Mont Édouard Feels Like Home

The longest undefended border in the world exemplifies the special nature of the relationship between the United States of America and Canada. Since I moved north of that line, I find myself constantly tallying up the ways that the countries mirror and differ from each other.

Living in Quebec provides yet another layer of circumstance as the natives decide that their province is a nation-state when it suits them, or when Canadians from other provinces point fingers about how Quebec is just… different.

Still, few things bring people of all nations together like skiing. On New Years Day I found myself enjoying 8 inches of new snow at Mont Édouard with a few hundred pickup driving revelers and hardy folk.

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A Love Letter to Val-David

Some towns have all the luck. They’re the kind of places that beg you to ask yourself if it’s possible spend all of your time there. These places come right off the tip of my tongue: Keene, New Paltz, Stowe, North Conway, and for that last couple of years, Val David.

Val David cliff

Three years ago, I don’t think I knew of Val David, I learned of it shortly after relocating to Montreal. It’s an hour north of the city but a world away.

If rock climbing legend Fritz Weissner spent his time here, you can rest assured that it is absolutely spoiled with classic rock. For skiing, it is a mini-paradise too: Mont Alta is one of three downhill ski hills in town, and now serves as the only uphill area I know of in these parts.

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Thacher State Park Climbing

Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher once famously said “You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.” This rings true at Thacher State Park, where the tireless efforts to keep the park safe from budget cuts and then open the area to climbing have created the newest sport climbing area in the Northeast.

Before New York added climbing at the park — named for a former Albany mayor John Boyd Thacher — I had entirely overlooked this green oasis. Located 20 miles west of Albany, it’s an easy drive from the Capital District, but for climbers coming from the north or south it meant driving by the Adirondacks or the Gunks.

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