Heli-skiing in eastern Canada may seem farfetched, but once you experience all that Chic-Chac Lodge has to offer, you’ll drop any preconceived notions about it and you’ll be pleading with your friends to join you on the next visit. The lodge is nestled in Murdochville, within the Gaspésie region of Quebec, and the Chic-Choc Mountains that surround it lie at the confluence of a beneficial weather intersection. This is where the Gulf Stream rages up America’s East Coast and collides with frigid, moisture-laden Arctic fronts above town, resulting in crazy amounts of drool-worthy snow. That fresh powder is spread across peaks and plateaus that offer everything from pucker-worthy chutes to above-treeline bowls and open-glades, all accessed by chopper or snowcat with the fine people of Chic-Chac.
Skiing aside, once you arrive in Murdochville at the hostel-style lodgings, you’re welcomed home, even if you’ve never been there before. “Guests can expect to be welcomed as if they were part of our family,” explains Alex Thibodeau of Chic-Chac. “We will take charge of their whole trip—cooking, housing, ski guiding—it ends up being the best price to quality experience you can find.”
The accommodations and skiing are so good, in fact, that Chic-Chac sees an 80-percent return rate and it’s a common occurrence to have folks tack on extra time right in the middle of their stay. “Most of the guests upgrade their package in order to see and experience more terrain,” says Thibodeau.
What makes the operation even more unique, however, is the Red Bull Supernatural-inspired features built into the hillside of York Mountain. These are hand-built wooden ramps, jumps and jibs that are scattered among the 15 tree runs on the mountain; the woodwork is put in place in the peak of summer and covered in powder when the snow falls, providing for a terrain park experience unlike anything you’ve ever skied. For proof, just tune into Level 1 Productions’ 2015 release, Small World.
And if jumps aren’t your thing, don’t fret. Chic-Chac offers a multitude of packages—from lift-accessed skiing on Miller Mountain to the heli-and-cat-skiing combo—catering to a wide variety of ability levels. Think outside of the box when you’re planning your upcoming heli- or cat-ski vacation. Think east.