Skiing and Luging Le Massif

With a height at the summit of only 2,645 feet, you would think Le Massif would be a pretty mellow mountain. And you’d be wrong. With the largest vertical drop east of the Canadian Rockies, more than half of the 53 trails are black diamond or expert.  That still leaves more than enough trails for beginners and intermediates to savor the expansive view of the St. Lawrence River that stands in front of you. Start the morning with a nice blue groomer like La Petite-Riviere, and at mid-mountain switch to the green L’ancienne, which snakes through the trees to the edge of the ski area. The vista from here is amazing. You can see the town of Baie-Saint-Paul and the snowcapped mountains in the background. Out to sea are the icy waters of the St. Lawrence and the island across from Baie-Saint-Paul, L’isle aux-Coudres. More experienced skiers should take advantage of the morning sun to head to the southern slope and sample steeper blacks like La Fenomene. Only the truly gifted should attempt the triple black diamond La Charlevoix. That’s where the Canadian national ski team comes to practice their downhill and slalom runs.
Le Massif also offers guests the rare chance to go rodeling or luging down a 7.5-kilometer trail on the northern face of the mountain. The exhilarating two-hour trip starts with a snowcat ride to the top of the trail, where you’re handed a small sled. Then you start cruising downhill, curving around banks, and sweeping over hills, all with that same glorious view of the St. Lawrence. I took the luge tour yesterday and it was a blast! You use your feet to brake and turn, stopping to walk uphill over streams and to take a break for a drink at a warming hut. The actual time on your sled is probably around 45 minutes, which went far too quickly. On that gondola ride back to the top, you’ll have the urge to sign up for the next luge tour and do it all over again.