Posts Tagged ‘History’

Located only a few miles from Ottawa, the first ski trails at Camp Fortune were cut in the early Twenties. Much has changed in almost one century and the access is much easier now. Camp Fortune is one of the oldest ski areas in Canada, it was the first ski area in Eastern Canada to have a double chairlift, first in Quebec with snowmaking and one of the first in the province to offer night skiing.

The Ottawa Ski Club celebrated its centennial in 2010 and were fundamental in starting the ski area. This short video presentation was made for Gatineau Valley Historical Society by Charles Hodgson.

More historical information on Camp Fortune and the Ottawa Ski Club can be found in the following links:
Camp Fortune Ski Club website : Supporting and Developing the Ski Community for over a Century.
Ski Mad World’s Monday Mad Addict’s Attic featuring Camp Fortune brochure from the 1980-81 season.
Canadian Ski Museum online collection on the Ottawa Ski Club

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This season Tremblant is celebrating its 75th anniversary season. Many things have changed since Joe Ryan official opened the ski area on February 12th, 1939.

The quote below is taken from the Frank Elkins’ 1941 The Complete Ski Guide. Here is what is written about Mont Tremblant in the “Where to Ski” chapter, in the Canada, Laurentians section.

Mont Tremblant – Boasts two of the Dominion’s outstanding racing descents, the Kandahar and Taschereau runs, served by one of the world’s finest chair lifts of 4900 feet with a vertical ascent of 1300 feet. Has wide popular appeal, for its exceptional terrain is suitable for both novice and expert. There are at least eight trails and as many open in this vicinity; new Thomas Fortune Ryan intermediate-expert run. New 3500-foot “T-bar” lift to connect with top of chair lift.

Click image in order to access larger version

The map was drawn in November 1939 by G. Lorne Wiggs, Consulting Engineer and is located in The Complete Ski Guide. A few of Tremblant’s original trails remain; trails like Nansen, Père Deslauriers (now La Passe), Sir Edward Beatty (now Curé Deslauriers), Flying Mile and Kandahar, however the original skiers wouldn’t recognize them or the resort 75 years later. The following map list the single chair that was removed in 1980 and marks for future Aerial Ski Chair Lift, instead the Alpine T-Bar was built in 1941 (now Alpine trail). The expansion towards the North side of the mountain was a decade away.

Here are a few important Tremblant dates:
1932 : First Quebec Kandahar race on Kandahar trail
1934 : Old Taschereau ski trail and 1st Taschereau ski race
1938 : Staying at Gray Rocks Inn, Joe Ryan overheard Lowell Thomas and Tom Wheeler of Gray Rocks talk of an excursion to the top of Mont Tremblant. Ryan asked if he could join along. Later that year in start developing Mont Tremblant Lodge. Nansen trail by Jackrabbit Johannsen and supervised by Kare Nansen, son of famous Fridtjof Nansen.
1939 : Ryan opening with a single chair.
1941 : Alpine T-Bar now gives lift access to upper mountain.
1948 : opening of North side with Devil’s River Lodge and three trails (Devil’s River, Lowell Thomas and Sissy Schuss) serviced by another single chair and two rope-tows on the upper mountain.
1965 : Tremblant changes hands. Mary Ryan sells the resort after having managed it since her husband’s passing in 1950. They would be a few ownership changed until Intrawest would arrive.
1988 : First top to bottom lift; Tremblant Express High Speed Quad.
1991 : Intrawest became new owners. In 1993 High Speed lifts are added, the huge Grand Manitou chalet at the summit plus a new part of the mountain is developed; the Edge.
Intrawest became owners in 1991
1999 : development of Versant Soleil.
2009 : Casino opens at the bottom of Versant Soleil.

This Tremblant Base Village is very different from the one that sits at the bottom of the mountain nowadays. Joe Ryan’s vision was an imitation of a typical Quebec rural village; today’s Tremblant architecture is based urban setting: the Old City in Quebec City.

Happy 75th Anniversary Tremblant!!!

Historical information was taken in Frank Elkins 1941 mentioned above, in Louise Arbique’s Tremblant book, Following the Dream and confirmation of some dates in Tremblant 75’s Timeline

Previous Mad Addict’s Attic features on Mont Tremblant:

Mont Tremblant Lodge 1 (1979-80 brochure and prices)
Mont Tremblant Lodge 2 (ski map circa 1973 to 1978)
Mont Tremblant 3 (brochure circa 1984)
Mont Tremblant Lodge 4 (map circa 1953)

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One of the premier classic resorts of Eastern North America is celebrating it’s 75th anniversary this season.

Many things have changed since Joe Ryan opened Mont Tremblant Lodge on February 12, 1939. Many things have changed since I started skiing at Tremblant 40 years ago. The video I choose for this month is a wonderful piece done for Tremblant’s marketing of the event. It’s entitled “Be Part of the Tremblant Story”.

