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Soon at the end of the slope, the first ski season without sanitary restrictions in Quebec resorts promises to be “correct” at best in financial terms.

In fact, report resort managers contacted by La Presse, after a “difficult” start to the season over the holidays, the influx of skiers attracted by favorable snow and weather conditions since mid-January is proving barely enough to catch up with the volume of business anticipated after two seasons handicapped by the pandemic.

In the Eastern Townships, for example, Charles Desourdy, president of the Bromont Mountain Experiences station, says, “We expect to make our revenue budgets” from ticket sales and services, but with a lower profit than forecast due to numerous additional costs.

Starting with the extent of the snowmaking work needed at the start of the season to open a few trails during the holiday season to accommodate subscribers, who account for three-quarters of ski revenues in Bromont.

But also, says Mr. Desourdy, it was necessary to manage the budgetary impact of the high inflation of operating and labor costs related to in-station services.

On the other hand, among the other services offered to skiers, he notes a “significant drop” in expenses for catering, as well as a volume of business in rental of equipment “a little below expectations”.

Nevertheless, despite a lackluster ski season financially, the Bromont resort is continuing to start work on an investment of nearly $11 million to replace and increase the capacity of one of the two ski lifts. of its “Versant du Lac”.

This project benefits from financial assistance of 2 million from the Support Program for the Development of Tourist Attractions (PADAT) of the Government of Quebec.

Elsewhere in the Eastern Townships, Jacques Demers, president of Corporation Ski et Golf Mont-Orford, reports a ski season “about 5% behind” in ticket sales. .

“Due to the lack of snow, the holiday season was very difficult. But the arrival of more favorable snow conditions and weather from mid-January allowed us to catch up with a series of almost perfect weekends and a very good spring break,” says Mr. Demers.

Moreover, this difficult start to the season due to the lack of snow serves as an additional reason for the managers of the Mont-Orford station to confirm an investment of 2 million to increase the snowmaking capacity by 25% for the next season. ski.

“This is a priority improvement so that we can open a few leads during the holiday season and thus better respond to the continued growth of our seasonal subscriber base,” said Jacques Demers.

In the Laurentians region, north of Montreal, the management of the Mont-Tremblant Resort Association says that “traffic is at the rendezvous since the American and Ontario clientele were back in numbers similar to the pre-pandemic years, while like Quebecers.

“It is this interesting combination of the number of visitors and their origin which contributes this season to generating demand in the various related services [to skiing]”, indicates the management of Mont-Tremblant in a brief email response. to questions from La Presse.

To the Les Sommets group, which includes five ski resorts in the Laurentians (Saint-Sauveur, Avila, Gabriel, Olympia and Morin-Heights) as well as the Edelweiss resort in Outaouais, the director of marketing and main spokesperson for the company, Christian Dufour, was unavailable to answer questions from La Presse during the preparation of this report.

In the Quebec region, the regional management of the Alberta company RCR, which operates the Stoneham and Mont-Sainte-Anne ski resorts, reports a “financially difficult season” due to mechanical breakdowns and bad weather. in December, before and during the important holiday season.

At Mont-Sainte-Anne, the stall of a gondola from the resort’s main lift on December 10 forced the closure of all lifts for inspection until January 8.

Two months later, repair and safety recertification work on the gondola is still ongoing. In addition, the Mont-Sainte-Anne resort is preparing to host a World Cup snowboard cross (snowboard) race on March 25 and 26.

As for the number of skiers, Hughes Leclerc, communications manager at RCR regional management in Quebec, says: “It is correct based on our reduced expectations during this special and financially bad year at Mont-Sainte-Anne. »

At the Stoneham ski resort, the holiday season was seriously disrupted by a storm on December 23 and a power outage that lasted three days.

Subsequently, skier traffic recovered somewhat despite the favorable snow and weather conditions observed since January.

“We will have to wait to analyze the full data of the season to try to explain this situation,” he adds.

Moreover, at Groupe Le Massif, which manages the famous ski resort located on the banks of the river between Quebec and Charlevoix, it is reported that the ski season was “pampered in terms of natural precipitation” and that the season ended in “spring skiing that promises to be exceptional”.

“Skiers and snowboarders are well and truly there this winter. And international customers are back on our slopes, including Americans and Brazilians staying at Club Med,” Le Massif Group management said in an email response to questions from La Presse.

As for maintaining the quota on daily ski ticket sales that had been introduced during the pandemic, Le Massif says that the permanent adoption of this commercial practice “allows it to offer a quality experience, both in the mountains and in [the ] different points of service, to the delight of [the] daily clientele and [the] seasonal subscribers”.