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Your guide to outdoor adventure in Quebec this winter

ice hotel

Your guide to outdoor adventure in Quebec this winter

If you think summer is the only time for amazing outdoor adventures, consider another perspective.


In QuebecExternal Link Title, winters outside are just as lively as summer, fall, or spring, if not more so. French-Canadians not only welcome the snowy season, they embrace and celebrate it. Dazzling and white outside, cozy and inviting inside, this is the cherished season for sledding and skiing, outdoor celebrations and festivals, and traditions like rolling hot maple taffy in the snow. Here are the best places to explore and welcome winter in Quebec -- from urban Montreal and historic Quebec City to the slopes of Mont-TremblantExternal Link Title and the solitude of the Chic-Chocs.


Ski resort and winter playground extraordinaire

Old World European-style Mont-TremblantExternal Link Title boasts the best ski slopes in North America's east, says SKI magazine. It's also a charming, must-visit winter playground according to ForbesExternal Link Title, highlighted by its quaint cobblestone-lined pedestrian village, wide variety of activitiesExternal Link Title, outstanding outdoor adventure opportunities, and acclaimed dining scene. Stay at ski-in/ski-out Lodge de la MontagneExternal Link Title, a casual hotel with kitchenettes, fireplaces, sauna, and hot tub, or at a plush suite in the boutique H?tel QuintessenceExternal Link Title, overlooking the lake and reminiscent of a French hunting chateau.


Hit the slopesExternal Link Title with 96 runs on four mountainsides, go snow tubingExternal Link Title, cross-country skiingExternal Link Title, fat bike ridingExternal Link Title, or snowshoeingExternal Link Title. Take a horse-drawn sleigh ride or go dogsleddingExternal Link Title; shop or try your luck at the casinoExternal Link Title. Rejuvenate afterwards at indoor-outdoor Finnish-style day resort Scandinave SpaExternal Link Title. Finally, sample a Quebec favorite tradition at the source: Gooey maple taffy poured boiling onto a stick in the snow and then twisted onto a stick at an al fresco hut called Cabane ? Sucre de la MontagneExternal Link Title -- 80 percent of the world's maple syrup is produced here.

Quebec City

Festive winter wonderland


A picturesque 400-year-old walled cityExternal Link Title, Quebec City is lovely any time of year. But it's especially festive in winter dusted with snow when the locals show off their signature joie-de-vivre attitude. Go tobogganingExternal Link Title, ice fishing, cross-country skiing, or skating, or join pond hockey right in townExternal Link Title. Carnaval de QuebecExternal Link Title puts on night parades winding through the streets, dogsled races, and ice canoe competitions on the frozen river attended by thousands. The beloved late January-early February event includes extravagant outdoor parties and free public banquets, snow sculptures, sledding, ice skating and hockey, snow slides, a fancy masquerade ball, and giant Ice Palace. Join bikini-clad revelers dipping into the snow bath if you dare.


Strolling around the cobblestone streets of Old Quebec all lit up for the holidaysExternal Link Title is particularly enchanting, or for a romantic getaway, stay at the H?tel de GlaceExternal Link Title just outside the city, a fantasy-worthy, castle-like fortress made entire of ice and snow each year. Make time to dine out, too -- especially on flaky Parisian-style pastriesExternal Link Title and at the city's envelope-pushing restaurantsExternal Link Title -- and warm up with a signature Caribou cocktail of red wine, whiskey, and maple syrup.


Eat, drink, dance, and party outside

MontrealExternal Link Title is similarly lively in the winter season with no shortage of things to do, see, and join. There's IgloofestExternal Link Title, an uber-popular electronic music fest in January-February in the Old Port, and Montreal en LumiereExternal Link Title, a large-scale outdoor festival melding dazzling light installations, performing arts like circus and dance, free outdoor fun a la ziplining, curling, fireworks, and a Ferris Wheel, the signature Nuit BlancheExternal Link Title cultural program, and hot ticket gourmet foodie events throughout the city in February-March. It's one of the largest of its kind in the world.


You can also go snow tubing on Mount RoyalExternal Link Title near Beaver Lake, snowshoeing at Morgan ArbortetumExternal Link Title, peruse the Montreal Museum of Fine ArtsExternal Link Title for free during the holidays, skate on the postcard-perfect Old Port outdoor rinkExternal Link Title under the stars, or stroll the holiday Le Grand Marche de Noel, a street Christmas market German-style with food trucks and carolers.

The Chic-Chocs

Rugged back country escape

If you want to get away from it all, head to Monts Chic-Chocs, the jagged Chic-Choc Mountains, part of the Appalachians on Quebec's remote and fabled Gasp? PeninsulaExternal Link Title. This spot? Well, it's still relatively undiscovered as a winter destination -- perfect for exploring. Expect knee-deep powder and the untouched forests frosted in white that you can explore January to March via snowmobileExternal Link Title, or guided backcountry ski touring or snowboardingExternal Link Title, looking out for roaming moose. Stay at Auberge de montagne des Chic-ChocsExternal Link Title, an off-the-grid cozy alpine lodge where you can ski right to the front door, for a vacation pairing outdoor adventure with rustic comfort, gourmet fare, and warm Quebecois hospitality.


Snowboarding favorite


Half an hour's drive northeast of Quebec City, you'll find the south side of Mont-Sainte-AnneExternal Link Title nicknamed "La Belle" (The Beauty) for its sweeping views of the St. Lawrence. This Laurentian Mountains ski resort is a favorite with snowboarders, but there's also ample opportunities for cross-country (it's Canada's largest trail network) and backcountry skiing, snowshoeing, ice climbing, and ice canyoningExternal Link Title, not to mention wintertime via ferrata and External Link TitlezipliningExternal Link Title, tubing, ice skating, and spa retreats. Another more traditional ski option in the area is Stoneham Mountain ResortExternal Link Title near Quebec City.


Just north of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York, Quebec is Canada's largest province -- filled with gorgeous landscapes to explore, winter or summer.

Plan your winter escape at the Quebec Original website.