Ski Canada Magazine
Mont Sutton is one of those places where locals might give you a funny look if you ask them what their favourite run is. Skiing here is less about ticking off boxes on the trail map and more about deciding your way down the mountainside, in sets of a dozen turns or so.
There are 60 runs here, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. Those 60 runs punch above their weight because of the oft-cited stat that there are fully 200 junctions between the runs. It’s not a case of each run being intersected by cat tracks and access roads leading skiers into near-death collisions on perpendicular trails. It’s more a function of the way original owner and surveyor Réal Boulanger cut narrow, twisting lines that followed the fall line wherever it looked most interesting.
Importantly, Boulanger was not heavy-handed with the chainsaw. The heart of Mont Sutton remains the sous-bois or gladed terrain around the easternmost three chairs. Boulanger left many trees in the midst of narrow runs that often play out under an intact forest canopy. The result is as interesting to the skier’s legs as it is pleasing to the nature-lover’s eye. And in today’s fast-paced world, the trees help slow skier’s speeds
But Sutton isn’t one of those places that caters to experts at the expense of beginners. The western three chairs are decidedly laid back, and for the true beginners there’s an initiation area with its own Magic Carpet and chairlift that’s right beside the main lodge but separated from any traffic. Daycare here offers a dedicated drop-off zone and an hour-long lesson for kids aged two to five.
Being just about the highest peak in the area, Sutton gets an impressive snowfall of just under four metres a year, a total that’s supplemented by a $5-million investment in snowmaking upgrades since 2016, when the Boulangers sold to a trio of Sutton regulars. This season will see a second randonnée or alpine touring trail, this one up the eastern side of the mountain, and the introduction
of RFID pass technology.
The hill’s first slopeside hotel may be in the works, but no one is willing to officially talk about that yet. In the meantime, there’s plenty of slopeside rental stock along the westernmost trails, and just two km down the road the recently renovated Hotel Horizon offers a pool and restaurant for those who like the feeling of front-desk hospitality.
Skiable terrain: 96 hectares Lifts: 10
Annual snowfall: 392 cm