Club de Ski Manville Logo | Photo Courtesy of Paul Giddings

The story of the Manville/Asbestos Ski Club has two parts. The original ski club, under the name of the Manville Ski Club, and then the Asbestos Ski Club. A few years before the formation of the Manville Ski Club, local skiers were using was the slopes of a local cemetery in town.

Aerial photo of the ski site | Photo Courtesy of Paul Giddings

The ski club was founded in the fall of 1945, and its operation was under the Club de Ski Manville, the name taken from the company that operated the asbestos mine, Johns-Manville. For the ones who skied in Asbestos before the formation of the club, they understood the importance of having a club house to keep warm. Money was scarce, and the club was offered a $1000 loan to build one from a local businessman. Plans were drawn up, and a club house of 24’ x 30’ in size was constructed.

Club de Ski Manville | Photo Courtesy of Paul Giddings
Club de Ski Manville | Photo Courtesy of Paul Giddings

By that time, they had about 150 members of all ages. Popularity of the club was catching on with people from the region. Soon after the Bois-Francs ski zone was established, and the club entered their membership. By 1947 the club house was moved on to St. Georges Road to make it more easily accessible by automobile, and by the 1948-49 ski season, a tow was installed along with a jump at the site.

The rope tow and trail | Photo Courtesy of Le Cityoen Newspaper
Lift operator and skier at the bottom of the rope tow. Winter 1978 | Photo Courtesy of Le Cityoen Newspaper

However, by 1952 times were getting tough for the club as expenses were climbing. The number of members were falling off, and by the fall of 1953 there was discussion on whether to continue operating the club or not. The decision was to put the club house, and its assets up for sale. Due to difficult conditions of a couple of years, winter arriving later than usual, and the recruitment of members not going as well as it should, it was practically impossible to operate without increasing its debt. The Club was sold to a couple of local brothers for the sum of $1020. They kept the name of the group in hopes that they would reorganize in the future. There was no reformation of the Manville Ski Club, and Asbestos went without any ski club from 1954 to 1960.

In 1960, the Asbestos Ski Club was started with a new location just outside of the town of Asbestos near Nicolet Falls. Three trails, and a new chalet were under construction. Two of the trails were lit to offer night skiing. A rope tow was installed to serve the three trails. One could purchase a membership with card, or purchase daily tickets. The club opened its area December 24, 1960. Memberships for a family was set at $25 for the season. Single memberships were available for gentlemen at $15 and for ladies, $10. Children’s memberships ranged from $3 to $5. Daily tickets were available for adults at $1.50, and 75 cents for children.

Judges at a ski race at the club's site | Photo Courtesy of Paul Giddings

The club ran until 1980 when the membership was dwindling, and the decision was made to fold the club. Another club, the Club de Ski Appalaches was formed, however this club did not take over the former Asbestos Club’s site, and Club de Ski Appalaches skied at different mountains during their season. The former site of the Asbestos Ski Club is totally lost. Since its closure in 1980, the site has been buried under mounds of tailings from the asbestos mine. It is on private property and access is not recommended. This is the perfect example of a lost ski hill. Lost but not forgotten.

Everything is lost under a mound of mine tailings | Photo Credit: Paul Giddings, May 2014
Everything is lost under a mound of mine tailings | Photo Credit: Paul Giddings, May 2014

Sources: The late John Millen (1931-2019) with site visits, and interview Ed Day email information, and Le Citoyen Newspaper (Asbestos, QC). Photos: Paul Giddings, and Le Citoyen Newspaper.


  • Jean Dion, October 30, 2021 @ 3:09 pm

    Congratulations to Mr Giddings and your team. I would like to be 50 years younger and join a group like yours.
    My father and uncle are the brothers mentioned in your article. Another uncle would have participated in the founding of the Association. The judges’ photo would have been greatly appreciated by one of my trophy recipient aunts.
    I wrote in 2014, in the biography of my father and my uncle: “Several photographs testify to the popularity of the Club during its heyday. In December 1953, the following question was asked in an article in the newspaper” Citizen ” d’Asbestos: “What will happen to the Manville Ski Club?” It was recounted in a nutshell: the club management wants to sell the site near the Cemetery, the chalet, the equipment… for good reason. the decline in the number of members in recent years … and bad weather …
    On January 11, 1954, Adélard and Albain bought the Club . But they had to sell it all. Sale which seems to have been quite complicated, because between 1954 and 1956, there were some resale and resale. We can therefore think that there would have been a laudable attempt, but unsuccessful, to relaunch skiing in Asbestos… (personal opinion) “.
    Thank you for bringing back the beautiful moments of this ski club.
    Jean Dion (Google translation)

    Félicitations à M.Giddings et votre équipe. J’aimerais bien rajeunir de 50 ans et joindre un groupe comme le vôtre.
    Mon père et mon oncle sont les frères cités dans votre article. Un autre oncle aurait participé à la fondation de l’Association. La photo des juges aurait été très appréciée d’une de mes tantes récipiendaires de trophées.
    J’écrivais en 2014, dans la biographie de mon père et mon oncle ceci: “Plusieurs photographies témoignent de la popularité du Club pendant ses plus belles années. En décembre 1953, la question suivante était posée dans un article du journal le “Citoyen” d’Asbestos : “Qu’adviendra-t-il du Club de ski Manville ?”. On y relatait en résumé ceci : la direction du club veut mettre en vente le site près du Cimetière, le chalet, l’équipement…pour cause du déclin du nombre de membres depuis quelques années…et de mauvaise température…
    Le 11 janvier 1954, Adélard et Albain achetaient le Club . Mais ils durent revendre le tout. Vente qui semble avoir été assez compliquée, car entre 1954 et 1956, il y a eu quelques reprises de vente et reventes. On peut donc penser qu’il y aurait eu tentative louable, mais infructueuse, de relance du ski à Asbestos…(opinion personnelle)”.
    Merci de faire revire les beaux moments de ce club de ski.
    Jean Dion (traduction Google)

    • JF Ravenelle, March 7, 2022 @ 4:26 pm

      Monsieur Dion, si vous avez des histoires à partager, il nour feriat plaisir de les publier. envoyez-nous un courriel à [email protected]

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