Greetings from Quebec, a land of wonderful cheeses (and beers). There are many artisinal cheese makers here creating delicious cheeses from unpasteurized milk, cheeses only available within Quebec as they are not permitted to be sold outside of this province. I’m always impressed by the varieties of foods, beers and wines for sale in the local supermarkets: so much more fun than at home.
I’m off on a last rose-smelling trip with a couple of friends to extract the last few ski runs from the now rapidly diminishing snowpack. We stopped first at Stoneham, just outside Quebec City, for one of our number to take part in her ski team training on the olympic size half pipe that they have here. Unfortunately the snow was rapidly melting before our eyes, but we managed to ski until lunchtime (without a break) before it became ‘beaucoup pomme de terre hache’ (terrible French, I know). It is very strange to ski in such warm temperatures; we don’t know how to dress for it!
We moved on yesterday to the Charlevoix region up to Le Massif. Just after we passed through St. Anne de Beaupre we started to get into an area with snow-laden roofs and significant snow banks at the road sides. A first for this season, and a very heartening sight (to a skier).
Le Massif is a delightful place to ski. It is the most spectacular hill I’ve ever skied. The lodge is at the top of the hill overlooking the St. Lawrence river, and the very long runs go almost to the water. You have to stop skiing periodically just to take in the view: often the river is iced over, but if not you can watch the merchant ships go by!
The longest run is almost 5 kms long, and even the steeper ones are several kilometers long. The legs really burn here. What glorious runs! The food in the lodge is wonderful, with not a fry in sight, and even the birds are fed well at many feeders around the hill.
We went exploring today, after our legs had turned to rubber on the hills, and saw that the maple sap harvest is well underway. Many of the trees are sporting buckets on their trunks and the high-tech trees are all linked with a web of blue pipes. The current cold nights and warm days are exactly what the sugar maples need to get their juices flowing.
I’m off for a shower and a spot of knitting now…