Le Massif — Mountain layout
Perched on the edge of the St. Lawrence River, Le Massif is a must-visit resort. Views are surprisingly spectacular, so bring a camera. Trails are draped across three connecting mountains.
La “42,” an ungroomed, natural-snow trail, snakes its way down the eastern edge of the mountain. It’s punctuated with bumps, stumps, narrow chutes and steep drops, and clinched with the area’s trademark jaw-dropping views of the St. Lawrence. La Domonique Maltais (formerly Sous-Bois, which means “glades” in French) is relatively tame by comparison. La Tremblay, a single black, can be challenging since it’s rarely groomed. For a short, steep thrill, take the plunge on La Pointue.
Le Massif’s 2001 expansion added a new peak with a summit that was built up using rocks dug out of what’s become a nearby lake. The trails here boast a sustained pitch that quickly accelerates you to rocket speed as you hurtle toward the river. The double-black Le Charlevoix is the training trail.
With nary a bump in sight, this mountain is nirvana for cruisers. The black diamond and blue square designations seem almost arbitrary. Three-fourths of the runs are meticulously groomed, and only occasional steep pitches give pause to an intermediate skier. The runs are long (2.36 miles, the longest), so rest stops allow for spectacular views of the ice-capped St. Lawrence. Concentrate your efforts on Le Grande-Pointe Express quad chair for the best vertical and choice. La Petite-Riviere, a blue, is a sweet way to launch your day with spectacular drop-dead views of the river.
Stick to the beginner trails off the Camp-Boule Express chair in the Camp-Boule sector. The leap from first-timer to intermediate is a big jump on the main mountain. Trails that start out fine for beginners all finish along narrow trails where upper-level skiers race back to the lift. It is unsettling. We’re told improvements to the snowmaking system and new advanced trails to the base will help reduce this problem.
Le Massif has an area for first-timers with a rope tow just below the summit day lodge.