Changing weather conditions mean skiers will enjoy a later season on the slopes.
“We’re in a situation right now, where the ski season tends to start a little later and sometimes it continues a little bit later into April.”
If skiers are planning a vacation, February and March are “definitely the two best months”. Weather patterns have prompted avid skiers to juggle their plans. Abnormal weather conditions have led to a lot of extremes. For example, over the Christmas holidays, temperatures were cold and then there were periods of rain in January. “Three days of rain, that shut down most ski centres in Quebec for probably a day”. Ski hills didn’t have as much snow as usual. Alpine ski areas have been able to compensate with the help of snow-making equipment.
“Ski areas that don’t have snow-making will not survive — particularly if they’re in the southwestern part of Quebec”. Most ski areas have made quite a bit of snow heading into February and March. The ski region that is most sensitive to weather change is Quebec’s Eastern Townships, which is more vulnerable if it gets rain and warm temperatures.
Mont-Orford ski resort has noted that because of the unpredictable climate, families and skiers are now doing short-term rather than long-term planning. “They make decisions at the last minute. . .they follow the weather. . .they’ll leave to go skiing for two days, three days (but) four days are extremely rare now”. Skiers are looking for a big snowstorm before heading out, whereas in the past they would have planned their ski trips in advance.
Resorts are keeping their fingers crossed for the upcoming spring school break, which in Quebec and New Brunswick is in early March. Spring break was not as strong in recent years because the weather wasn’t great. . .we’ve had very cold spells and rain”. But the American dollar has helped draw Ontarians to ski centres during that province’s spring break in mid-March. “The exchange rate was unfavourable , which means, instead of going to the United States, Ontarians head towards Quebec ski stations”.
Other suggestions for outdoor enthusiasts who may not be skiers. There’s always snowshoeing and skating trails which have been growing in popularity in recent years. Parc John Molson, a two-kilometre skating trail through the woods in Saint-Sauveur, north of Montreal. There are also about 15 kilometres of trails in the Trois-Rivieres region midway between Montreal and Quebec City. Another skating trail is Parc du Grand Heron, a 2.5-kilometre stretch northwest of Quebec City. “There are more and more of those developing and it’s really fun.. . .it’s not like skating on your behind-the-school rink”. “People are discovering skating now because they have more comfortable skates than hockey skates — and they are inexpensive.”
Article credit: Canadian Press
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