Mont Sainte Anne is in Beaupré, Quebec, which is approximately 25 miles northeast of the provincial capital of Quebec City. The mountain is part of the Laurentian mountain chain and has a summit elevation 2,625 ft above sea level with a vertical drop of 2,051 ft. For comparison the vertical drop is similar to Mad River Glen, Okemo, Jay Peak and is 65 feet less than the more well traveled Mont Tremblant. Mont Ste. Anne has 71 trails that are dispersed over three sides of the mountain with 19 of the trails available for night skiing. The trail count is similar to Bolton Valley, Attitash and Smuggler’s Notch, although none of those areas offer night skiing. The trails are 23% beginner, 18% intermediate, 45% advanced and 14% expert with over 80% of the mountain covered by snowmaking that supplements the areas average 190 inches of natural snow. Additionally, the mountain offers mind boggling panoramas of the St. Lawrence River from the summit of the mountain.
The resort boasts enough difficult terrain that it has held numerous World Cup alpine races, with the last one being held in 1989. At that race Gunther Mader of Austria, who is one of only five men to have won the World Cup races in all five alpine disciplines, won the giant slalom. Thomas Stangassinger, 1994 Olympic slalom gold medalist, won the slalom. Five-time overall World Cup winner Marc Giradelli came in third.
The area is owned by Resorts of the Canadian Rockies, which also owns Nakiska, Fernie, Kimberly Alpine, Kicking Horse and Stoneham Mountain. Stoneham is located 1.5 hours from Mont Sainte Anne.
We took advantage of Mont Saint Anne’s “Happy Parents” offer, during Presidents’ Day Week (US). Booking during the President’s Week, for a trip to Quebec avoids all the cluster of crowds in the US, since the Canadian kids do not have that week off from school. In a nutshell, the Happy Parent Parents offer is, for a minimum stay of three days, kids (up to 17) ski free! On top of that, the deal includes a Ski Québec+ Charlevoix multi-ski area ticket, which means you can ski at Mont Sainte Anne, Stoneham, and Le Massif de Charlevoix (see review here). This deal, combined with a favorable exchange rate, made for a very reasonably priced ski vacation.
Places to Stay
We stayed at the Chateau Mont Sainte Anne which is a ski-in/ski-out property located at the base of the L’Etoile Filante gondola, which serves up the most difficult terrain on the mountain. My family of four chose in a Nordik Studio room which had been recently renovated with two queen beds, a fully furnished small kitchenette and a small table for four. We used the kitchenette only for breakfast and ate lunch on the mountain and dinner in the local restaurants. The Chateau has an amazing lobby that was a hub of après ski activity. There is a restaurant, Bistro Nordik, with a bar located just off the lobby and every evening there was an extremely talented individual that would sing and play guitar, while taking requests. Additionally, there is a two-tiered hot tub out back that was popular with the adults and kids that provided relief to sore muscles.
If you choose not to stay at one of the hotels at Mont Ste Anne, there is a very unique alternative in Quebec City, called the Hôtel de Glace! The Hôtel de Glace is a work of art and architecture that is entirely built of snow and ice. Every winter, this unique hotel is completely redesigned and rebuilt, offering an unforgettable experience in the only hotel of its kind in North America. Each room is a cave of ice where you sleep on a block of ice. I am not sure how well you would sleep, but it would be an unbelievable and probably romantic experience.
During our time at Mont Ste Anne the resort received approximately a foot of snow over the three days, so needless to say the conditions were incredible. However, it was observed that the resort was not eager to groom the powder into neat rows of corduroy, which I applaud, but I did hear gripes from other skiers, especially when skiing on some of the easier slopes. For the experienced skier there are two trails worth mentioning. The first is the double black diamond La S, it is located off of the gondola and is the steepest trail on the mountain, in fact it is one of only three trails in Quebec that has a sustained pitch over 30 degrees, the others are Alexander Dispatie at Mont Chantecler and the infamous La Dynamite at Mont Tremblant, so it puts La S in good company. The other trail worth mentioning is La Crete.
La S is an FIS approved race trail, however the only racing you’ll be doing on this steep trail is moguls. The trail is generally ungroomed and full of “bosses”, the French term for moguls. Given Quebec’s penchant for cranking out world class mogul skiers the bosses on this hill may very well be the skiers. La S has a sustained pitch (steepest section over 300 ft) of 30.38 degrees with a vertical drop of 1154 feet, this is very similar to Sunday River’s signature run, White Heat. However, White Heat is a very wide trail at 220 feet, where La S is a constricted 64 feet, meaning between the bumps and narrowness of the trail you will be unable to shop for turns.
While La S is the steeper more difficult run, the signature run of the mountain is La Crete. The piste is a single black diamond, that is accessed via the gondola and then by traversing across the mountain where you will pass a series of very tempting double black diamonds. This is a flat traverse, so a helpful tip is to wax your skis prior to your trip. Once the traverse ends you will find yourself on an exposed ridge with 2,000 vertical feet in front of you with a jaw dropping panorama of the mighty St. Lawrence River in front of you. By river, I mean a ten mile wide, super tanker traveling waterway that is littered with mini icebergs. La Crete, which is featured in Patrick Thorne’s book, “Powder: The Greatest Ski Runs on the Planet”, is generally a groomed FIS approved race trail that is free of moguls, which means you can put your boards on edge and head to Trenchtown in a hurry.
The town of Beaupre is not a particularly scenic town, nor a typical ski town. However, you will be able to find pizza joints and other restaurants that serve up typical Quebec favorites such as smoked meat sandwiches, poutine and cheese curds. Additionally, for any Catholics visiting the area on a Sunday the town has the beautiful Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré.
Family friendly mountain that offers terrain for all levels and offer cost savings deals coupled with the favorable exchange rate that makes it wallet friendly.
Less crowded than its more well known counterpart
Can ski Stoneham, Le Massif and Mont Ste Anne on one lift ticket
Multiple options for slopeside lodging
The UNESCO World Heritage site of “Old Quebec” is only 25 miles away.
Views from the top of the mountain
Slopeside restaurants are few and far between
Winds can be strong coming off the St. Lawrence
Beaupre is not a vibrant ski town