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The Adventure: Snowmobileguys.com (Travis Saunders) and Snowtrailstv.com (Mike Grant) embarked again on yet another quest to experience the trails located in the Abitibi-Témiscamingue and Cantons-de-l'Est touristic regions in Quebec Canada. Nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains close to Montréal, sharing the border with three U.S. states. The wooded valleys and cozy villages offer a delightfully blending of New England cachet with French joie-de-vivre.  It is the perfect place for a winter vacation!  Our journey started with Mike arriving on Friday Feb. 17th the night before our flight to discuss the week of activities and trails that we will be riding. Winter was in full swing in Quebec and we were packed and ready to experience a wonderfully itinerary of sights and trails.
The group in Quebec
Click on the pictures for the Photo Gallery!

Getting there: We flew out of Detroit Metro via Air Canada to Toronto just a quick 57 min flight with a 45 min layover then catching the next leg of the flight to Montreal again a quick 1hr 10 min flight. We were met by Daniel Larocque with Tourism Québec and Sophie Fontanari with Quebec Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (FCMQ).
After waiting for our Snowmobile gear and clothes to be unloaded, we found out that Mike was missing his snowmobile gear. Not a big deal at this point as we were going to the Grand Prix in Valcourt, J. Armand Bombardier Museum and Bombardier plant the first couple of days in town then riding. We waited to find out the gear went to Washington D.C. Now knowing that, Mike filled our the paperwork for lost luggage and asked that it be sent to our hotel either that evening or the next day......(if we only new what was going to happen then)! So we were on our way to Valcout to have dinner with Danie Béliveau, Media relations from Tourism Eastern Townships, Normand Besner (FCMQ Operations & Government Affairs) Jean-Luc Sylvain (President of FCMQ) and some fellow journalists from Snow Goer Canada and Supertrax International at the Bistro Brandy Creek in Valcourt. It was great to see everyone that we had met last season and talk about what else? Snowmobiling!

We realized of course that we were going to a place where the people spoke a different language. We were surprised, though on how easy it was to converse with everyone as English was spoken by the staff at every location that we visited and if we had any translation quirks pointing and hand gestures quickly remedied the moment especially when it came to ordering from the menu. I learned about a new dish called Steak TarTare.... It was delicious!

Sunday: Grand Prix in Valcourt was created in 1983 to be Canada's premier event for race fans and sports enthusiasts in both  the professional and the amateur snowmobile communities.  Each year, the GPSV reaffirms its mission during three days of intense competition, by thrilling tens of thousands of visitors from all over Quebec, Canada, the United States and Europe. They make the pilgrimage each February to the world snowmobile capital, Valcourt, to experience extreme snowmobiling at its very best!
FREE STYLE - Jay Quinlan, Ross Mercer and Heath Frisby
, bronze medal-holder to X Games 2007, performed jumps a height of more than 10 meters and stunts like  “Flip-flop”, “flips” back, “double grab” thorough to the extreme, comparable with the moto-cross freestyle!
Valcourt Grand Prix

WPSA SnoCross
This had to have been one of the best moments during the trip, Mike and I were able to cover the Triple crown in Winter snow sports. After eating breakfast we left Hôtel Castel & Spa Comfort in Granby and traveled to the Yvon-Duhamel Circuit for the Grand Prix Ski-Doo de Valcourt. The day included WPSA Snocross, Oval Ice racing on Snowmobile and Motorcycle. We met Lindsay Roberge Communication Manager for the event and discussed the event and coverage. Mike and I were allowed access to the inside of the track to cover all the action, it was around 4 degrees out and at times heavy snow squalls would engulf the event making the action very white and wintry!

