Phat Times on Mont Albert

In the spring, backcountry skiing is a game of inches. Two degrees to either side of the dial and you’ll get a different day. That’s what it was like when my brother and I set off to ski some steeper lines at Mont Albert, in the Parc National du Gaspésie.

I’ve always felt that one of the primary reasons to drive to the Gaspé is to get a cabin at the Mines and tour right from your doorstep. The skintracks are accessible and often, in an hour and a half, you can be on top of something really nice to ski.

But Mont Albert is the king of the parc, and perhaps that is why he is the exception to the rule.

Continue reading

Station de Ski Valinouët: Way Back

I always thought time travel was fiction. Never did I walk outside onto Jackson Ave to find a conspicuous red phone booth. My band never had the opportunity to open for Wild Stallions at CBGB’s. My Audi, despite being a capable partner in all seasons is not equipped with a flux-capacitor.

Station de Ski Valinouët

Certainly my GPS couldn’t tell me that if I drove 6 hours north and east of Montreal, I’d come to a land before fat skis, where snowboards reigned Supreme like it was still the 90s. The kind of ski area where people still clip sticky wickets to hawk lift tickets for last runs on their way out of the parking lot.

Continue reading

Quebec: Long Lakes and Climbing Takes

I looked up at the stars with my head cocked all the way back, as if my body was about to be sucked up into the heavens. This view alone was worth the two year wait since I first heard about the cliffs along Lac Long, a little north and west of Quebec City. It was Friday night, and it felt great to settle in after hiking by our campsite inadvertently, well past dark.

The park is a climbing-insiders favorite here, providing a mix of established and open traditional lines in a setting that is neither remote adventuring or old news, a locals spot that’s also worth a pilgrimage. Perhaps the reason it is so perfectly overlooked, like Val David, is that it resides in yet another Quebec regional park.

Continue reading