Date Skied: 2/15/04

Resort: Mont Shefford, Granby, QC



Conditions: Awesome! Packed powder, loose powder

Trip Report:
I have heard about this place up in the Eastern Townships of Quebec for about 4 years now. Every winter I keep saying let’s try it and we never do. This place has peaked my curiosity so much after hearing from other members of this board and Snow Journal that I made it a point to try it this weekend.

I will start by telling briefly my adventure in getting here (from Sherbrooke to Mont Shefford). I left Sherbrooke at 8:15am. According to their website, Shefford is in Granby, QC on route 112. I took the exit for Granby Zoo which took me to Rt 112. I saw mountains and headed west on 112, and drove and drove until I past the mountains and saw no ski area. I asked about Mont Shefford and one person told me to head back on 112 for a very long time. I ended up at the entrance for Granby Zoo and called Mont Shefford. I love Verizon wireless, it works everywhere. They gave me directions from my destination. I was about 10 miles to the west of Shefford. I took 112 through the center of Granby at 9:30 am and must of hit every stop light. I finally got to Shefford around 10:00am. This would of been about a 45 minute trip from Sherbrooke if I followed the directions on their brochure that I picked up while I was there. Anyway on to the skiing.

I pulled into the parking lot of about 100+ cars and booted up. As I approached the lodge I looked up and was in awe. This place is bigger than I expected. It has 1067 vertical foot drop. As I looked to right of the lodge I saw the lattice towers of the T-bar that took you to the summit. That liftline could make someone pee their pants! It does a some serious climbing up to the summit. I was in heaven! A real mountain with a real T-bar! I purchased my ticket, 27 CDN$, and headed for the lift. You need to know how to ride a T-bar before you venture on this. As I got "dragged" to the summit I could not help noticing the trail that I would be taking, "La Coulee". It had a pitch and was covered in bumps. I was amazed. As I departed the T-bar and let it coil up into the hanger, I did not realize that I needed to hand the T-bar to the liftie. The sign was there, but it was in French and I thought it said "release and move". It basically says, " hand the T to the liftie".

The ride down. As I looked down the slope I just could not believe how steep it was and bumped up it was. The snow felt funny, I could tell on the ride up the T-bar that it was different. My boards made a different sound than they do when skiing everywhere else. I looked around and realized that all of the snow was REAL! Mont Shefford’s snow making system was Mother Nature and she MUST LOVE this place! Everywhere I looked it was all REAL snow! No granular, no packed ice, no scratchy. As I departed for my ride down I must of had the biggest smile on my face! I was loving this! The bumps were soft and NO ICE! It was a blast. It was real skiing the way it should be. I forgot to mention it was -6 below F. I did not feel cold at all. I think riding the T-bar keeps you warm. Lots of sun and no wind.

I took the same lift (I will call it the LT for Lattice T-bar, since the towers were lattice and I do not know the make of it). This time I took the trail to the right. I went up hill and was in a wonderland. It’s almost as anything goes here. You ski next to some access road to the summit. I thought it was a trail until I saw a Hyundai Santa Fe. Trees galore and little trails go to wider trails. Lot of twisty stuff and steeps. I skied some fresh untouched powder on some sides of trails. I do not know how much grooming takes place here. I like it just the way it is. It is like I went back in time to a ski area of the 60’s or 70’s before super groomed trails 1 mile wide. If the trail is a diamond or double diamond it is for a reason.



I took the Samson brand T-bar to the summit. This T goes up the left side of the "La Coulee" trail. It has a smoother ride thanks to the telescoping pole that the T is attached to. You kind of stay more balanced on the T-bar itself. It goes to the same summit, maybe about 20 feet less than the LT to the right. It also seems to have a smoother track. Both T-bars go about the same speed as your typical chairlift. These T-bars both go much faster than ones you would find on a practice slope at a local ski area. To my surprise nobody fell off. Usually when I go to Orford and ride the T-bar, mostly beginners use this and they tend to fall off.

The trails to this too were an interesting and fun mix. Again, I think you just pick a way down and ski. Most trails have more than one rating. It will start of a diamond, then go to a square and the a circle. I will say this, the trails are very challenging to challenging. I rode the third T-bar, another Samson brand. This lift was for the novice terrain and goes about ¾ of the way up. I took the T to the top station and skied down "L’Allegro". This was a green circle trail. It had a slightly less pitch but wider than Butternut’s Whip trail. If I was a beginner I would of gotten off of the T-bar sooner.

On a scale of 1 to 10 and 10 being the best, my ski day was a 10! Shefford rocked! I am going to be honest, it is not for everybody. If you want super cruisers and well manicured terrain, no obstacles, tons of snowmaking pipe littering the trail edges, HSQ, gondola hybrids and valet parking, this is not the place. Three T-bars, friendly people, even to me with my poor French speaking skills, no snowmaking, just natural (lots of it) this is the place. Mont Shefford is not Bromont or Mont Orford. I am glad about that. I thought I had died and gone to heaven. Here is another way I can describe this place. Take Middlebury College Snow Bowl (about the same vertical drop) with some Suicide Six type terrain mixed in, remove all of the chair lifts and snow making and put in T-bar lifts.

What could Shefford do to improve? NOTHING. Keep it as it is!

Some pix below and some on my web site.http://www.skijay.com/shefford.html

La Mistral Trail: