Le Massif

Le Massif de Charlevoix (French /lə.ma.sɪf.də.ʃaʁ.lə.vwɑ/) is a ski area in Quebec, Canada, northeast of Quebec City and directly overlooking the St. Lawrence River.

Le Massif de Charlevoix
Logo massif couleur.png
Slopes overlooking the St. Lawrence River
Slopes overlooking the St. Lawrence River
Le Massif de Charlevoix is located in Canada
Le Massif de Charlevoix
Le Massif de Charlevoix
Location in Canada
LocationPetite-Rivière-Saint-François, Quebec, Canada
Nearest major cityQuebec City: 70 km (43 mi)
Coordinates47°17′N 70°37′W / 47.28°N 70.61°W / 47.28; -70.61Coordinates: 47°17′N 70°37′W / 47.28°N 70.61°W / 47.28; -70.61
Vertical770 m (2,526 ft)
Top elevation806 m (2,644 ft)
Base elevation  36 m (118 ft)
Skiable area406.3 acres (164.4 ha)
Runs52 total
Ski trail rating symbol-green circle.svg - 15% Easy
Ski trail rating symbol-blue square.svg - 30% Intermediate
Ski trail rating symbol-black diamond.svg - 20% Difficult
Ski trail rating symbol-double black diamond.svg - 35% Expert
Longest run5.1 km (3.2 mi)
Lift system6 total
1 high-speed gondola
3 detachable quads
1 platter-type
1 novice conveyor
Lift capacity11,200 skiers/hr
Terrain parks1
Snowfall645 cm (250 in)
Snowmaking70% - 174.6 acres (70 ha)
Night skiingNo


Le Massif de Charlevoix ski area is located in Petite-Rivière-Saint-François, Charlevoix, Quebec, a 50-minute drive from Quebec City. Its vertical drop is 770 m (2,526 ft), the highest in Eastern Canada and east of the Rockies.[1] It is one of the few ski areas that is accessible from both the base and summit.

Skiing season usually lasts from early December to late April. Le Massif de Charlevoix's has an above average annual snowfall compared to other ski areas in Eastern Canada with a five-year average of 645 cm (250 in).[2] While the snow pack at the summit can exceed 240 cm (90 in) in a typical winter, the base is near sea level and can quickly begin to melt by April.

La Charlevoix, the steepest trail with a pitch of 64%, is home to the only alpine training center east of the Rockies for Canada's athletes[citation needed].

The resort stretches from the top of the escarpment (actually a half-graben) to the bottom where the Saint Lawrence River flows past.


Skiing at Le Massif de Charlevoix started at the end of the 1970s, with snowmobiles towing groups of skiers from the main road at the top and a van serving as the lift. In the early 1980s, commercial operations started with la Société de développement du Massif. Starting in 1983–1984, school buses were used to drive skiers from the base to the top after each run. In the summer of 1992, two chairlifts were installed: a high-speed quad and a fixed-grip double.

The year of 2001 saw significant change for Le Massif de Charlevoix. A new road was built from Route 138 to the top of the mountain. The distance between Quebec City and Le Massif de Charlevoix summit was then reduced to 70 km (43 mi) instead of the 95 km (60 mi) previously needed to reach the base via the village of Petite-Rivière-Saint-François. At the same time, The Cap Maillard was raised by 35 m (115 ft) to create La Charlevoix, an FIS standard downhill trail mapped by alpine course designer (and champion) Bernhard Russi. It hosted the speed events of the 2006 Junior World Championships, with technical events at Mont-Sainte-Anne. However, La Charlevoix was deemed unsuitable for hosting an Olympic downhill men’s event hurting Quebec City's chances at hosting a Winter Olympics.[3] The Junior Worlds returned in 2013.

Daniel Gauthier, co-founder of Cirque du Soleil, bought Le Massif de Charlevoix in 2002. Daniel Gauthier is no longer a co-owner of Cirque du Soleil and has used part of the proceeds of the sale of his participation in that venture to purchase Le Massif.

In 2005, Jean-Luc Brassard, the 1994 Olympic Champion in freestyle mogul skiing, became a spokesman for Le Massif de Charlevoix.

In 2009, after a record snowfall of 915 cm (360 in), Le Massif de Charlevoix added 26 acres (11 ha) of backcountry skiing on Mount A Liguori.

Beginning in September 2011, a new tourist train service from Quebec City began operation, making a stop in the winter at Le Massif de Charlevoix.[4]

Though the ski area carried out substantial new development in coordination with the train, such as a hotel in Baie-Saint-Paul with a private rail spur for shuttle service, and a gondola shuttle from the lower mountain to the rail station in Petite-Rivière-Saint François, the winter trains failed to attract enough passengers to prove economical and were terminated after the 2014-2015 season. Train service now operates from June to October.[5]

Large panorama taken from the top of Le Massif along the Saint-Lawrence River


Le Massif de Charlevoix is about to undertake[when?] a major development known as Territoire Le Massif. This will open up the third peak to skiing, but mostly transform the mountain and surrounding area into a distinctive four-seasons resort, while respecting environmental values.

The project has a budget of about C$180 million in new investments, in addition to the $50 million already spent and comprises three parts:

  • La Ferme (The Farm): Hotel, services and activities in Baie-Saint-Paul, on the site of a burned-out farm. Opening in June, 2012, it was awarded first prize in the Hotel and Service Retail Category of the Retail and Leisure Interior awards in March, 2013.[6]
  • La Base (The Base): Services, lodging and activities at the base of Le Massif de Charlevoix, West of the village of Petite-Rivière-Saint François.
  • Les Crêtes (The Ridges): Services, lodging and activities at the summit of Le Massif de Charlevoix.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Machan, T. (November 10, 2010). "Skiing Quebec's Le Massif, Canada: A new circus rings in the changes". Telegraph Media Group, UK.
  2. ^ "Mountain Stats". Le Massif de Charlevoix. Archived from the original on 22 February 2014. Retrieved 10 February 2014.
  3. ^ White, Marianne (December 13, 2010). "It's looking downhill for Quebec's Olympic bid". National Post. Toronto, ON: Postmedia Network, Inc. Retrieved 2016-12-24.
  4. ^ "Charlevoix Ski Train Ready to Roll". First Tracks!! Online. 11 August 2011. Archived from the original on 14 August 2011. Retrieved 14 August 2011.
  5. ^ "Train de Charlevoix Schedule". Reseaux de Charlevoix. Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  6. ^ "Hotel la Ferme wons top interior design award worldwide". Press Release, March 7, 2013. Le Massif de Charlevoix. Retrieved 17 March 2013.

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