Backcountry Agenda

Out Of Bounds => Trip Reports => Topic started by: Tommy T on December 12, 2014, 10:14:00 PM

Title: Telemarking the Charlevoix Impact Crater
Post by: Tommy T on December 12, 2014, 10:14:00 PM
There are serious advantages to having a son who holds a Stanford PhD in Structural Geology.  To wit:


Here's a story about you that you may not know....  You've skied an impact crater.

Most mountains have a composite history - multiple events over geologic time contribute to their formation.

Le Massif Ski area sits on an escarpment eroded by viscous continental ice sheets as they flowed from central Canada to the sea.

The ice sheet preferentially eroded weaker and younger rocks on the down thrown side of a large fault.  This normal fault was formed roughly 400 million years ago as the weight of the Appalachians bent the crust of the earth, then moved a second time about 120 million years ago during the age of the dinosaurs when the Atlantic formed.

Before the glaciers and between the two episodes of faulting, about 350 million years ago, the area was hit by a stony meteor leaving a 35 mile wide impact crater with a prominent central uplift.  Shattered rocks within the crater are weaker and were also removed by the glaciers leaving an annular depression on the landscape.

Le Massif sits at the intersection of the fault with the rim of the crater.  The south-east facing slope is controlled by the fault, the north-east facing slopes are controlled by the crater rim.

It's an erosional expression of the crater not the actual topography created by the impact, but I think you can make a valid assertion that you have skied the rim of the Charlevoix Impact crater.

If conditions justify the drive north, so will Chelsea, Eli, Ezra and I in a few weeks.


Yep.  Roughly two decades ago, when LeMassif was only a financing plan, a parking lot and a visitors' center (then devoted solely to marketing condos that still haven't been built) and some preliminary clearing for trails, I, with a small group of back country types who spoke only French, telemarked from the visitor center area down the ridge to the North East and dropped into the basin, slightly more northerly, all the way down to a small fishing village on the banks of the St. Lawrence river.  There a school bus was waiting to carry us back to our cars on top -- singing French Canadian folk songs all the way. 

I've done it.  I've skied a massive impact crater.

Tommy T.