Quebec will soon roll out the white carpet along with a lineup of activities that go beyond downhill skiing and snowball fights. The province's agency for outdoor adventures, Sépaq, is introducing a range of unique experiences to transform your winter.
There's an experience at the Aquarium du Québec that lets you explore the ocean world through smell. It's a unique way to connect with the marine environment without getting wet. Then there's fatbiking – regular biking amped up for winter. Bikes with oversized tires are perfect for cruising snowy trails, offering an exhilarating way to enjoy the park's wintry landscapes. For something a bit more zen, there's yoga on snowshoes. You can stretch and pose in the forest, blending mindfulness with the crunch of snow underfoot.
This winter, Sépaq also has free daily access to Quebec's national parks from December 18, 2023, to March 13, 2024. It's a great way to explore without the usual $9 entry fee for adults. Just be sure to reserve your spot online to secure your preferred date at your favourite park.
Here are some of the Quebec winter activities awaiting you this season:
Sniff and tell at the Aquarium du Québec
Someone holds ups a starfish specimen at the Aquarium du Québec.
Where: 1675, av. des Hôtels, Québec City, QC
Cost: $22.50/general admission
Reason to go: You can inhale the scent of the St. Lawrence River, marshes, and even get a whiff of what sharks or polar bears smell like. It's an immersive indoor experience that connects you to the marine world in a completely new way, engaging your sense of smell to enhance your understanding and appreciation of aquatic life. Alongside this olfactory adventure, rediscover the Awesome Ocean, the Aquarium's largest water basin, now home to new species like Smith’s damselfish and Señoritas
Pose in the powder at Mont-Tremblant
Someone in a snowsuit does a yoga pose.
Where: 3824, chemin du Lac Supérieur, Lac-Supérieur, QC
Reason to go: Guided by a teacher, participants can snowshoe in the park with breaks to engage in yoga poses with picturesque mountains in the backtround. The activity not only provides physical exercise but also mental relaxation. The park’s status as an International Dark Sky Park also offers a chance to gaze at stars after dark, adding an astronomical dimension to the experience.
Fatbiking in Gaspésie
Someone in a helmet and red jacket fatbikes in the forest on a sunny day.
Mathieu Dupuis, Courtesy of Sépaq.
When: mid-December through the end of March
Where: 1981, route du Parc, QC-299, Sainte-Anne-des-Monts, QC
Cost: $16.31/adult for daily fatbike pass and entry fee
Reason to go: There are over twenty kilometres of new trails groomed especially for fatbiking, giving you a chance to cycle the snow like never before. The oversized tires of a fatbike grip the snowy surface, allowing you to traverse terrain that would be challenging or inaccessible with a regular bike. But you can choose any mode of transport – boots, snowshoes, bikes, or skis – and let the Chic-Chocs be your playground. If you opt for alpine touring, there are outings now offered seven days a week through the national park’s Mountain School.
Have a cozy stay at the Réserve faunique de Portneuf
A spacious chalet with a wood-lined interior and ample natural light.
When: December 15, 2023 to March 18, 2024
Where: 229, rue du Lac Vert, Portneuf, QC
Reason to go: New electrically-powered Horizon chalets, located near a lake, snow-tubing slide, and ice rink, offer a comfortable base camp for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and ice fishing. After a day of exploring the wildlife reserve, the cabins offer a warm retreat. Each chalet is equipped with both wood and propane heating, non-potable hot and cold water, and solar-powered lighting. The kitchen is equipped with a 14 cu. ft. solar-powered refrigerator and a propane stove with an oven, along with all necessary kitchen equipment. Bedding is not provided, so remember to bring sheets or a sleeping bag, pillowcases, towels, and dish towels.
Cross-country ski at Mont-Orford
Three people on a cross country ski path.
Courtesy of Sépaq.
When: mid-December to end of March
Where: 3321, chem. du Parc, Orford, QC
Reason to go: With 13 trails totaling 50 km for classic skiing and 26 km for skate skiing, the park caters to both beginners and experienced skiers. New vehicle access to the Lac-Fraser area offers direct and convenient access to these trails. A heated rest station near Trail 12, La Cavalière, provides a cozy respite from the cold. You can rent gear for classic skiing ($30.50/day) and skate skiing ($38/day) from the Le Cerisier Discovery and Visitors Centre.
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