INside the OUTside: Mild winter cuts ski season prematurely short

Paule Bergeron, center, account executive for Québec City Tourism, speaks with CVOA members during a ski trip to Québec City recently. (photo by Dan Cassidy)

Dan Cassidyby Dan Cassidy

What was turning into a lackluster ski season beginning with mid-to-late December and running into March, the ski area of choice, Sugarloaf Mountain had put out a tremendous amount of coverage from their snow guns covering trails from January to mid-February when all snowmaking hoses and guns went silent.

Thanks to the weather, occasional snow showers kept the trails in pristine condition, thanks to groomers that kept the corduroy slopes in top shape.

While ski conditions were in great shape, unfortunately, Mother Nature didn’t help much as wind, cloudiness and low light made it more difficult to enjoy the runs.

In mid-February, about 20 (CVOA) Carrabassett Valley Outdoor Association skiers and snowboarders ventured to Québec City for four days. The group was spearheaded by Peter and Judy Weston. Our lodging was at the Manoir Victoria right at the entrance of the “Old” City where the Winter Carnival was being held. The hotel provided a large conference room for our convenience to enjoy Happy Hour each evening.

Our first day on the slopes was spent at Mount Saint Anne, where we enjoyed fresh snow, wonderful trail conditions and pristine views of the Saint Lawrence River and Québec City that was visible towards the south.

Our second day we traveled north to LeMassif, a great ski resort that is about to get much larger, thanks to a new Club Med hotel that is under construction along with several condos along the shore of the Saint Lawrence River, and due to open next season. Also, right at the river’s edge are railroad tracks that transport passengers from Québec City through Le Massif and onto Bay Saint-Paul, a beautiful four-season village. Le Massif is also the training slopes of the Canadian Ski Team.

Our third resort that we visited was Stoneham located about an hour to the north-west of Québec City. Although it snowed all day, it seemed that the ski conditions improved while we were there. On this particular day, trails were not crowded and the snow was very light.

Our last evening at Happy Hour, I invited Paule Bergeron, business development account executive of Québec City Tourism, to tell our group about all the many things that Québec has to offer, both winter and summer. She informed us about all the wintertime activities that included skiing, ice skating, snowshoeing, attending the many outdoor activities during their huge winter carnival right into spring and summer with all the carnivals, paved biking trails, boating, museums, hiking and many other activities.

Clean your ski gear

So now, with plenty of snow still lingering in the mountains of Maine, but with no lifts turning and gatherings not allowed due to an unseen virus that has destroyed many thousands of lives, I’ve already taken down cleaned and stored my on-the-roof ski box, cleaned my skis, boots and all my ski gear and stowed them away until next year. Just a note on putting ski gear away, be sure to pull your inner boots out of the exterior boots, wipe them down, apply a light coating of powder inside the inner boots and store. That way, you’ll be sure the inner boots will be dry and ready for next season.

As soon as temps rise and the predicted snowstorms melt away, it will be time to get out the bike and do some serious riding to stay in shape. Be sure to check out all the parts of your bike, check the brakes, lubricate and make sure your tires are in good shape.

Hope to catch up with you on some bike trails and really hope this COVID-19 gets busted! Stay healthy and stay safe!


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