I’m not a big downhill skier but by popular demand, here is some info for those without cars. Downhill skiing and snowboarding are pretty expensive to begin with, so once you add the cost of a bus ride it can be prohibitive, but there are a few good deals out there. Feel free to contact me if I’ve missed anything obvious!
This company organizes regular day trips to ski resorts within a few hours of Montreal, including the bus ride. They tend to go quite far – Mont-Ste-Anne, Tremblant, Jay Peak, le Massif – but you can sleep in the bus! Sample prices: Mont-Ste-Anne (which is about 3 hours away from Montreal) costs $60 plus tax, including lift ticket and bus.
A website that helps people organise carpooling specifically for skiing and snowboarding. It’s free to sign up!
www.galland-bus.com (expect this to be updated in early December)
514.842.2281 (central bus station in Montreal – has latest info starting in early December)
This bus company organises package deals to ski resorts in the Laurentians, including the cost of the bus and the lift ticket, saving you a bit of money. They serve Mont Avila, Mont St-Sauveur, Mont Blanc and Mont-Tremblant. The bus drops skiers off at a convenient location. Sample cost for an adult to Mont-St-Sauveur and back – $82 including taxes in 2011. The cost depends on whether it’s the weekend or a weekday.
Concordia Ski and Snowboard Club
University ski clubs are likely the cheapest option and most are open to non-students. They organize day trips for $40 and up, including lift tickets and bus. Ask them about equipment rental discounts.
McGill Snowboard Club
This club is open to non-students and also to skiers. You pay an annual membership fee of around $100, covering all transportation, plus your lift ticket (around $40 per day) each time you ski.
Club de Ski Snow de l’Université de Montréal
You don’t need to be a student to join this club. They tend to go to further ski destinations, and there are great prices as well.
Free one-hour ski lessons including ski rental for children ages 5-8 at tiny local hills, weekends from 10 am to 3 pm. Call 1-877-686-3443 for more information. These lessons are held at two locations that are accessible by public transportation:
1. Laval Nature Centre – www.ville.laval.qc.ca/ms/centre_nature/activites.html Metro Cartier (orange line) plus bus 25, 48, 58; or metro de la Concorde and bus 42. The buses are part of the STL system and so you’ll have to purchase another ticket for $2.80. Schedules at http://www.stl.laval.qc.ca/. Also, when you get back on the metro in Laval, you can’t use your Montreal OPUS card – you’ll need to pay $3 cash.
2. Parc Michel-Chartrand in Longueuil – http://www.longueuil.ca. Metro Longueuil (yellow line) then bus 10, 71 or 78 will get you very close. See http://www.rtl-longueuil.qc.ca/ for schedules. This is within the Longueuil transit system and will cost $3.10 each way. Remember that when you take the metro in Longueuil to return home, you won’t be able to use your Montreal OPUS card, so have $3 ready.
YMCA Ski and Snowboard School
Ski schools often have options with or without lessons and can be an economical way to ski if you plan to go every weekend. The YMCA organizes weekend and weekday lessons and ski day trips for adults and kids. Usually you purchase a series of 8 ski days. A package of 8 for an adult without lessons costs around $500. It may be necessary to become a member of the YMCA however. They also organize the occasional single day trip.
Rod Roy Snow School
Lessons, bus+ski without lessons, adults, kids, à la carte. Sample prices : 7 weekend ski days for an adult for $560 plus tax. The price depends on whether you are skiing near or far from Montreal. Ski day excursions à la carte cost around $75, tax included.
This organisation, primarily for francophone newcomers, organises a few ski day trips per season, including bus transportation, lift tickets and probably rental discounts. You need to be a member, which costs $10 annually.
This is an active, French-speaking outdoor forum that serves Montreal as well as all of Quebec. There are groups based on various sports, including downhill skiing. You can become a member for free and correspond with others (and see what they are planning). This would be a great way to meet other skiers and organising informal outings with carpooling.
The Montreal Skiing Meetup Group
Meetup groups are a great way to participate in organised outings such as downhill skiing. Most are based on carpooling. Usually it’s free to join. Outings can cost something – it depends on the group. They can be active for a while with many members and events, then inactive. You can search for other groups based on themes.
Ski Mont Bruno
Though not entirely practical, Mont Saint-Bruno is quite nearby and is technically accessible by public transit. From Metro Longueuil, take the 350 bus in the direction of Sainte-Julie until the terminus. Then take the 100 bus towards “la Montagne”. This will get you to within 1.6 km of the entry to the ski hill (550 Rang des Vingt-cinq Est, Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville), after which there will still be a walk along the ski hill access road. See www.ville.sainte-julie.qc.ca for schedules. The fare one way for the buses in Sainte-Julie costs $6.75. Remember that when you take the metro in Longueuil to return home, you won’t be able to use your Montreal OPUS card, so have $3 ready.
Another option for creative transit-users. This bus company serves the towns of Bromont and Magog, near the ski resorts in Bromont and Orford. There are no packages and the drop-off locations may not be entirely practical. An adult round-trip to Magog will cost you $60 plus tax (without the lift ticket). You’ll be relatively close to Mount Orford. If it’s in service in 2012, you can then take a frequent, free tourist trolley from Magog to Orford Park. Call 800-267-2744 or 819-678-7888 for the latest info and schedules about this, and to confirm exactly where the trolley drops people off.
There was once a weekend bus from downtown Montreal to J-Peak (USA) but this seems to have disappeared due to border issues.