A Difficult Christmas, But Season Now Well Underway In Quebec’s Ski Resorts

The historic rainfall and hot winds of 24 and 25 December 1 February gave e challenge this year to Quebec ski resorts in addition to the implementation of health measures. Bad weather conditions forced virtually all stations to close their doors temporarily. Mother Nature has been even more ruthless in eastern Quebec, forcing stations to suspend or postpone their start of the season indefinitely. 

Whereas the Christmas holidays took place in conditions unusual, ski centers have welcomed with relief, the return of cold weather and the arrival of the first snowfall to celebrate the New Year. The recovery snowmaking has increased the number of open slopes. Skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts were thus able to set off on the snowy slopes in order to fully enjoy the joys of winter.

The day of December 31st was the busiest of the long break after the snowfall. "It is important to point out that the results vary according to the regions of Quebec," said Josée Cusson, director of marketing and communications for the Association des stations de ski du Québec (ASSQ). "Some stations had a catastrophic start to the season with postponed opening times and remain closed for lack of snow" according to Ms. Cusson. 

According to preliminary data collected by the ASSQ, the stations of the province are seeing a great enthusiasm for board sports in times of COVID. Several stations were also full for the last weekend of the holiday break. In addition, the results of the Economic and Financial Study of Quebec Ski Resorts show that the season lasts on average 100 days in Quebec (except for last year following the early closure on March 15, 2020). The period of January and February represents more than 40% of the total turnover for the season. Despite a difficult Christmas, ski resort owners are therefore betting on January and February to relaunch the season.

“The health measures put in place by ski resorts are respected by the vast majority of skiers and snowboarders. Some reminders are necessary especially in the queues for the ski lifts to wear a mask ”according to Jean-Michel Ryan, Chairman of the Board of Directors of ASSQ and Chairman of Mont Sutton. “Unlike a normal season when customers take breaks to warm up or take advantage of the facilities to have a good meal, people almost always stay outside to enjoy the outdoors, which has the impact of prolonging the queues at the ski lifts ”he specified. “Already, the distance of 2 meters has the consequence of lengthening the queues. We therefore have the impression of having more customers than usual,

According to the ASSQ study, the holiday season usually represents 20% of the annual ridership of Quebec ski resorts. In the current context associated with the pandemic, with the limited capacity of ski resorts, several resorts have been forced to limit and even exclude the sale of daily tickets, which will result in a drop in ski days for the Quebec ski industry for the last days of the Holidays.

Founded in 1979, the ASSQ is a non-profit organization bringing together all the ski resorts in Quebec. Its mission is to promote and defend the interests of the resorts, foster the development of the next generation and support the industry in order to offer skiers and snowboarders memorable mountain experiences. Downhill skiing and snowboarding are practiced by more than 1.4 million Quebecers.

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