|Professional Tweaks, Tips & Reviews By "AJ" Picarello
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Thirty four years it took me to finally bomb runs at Mont St. Anne! This was the trip of a lifetime that I had passed up for the last time. As it turns out, the resort is just as amazing for DH as I expected. And as a side note to riders who are bringing along family members, the city of Quebec and the resorts have much to offer people who do not ride. (With any luck, this fact may help you convince the wife that the mountains in Canada are the prime location for family fun.)
Beer, Bike, Woman and Baby
The bed of my full size truck was a site to be seen. My Brooklyn seemed to disappear into a maze of baby contraptions. With Dora the Explorer DVD’s locked and loaded, we took the thirteen hour drive.
Mont St Anne is Tremendous! As most of you know, they have hosted World Cup Racing for many years as well as the Masters Championships. A high speed gondola wisps you to the top in what seems just minutes. North of Quebec and West of the St Lawrence River, the views from the top are spectacular.
Be warned, Mont St Anne has very advanced trails as we found out first run. (Stay away from trail 1 for the warm up). Non Professionals do not fear, the mountain offers plenty of easy to ride trails. Trail “Four” is a perfect, off the brakes, warm up. After you get the groove, check out “Le Vietnam”. This trail has more to offer for the advanced rider. Trail builders packed in a few nicely designed, medium size double jumps. The turns have nice flow, but some jumps can not be doubled and are built very wrong, riders take caution on that first run. Conserve your energy! I estimated pro times for the more popular runs at over 10 minutes! Almost every run is a marathon session.
It seems Canadians love to go full throttle. Outlawed in the US, Canadian trail builders have trails down all the ski runs. The speed you instantly hit when riding the ski trails will at first scare the “bejeezes” out of you. After adjusting to the insanity, I found myself favoring the ski runs! Face your fears and take advantage of these trails if you visit. The many sturdy wooden ramps set up down these runs are a blast to hit at 40 mph! The ramps are not only trippy to hit at mach speed, but they’re functional in that they jump you over water bars. Try riding through a water bar at these speeds and you’ll know what I’m taking about.
Watch out for the many unmarked trails. You may think you’re riding a bike trail since you see tire tracks, but be warned, you may be on a hiking trail! To say these trails are technical is an understatement. Most of the hiking trails are not bike friendly. I had to suck up my pride and walk it down a few sections. Wooden berms and “skinnies” dot the landscape. Personally, I avoid nonsense like this, but Mt St Anne has man made obstacles, if that’s what makes your pockets tight.
If you have a fat wallet or are bringing the wife, stay at the Chateau Mont St Anne! It is a beautiful hotel conveniently located at the base of the mountain. Make sure you hit up Quebec City. Go site seeing and have dinner in Old Quebec. The wife will be happy to drop some coin at the shops. Schedule a day to check out the waterfalls you will see on the drive up. Hike down the stairs and into the mist of the falls! Take the gondola back to the top if the stair hike seems too intimidating.
Mont Saint Anne has something to offer for the whole family and any level rider. I actually can’t think of one negative to write about other than, bring spare parts! A Minion tire will set you back $100! You think $3.00 a gallon is expensive? Canadian gas prices are actually comical. Expect to pay $90 to fill up a 24 gallon tank. Actually, the mountain has one huge negative and that is: You will hate every other mountain you ride at after riding Mont Saint Anne. Do whatever it takes and check this one off the list!!
Check out some pics from the trip
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