Spot Check: Mont Ste. Anne

There are some things West Coast peeps just can't understand about us heads from the East. Like why, in the middle of winter with minus horrible temperatures, we feel good about walking around the city in our puffy down jackets with ill beats shootin' out of our headphones. Or our hills we call mountains. Ice is all you hear about when East Coast resorts are mentioned, but that's like looking at a glass and seeing it half empty rather than half full, nah mean? Don't get me wrong, the endless West Coast pow is what we all wish we grew up riding, but we're still riding, so the East can't be that bad.

The first time I rode Mont Ste. Anne was when I hiked up with two of my friends one snowy November night. The mountain was blowing snow for opening day, which happened to be the next day, and they were going to open one run that was short and flat as hell. We knew it would be really crowded and we wanted to be the first ones to ride MSA. So, we got there around midnight, hiked up, and shredded under the lights on our tiny jump, while getting rides back up from the maintenance guys on sleds. A few inches of fresh snow with private chauffeurs–not a bad start to my riding history at Ste. Anne.

It isn't always that good, but MSA has one of the highest vertical drops in the East, and offers a nice diversity of runs, so anyone can find something–although tree runs are locals' knowledge. Then, there's the pipe. It's just a pipe you'll say, but I'll tell you this, almost every time these guys cut it, the rulers come out–I'm talking measuring sticks. The shit is straight and they have pipe-cutting down to a science. Be prepared to show up to a perfect (fresh masonite layer) and deserted pipe, but if you ain't from the East, you don't know hard until you've experienced something like this.

If you're lucky, you'll get to see the whole 418 as we reunite from all parts of the globe for the annual winter trek to Mont Ste. Anne. Everyone shows up, ready to contribute to global warming with heated sessions, and we all proceed to tiptoe the sculptured ice palace with the frantic energy of possessed voodoo dancers. Don't despair if you miss us, though. There's a good chance you'll see one or more of the infamous 418 squad pop over your head any day–some members spend quite a lot of time at MSA. It isn't unusual to have D.C.P. David Carrier-Porcheron dropping into double overhead first hits, and Etienne Tremblay pulling back to back runs y'all ain't ready for. Or, maybe you'll witness a mellow double with David “Nalu” Aubry and Sylvain Rheault going for broke, chasing each other down the icy walls. All these cats are super friendly, so don't hesitate to go up to them if you need pointers on how to handle the mirror-like walls. Oh yeah, don't be shocked if you don't recognize the faces of the riders flying over your head–many locals like Fabien Duchesne and Nick Dignard have it going on.

What are you going to do when the sweat from hiking up the pipe has turned your first layer into an icy armor? Well, head down to the Zig Zag and get a peanut war going. This is where you go to chill in front of the fireplace and shoot a game of pool, while dodging peanut shells. You can also stop by the Chouette Bar a little later, but I'd recommend stepping out of the resort area and checking out nearby historical Quebec City. There's something for everyone there with the Pervert Wednesday nights going off at the Maurice with my boy DJ Nerve providing audio entertainment and getting girls jiggy. Saturdays are Nerve's night at the Studio just down the street where he'll play all the new street sounds to his leisure and get you up to date on what's going on in the real hip-hop world.

You are now armed with the inside knowledge to make your visit to this part of the French-speaking North American land successful. In case you don't come prepared with all the necessities of the proper snow warrior, check out my people at DLX–they'll take good care of you. Peace.–Emanuel Krebs