Our latest National Meetings
The Massif, 2019
Here we are back in the beautiful Charlevoix resort, already visited in 2017 for our national meeting and where we plan to organize an International Meeting in 2021.
This time, the weather is good. Fresh snow has fallen in the last two weeks and the temperature is not too cold. The view is still breathtaking on the St. Lawrence River and its moving ice blocks.
Despite traffic at the resort - one of the busiest weekends of the season - there is little wait for the lifts. Volunteers at the station communicate by radio to share information about wait times and redirect skiers to less-used lifts as needed. These volunteers play a major role, as in many ski resorts. In exchange for a free season pass, they commit to offering one day of their time per week throughout the ski season. They know the Massif ski area by heart. Saturday morning, we explore every nook and cranny with two of them.
In the afternoon, some volunteers take off the skis to go for a ride ... by helicopter! A memorable experience. The device is placed at the top of the slopes, a few meters from the summit ticket office and the arrival of skilifts. The 20-kilometer journey lasts as little as 6 minutes - intense - but allows one to admire the river and the ski slopes from the air, as well as the village of Petite-Rivière-Saint-François. The pilot Samuel Farcis asks us if we like thrills - of course! - and has fun doing some bends at 90 degrees ... The passengers scream, delighted. The initiation tour ends by flying over the snow-covered forest just above the trees. We learn that summer and winter, Héli-Charlevoix offers many tours, especially the overflight of the Charlevoix crater, dug by a gigantic meteorite 360 million years ago.
In the room Mer et Monts of the main chalet, we meet representatives of the Massif and some elected officials of the region for Happy Hour, to talk about our project of a SCIJ International Meeting in 2021.
Julie Tardif, Senior Director, Product Development and Marketing, for Le Massif, details the construction projects including the future Club Med (opening in 2020) and the expansion of the La Cache housing complex (integrated condos in the mountains). The Massif plans to become a 4-season resort, with activities all year round (hiking, mountain biking, cooking classes, etc.). SCIJ Canada President Ginette Lamarche tells the story of the Ski Club of International Journalists, its sports and journalistic activities, and the benefit for a whole region to welcome it for a week.
The mayor of Petite-Rivière, Gérald Maltais, the mayor of Baie- Saint-Paul, Jean Fortin, as well as the mayor of Saint-Urbain, Claudette Simard, prefect of the Regional County Municipality (RCM) of Charlevoix, are obviously very interested in showing the region's attractions to dozens of journalists from around the world. In the evening, we also have a visit from Marie-Julie Couturier, press secretary to Quebec tourism minister Caroline Proulx. To be continued...
Owl’s Head, 2018
This family-style ski centre is named after the Abenaki Chief Owl who lived in the area. After a beautiful day of skiing, we shared a beer with founder-owner since 1949 Fred Korman in the vintage living room on the second floor of the ski chalet. Korman, who is quite a character, told us about his life work (in English only). He remained somewhat secretive about the coming sale despite all our questions. The centre was actually sold to an investors' group a few months later. The old wooden chairlifts, charming but at risk of mechanical failure, were probably coming to the end of their useful life.
As with every SCIJ national meeting, we rented a big cottage with a fireplace. Twelve of us enjoyed a gourmet dinner and spent a fantastic evening. After breakfast the next morning, we were surprised to find the sloping road in icy conditions. Quite a challenge! We couldn't get one car out of the parking lot. Some of us proved resourceful, while others pushed or cheered. After a few expletives, team work worked its magic. The best time of the weekend?
Photos Owl’s Head, 2018
Le Massif, 2017
An hour east of Quebec City (73 km on Route 138), le Massif is the place for thrill seekers. Some of its 52 runs offer spectacular views making skiers feel they are diving right into the St. Laurence River. The 770 m drop is the highest east of the Canadian Rockies.
Mountain lovers discovered this exceptional site well before there was a ski resort. In the 1980s, skiers took a bus up the mountain to ski down virgin snow. Le Massif then went through a phenomenal development with the involvement of Cirque du Soleil cofounder Daniel Gauthier.
In less than 20 years, Le Massif has become one of the most popular destinations in Eastern Canada.The Super G slope, the Charlevoix, attracts elite skiers from around the world. It runs for more than 2 km, with an impressive vertical drop of 677 meters and a maximum incline of 66%, with a dizzying finale over the St. Lawrence River.
The opening of the first Club Med in Canada in 2020 will make it an international caliber resort.
Photos Le Massif, 2017
Many Quebec skiers who went on to become World Champions did their first runs here: Melanie Turgeon, Jean-Luc Brassard, Pierre Alexandre Rousseau... Mont Sainte-Anne, with an elevation of 803 metres, is located 40 km east of Quebec City. It is part of the Laurentian Mountains in the Canadian Shield. The winter sports resort has been hosting international competitions since 1966, including downhill skiing and mountain bike World Cup events.
The 71 runs totaling 73 km cover three hillsides, with a 625 m drop.
Over the years, Mont Ste.Anne has built a reputation for its warm welcome and a good working environment. Employees are attached to the hill and often stay for many years, sometimes their whole career.
At 8 Sunday morning, the hardiest made First Tracks on freshly groomed trails. While clouds covered the valley, the blazing sun was reflected on the fluffy stuff. An incredible moment spent with the Ski School Director who also offered some technical tips on how to ski lightly on the snow.
In 1995, the resort welcomed an International SCIJ Meeting, organized by SCIJ Canada.