A Bit of History
Once upon a ski center...
The development of Le Relais goes hand in hand with that of the municipality of Lac-Beauport. Take a moment to discover some of the interesting stories Le Relais has to share about becoming one of eastern Canada's first ski centers.
The photo archive is testimony to the ski center's evolution over the years.
Our cold and white winters are the foundation of Lac-Beauport's very existence. At the time, tourism was concentrated along the banks of the Saint Lawrence River, from Cap-Diamant to Tadoussac, and from Lévis to Cacouna. Visitors from Montreal, Toronto, and the United States overlooked this small and beautiful region punctuated by lakes and mountains until the development of Le Relais ski center in 1936.
In the 1930s a picture perfect shot of skiers lining up to grab hold of a cable was all it took to lure people up that very mountain and enjoy winter sports.
The arrival of Le Relais helped tame the cold winter season...
During the winter of 1933-1934, in the depths of the Great Depression, the idea of establishing a ski center in the region of Quebec was on the minds of a number of people. Although the Junior Chamber of Commerce of Quebec City had its sights on the Plains of Abraham, Herman Smith-Johannsen, a young Norwegian known as 'Jackrabbit', convinced promoters that the location of the future ski center should ideally be located to the north, in the community of St. Dunstan. He singled out Tommy Mountain, identifying the development potential of Mount Murphy.
In 1936, the mountain, known today as 'Le Relais', was purchased for the sum of $1000. James McManemy, a broker and president of the Association des sports d'hiver de Québec (Quebec Winter Sports Association) invested $1500 to develop Le Relais ski center. A public fundraising campaign helped raise an additional $8500 in order to build a small cottage at the foot of Mount Murphy as well as a ski jump at Mount Taylor (Mount Tourbillon).
The Charlesbourg bus company provided transportation to the ski center from Quebec City. Ski jump (1941)
Various ski competitions helped nourish the growing fascination with the sport. Le Relais was home to Quebec's first great skiers: Gaby Pleau, Laurent Bernier, Conrad Delisle, Tommas Dennie, Tom Monaghan, André Bertrand, to name a few.
Skiers' Lodge (1938)
Over the years Le Relais' reputation as a major ski center became firmly entrenched under the leadership of great businessmen such as Joseph Aubé, Laurier Drouin, Clément Leclerc, Jean Papillon, and Paul-E. Delisle. In collaboration with the Société pour l'avancement du ski, they each tenaciously worked at attracting the world's best skiers.
The first ski lodge officially opened in January 1938, months after the first trails were established. Named 'Le Relais' this structure's vocation was threefold, acting as ski lodge, restaurant, and residence of Laurier Drouin and his family.
VISION AND STRUCTURE
Ski instruction is and always has been a priority for the owners of Le Relais. From the foundation of the Redskins Club in 1946 to the many activities offered today, Le Relais has constantly promoted sports and skiing through a multitude of recreational events.
Ski school (1948)
Our slopes were home to the first women-only ski school which was founded by Gaby Pleau. Also, the first ski school to become affiliated with the Canadian Ski Instructors' Alliance was created on our very hills by Suzanne Proteau-Blais and Jean-Claude Lafrenière. Aided by Yvon Bouchard, Diane Lethiecq saw this project to completion.
In 1938, Laurentide Ski Tows Limited takes charge of the operation of our ski tows and lifts. Under the leadership of Jacques Légaré, Le Relais purchases a double chairlift in 1962.
During this period, many renown skiers such as Pierre Jalbert, Ginette Séguin, Monique Langlais, and Claire Monahan-Labossière skied Le Relais' slopes.
Le Relais' mission and structure became even more solidly entrenched following the sale of the ski center in 1978 to Jean-Claude Tremblay and Suzanne Proteau-Blais
A skilled and brilliant administrator, Jean-Claude Tremblay was one of the founders of Quebec's ski industry. Co-founder of the Quebec Ski Areas Association, Mr. Tremblay proved to be an invaluable source of reference for the Greater Quebec Area Tourism and Convention Bureau, and it is under his leadership that Quebec's ski industry took off.
At the time, the skiable terrain was composed of no more than ten trails. Skiers were given the opportunity to enjoy night skiing as each trail eventually became lit.
In 1987, Laurier Beaulieu, President and Director of Entreprises P.E.B., purchased Le Relais and ensured the ski center's third development phase.
A shrewd businessman, Mr. Beaulieu surrounded himself with a talented team and proceeded to transform the ski center, doubling the number of runs and lifts.
Many of the ski center's trails are named after those who helped build it. Under his leadership, the ski lodge tripled in size, successfully combining contemporary design with a warm and cozy atmosphere.
Laurier Beaulieu advocates quality throughout the resort's operations. He readily equips the center with grooming equipment and ensures night lighting for all trails. Le Relais' young patrons are treated to runs open to snowboarding and acrobatics.
True to tradition, Le Relais Snow School continues to provide quality services to the clientele of this popular winter resort. Throughout this period of constant progress and modernization, skiers such as Lucie Laroche, Philippe Laroche, Yves Laroche, and Mélanie Turgeon also progressed on Le Relais' trails, becoming great athletes.
The ski center has hosted a number of national and international competitions and athletes such as Jean-Luc Brassard have had the opportunity to display their amazing talent on its slopes.
In February 2000, Le Relais Ski Center was home to the World Junior Championships including the spectacular Nations Cup which attracted spectators from across the world.