The action was non stop and moved at a rapid pace switching from Snocross to Oval racing to Motorcycle racing back to Snocross. All the big names were in attendance including Blair Morgan, Mathieu Morin and Ross Martin all chasing a first place finish in their respective events. Lunch was a provided by the Grand Prix Ski-Doo de Valcourt. The day concluded with the final race being won by Blair Morgan in the Pro-Open class, followed by fireworks and a dinner with the champions. We had all area access and we headed off to get into the middle of the race track for some close up action shots of the racers and stunts being done on the stunt ramp.
Oval Ice Racing

Blair morgan Interview
After catching some great action shots and getting it on tape Mike and I headed towards the pits, we had the opportunity to meet quite a few of the racers and ask them what it meant to them to race in the Grand Prix Valcourt event. We were able to watch the senior tech's prepare the sleds for race competition and the finally we had the the opportunity of getting a couple of minutes of face to face time to talk with Blair Morgan after winning the championship race. AWSOME!!!!! Great racing and competition, a must to attend and experience, if you are planning a trip or are in the area.


2007 Grand Prix Ski-Doo de Valcourt
25th Edition Races results


Oval - PRO CHAMP 440
   

1

38

Matt Schulz

Wausau, WI

Polaris

2

74

Dustin Wahl

Greenbush, MN

Polaris

3

180

Nick Dolezal

Eagle River, WI

Ski-Doo

Snocross - PRO OPEN

 

 

1

7c

Blair Morgan

Saskatchewan - Can

Ski-Doo

2

837

Ross Martin

Wisconsin

Polaris

3

27

Mathieu Morin

Québec - Can

Ski-Doo

Motos on ice

 

 

1

27

Andrew Ranger

Roxton Pond

KTM

2

1

Dominic Beaulac

Nicolet

Yamaha

3

78

Karl Daigle

Roxton Pond

KTM


We were on our way from the hotel to visit J-Armand Bombardier Museum where we met Danie Béliveau who arranged a tour of the museum. I can honestly say that the tour and facilities were awesome, to see the historical information that displayed the evolution of the snowmobiling industry whiles showcasing the inventions that were developed during the years. The peak of Joseph-Armand Bombardier’s career came with the invention of the individual snowmobile, marketed under the Ski-Doo* brand name. With it came the birth of a new industry and new winter sport.
Bombardier Museum

After our visit to the museum we had the opportunity to take a tour of the BOMBARDIER plant located just down the road in Valcourt. BOMBARDIER (BRP) manufactures Ski-Doo® and Lynx® snowmobiles, Sea-Doo® watercraft and sport boats, Johnson® and Evinrude® outboard engines and Can-AmTM all-terrain vehicles (ATV or Quad). BRP also manufacture the RM1 karts and the reputable Rotax® engines that propel not only the majority of our vehicles but also motorcycles made by other renowned manufacturers such as Aprilia and BMW, and small airplanes. The tour was a great experience to see behind the scenes as to how the different products are assembled and move through the production facility via moving conveyors. While we were there, the watercraft (Sea-Doo) product line was in full swing. You can see the snowmobiles and other product lines being assembled during the summer months.

Monday: We woke up and had big breakfast packed up our gear and loaded it up for a day drive up to Val-d`Or, our starting point for some great riding. Mike was on the phone again to the airport looking for an update on his lost snowmobile gear. NO good news yet, we were scheduled to start riding in the morning and asked to have the luggage flown to the Val-d`Or airport so it could be picked up in time for the morning ride. We had a 6 hour drive to Val-d`Or and our good friend Luc was in charge of the driving duties, making sure all four sleds were ready to go and double duty translating some English slang to French and vise versa!

It was awesome to see the beautiful country side, Ski hills all along the way and as we got closer to our destination we came across some snow flurries that made the scenery really gorgeous. We made it to Val-d`Or and unloaded our gear, freshened up in time to have a wonderful dinner and cocktail before hitting the bed in preparation for a great day of riding in the morning.

Tuesday: The day started with the group meeting for breakfast and discussing our destination and the sites that we would see along the way.Nelson Laflamme joined us as our guide for the next three days of riding, making sure we stayed
Map of riding in Quebec
Myself (Travis), Nelson and Video Mike.
Nelson must have been standing in a rut when we stopped for a water break and took this picture.
on the right trails and pointing out the landmarks and key points of interest. Mike was making some last ditch efforts to locate the lost snowmobiling gear and still had no idea where it was or when he would see it again. With this being the new lay of the land, Nelson stepped in with some gear for Mike to use, graciously loaned to us by one of the local power sports dealers in town. So now suited up with new bibs, jacket and old school helmet....We were ready to ride! I know Mike was really missing his BVS2 helmet..... GOOD thing he had his boots in one of his other pieces of luggage. Luc had the sleds warmed up, topped of with fuel and oil and ready to get under way.


