Skiers and snowboarders don't have to wait long for their next adrenaline fix at Ski Vorlage. Ample lift capacity ensures short wait times for each of the ski area's 17 runs, 13 of which are open into the evening six nights a week for added thrills beneath a picturesque canopy of stars. The ski area's 80 acres encompass a vertical drop of 490 feet traversed by runs as long as 4,000 feet.
More than 140 certified instructors ensure beginners are comfortable on the slopes, although three black-diamond and one double-black-diamond runs serve to challenge experienced skiers. Between runs, skiers can warm up at the lodge restaurant or check into nearby accommodations.
Going Up The Mountain
Riding the chairlift up one of Mont Ste Marie's twin peaks?Vanier Mountain and Cheval Blanc?it's hard not to be awestruck. Panoramic views of the foothills, lakes, and buildings greet visitors as they ascend, turning the ride into just as much of a thrill as the trip back down.?
But it's not just the staggering scenery that attracts veteran skiers and snowboarders to the mountains. The privacy of the landscape is a second important draw. Free from overcrowding, it's easy to steal a moment alone before a descent, and savor the sensation of standing a whopping 1,250 feet above your surroundings.
Going Down The Mountain
Mont Ste Marie's verticals are, unsurprisingly, the highest in the region. That's especially true of the newest run on the south face of Cheval Blanc, Sudermann Ridge, a high-speed 1,325-foot dive designed for expert skiers and even-more-expert belly-sliders.?
Routes besides that one are hewn into the north faces of the peaks, and cater to a mix of skill levels. In general, Vanier Mountain is the more beginner-friendly of the two peaks, with long trails known for spectacular views and a relaxed pace. Total novices can even learn the ropes at the mountain's snow school, which hosts classes for ages four and up. Cheval Blanc, on the other hand, challenges more experienced skiers and snowboarders. Here, guests can brave Betsy, a double black diamond route that has earned awards for its breathtaking steeps.
Mont Ste Marie also adds to nature's formations with obstacles of its own. Its ski and snowboard cross centre pits visitors against banked turns and rollers, whereas its terrain park encourages tricks on rails, pipes, and jumps.
Just outside of Ottawa, in the rolling Gatineau Hills, lies Camp Fortune. This isn't the kind of camp where kids toast marshmallows and see how many twigs they can stuff into their mouths, however. To see many of its visitors, you'll need to look up. Adventurers of all ages climb and glide through the aerial park's sun-dappled forest canopy across three different courses, one especially for kids. The Explorer park is three hours of zig-zagging suspended bridges, tunnels made of barrels, and pulse-pounding zip-lines. The shorter but more challenging Amazone places 24 obstacles and seven ziplines throughout a multi-tiered treetop network.
In warm weather, skiing slopes reveal an extensive network of mountain biking trails, all scrupulously maintained and accessible by lift. Punishing rises and thrilling descents, and an obstacle-filled pump track, face intermediate to expert cyclists. A mountain-bike camp teaches kids topics such as trail safety and repurposing training wheels, all overseen by a staff of certified wilderness experts.
Groups often take over Camp Fortune for weddings, banquets, corporate gatherings, and other large-scale events from April to November. A main lodge and cocktail lounge host formal wine dinners and casual barbecue buffets alike, and the Chalet des ?rables holds private retreats.