When I was a child, my father would take me on interminable loops around the cross and I thought cross-country skiing was the most boring and difficult thing in the world.
But now that I’ve reached a certain age, I understand that cross-country skiing is the greatest thing in the world, and I’ll fight anyone who disagrees.
There’s nothing boring about getting a full-body workout while minimizing the impact on your joints and there’s nothing difficult about swooping through fluffy white stuff on a beautiful day.
And while a trip to a luxurious alpine resort can break your bank (and your bones) skinny-skiing is relatively safe and affordable.
And whether you’re a hot dogger or a newbie, Montreal boasts a treasure trove of cross-country ski areas that provide a great way to explore the outdoors.
Jardin botanique de Montréal
Address: 4101, rue Sherbrooke Est
Why You Need To Go: There are three kilometres of cross-country ski trails on the garden's grounds.
Access is free but staff are asking users to keep to the trails to protect plants hidden under the snow.
Parc-nature de la Pointe-aux-Prairies
Address: 14905, rue Sherbrooke Est
Why You Need To Go: This vast 261-hectare nature preserve located at the eastern end of the island has 12.4 kilometres of cross-country ski trails that wind their way through woods and marshland, according to the city website.
Parc-nature du Bois-de-L'Île-Bizard
Address: 2115, chemin du Bord-du-Lac
Why You Need To Go: One of the richest and largest parks in the city, Parc-nature du Bois-de-L’Île-Bizard is "an ideal destination to observe fauna and flora in an urban environment," according to the city.
It also has a seven-kilometre cross-country ski path and trails for both hiking and snowshoeing.
Address: 1, circuit Gilles Villeneuve
Why You Need To Go: In a special effort to turn the park into a winter wonderland this year, two cross-country ski trails have been set up: one at Espace 67 on Île Sainte-Hélène and a second five-kilometre trail on Île Notre-Dame.
Address: 205, rue Gary-Carter
Why You Need To Go: Parc Jarry has a 2.1-kilometre trail that is perfect for learning how to ski safely and smartly.
Parc-nature du Bois-de-Liesse
Address: 3555, rue Douglas-B.-Floreani
Why You Need To Go: Parc-nature du Bois-de-Liesse offers 16.6 kilometres of cross-country ski trails through an enchanted forest.
Address: 4365, rue Sherbrooke Est
Why You Need To Go: Located in the shadow of the Olympic Stadium, Parc Maisonneuve boasts 12 kilometres of cross-country ski trail across mostly flat terrain.
Parc La Fontaine
Address: 3819, avenue Calixa-Lavallée
Why You Need To Go: Parc La Fontaine offers two cross-country ski trails, extending 3.9 kilometres in total, according to the city's website.
Equipment can be rented at the park's chalet from "mid-January."
Parc du Mont-Royal
Address: 1260, chemin Remembrance
Why You Need To Go: Mount Royal boasts 22 kilometres of groomed trails from the tams to the cross for you to rip on.
Equipment rental reservations are available online.
Before you get going, check our Responsible Travel Guide so you can be informed, be safe, be smart, and most of all, be respectful on your trip.