We had about 145 miles of riding before we would get to La Sarre. The temperature was about 10 degrees and the trails were spectacular wide open spacious trails, smooth the entire way. The riding doesn't get any better than this very serene and relaxing to experience. There was absolutely no traffic except for when we would stop to see some of the clubs warming shacks on the side of the trail, there we met riders from Maine and Vermont who were also enjoying endless miles of great trails as a group experience. We safely made it to La Sarre where we stayed at the beautiful Villa Repos. We arrived about 6:00 pm and unpacked our gear in the rooms, cleaned up in time for yet another wonderful dinner and great dinner conversation.


Wednesday: We were on our way from La Sarre to Villa Marie, the ride mapped out at about 160 miles and the morning temp was -14 below zero. It was warming up from a chilly -32 below zero during the night. The morning got off to a good start but only after getting Mike a new helmet, the open face flip shield model wreaked havoc on Mike the day before with allot of snow dust getting in his eyes along with fogging and cold temp nipping at his nose. Even with the 1960 leather face mask on, It was a scary look...( Click on the Trail riding section in the photo section) So with the fuel tanks filled and everyone making sure all skin was covered up good we were on our way.


Trail riding
It was a sunny morning with no clouds in the sky as we left the Hotel and headed for the trails. I have been looking for a moose now for 3 years and have yet to see one..... I have seen tracks and everyone that I have ridden with have seen them but I guess it is not in my cards yet, hopefully next year I can catch a glimpse of a big bull on the side of the trail. More beautiful trails with some twisting sections that let you work the sled around. We stopped to take some pictures drink some water and make sure that everyone was warm. You can see that the scenery was awesome, all the trees had a nice wintry coating of snow on them that made the trails very beautiful.

After stopping for lunch we continued to Villa Marie where we pulled into La Bannik Chalets a picturesque and enchanting setting located on the shores of the majestic Lake Temiskaming in the municipality of Duhamel-Ouest. The Chalets were luxurious rustic style cottages with a warm and original decor. They have an electric fireplace, a queen size bed and a sofa-bed. Also included is a lunch counter, a small fridge, a microwave oven, a coffee maker, a toaster, a television and a bathroom with shower. We felt right at home. Dinner was served in the Restaurant a beautiful location in a natural setting overlooking the lake, at the base of a conifer populated mountain.

Trail riding
We were joined by the local club president and his wife. It was a great experience to talk about snowmobiling and the different lifestyles in the region. We finished dinner of course with some desserts and headed back to the Chalet. The normal riding maintenance getting everything aired out and dry for an early morning ride. We watched some TV, ate some jerky and looked at the map to see where we were heading to the morning.

Thursday: We were going to be heading back to Val-d`Or today and the trip would be around 185 miles. It was a great morning as we awoke to find out that it had snowed almost a foot of snow during the night. So Sophie grabbed the shovel and cleared a path to the sleds and began to un burry them from the mounds of powder that they were hiding under. After getting most of the snow out of the way we walked to the restaurant that was only a 1/8th mile walk, while Luc uncovered the truck and trailer getting it ready for the next leg of the journey. We ate a big breakfast with all the trimmings. A funny thing happened the evening before. During dinner we each received a neck strap that goes around your neck and you attach an ID badge to it.... after we walked back to the cabin apparently Sophie attached the snowmobile key to ONE of the lanyards, before retiring to bed I picked up what I thought was mine and tossed into my gear bag. (Whoops!). After tearing apart the cabin and looking under everything, we started to look in our gear bags.... I thought no way did I have a key on the one I grabbed..... but when I opened the bag and dug to the bottom what did I find?.. You guessed it a lanyard with a snowmobile key on it!

Now we had everything straightened out we hopped on the sleds and started to blaze a trail through a foot of fresh powder that no one had been on yet. WOW! Talk about being a snow plow.... it was great to watch the sled infront shoot out waves of powder from both side of the sled as we cut our fresh paths down the trail! There was a couple of times that I was making my own path and got a little too close to the edge of the trail and was sucked down in to a shallow ditch that took some quick reacting and jockeying onto the running boards to do a reverse cut back up on to the trail...