This video present the evolution of the resort : from the snowtrains to direct flight at Tremblant’s airport; sleighs from the train station to buses and cars; quiet rural setting to a modern active nightlife with shows and casino.

In 75 years, a lot has changed at Tremblant. But the pleasure of skiing remains the same. We all want the good times to last forever. So, in honour of it’s 75th anniversary, Tremblant invites you to share your memories, photos and videos. It’s your turn to carry the torch and be a part of the Tremblant story.

Many things are planned for the 75th Anniversary Festivities: The Legends Classic Ski race of Canadian Ski Hall of Fame and Museum and on February 12, the Anniversary Day, a series of activities and all day music is organized.

Tremblant has such a huge part in MadPat’s ski history. It might not be the place where I started skiing, but it was my first home mountain. It was the first mountain where I would ski on a regular basic in the years of my youth. It is the place where my grandfather used to groomed trails with snowshoes in the 1940s, it was the huge mountain that shadowed my mom’s childhood home, it is the place where my father gave ski lessons in the 1950s is the place where I’ve spent so many years of my youth. The place has changed much since that time.

Happy Birthday Tremblant!!!

Mad Addict’s Attic features on Mont Tremblant:

Mont Tremblant Lodge 1 (1979-80 brochure and prices)
Mont Tremblant Lodge 2 (ski map circa 1973 to 1978)
Mont Tremblant 3 (brochure circa 1984)
Mont Tremblant Lodge 4 (map circa 1953)

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This season Tremblant is celebrating its 75th anniversary season. Many things have changed since Joe Ryan official opened the ski area on February 12th, 1939.

This month I present the circa 1953 version of the Mont Tremblant Lodge. The previous Tremblant Mad Attic posts have featured the Laurentians resort 1970s and early 1980s versions (see links below).

Mont Tremblant Lodge circa 1953: Tremblant has expanded to the North side with the Devil’s River Lodge opening in 1948 and three lifts.

The essential of this Tremblant Base Village remained the same until Intrawest bought the resort in 1991 and proceeded into redesigning the village. Joe Ryan’s vision was an imitation of a typical Quebec rural village. Today’s Tremblant architecture is based urban setting: the Old City in Quebec City.

There are a few pieces from that era that are still visible. A few of the small chalets have been moved as well as the old day lodge; le Chalet des Voyageurs. The Inn and the Chapel are the only buildings that remains in their original locations. Some of the trails are still there, but most of them have blasted and redesigned. Eleven of the twenty-one trails are still on the map today like the following South side trails:
– Nansen
– Kandahar
– Mi-Chemin (now Charron)
– Ryan’s Run & Lover’s Lane (part of Ryan)
– Flying Mile
– Sir Edward Beatty (mostly Curé Deslauriers)

Most of the North Side trails can still be found:
– Andy Moe & Axel
– Lowell Thomas
– Devil’s River Run
– Sissy Schuss
– Habitant Slope which is possibly part of upper Beauchemin

The first lift, the single chair was replaced in 1980. The Alpine T-Bar disappeared the previous decade and that line became the Alpine trail. The North side single disappeared a few seasons after that first chair. The Upper North side were serviced by two rope-tow where the Tunnel and Rope-Tow trails are now located. People needed to take 3 lifts to reach the summit from the North and 2 on the South; it wasn’t until 1988 that the first top-to-bottom lift was installed.

The following illustrations were drawn by Pierre Cochand and are included in John and Frankie O’Rear 1954 book (reprinted 1988), The Mont Tremblant Story.

Click images in order to access larger versions

Mont Tremblant Lodge
1. Nansen
2. Taschereau
3. Tower
4. Kandahar
5. Mi-Chemin
6. Ryan’s Run
7. Lover’s Lane
8. Standard
9. Flying Mile
10. Sir Edward Beatty
11. St. Bernard
12. Simon Cooper
13. Hans Falkner Slope
14. La Pente Douce
15. Dam Slope
16. Chalet Slope

Devil’s River Lodge
1. Andy Moe & Axel
2. Lowell Thomas
3. Devil’s River Run
4. Sissy Schuss
5. Habitant Slope

1. The Inn
2. The Lodge
3. Chalet des Voyageurs
4. Brook House (Dormitories)
5. The St.Bernard Chapel
6. Staff House
7. Cottages “F” & “G”
8. La Boutique
9. Salon de Beauté
10. Ski Shop
11. Cottage “E”
12. Guest Cottages “F” & “G”
13. Family Chalets
14. One-Room Chalets
15. Stables & Maintenance Buildings
16. Swimming Pool Cottage
17. Swimming Pool


Previous Mad Addict’s Attic features on Mont Tremblant:

Mont Tremblant Lodge 1 (1979-80 brochure and prices)
Mont Tremblant Lodge 2 (ski map circa 1973 to 1978)
Mont Tremblant 3 (brochure circa 1984)

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With the assistance from postcards written on December 14 & 20, 1992.

