Located in the heart of Quebec’s Eastern Townships, the Mont-Orford ski resort is renowned for its 62 ski runs, including 18 in the glades, and its breathtaking scenery. Located in Parc national du Mont-Orford, not far from Magog, this ski resort is renowned for its magnificent natural setting, including dense forests and numerous lakes, which create a microclimate conducive to abundant snowfalls every year.

With a summit altitude of around 850 metres (2789 feet), Mont-Orford is the fourth highest ski resort in Quebec and offers a vertical drop of 589 metres (1933 feet).

The ski area covers three main mountains-Mont Orford, Mont Giroux and Mont Alfred-Desrochers-and offers a varied range of runs to suit all levels of ability, from beginners to experts.

Skiing at Mont-Orford

Corporation Ski & Golf Mont-Orford is entering a new era and announcing a $20 million investment plan aimed not only at revolutionising the winter experience but also at enriching its offering with all-season activities.

Modernising Mont-Orford for personalised, exclusive experiences

As part of its ambitious $20 million investment programme, Mont-Orford is focusing on the modernisation and creation of areas dedicated to welcoming visitors and offering privatisation, guaranteeing personalised and exclusive experiences.

At the heart of these new features is the Salle Giroux, transformed into an elegant bistro café connected to the cafeteria by a glass space overlooking the terrace. This innovation opens up the space while offering the possibility of privatising it for corporate groups or private celebrations such as weddings, with a breathtaking view of the surrounding mountains.

Café le Virage is also undergoing a significant metamorphosis. The space will be enlarged and refurbished to serve as a relaxation area with lockers, ideal for breaks between activities or simply to change clothes before or after descents. The redevelopment aims to improve comfort and functionality for all visitors.

The Orford hall has also been improved, with more seats and better storage space. The refurbishment of the service counter also enhances this room, making it perfectly suited to hosting private events or business meetings, ensuring an experience that is both refined and practical.

The Slalom Pub, meanwhile, will undergo significant improvements with the replacement of its oil heating with a more environmentally-friendly option and the addition of air conditioning, making the space ideal for year-round use. State-of-the-art audiovisual elements will be integrated, transforming the pub into a multifunctional event space, suitable for cultural events as well as conferences and private parties.

These improvements are part of a wider vision to diversify and modernise Mont-Orford, aimed at attracting not only winter and summer sports enthusiasts but also those looking for an exceptional venue for their special events.

Mont-Orford: optimising the artificial snow network

As part of its modernisation plan, Mont-Orford has paid particular attention to optimising its snowmaking system, which is essential for guaranteeing ideal skiing conditions throughout the season. These innovations in snowmaking represent a crucial facet of the $20 million investment, underlining the resort’s commitment to sustainability and performance.

Skiing at Mont-Orford

A major step in this project is the installation of new pumps at the pumping station, significantly increasing snow production capacity. Additional fixed snow cannons have also been purchased, providing more uniform and rapid coverage of the slopes. These cannons are designed to be more energy-efficient, reducing the resort’s ecological footprint while improving energy efficiency.

Aware of the challenges posed by climatic variations, Mont-Orford has also planned to modify certain compressors and infrastructures to enable effective snowmaking even during periods of warmer temperatures.

Efforts to be more energy-efficient also include reducing employee travel and handling on the mountain. By centralising and further automating the snowmaking system, Mont-Orford aims to reduce emissions linked to the management of snow operations, thereby contributing to a healthier and more sustainable environment.

Parc National du Mont-Orford with Mont-Orford station in the background on the left

A special feature of the project is its integration with the trail networks managed by the Société des établissements de plein air du Québec (Sépaq). This synergy will create an enhanced mountain biking experience, where cyclists will be able to take advantage of extensive and varied access, crossing different areas of the mountain and enjoying diverse landscapes. The aim is to link the two networks to offer a wider and more rewarding circuit.

The development of the trails will be preceded by a detailed characterisation of the terrain during the summer of 2024. This stage is crucial to ensure that the construction of the trails respects the natural environment and maintains the ecological balance of the region. The planning also includes consultations with ecologists to minimise the impact on local flora and fauna.

Mont-Orford: Technology and sustainable development

One of the major innovations is the adoption of RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology to manage access to ski lifts. This technology enables a transition to contactless ticketing systems, offering a smoother, more secure experience for visitors. RFID rechargeable tickets also help to reduce the waste generated by the old paper ticketing systems, in line with the resort’s environmental objectives.

Sustainable development and environmental management

In terms of sustainable development, Mont-Orford has undertaken a number of initiatives to protect and enhance its natural environment. These include the development of a run-off water management plan to prevent erosion and protect local watercourses. A runway maintenance plan has also been put in place to reduce the amount of snow needed, thereby minimising the impact on the underlying vegetation and biodiversity of the region.

Sunrise over Mont-Orford resort

Promoting biodiversity and environmental education

Mont-Orford is also committed to ecological revitalisation projects, such as planting native plants on certain trails.

THESE PLANTS ATTRACT POLLINATING INSECTS, INCLUDING MONARCH BUTTERFLIES, CONTRIBUTING TO THE HEALTH OF LOCAL ECOSYSTEMS.

Educational tours on environmental protection and biodiversity are planned to raise visitors’ awareness of the importance of conservation.

These technological and environmental efforts reflect Mont-Orford’s determination to become a responsible and innovative tourist destination. This investment is divided into two phases, each jointly funded by the Corporation and the Quebec Ministry of Tourism via the Programme d’aide à la relance de l’industrie touristique (PARIT). These investments are not only a testament to the resort’s commitment to excellence and innovation, but also a promising catalyst for regional tourism and the local economy.