NOW here is the funny part Sophie was following a little ways back due to the large amount of powder in the air, didn't see me do my little off trail stunt and she followed my tracks right off the trail into the ditch also. Normand was right behind her and provided some needed directions via hand gestures on how to get out of the situation. YES, I heard all about it at the next stop.

I always ride with a mirror on my wrist so I can see my wingman behind me, after riding for awhile on a nice flat stretch I noticed that I did not have any sleds behind me, I quickly turned around and about a half mile back around a bend I saw one sled on the trail (Normand) and one sled buried in the ditch (Sophie) I pulled up and Normand and I pulled the sled out. Props to Sophie, she had not been on a sled in a year and was doing a great job with a very experienced group. Nothing but fun, infact we all went off the trail at one time or another during the last day of riding....!

Friday: Today we were on our way to Ville d'Estérel where we would do a quick ride with the wonderful folks that were in charge of the Kelly Shires memorial ride. So we packed our gear into the truck then we packed our selves into the truck to begin the 6 hour ride back through the beautiful country side. We took a couple of naps during the drive and talked about alot of different things. We were about 45 miles from our destination and we all agreed to grab some lunch, so we pulled into a nice restaurant. After having a nice meal, I felt like stretching my legs and ran to the truck for some quick exercise. That is where I should have stopped! But I proceeded to see the trailer as a great place to stretch out my calves, (MISTAKE) so I jumped straight up to land on the deck of the trailer, but my shoes slipped off the edge!!!!!! I went straight down with my shins scraping the edge of the trailer, well I landed on my butt and bounced to my feet..... I didn't think anything bad happened except my shins we tingling A LOT! Everyone said "You are lucky you didn't hurt yourself"... I thought you are right! It was at that time I noticed small red spots forming on my pants that quickly turned into the entire front of my pants from the knee caps down a dark RED. I though THIS CAN'T BE GOOD! I slid my pant legs up to see two huge "V" shaped gashes, one on each leg.... If you did not know this already.... Once the skin comes off there is nothing underneath except.. Yuppers BONE! I grabbed a clean sock and napkins and applied direct pressure to the wounds... Then we went to a doctors office about 2 miles away, We went inside and I said "I need some help"! One and a half hours and 22 stitches later. We were on the road again. We made it to Esterel and we received a warm welcome by Dominique and Martin who are in charge of the facilities.

Saturday: The morning plans were to fuel up, on another awesome breakfast buffet and then take part in the Kelly Shires memorial ride and opening festivities. Kelly lost her long battle with breast cancer in October 2004 but her memory & spirit were kept strong this past weekend.  The enthusiasm was remarkable as over 80 women suited up on February 24, 2007 to participate in this year’s event. The day started off beautifully with a greeting from Reeve, Murray Ferring and a moment of silence in memory of those who have lost their battle with breast cancer.   The ladies then headed off on the trails. This exhilarating event was held at the beautiful Esterel Resort and Convention Center in Esterel, Quebec.
The theme of Snow Run is “women helping women”. The ride is aimed to raise funds to financially assist women diagnosed with breast cancer and create awareness, from pledge forms to draws and auctions, everything done this day is to help women
Kelly Shire Breast Cancer Foundation
.All proceeds from this 'Run' and all future ‘Kelly Shires Breast Cancer Snow Run’ events, goes to financially assisting women in their fight with breast cancer. Many thanks to this year’s participants, volunteers, media partners and Sponsors for their part in making this year so successful.
For more information on the event or to apply to the trust:

Call 1-877-436-6467
or Click here for the Web site
Map of riding in Quebec
You can click here or on the map for a high res PDF that will show you our daily ride routes
highlighted to show the different sections with the miles we rode each day.


