Article and photos by Michel Julien via the blog Coups de Cœur pour le Québec
Info-Ski Mont-Tremblant is your private guide on the trails. Want to find out the ski conditions for a certain trail, the best viewpoints or the shortest way back to the village? Ask Luc L’Espérance or one of his Info-Ski colleagues. That’s what they’re there for!
Volunteer Luc L’Espérance has been providing Info-Ski services at Mont-Tremblant for 3 years.
Luc knows the Mont-Tremblant ski resort inside out. This smiling retiree can be seen darting down the slopes in a bright yellow jacket with a big question mark on the back. I met him at the top of the hill. Friendly and passionate about skiing, he tells us a little bit about his role.
Luc L’Espérence is what we call an Info-Ski guide; in other words, he’s a volunteer whose job it is to help skiers on the slopes. No, Info-Ski guides are not patrollers or monitors but in fact information guides.
A volunteer guide starts the day by assessing the condition of the trails. “This assessment helps us inform skiers of the conditions of the various trails,” explained Luc L’Espérance. “We can then warn people about trails that are closed, icy, etc.” He also checks the weather and possible changes in ski conditions.
Whether in a gondola, at the top of the mountain or on the slopes, the yellow and red jackets are easily spotted. “People shouldn’t hesitate to ask us questions. Info-Ski is a free service offered to skiers. Customers ask us all sorts of questions and we have to be ready to answer them.”
The most frequently asked questions are: “Do I have time to ski down this trail before closing time? Is this a good trail? How long does it take to go down?”
Some of the less commonly-known services offered by Info-Ski include the guided tour of the mountain. “We offer free guided tours between 9:30 am and 1:30 pm. We accompany skiers on trails that match their skill level on all four hillsides. We also show them the most breathtaking views. People really enjoy this service.”
Three out of some 85 Info-Ski guides who can be found on the slopes at Mont-Tremblant.
Info-Ski guides also monitor skiers’ safety: “We make sure skiers are well dressed to prevent them from getting frostbite,” said Luc.
“At the end of the day, we regroup at the top of the mountain for closing time. We have to make sure skiers go down the right hillside. Once the ski lifts are closed, if skiers find themselves at the bottom of the Versant Sud but their car is parked on the Versant Nord, they’ll have to call a taxi to get to the other side! All the trails need to be checked to make sure no one is stuck on the mountain come nightfall.”