As we celebrate the 10th year anniversary of the Massawippi Conservation Trust and Foundation, our neighbour, Mr. Gilbert Beaupré has been operating his trails for much longer than us. In 1977, Mr. Beaupré decided to build some cross-country ski trails. He has made this his labour of love and his duty to maintain over 12 kilometers of trails every winter for more than 40 years.
The circuit crosses over several private properties so he needs to get a seasonal right of way from the land owners to allow him to open the trails. Starting in the fall, he renews his permissions. He cuts back scrubby growth that might be in the way of the skiers. With the help of some family and his wife Yvette Beaupré, who acts as secretary, he cares for the trails. You can find him every weekend at the kiosk behind the Saint Catherine de Hatley community centre. This is the entry point. An annual membership costs $35 for individuals or $70 for families or you can pay the day rate which is $4.
The trail offers all the charms of the countryside: wooded areas, raised trails and panoramic landscapes. It is a demanding destination for skiers as the terrain is very hilly. When you start on the trail, you start by climbing up a field from which you have a beautiful view of Mount Orford and then you never stop going up or down afterwards. Where there are valleys, there are hills! At one point the ski trail crosses our snowshoe trail and in other places they run parallel to each other.
The contact phone number is his home phone. Mrs. Beaupré answers the calls. Gilbert laughed when he told me that sometimes people call late at night, expecting to leave a message on a business phone. After 10 p.m. he doesn’t answer.
Mr. and Mrs Beaupré don’t see each other very much in the winter as Gilbert is busy 7 days a week grooming and manning the ticket booth.
He used to ski as well, along with his family. He doesn’t ski anymore and his kids have moved away. When they come to visit, they still like to go out on the trails.
Website, Facebook page, other social media accounts? No, he doesn’t need any marketing. People discover the trails from friends and word of mouth.
Somewhat like the Massawippi Trail, Les Quatre Vallons ski trails are a treasured find for Townshipper outdoor enthusiasts.
“Thanks to the rights of way offered by the many owners, including the Massawippi Trust, we can offer very beautiful trails,” says Gilbert Beaupré, who looks forward to the arrival of the winter season every year.
Les Quatre Vallons will continue as long as Mr. Beaupré remains passionate. He intends to continue the picturesque circuit for as long as possible.
76 Rue la Grande, Sainte-Catherine-de-Hatley, (Quebec)
Téléphone : 819 843-7324