Photo: Thierry Astruc
December 14th Postcard written to my mother in Canada

I’ve rarely had time to ski prior to Christmas due to midterm exams, correcting or other engagements. Always had no time with Killington’s October stealth openings then would generally manage one or two outings before the end of semester crunch in December.

Fall 1992 was slightly different; I had absolutely no time to go skiing. I had to meet a self-imposed deadline and finish almost 4 years of graduate studies. Thesis was completed on November 30, numerous copies made for the faculty, jury and directors and off to Mirabel Airport for the Montreal-London-Lyon flights. Graduate work was over until the jury would meet, which gave me probably 2-3 months of time off with the Christmas Holidays.

Overnight flight and unable to sleep after being awake for over 55 hours and barely slept in the last month in order to compete the thesis. Blame it on last-minute major “suggestions” by one of my directors and formatting changes from one computer to the next (home computer was new to me, I had just bought a Mac Classic with no printer in the last few months and didn’t know that formatting changed with the type of printer used). A five and a half hour wait at Heathrow Airport in London until my 90 minutes flight to Lyon, France. I was going to visit my girlfriend and her family outside Lyon. This wasn’t my first visit to France and it wasn’t my first time in the Alps either. The New Year 1991 trip was for less than 2 weeks with the University ski team and was only about skiing, although some people might think that skiing in gates isn’t skiing. This trip was 2 months and it wasn’t focused on skiing, but I brought my ski gear anyway.

The first week was spent recuperating and sleeping from the high stress of the last few months. We also visited the surrounding villages, Lyon, the Beaujolais and Burgundy regions. It took us 18 days to finally make it to the Alps on December 18.

Flying into London with St. Paul Cathedral below

December in Lyon

Cremieu, Isère : a few minutes from my in-laws


Brançion, Burgundy

This was the latest start to my ski season in memory, and first time I hadn’t skied in November since I’ve been keeping track back in 1981. It had been just above 6 months since my last day at Killington on June 11th.

In Lyon I bought the Guide Curien de la Neige, a French magazine that listed France 383 ski areas. Caroline had mentioned Chamrousse was a real option as it was only 135km and 2 hours away; she had skied there a few times as a teen. The base is located at 1600 metres and sits on the mountains just above Grenoble, the site of the 1968 Winter Olympics. Chamrousse was host to the Games alpine skiing events. Croix de Chamrousse is the summit located at 2255m.

Google Maps: The 135km day drive from the in-laws to the Olympic Mountain: Chamrousse

So the skiing was about the same distance as Tremblant from Montreal with approximately the same vertical, but much less expensive. Lift tickets were sold 80 FF ($20 CDN), although it was low season prior to this coming weekend. Today was Friday, we were hoping to come on Wednesday, but we wanted Winter tires installed on the mother-in-law’s Peugeot first. I found this reproduction of an old 50 year-old postcard; Chamrousse was arguably one of the first locations where skiing was practiced in France in the late 1800s.

Edition R. Girard, Photo : Centrale Grenoble
December 20th Postcard written to my mother in Canada

Skimap.org: Chamrousse Ski Map 2006
Source: Skimap.org: Chamrousse Ski Map 2005-06

We drove up to Roche Béranger base at 1750 metres. The place was quiet and it was a low-tide Friday, one week away from Christmas. Chamrousse’s elevation is lower than other Isère Department ski areas like Alpe d’Huez and Les Deux Alpes. We started skiing around Roche Béranger and slowly towards the left on the trails network and base area of Le Recoin at 1650m. The skiing terrain was fine near Roche Béranger; Arolles and Gaboureaux were some of the steeper open stuff which lead to the other base. That base was bigger and a tram reached the highest point. Runs down to Lac Robert or lower down towards 1400m weren’t open.

Caroline had started skiing when she was 6, and she spent a few years of her childhood in France’s Southern Alps; her technique was a bunch of mixed elements, some probably dating back to the 1960s French technique when Killy and Canadian Tiger Greene won medals at Chamrousse. She had skied only twice during her year in Canada, and once with me at Tremblant in late April. I gave her a few pointers, and continued to deprogram her from bad habits, and teach her from scratch. She was much better than an ex-girlfriend which had never skied before meeting me and that was in 1992. Now she is so a much better skier.

We skied Les Crêtes and the excellent and fun Mens’ Olympics Downhill, which was steep at the top and twisted on the mountain face. I was jealous of people living in Grenoble with this ski area sitting above them.

It would seem that snow is rare, even in the mountains. The lack of artificial snow and no base means rocks. It was super warm on that day, and the past week with +12c. The snow was good with some freshies, however the lack of base and a few rocks isn’t good for your ski bases: now my skis needed a place to get fixed.

Crossing over onto Le Recoin : Croix de Chamrousse and Tram to the summit

Skiing on the Roche Béranger side with Tram in the distance

Le Recoin below and Grenoble further below

Grenoble in the valley


Looking at the summit from Le Recoin base

December days are short

MadPat’s Gallery:
18 décembre 1992 : Chamrousse

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