whittail's Bold decision would be a black at MSA. Extrovert would be a double balck.
MSA has a combo lift ticket that allows you to ski MSA, Le Massif and Stoneham all on the same pass. We never made it to either of the other resorts. The conditiosn weren't that great at either of them (we went to check le massif out one day) so we decided to stay where the best conditions were.
The lodging we chose was Val Des Nieges. It is a nice hotel about 1Km from the bas of the mouintain. It was a very good place. The staff was very accomodating. The rooms were pristine. Great amenities etc... The price was also reaosnable about $100 CA per night. I recomend it for that. However I found the bus sytems they have to be a real PITA. We ended up having to drive to the slopes to make the 9AM opening. This is becsuse the drivers never seemed to be on time for the early routes. Over all the shuttle is really bad. IMO a walk to slopes lodging arrangment is called for if you want first tracks.
The other thing I noticed from sking MSA is that all the french canadians (even the mostly retired old timers and college kids who we met that week) really know how to ski very well. I think I saw one legitimate noobie skier all week. I deffinatly felt like many of the people there were better skiers than I. That is a contrast to most mid-atl areas. the crowds... What crowds even on the saturday of (they dont have MLK weekend) there was no one there. However I detected many more americans who cam up for the long weekend.
The language barrier is basicly non-existant. All people in any service industry (resturant, hotel, etc...) spoke at english. As always I do suggest picking up a few key phrases before you get there. Also learn to read French road signs if you drive. Thats Cruce!
I would also like to add that this is the first resort I have been to where at least 90% of the snowboarders really knew how to board (read: no sideslipping and scraping snow off of the slopes) and actually stopped way to the side of the trails.
I liked the glades they had, well at least the blue glades they had which I like to call "training glades".
I preferred the north side of the mountain which had the training glades and some nice black and blue slopes -- mainly because the snow was better on that side and much less ski traffic. I was dissapointed that we did not get a chance to try the trails they had which were labled "backcountry" runs on the north side. The lift servicing those trails was out and if we wanted to ski those runs it would be a one kilometer hike up an incline to get to a lift back to the summit.