Snowy weather heralds good end-of-season for Quebec ski hills

The Quebec ski season was off to a rough start over Christmas but fortunes have improved, with fresh powder coming down over the second busiest time of the year, March break.

Quebec ski association says business was good over March break due to weather conditions

There were plenty of skiers and snowboarders at Mount Gleason in Tingwick, Que., over the March break week. (Claude Rivest/CBC)

The Quebec ski season was off to a rough start over Christmas but fortunes have improved, with fresh powder coming down over the second busiest time of the year, March break.

Yves Juneau, CEO of the Quebec Ski Area Association, said that this season is shaping up to be better than last year as the wintry weather continues to accommodate downhill ski and snowboarding enthusiasts.

"We think it's going to be a good season overall," he said. "There are a lot of skiers on the slopes across the province."

He said that spring break skiers make up 25 per cent of the business at local ski hills and that the separate Quebec and Ontario school breaks make for a key two-week period.

"At the end of the day, that's a really significant period for us and thankfully the snow conditions are really the best of the season."

The fresh powder is making for good ski conditions and a strong end to the season, says the Quebec Ski Area Association. (Claude Rivest/CBC)

Kim Savoie, director of services at Mount Gleason in Tingwick, Que., told CBC that the good weather attracted a lot of visitors from outside the area.

"The spring break was very good," she said,

She's noticed that as soon as there's snow on the ground, people are much more likely to think about buying season passes for the coming year.

"When there is snow, there are people buying passes."

Skiers are hitting the slopes at Mount Gleason in Tingwick, Que. (Claude Rivest/CBC)

This is a welcome uptick for ski hills whose bottom lines have been affected by unseasonably warm temperatures the last couple of years.

Many operators spent hundreds of thousands on new snow-making equipment in recent years in an effort to adapt and stay competitive.

Saint Sauveur installed more than 60 new snow machines this year and Mont Sutton invested $500,000 in snow-making equipment in 2016.

As a result, some hills were able to open in November, thanks to the early cold snap and artificial snow capabilities.

With files from Claude Rivest