Accommodations Dining Attractions
FORESTEL HOTEL
Location - VAL D'OR
Web - www.forestel.ca
E-Mail - hotel@forestel.ca
Telephone - 1-819-825-5660
Toll Free - 1-800-567-6599
Fax - 1-819-825-8849
The Forestel Hotel - Reservations Request

O'TOOLE RESTAU PUB
Location - Rouyn-Noranda
Web - www.hotelalpin.ca
E-Mail - motelalpin@cablevision.qc.ca
Telephone - 1-819 762-2255
For website visit the Alpin Motel just next door
Motel Alpin - Reservation Request

Grand Prix Ski-Doo de Valcourt
Location - Valcourt
Web - www.grandprixvalcourt.com
E-Mail - grandprix@cooptel.qc.ca
Free phone - 1-866-532-7543
Phone - 1-450-532-3443
Fax - 1-450-532-4331
Address - 1111, boul. des Cyprès
Valcourt (Québec)
J0E 2L0
Grand Prix Event Dates - Feb 15th, 16th, 17th 2008
Less than 1 hour and half drive from Montreal.


Complexe Hôtelier AMOSPHERE
Location - Amos
Web - www.amosphere.com
E-Mail - amosphere@cableamos.com
Toll Free - 1-800-567-7777
Address 1031, road 111 East
Amos (Quebec)
J9T 1N2
Coordinates Google Maps [lien externe]
Bistro Brandy Creek
Location - Valcourt
Web -
E-Mail -
Telephone - 1-450-532-5775
Address -  713 St-Joseph,
Valcourt, Quebec
MOTEL VILLA MON REPOS
Location - La Sarre
Web -
www.motelvillamonrepos.qc.ca
E-Mail - info@motelvillamonrepos.qc.ca
Telephone - 1-888-417-3767
Fax - 1-819-333-9106
Auberge Harricana
Location - Val d'Or
Web -
http://www.aubergeharricana.ca
E-mail -: info@aubergeharricana.ca
1 chemin des Scouts
Val d'Or, Québec Canada
Telephone - 1-819 825 4414

MUSÉE J. ARMAND BOMBARDIER
Location - Valcourt
Web
- www.museebombardier.com
The J. Armand Bombardier Museum is pleased to present highlights from Joseph-Armand Bombardier's life and work.
Discover a fascinating individual, ingenious inventor, and pragmatic visionary and entrepreneur - a man who changed history through revolutionary innovations in snow transport.
Address: 1001 avenue J.-A.-Bombardier, Valcourt (Québec) J0E 2L0
Telephone: 450 532-5300
Email: info@museebombardier.com

Getting to the Museum
From Montreal: take Highway 10 east, exit 90. Follow the blue government road signs for the Musée J. Armand Bombardier.From Quebec City: take Highway 55 south, exit 85. Follow the blue government road signs for the Musée J. Armand Bombardier.

Reservations
You can reserve a time for a visite by phone (450) 532-5300, from Monday to Friday, between 8 : 30 and 4 : 30.

La BANNIK Resort
Location - Ville Marie
Web - www.bannik.ca
E-mail - labannik@cablevision.qc.ca
Telephone - 1-819- 622-0922
Toll free - 1-877-322-0922
Fax - 1-819- 622-2078
Coordinates Google Map
L'Estérel Resort and convention centre
Location - Ville d'Estérel
Web - www.esterel.com
E-mail
- ventes@esterel.com
39 Chemin Fridolin Simard
Ville d'Estérel, Québec, Canada
J0T 1L0
Phone - 1-450-228-2571
Fax - 1-450-228-4977
Toll free - 1-888 378-3735
L'Estérel Resort and convention centre
Location - Ville d'Estérel
Web - www.esterel.com
E-mail
- ventes@esterel.com
39 Chemin Fridolin Simard
Ville d'Estérel, Québec, Canada
J0T 1L0
Phone - 1-450-228-2571
Fax - 1-450-228-4977
Toll free - 1-888 378-3735
FORESTEL HOTEL
Location - VAL D'OR
Web - www.forestel.ca
E-Mail - hotel@forestel.ca
Telephone - 1-819-825-5660 
Fax - 1-819-825-8849
Toll Free - 1-800-567-6599



  BRP Main Plant and administration, Research and Design centre
Location - Valcourt
Web -
BRP.com
565, rue de la Montagne
Valcourt (Québec)
Canada J0E 2L0
Telephone : (450) 532-2211
Fax : (450) 532-5133
     

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