It will be pure ski-ride mode, with few frills.
Children will be out of luck if snow school is cancelled, especially at popular beginners’ areas such as Mont Rigaud and Ski Saint-Bruno.
Grown-ups will miss the camaraderie. The successful charity sport-athon Tremblant 24h, set for Dec. 4 to 6, has moved online. Elevation Tremblant Gay Ski Week is off the calendar, and Mont Sutton has suspended the rollicking music jams at Bar Le Tucker. And Bromont, with its extensive night terrain, has streamlined its moonlit Nuits Blanches — snow sports will happen, but without the parties.
“Tremblant is working to make this season’s experience user-friendly and to promote accessibility to our mountain,” said Patrice Malo, president and COO of Station Mont Tremblant, which originally scheduled an ambitious start date of Nov. 20, but changed that to Nov. 27 due to unseasonably warm temperatures. (Many other sites don’t have firm opening dates, partly because the recent warm weather has complicated snow-making operations.)“Health and safety are at the forefront of our priorities,” said Malo. “We’ll be monitoring our employees, strictly following guidelines and staying flexible as the situation changes.”
Tickets to ride: Most mountains will give priority to season pass holders, in order to restrict the number of visitors for purposes of physical distancing. Day skiers can buy a limited number of tickets online, and at some areas — such as Tremblant, Bromont and Les Sommets — they’ll have to reserve dates in advance, occasionally facing a “sold out” announcement. Most single-day deals, such as the under-$30 weekday bargains at Mont Sutton, will be eliminated, along with Tremblant’s Latitude, Costco and Ski Max tickets.
Shades of summer: The 2019-20 season was truncated in March. Downhillers were bereft of the annual spring bacchanalia, while mountain operators posted a cumulative $60-million loss.
Off-trail: This might be the ideal time to try an hors-piste adventure. Powder hounds can frolic in an average seven metres of snow with cat-skiing and riding at Massif du Sud, east of Lévis, and heli- and cat-skiing at Chic-Chac in Murdochville, in the Gaspé.
Tremblant and Mont-Sainte-Anne operate alpine touring — cardio-busting uphill treks. Le Massif de Charlevoix offers scenic cross-country at Sentier des Caps, as well as guided backcountry touring over the mountains and through the woods.
The numbers: In other years, Quebec slide sports represented an $800-million industry and generated almost 33,000 jobs, but this won’t be a profitable season.
One Laurentian manager said it would be “survival mode,” with additional technology, fewer skiers and reduced revenues from food and beverage sales, equipment sales and rentals and possibly ski school.
Source The Montreal Gazette