After a slow start, Quebec's ski season ends with a bang

The past winter was an up-and-down one for the province's ski centres.

Officials with the Quebec Association of Ski Centres, which represents 75 centres, say visitors to Quebec's ski hills made roughly 6 million day trips — just slightly above the average in recent years.

The Association's Yves Juneau says the season started promisingly enough, with abundant snowfalls before the holidays over much of the province. But then came an extended cold snap which kept skiers and snowboarders off the hills during the lucrative holiday period.

"Unfortunately, in spite of the fact that maybe we had the best snow conditions for the holiday season, the cold came and the people were not lining up at the base of ski areas," Juneau said.

Happily for the ski centres, the spring break period for students made up for that.

"We had a lot of snow all across the province in March, and that set the stage for an excellent school break period for us," Juneau said. "So the season is going to end with a big boost in visits."

There was still plenty of snow to be skied on on Easter weekend as well, and many stations are expected to continue operating through the middle of April.

Juneau adds the relative weakness of the Canadian dollar also helped keep Canadians skiing here, and helped draw more U.S. visitors than usual. About 17 per cent of skiers and snowboarders on the province's hills this season came from outside Quebec.