Ski season is so close I can almost taste the moisture on my fleece gaiter. Soon to come are mornings of waking up at 5 a.m. to make first tracks. Days so cold, you only feel your toes after an hour of the heat on full blast in your car at the end of the day. You get to eat disgustingly greasy pizza, chicken fingers and fries from the mountain cafeteria and not feel bad because you “worked out” all day.
Montrealers are lucky, we have a bunch of mountains all within a few hours of our glorious hometown. But with so many options, it’s sometimes hard to figure out which mountain to hit up. We’re here to help you choose where to shred the beautiful east coast gnar.
This is the dopest, closest mountain to Montreal. The best part about Bromont is the night skiing -- $127 plus taxes for a night season pass until December 17. There is nothing better than shredding pow after a long day of class and sitting in the library. The mountain is less than an hour away from downtown Montreal so you don’t have to spend forever getting there, and you can still make it back to get to bed before midnight. So pack a sandwich and a granola bar in your bag in the morning and peace out after your afternoon class.
Public transportation to the mountain: Take a Limocar bus
2. Jay Peak
Jay may just be the best east coast mountain. Just right over the border in the beautiful state of Vermont, it has 76 trails, 9 lifts, and 656 meters of vertical drop. Natural snowfall usually comes to 950 centimeters, which means beautiful Mother Nature pukes snow on Jay almost everyday. Even better than the plethora of trails though, is their backcountry skiing, which is known as Big Jay. You have free rein to go pretty much wherever you want as long as you stay safe. Now that they've added the water park, you can check out the cute ski bunnies in their bikinis off the slopes.
Public transportation: Close to impossible. Use a car and if you don't own one, rent one.
3. Le Massif
If you’re an advanced/expert skier, Le Massif is well worth it. The mountain may be a bit far from Montreal – it's about one hour east of Quebec City – but with 55 per cent of the trails at Le Massif labeled as black diamond and expert, you won't care. Over the past five years, the average annual snowfall has been 645 cm which means tons of natural snow for you. Not only is the skiing great, Le Massif has amazing views of the St. Lawrence. You don't even have to wait long too tear up these slops – the mountain expects to open November 23.
Public transportation: Take the Le Massif Express bus service that services Montreal, Laval, and Boucherville. It'll pick you up at Parc Jarry, The Centropolis de Laval, and Complexe 20-20 in Boucherville. You can also take a Via Rail train to Quebec City and then take the Le Massif Shuttle from Quebec City to the mountain.
This mountain is huge. There is 3,430 feet of vertical drop at Whiteface, and 87 trails over three peaks available at the mountain. This New York State gem can accommodate anyone’s skill level with easy trails near the base of the mountain and moderate to expert trails from the summit, and each of the other two peaks, so you don’t have to worry about your shitty friend holding you up.
Public transportation: Again, a bit tough. The best you can do is take an Amtrak train from Montreal to New York City and then take an Adirondack Trailways Bus to the mountain. Your best bet would just be to rent or borrow a car.
I only just went to Sutton last year at the end of the season and instantly fell in love with the mountain. It has awesome glade skiing and isn't really that busy; I never had to wait for more than five minutes in a lift line. When you pass through the town of Sutton, make sure you check out the local cheese shop, La Rumeur Affamée.
Public transportation: Take the Veolia Transport bus from Montreal to Sutton. Super Easy!
6. Mont Orford
Orford is made up of three peaks with 61 trails. A majority (33 per cent) of the trails are easy, so it’s a good place if you’re starting off, but a great place for more advanced skiers with 28 per cent of the trails designated as “very difficult.” If you’re into glade skiing, it has 12 extreme tree skiing trails. If you want to get into skiing 'sous-bois,' as they say in Quebec, there are two easy and three intermediate glade trails.
Transportation: Unfortunately, no public transportation goes to Mont Orford, so you'll have to get yourself a car.
For those of you who fiend the park, Mont-Sainte-Anne has four snow parks with an intermediate park called La Cachette that’s lit for night skiing. This mountain is also on the further side, about 30 minutes from Quebec City and has 69 trails with a “large and secure beginner zone.” If, like me, you have a family member that doesn’t ski, they’ll be able to take advantage of the snowshoeing, ice skating, and ski museum at the mountain.
Public transportation: The best way to get to Mont-Sainte-Anne is to take either the bus or the train to Quebec City and then take Old Quebec Tours to the mountain.
8. Owl’s Head
Owl’s Head overlooks the great waters of Lake Memphremagog, near Mansonville, QC in the eastern townships. Prices are reasonable -- a student lift ticket is $38 for the day and there is a special Winter 2014 deal starting January 7, 2014 where lift tickets are $20 for everyone Tuesday and Wednesday. That’s including Spring Break! If you’re a snowboarder who’s into snowboard cross (SBX), the snowboard racing competition where boarders have to maneuver features to reach the finish line first, you can train with the Elite Snowboard Club at Owl’s Head.
Transportation: It's a bit remote, so you're going to have to rent a car to reach it.
9. Mont Blanc
Just over an hour north of Montreal, Mont Blanc prides itself in being “the second highest peak ski mountain in the Laurentian/Mont Tremblant region.” As far as prices go, it’s a really good deal – just $46 for a full day ticket. With prices like that, you may as well check out to see if Mont Blanc lives up to its own hype.
Transportation: Hard to get to so you'll have to rent a car if you don't have one.
If you’re looking for a dope deal on a season pass to a mountain near Montreal, hit up Saint-Sauveur. A student pass is only $299. That’s dirt-cheap, and it’s available to ages six to 25. And it’s available all year. Win.
Transportation: It's a bit difficult to get to so your best bet is to rent a car.
Where are you tearing it up this season, Montreal? Did we forget your favorite mountain? Share in the comments below.