Québec City Region
Québec City is the only walled North American city north of Mexico. It oozes history and European quaintness. It also serves as a resplendent gateway to superb skiing. A ski package from the luxurious and sophisticated Château Frontenac, a symbol of Old Québec City, offers skiers a uniquely cosmopolitan ski experience.
Station Mont Sainte-Anne stands just 30 minutes from downtown, offers fantastic views of the St. Lawrence River from atop its alpine lifts, and harbors some excellent lodging at its baselike the Hotel Château Mont Sainte-Anne, which offers all the amenities.
The Mont Sainte-Anne Nordic Center presents a superb range of skiing possibilities. Set four miles east of the alpine ski area's base, it holds 139 miles (223 km) of trails and a full 78 miles (125 km) set up for skating. You can stay at the alpine area and ski to the Nordic Center along a picturesque trail that shadows a small river, but most folks drive or take one of the hotel shuttles. With so many trails, it's no surprise that Mont Sainte-Anne skiing has varied terrain and something for any level. You ski through a mix of hardwoods and evergreens, but if you're really good, you can ski up onto the mountain and test yourself on a nice selection of double-black-rated trails. The circuit contains seven shelters, two of which are wood-stove equipped for cooking, heating, and sleeping eightfor free. Just make a reservation, and pack in your own sleeping bag and food. Hut denizens often indulge in a moonlight or headlamp ski after dinner. For those who crave a bit more comfort, a country B&B, L'Auberge du Fondeur, which serves breakfast and offers guests kitchen access for other meals, can be found less than a mile from the trails.
North of Québec City, Camp Mercier, set in the Réserve Faunique des Laurentides, contains 120 miles (192 km) of trails to explore. Here the environment is evergreen-saturated, wildlife is abundant, some 2,000 bodies of water dot the landscape, and the terrain mixes mild hills and flats. You won't find much truly advanced skiing here, but you will discover about 11 miles (18 km) of trails groomed for skating, a number of warming huts along the way, and cabins for on-site overnight lodging.
This is the region south of Québec City, stretching down to Maine and east to Bas-St.-Laurent. Just across the river from Mont Sainte-Anne, in the town of Montmagny, Le Manoir des Irables is a short ride from the Centre de plein air de Montmagny, which holds a rich variety of 28 miles (60 km) worth of trails. At least another seven Nordic facilities are found within the region.
The Eastern Townships (Les Cantons de l'Est) are situated very near Vermont, yielding a delightful mix of French and English cultures. In some towns the locals speak French; in others English. In all places, they speak skiing. Half the fun of Eastern Townships skiing is exploring the succession of dining, lodging, and shopping treasures hidden in each winter-wonderland village. The region is dotted with picturesque lakes sporting long, nearly unpronounceable names that create terrific cross-country skiing, plus dogsledding and ice fishing opportunities.
Repos du Fermier, formerly known as Plein Air Mont Icho, affords 33 miles (52 km) of skiing. Parc du Mont Orford in Magog functions as an adjunct to the Mont Orford alpine resort, as does Sutton-en-Haut to Mont Sutton. Each offers about 25 miles (40 km) of skiing. But, perhaps the best Eastern Township ambience is gained from facilities such as the inns of Lake Massawippi (Hovey Manor, Ripplecove Inn, and Auberge Hatley)three upscale, lakeside retreats that pamper you and give you easy access to on-lake skiing or miles of nearby trails.
The Outaouais is the western region of Québec that sits just above the nation's capital, Ottawa. The region features Gatineau Park (Parc de la Gatineau), regarded as one of Eastern Canada's best cross-country areas, and the Château Montebello, a log lodge set on a 100-acre estate that has gained widespread recognition.
Le Château Montebello is operated by Canadian Pacific Hotels, so you know things are going to be done with class. The on-site Nordic skiing covers 17 miles (27 km), but it's the overall ambience that you're after here. A rustic and awesome log building that first opened in 1930 as a private club, the Château is a luxury facility that mixes a country feeling with a pampering that we all deserve.
Gatineau Park trails cover a full 125 miles (200 km), revealing an amazing variety of environmentsforests, meadows, valleys lakes, and riversespecially when you consider you're just a few minutes' drive from the city. You'll also find hut-to-hut adventures and overnight facilities. The Auberge Old Chelsea in Chelsea or Les Trois Irables in nearby Wakefield offer special multi-day ski packages that include a night at the bed and breakfast and a night spent in a park shelter where gourmet dinner is served. And, while the visitors' center doesn't rent Nordic equipment, a number of local shops can outfit you quite well. And, by the way, the park hosts two major events during the season: the Keskinada Loppet features both classic and freestyle events, and Ski Fest is an open house for Nordic enthusiasts of all stripes.
Now, you can't go much farther east and still be on land in Québec, but this remote region of the province will surprise you. It holds enough variable terrain to contain some downhill skiing, but its strong point is its broad, waterside plains that reveal remarkable views, fantastic sunsets, and some terrific skiing. You get riverside ambience in Bas-St. Laurent (meaning the "base of the St. Lawrence") and oceanside ambience out at Gaspèsie's extremes.
Gaspèsie holds two wildlife preserves that offer a variety of terrain and amazing natural settings for skiing. Chic-Chocs Wildlife Reserve is set in mid-region, and Port-Daniel Wildlife Reserve is found in the southeast. Each offers extensive trails and rolling terrain. Resorts in the region include: Gîte du Mont-Albert, which offers skiers a choice of hotel rooms with views of Mont Albert or cabins; and Fort Privel, an oceanside facility convenient to skiing.
Bas-St. Laurent is home to Matane and Duniere Wildife Reserves, which feature a remarkable range of topography from the peak of Mont Blanc to mud flats that attract an abundant moose population.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication
Best Hotels in Quebec City