Early snowfall a blessing for Quebec skiers, geting in first tracks of the season

While some weren't ready for winter conditions in the middle of November, skiers in Quebec are embracing the snow and and hitting the slopes early.

Several ski resorts to open next week

Mont-Sainte-Anne opened 11 kilometres of cross-country skiing trails, making it the earliest start to the season the resort has seen in the past five years. (Nahila Bendali Amor/Radio-Canada)

Ski resorts across Quebec got a leg up from mother nature this week, with heavy snowfall and cold temperatures helping to open up the season in style.

Le Relais, north of Quebec City, opened the base of the mountain Saturday morning to allow die-hard skiers, such as Nicolas Desharnais, to practise a few tricks on the rails and jumps in the snow park at the bottom of the slopes — free.

"It's the only sport I do during the winter, so I'm always really looking forward to go skiing," he said.

Fred Côté said getting out on the hill and stretching out his ski legs with his friends gets them ready for the season ahead.

"We wait all summer to see a bit of snow fall," he said, trudging up the hill with a few dozen enthusiasts.

Le Relais spokesperson Mélanie Morneau said while the season is off to a good start, things could turn quickly.

"You never know with mother nature," she said.

Mont-Sainte-Anne will open its downhill runs on Saturday, Nov. 24. (Léa Beauchesne/Radio-Canada)

The resort doesn't have an official opening date but said it would likely be "very soon."

Other mountains in the region will open next week: Stoneham on Friday Nov. 23, Mont-Sainte-Anne on Saturday Nov. 24, and the Massif de Charlevoix on Saturday Dec. 1.

The chairlifts at Sommet Saint-Sauveur in the Laurentians are now in operation seven days a week.

Head start for cross-country skiing

Cross-country skiers were also out on Saturday morning, enjoying the fresh snow.

The Forêt Montmorency already has 41 kilometres of trails open — some were ready before Halloween.

Mont-Sainte-Anne also has 11 kilometres of trails — its earliest season in five years.

The skating rink at Place d'Youville in downtown Quebec City also benefited from the low temperatures of the past week — it is open to the public as of today.

With files from Radio-Canada's Fanny Samson


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