Damage in cross-country ski centers | The magicians

It’s been a tough winter for outdoor enthusiasts. They had to work hard to find snow for skiing or ice for skating. Fortunately, there are now refrigerated ice rinks and grooming magicians who have worked miracles, especially in small family cross-country ski centers.

This is the case of Ski Montage coupe, in Saint-Jean-de-Matha. Even during spring break, skiers were able to slide on a beautiful white surface. The owners of Ski Montagne coupé, Nicolas Robert and Stéphanie Charest, have spared nothing to maintain the precious snow throughout the season.

“My wife and I give our 200%,” exclaims Mr. Robert.

He tells how, during the holiday season, he used a tractor and a mechanical shovel to collect clean snow from the parking lot and spread it on the trails. He spent the rest of the season pampering the precious snow with powerful PistenBully 100 snow groomers and expertise derived from eight years of experience.

“I can’t give all my recipes, it would be like asking a chef to give his recipes,” he says, before providing a few clues.

“There are several phenomena: weather, snow, cold, humidity, soil. Sometimes you have to leave the snow exposed to the cold longer, sometimes not. I treat the flake differently. I noticed that in the two or three mild spells we had this year, I lost much less snow than other centers. »


It takes a lot of effort to provide great skiing conditions during an extraordinary season.

Normally, after a snowstorm, maintaining the Ski Montagne coupe trails takes five to eight hours.

In conditions like those we had at the end of February, when we went from +7 oC to -20 oC, it can take us between 12 and 15 hours. Not everyone is willing to do that.

Nicolas Robert, co-owner of Ski Montagne coupe

And why do it? Nicolas Robert is a skier himself, but there is more.

“It’s about getting families and people moving, getting them out of their daily lives. We have a screen break, a noise break, we find ourselves in this tranquility. »

It is also about provoking a certain emulation in the industry.

“If we are good, others will tend to want to improve,” says Mr. Robert. Everyone in cross-country skiing is a winner. »


The small Gai-Luron Cross-Country Ski Center offered great conditions for a good part of the season.

Another family center, Gai-Luron, also stood out this year with very good ski conditions even during the most problematic periods.

“They have the same equipment, the same attention, we talk to each other from time to time, we encourage each other,” says Nicolas Robert.

In the Laurentians, the Morin Heights cross-country ski network and the Val-David–Val-Morin regional park also provided very acceptable conditions in the worst weather.

Even the snow groomers at Mount Royal Park worked miracles this year with very small quantities of snow, multiple mild spells and untimely forestry work.


The refrigerated skating rink in the Old Port remains a great attraction in Montreal’s winter.

Many outdoor enthusiasts have still had to turn to refrigerated ice rinks to get their fill of fresh air. The skating rink at the Old Port of Montreal is already more than 30 years old, but it is still very functional, says Steven Poitevin, responsible for communications at the Old Port.

We had to close a week earlier than usual because of the temperatures, but despite this, we had approximately the same number of opening days as last year.

Steven Poitevin, communications manager at the Old Port

The new skating rink at Esplanade Tranquille, in its second year of existence, can count on the most recent refrigeration technology. This allows it to remain open longer, possibly until the beginning of April. When managing opening hours, you have to take into account the temperature, of course, but also the sun’s rays.


The skating rink on Esplanade Tranquille has become a must-see in the Quartier des spectacles.

“It’s a restrictive element when they hit the ice rink directly, which regularly happens at the beginning of the afternoon,” comments Marc Randoll, executive director of the Quartier des Spectacles Partnership. We will therefore open early in the morning, until noon, and we will close the ice rink to be able to return it in the evening to Montrealers and visitors. It’s a technique that we learned with the experience of the first year. »

Rain may also cause the rink to close.

“We also learn to demarcate areas that are in a little less good condition because the objective is to close as infrequently as possible,” says Mr. Randoll.

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reference: www.lapresse.ca

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