skiers on snow at le massif

Massive Fun at Le Massif in Charlevoix

skiers on snow at le massif

Skiers enjoy fresh snow at Le Massif de Charlevoix. (Photo courtesy of Le Massif de Charlevoix)

Legend has it that when Le Massif de Charlevoix’s owner, ex-Cirque de Soleil co-founder Daniel Gauthier, was seeking investors to expand the ski resort’s offerings, he turned to his friend Guy Laliberté. The billionaire and former Cirque partner gave it some thought and  then decided he was in, with one condition — he wanted a sledding track installed on the mountain. That’s because, even though he is a thrill-seeker (he famously travelled to space as a tourist), Laliberté doesn’t ski.

I reflected on this story as I settled onto my wooden sled in preparation to tackle the thrilling 7.5-kilometre (4.7-mile) ride some 825 metres (2,705 feet) down the face of Mont Liguori at Le Massif de Charlevoix. Le Massif is one of the few ski resorts in the world with a dedicated sled run of any length, and a guided one with fireside hot chocolate break, at that.

Even though I am an enthusiastic skier who would end up doing my share of turns on the mountain’s runs and glades, I was excited to mix it up with some high-speed sledding down the longest such run in North America.

lady in blue coat on sled Writer Claudia Laroye awaits her turn at the sled run that descends 825 metres at Le Massif de Charlevoix. (Photo supplied by Claudia Laroye for

Le Massif’s sled run is just one of many offerings at the popular, picturesque four-season resort overlooking the St. Lawrence River. Located slightly more than an hour’s drive east of Quebec City, the resort features winter joy in abundance for skiers, sledders, and anyone who wants to enjoy this hibernal playground in the scenic Charlevoix region.

With the highest vertical drop in Eastern Canada (and east of the Rockies), and an annual natural snowfall of 645 centimetres (255 inches) per year, Le Massif also has the distinction of being home to North America’s first Club Med Mountain Resort, which opened at the peak’s base in 2021.

As for the luge adventure, it’s fun but serious business. No one wants to end up going off-piste into the red safety netting that lines the course curves, some of which feel a bit tight.

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After a bilingual safety briefing, the luge adventure started with a slow climb inside a large silver snowcat. Helmets are provided but a steering wheel is not. Every sled has a name (mine was Sludge) and is manoeuvred by slight (if panicked) body movements. Braking is done Flintstone-style with one’s feet skidding on the groomed snow as the sled careens down the mountain, reaching speeds of 40 km/h (25 mph). It’s a thrill, though I admit to being equally thrilled to make it down to the base of Le Massif’s gondola in one piece.

The sledding outing can be done by day, where it offers stunning views of the ice floes and icebreakers in the vast St. Lawrence River, or by night, by the light of one’s headlamp, illuminating the snow-laden forest of evergreens and birch trees.

Still, for most visitors to Le Massif, it’s about the skiing. The mountain has something for every skill level and discipline. Le Massif offers 53 runs and glades within 99 acres of skiable terrain, including some challenging double-black diamonds, on a long vertical drop that appears to run right to the water’s edge of the frozen river. There are few ski resorts with such truly epic views during a season that runs (weather permitting) from early December until mid-April.

skier at Le Massif summit sign

The St. Lawrence River and the surrounding landscape of Quebec is one of the draws of Le Massif de Charlevoix, as writer Claudia Laroye finds out. (Photo supplied by Claudia Laroye for

There’s also an abundance of alpine hiking, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing trails among the resort’s 400-plus acres of terrain. When thoughts turn to hot chocolate breaks or lunch, warm up inside the Summit Lodge. The cafeteria has an enviable no-fried-food policy, and there’s always a vegetarian option among menu choices that include soups, pastas, and pizza.

Tortellini with cauliflower, salmon and peas at Camp Boule.

Delicious lunch and creative cocktails are offered at Le Massif’s Camp Boule. (Claudia Laroye photo for

My favourite ski pit stop for lunch, dinner, or après was the elevated dining experience at Camp Boule Buvette de Montagne, located at the top of the mountain via the Camp Boule chairlift and also accessible by car.

I enjoyed a fabulous three-course prix-fixe lunch of piping hot squash soup and handmade tortellini with cauliflower and peas, accompanied by spectacular views out the picture window of the slopes and St. Lawrence. Camp Boule’s talented bartender Nick Charps whipped up a beautiful gin-based Blanche Avalanche cocktail, named in honour of a local who lived to tell the tale, as well as his famous Choco Chartreuse hot chocolate, served flambé with homemade marshmallows.

camp boule lunch menu and cocktail

You are certain to warm up to the creative cocktails at Le Massif’s Camp Boule. (Claudia Laroye photo for

After such a heavenly and delicious break, it was an effort to suit up and head back out. But it was snowing; the fresh powder of Le Massif  called. Like any good circus performance, it turned out that the delightful ski show must go on.


sundowner shot of le massif and the rental homes at the base

Le Massif de Charlevoix has a variety of family-friendly accommodations at the summit and base of the mountain. (Photo courtesy of Le Massif de Charlevoix)

Where to Stay: The extensive all-inclusive package at Club Med Québec Charlevoix features all-day dining and open bar, in-resort activities, entertainment, kids’ clubs, a spa, and even ski and snowboard lessons and lift tickets. According to resort owner Daniel Gauthier, the arrival of Club Med has had a positive impact on both the mountain and tourism in the region. The proportion of Le Massif’s clientele coming from outside of Quebec (hailing from places like Brazil, Mexico, and France) has risen to 30% in 2023, up significantly from 10% in 2019.

Non-guests can access and enjoy the hotel’s facilities with the advanced purchase of an all-inclusive Club Med Pass, for day ($141) or night ($191), which includes use of the heated pool, food and drink, entertainment, and the nightclub.

In addition to the Paris-based Club Med property, Le Massif has close to 100 rental units at the mountain, divided between the summit and the base, including small homes, condos, and chalets. They can be booked directly at the mountain, which bundles accommodation and lift tickets at preferential rates.

The resort’s new Grande-Pointe Houses are true ski-in, ski-out units located at the base of the mountain, nestled between the river and the slopes. The townhouse can accommodate as many as 12 people and feature all the comforts and amenities of a modern home, including laundry facilities and dishwasher.  They’re ideal for multigenerational family trips or for two families sharing space.

Disclosure: Writer Claudia Laroye’s visit to Le Massif de Charlevoix was hosted by the resort. 

Claudia is a travel writer and editor in Vancouver, Canada. She writes about adventure, family, food and wine, luxury and sustainable travel for print and online publications around the world. In addition to travel, Claudia loves chocolate, guacamole and pineapple margaritas.