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Archive for the ‘Attic Collection’ Category

The future is uncertain for the quaint Laurentians ski area located in Val David. After 3 consecutive bad years, last season was finally a good snow season north of Montreal, however Mont Alta didn’t open in 2012-13 due to a number of circumstances. The long time owner Osward Lingat has recently put the ski area on the market.

A small piece appeared in SBC Skier on Alta back in 2008 which presented a good description of the place.

Mont Alta is the last vestige of the ski-wherever-you-damn-well-please attitude (…) no fake snow here, no grooming and no highway flattop. There are also no beautiful people, fake tans, or bad skiers. Off-limits at Alta is governed only by fear and inability. Jutting branches and rock cliffs are teaching tools, and come dump time, powder piggies line up for first tracks and snort to their heart’s content.

With an old double chair, people might think that not much has changed at Mont Alta. It ain’t really the case. Skiing started on the slope in 1952 under the name Mont Chevreuil and renamed Mont Alta in the 1970s. In the late 1980s the ski area had 22 trails with two chairlift included a quad and snowmaking. Hard times forced the owner to sell his quad chairlift and stop snowmaking due to the important hydro cost.

This week we presented a ski map that represents that era, vintage circa 1985-1995 which mentioned “22 runs, Snowmaking, Double Chairlift and Quad Chairlift” and indicates multiples parking lots. This map was still being offered, along with recent maps, during my visit in January 2007.

Click to access larger image

MadPat’s TR : Mont Alta, QC – January 29, 2007

Source and further information :
SBC Skier (Oct 2008) Mont Alta, Val David QC by Sandy Wolofsky
Point de Vue Laurentides (April 2013) : “Je ne suis pas un millionnaire” – Oswald Lingat, propriétaire du Mont Alta
ZoneSki (juin 2013): Mont Alta, le chant du cygne
ZoneSki (2004-2013): Histoire des stations de ski du Québec – Mont Alta

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Mont-Sutton Inc. was incorporated under the laws of the Province of Quebec on the 17th day of February 1960.

That is how the small 25-page information/trail map booklet for Mont Sutton started off back 40 years ago. It went on to list the names of the Directors of the ski area at that time.

The small booklet (1″x2″) has been a hallmark of Mont Sutton for many years. This Monday I present you with the 1972-73 version, the oldest that I have, which coincides to the years we skied Mont Sutton before our family started skiing regularly at Mont Tremblant Lodge.

Located on the North side of Round Top mountain, at an altitude of 3,175 feet, Mont Sutton ski area commands the highest Canadian peak within a 100 miles radius from Montreal. Skiers enjoy many facilities including 4 double chair lifts, a T-Bar and a Poma.

Information on the equipment, facilities, Rates, Ski School, Ski Weeks, Church services, season and snow statistics were described in detail in this excellent information booklet.

Mont Sutton’s 1500 feet vertical open on December 17, 1960 and contained 22 runs in the 1972-73 season. The Trail Map was similar to the French system of colours and indicated in details of the difficulty of each part of the trails which might several difficulty ratings.

Rates back in 1972-73 were $7 for full day ticket ($4 for chair III and the T-Bar) and $4 for half-day (9am to 1pm). A season pass set you back for $150 at that time. You could also pay per ride which varied from .30 to .90 according to the lift used. Paying per ride was more common 50 years ago: the public could buy booklet of 30 cents tickets. In fact, some of the old ticket booths are still present at the bottom of a few Mont Sutton lifts today.

The tickets from the booklet, like the Ski weeks tickets, were interchangeable at 6 different ski areas : Mont Sutton, Mt Orford, Mont Echo, Bromont, Owl’s Head and Jay Peak across the border in Vermont.

The Ski School was headed by a former head of the Canadian Ski Instructor Alliance, Canadian Champion and 1960 Olympian. Jean Lessard was Mont Sutton’s first ski school director in 1960, in which he contributed in the design of the first ski trails, headed the ski school until his retirement in 1990. He passed away this April 27, 2013. Stories on Carnet du Ski and Mont Sutton’s website.

Carnet du Ski : RIP Jean Lessard : Le ski québécois perd une légende
Mont Sutton : Mont Sutton’s snow pioneer passed away

Click to access larger image Note the original booklet was 1″ x 2″ in size.

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The Eastern Townships ski resort will be celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2014. Bromont started off modestly with the small Mont Soleil and Cowansville, Waterloo and Granby runs on Mont Brome. The resort had been around for 10 years and just pre-dates the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal. Bromont was going to be the site of the Equestrian events. The ski resort has seen a few major expansions of its trail and lifts network around the many faces of Mont Brome in the last 12 years.

Back in 1976, the ski area was limited to the steep north face with the exception of Mont Soleil. Taken from the brochure from circa 1975-76:

We invite you to Bromont for great skiing and a variety of recreational activities for the whole family. 15 miles of well-groomed trails and slopes to challenge the expert and tempt the beginner.
– Two major mountains
– Almost 2000′ elevation
– 1300′ of vertical skiing
– 15 major ski trails
– Runs up to 2 1/2 miles long
– 5 major lifts (3 modern double chairs)
– Night skiing
– Cross country touring
– Short ski progression (GLM)

The Ski Week included:
– instructions;
– slope side accommodation “complete with heartily skiers’ meals;
– charming dining and lounge facilities in the French-Canadian tradition;
– riding and sleigh rides at Bromont Equestrian Centre.
– “Granby…a city of fine dining is only six miles away and Montreal is easily accessible within 45 minutes”.
– complimentary night skiing and cross-country touring.
– “interchangeable at all Ski East areas…Mont Orford, Sutton, Owl’s Head and Jay Peak (small additional charge at Jay)”

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Last month’s Monday Mad Addict’s featured skiing with the aide of buses as an unconventional lift system at an mid-1980s version of Le Massif’s Charlevoix region of Quebec. This month we stay in the same era and go further east to St-Octave de l’Avenir in the Gaspé Peninsula for a unique Eastern heli-skiing experience.

Taken from the brochure:

In the heart of the Gaspe Peninsula in eastern Quebec, the Chik-Chocs rise from the sea to 3750 feet only ten miles away from the shores of the gulf of St. Lawrence. Only 450 miles from gateway Montreal on the Trans-Canada highway, the Chik-Chocs offer spectacular helicopter skiing from early March to late May on excellent snow conditions similar to Mount Washington but with a vast skiing terrain covering many square miles.
– Appalachian Mountain Chain, Chik-Chocs mountains, dozens of runs within a 5-mile radius.
– Altitude: Up to 3750′ vertical drops from 1000′ to 2700′ longest runs from 3,000 to 15,000 feet.
– The Chik-Chocs are a serie of mountains reaching above timberline. There are runs of all types, steepness and length. The Chik-Chocs provide for many tree runs as well as large snow bowls and glade skiing.
– There are slopes and bowls for intermediate, advances intermediate, expert and super expert skiers with super conditioning. Difficulty will vary according to season selected: deep powder in March, either powder or hard corn snow in early April, and ideal spring conditions from mid-April to late May.
– 240 to 360 inches due to the proximity of the sea (Gulf of St. Lawrence) only 10 miles away from prevailing winds which also influence snow fall.

Brochure is from 1986 and operations lasted a couple of years at the most. Issues with wind and weather made it difficult to operation.

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Sortez des sentiers battus!

When commercial skiing started at Le Massif, no permanent lifts existed, snowmobiles/van then school buses were used to bring skiing from the bottom of the ski runs back to the summit using the road that connected the village of Petite-Rivière-St-François and highway 138 near the summit. There was a master plan to develop the area into a major ski area back in the late 1970s, the Société de développement du Massif de la Petite-Rivière-St-François was created.

Featured this month is probably the first brochure from the school bus era in 1983-84.

Here is the basic information found on the 1983-84 brochure:

– One of the 5 biggest domains of open skiing in Québec;
– three summits;
– two bowls;
– 800 meters vertical;
– 400 to 600cm annual snow accumulation;
– 99km from Quebec City and 405km from Montreal.

– Alpine skiing and telemark on 10 ungroomed trails.
– Lift via buses
– Exceptional scenery of sea and mountains, crazy runs and unique experience…even if the powder isn’t always present.

The price was $26 which included 4 runs (3,200 vertical meters), guide and lunch. Reservations was encouraged. Surcharged for extra runs. Length of descentes was 30 minutes.

The first two permanent lifts would be installed in 1992, the area would have a major terrain expansion in 2001.

Click image to access larger version

Sources:
Historical section on Le Massif website
Le Massif Wikipedia page

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This week marks the thirty-three year anniversary of the 1980 Lake Placid Winter Olympic. We feature this month the season’s Whiteface Trail Map and a tentative schedule for the Games. Lake Placid, New York has been the only Eastern North American host of the Winter Olympics with Games in 1932 and 1980. The 1980 Games came less than 4 years after the Montreal 1976 Summer Olympics, less than 2 hours away. There was talk of a Quebec City bid of future Winter Games, however they is some issues regarding a possible location for a Men’s Downhill event as no current location meets the minimum requirements. Some talk mentioned about hosting the event at Whiteface. Here is Ski Mad World take on the issue two years ago (in French): Québec et les Jeux Olympiques

Back in 1979-80 an adult weekend lift ticket cost $12; the ski area also offered lower mountain or single ride tickets as it was more common in the earlier years. No high-speed lifts or top-to-bottom gondola in those days. Mountain trail network is similar with the exception of the development on Lookout mountain, Paron’s Run, an easier trail of the summit, the Slides plus a few wider trails and glades with new lifts, but one thing that remains the same, the mountain had and still has the greatest vertical in the East.

The items below were picked up on my first visit to Lake Placid and at the Montreal Ski Show at Place Bonaventure in the Fall 1979.

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Lake Placid Olympic Schedule

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Alpe d’Huez is located in the Department of l’Isère. The main resort is located at 1860 metres with a top elevation of 3330 metres. The lowest elevation 1120m making the 2210 meters vertical drop. One major resort connecting with 4 smaller ones, Auris, Oz, Vaujany and Villard Reculas, totaling with 125 trails for 220km of skiing served by 82 lifts with a 90,000 people per hour capacity. Alpe d’Huez offers summer skiing on it’s glacier generally until August.

Here is a ski map from the Winter 1995-96. Note the smaller map indicates time of lifts in order to help people not get strander on the wrong village.

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