Friday, 30 January 2015

A Winter's Tale .... or.... The Joads Go Skiing

Last week we went skiing. To a lovely old resort, on tiny Lac Morency, in the Laurentians, in Quebec. I won't say that we packed too much stuff.... just that while we were loading the car, I thought of a scene in the 80's television show Designing Women. The episode where the four ladies and their significant others go skiing, and Suzanne has so many suitcases, that Reese quips, "God, we're like that family in the Grapes of Wrath."

1940 film The Grapes of Wrath

Yessiree, folks. The Joads were going skiing. Since we were driving, there was no need to pack light. So... two suitcases (albeit small ones,) two bags of ski jackets, pants and boots, one bag of skates, one bag of toiletries, hairdryer, shaving kit etc. and one bag of books. And since we were staying in a condo with a full kitchen... three coolers and two boxes of food and wine. And that didn't include two ski bags holding four pairs of cross-country skis, two sets of poles, and a variety of waxes etc. And all this fit neatly into my little, two-door Honda Civic. Barely.

We were prepared for almost every winter activity: skiing in just about any condition from new snow to ice to slush, skating on the lake, working out in the gym, swimming in the pool, vegging on the couch with a book, and even dressing up for a dinner out.

This is part of the main lodge at Auberge du Lac Morency. Original parts of the main building date back to the early 1930's. It's nestled on the shores of Lac Morency, in a kind of bowl, surrounded by hills.

I love these little studio condos that look like log cabins. 

We had booked a last minute deal, and our condo was a two bedroom, two bathroom unit, with an upstairs. 

The main floor was all pine and hardwood, with a fireplace and full kitchen. We loved the rustic feel. "It's our kind of place,"  Hubby kept saying.

We had perfect weather for a winter vacation. Brilliant sunshine every day, and frosty temperatures well below freezing. And no wind... well... hardly any wind.

We skied four out of five days. And on the one day when the wind plus the cold made it pretty darn chilly, this is what the well dressed fashionista/skier wore to avoid a frozen face.

This is my "come hither" look. Pretty fetching, if you ask me. 

I kept thinking of that old movie Abbot and Costello Meet the Invisible Man. Remember that? At least when I took off my face mask and hat, my head didn't disappear.

On one day we skied the "Parc linéaire Le P'tit Train du Nord" as they call the refurbished railway line, where the trains no longer run, where walkers and cyclists have full rein in the summer, and where it's groomed and track set for cross-country skiers in the winter. This is a seriously gorgeous trail. Beautifully groomed, with enough of the gentle ups and downs of a typical railway line to make it interesting, but still wide and flat enough to be able to pick up speed and get a really great workout. 

We have a similar trail near our house where we cycle in summer, and ski in the winter. But it has no ski track and, despite the fact that it's supposed to be a "shared trail," in winter, it's primarily taken over by snowmobiles. Unfortunately, many of the snowmobile drivers are not aware of (or choose to ignore) the need to slow down when they pass a skier. So it can get a bit nerve wracking, not to say dangerous. But that's a rant for another time.

On two other days we skied at Parc régional Val-David/ Val-Morin. We accessed the trails at the lovely little town of Val David. But you can also park, and start skiing, a few kilometres away at Val Morin.

This is the old railway station/ tourist bureau in downtown Val David. On Saturday, it was swarming with tiny hockey players, taking part in a minor hockey tournament on the outdoor rink. It was munchkin city; I swear, not one of them came up above my waist. 

This is a shot of the main street of Val David.

This is the beginning of the trail we skied. I didn't take my i-pad out on the trail with me. There were too many hills here, and I was afraid I would fall and crack it. Several times I wished I had it, though. Especially when we were sitting on a bench in front of the cabin where we stopped for lunch, looking out over the hills below, at the perfect snow and the clear blue sky. 

We were not the only skiers in town that day. As we were leaving, we passed these kids on their way to the trails.

On the day we didn't ski, we worked out in the gym, then went for a hot tub and swim. Then vegged out on the sofa with our books. I tried to blog using the "Blogsy" app on my i-pad mini. I had my title all planned "Blogging à la Volée," or "Blogging on the Fly," but the wi-fi signal was too intermittent. Ah well... relaxed sigh... it could wait until we got home. I guess that title should be "Pas de blogging à la Volée."

The one activity we didn't try while we were at Lac Morency was dog sledding. But I went down to the lake to get some pictures. Heeeere they come... these dogs love to run. 

And at the end of a long day of sledding, these pups got a free ride home. 

As evening  fell on the last night of our holiday, Hubby and I got cleaned up and strolled down to the lodge for dinner.

The food is wonderful at L'Auberge du Lac Morency. Dinner is always table d'hote. This is Hubby's first course, endive salad and some sort of terrine/pate. He said it was delicious. 


Hubby's main course was cannelloni. And mine was steak in a Beaujolais sauce with sweet potato crisps. Yum. I tried a new wine... well, new to me... an Italian Sangiovese, recommended by our waiter.  The Auberge is known for its wine cellar, and while I'm no connoisseur, I really do like to try different wines. Hubby had a local micro-brewery beer, which he said was very good.


Dessert was delicious as well, but I was too tired and mellow to take any pictures. My muscles were tired after a hard ski with lots of hill climbing. And I was relaxed and happy, and too full of great food to worry about blogging. 

Yep. We were both mellow and, one might even say, replete. Filled with delicious food, good companionship, and our week of fun in the sun and fresh winter air.  

What fun things are you up to this winter?


  1. Oh, it looks like a wonderful time! I'm so envious of the skiing.

    1. What we love is that Quebec is so close (Lac Morency is a two hour drive) and yet it feels far away.

  2. Lovely pics , I especially liked the dogs being taken home & the icicles on the auberge . You have a very healthy glow in that last picture - no wonder
    Wendy in York

    1. Thanks Wendy. I loved watching those dogs go back and forth each day...all yipping and tail wagging in the morning, a little less rambunctious in the evening.

  3. We haven't been cross-country skiing in ever so long. I'm hoping that once I retire we might make it back to Montebello where we had a memorable few days many years ago. But it looks as if Lac Morency would do just as well -- your photos and description make it look like a delightful spot!

    1. It is lovely. And it's not one of the high profile resorts like Tremblant, which has been "gentrified" so much it's almost unrecognizable. Tremblant can't be beat for choice of restaurants, little shops and kitsch. I guess that's because it's a downhill facility and it really gets the crowds. But we like the more laid back-ness of Lac Morency. They even smoke their own fish and are growing grapes to start a me that's way more interesting that another high end shop.

  4. How beautiful it all looks! And that BLUE sky...hmmmm

    1. We had clear blue skies all week...which means of course frigid temperatures as well. But with not much wind it was gorgeous.

  5. what a magical week! no wonder you stay so thin and fit.

    carnival season has begun in new orleans and we went to a party in the french quarter last nite to watch the krewe du vieux parade. this krewe specializes in satirical and very "adult" themes, floats and costumes. the quarter was filled with revelers, the party was lively and the hosts have a gorgeous balcony on which to watch the passing show. big fun!

    1. That sounds great, Susan. I'm from a part of Eastern Canada which is 30% French ,or Acadian. A few years ago they had a huge "Acadian Reunion" festival which drew many Cajuns from your part of the world, whose ancestors were originally from my part of the world.


All comments, ideas, commiserations, questions, complaints... are most welcome.