The Wonder Years at Mont Sauvage

Surface lifts have always held a special place in my heart, which must sound odd to skiers of a previous generation that grew up without bubble lifts and tramways.

Mont Sauvage

But there is so much to recommend about them, like low skier traffic, powder preservation and riding low and out of the wind. Plus you’re doubling your vertical by skiing uphill.

Some of my most memorable runs have been on surface lifts. My first time at Plattekill I drove up when The Weather Channel was forecasting heavy snow potential in the Western Catskills. While the Hudson Valley only had about six inches, I was getting my first taste of Platty magic, skiing the North side by myself in two feet of snow.

ticket window
Lift shack ticket window

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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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