Posted on 13 April 2012
Le Massif is a Canadian ski resort 73 km north-east of Québec City, and its unique in several ways. Unlike most traditional ski resorts there is no mountain here, as the resort is located at the highest point, and the slopes go down into a steep valley.
This valley ends in the St Lawrence River which can make things a little more interesting than normal. When it was decided the resort needed a longer piste, a small hillock was created at the top of the current racing slope which added another 45 m to the vertical drop. Although Le Massif already has chair-lifts, snowmobiles, a gondola and a car park, the latest innovation to come to this unusual resort is a railway train which transports skiers from close to Québec City right to the base of the resort gondola.
The railway train was the idea of Daniel Gauthier who co-founded Cirque du Soleil. He sold his share of the production company in 2001 and went on to purchase Le Massif in the 2002 and 2003 season. Since then he has set about improving the resort, intending to turn part of it into an all year round holiday destination.
The restoration of the railway line, which is an old freight line that was originally built to serve the logging industry, has been very expensive, but the end result is very pleasing. Although the resort is relatively small, as it’s just 5% of the size of Whistler, it does have a lot to offer, and it’ll be interesting to see how it develops. Québec City has a reputation as being one of the most beautiful cities in Canada, and makes an interesting destination on its own.