By Margo Pfeiff
During Quebec’s long, nippy winters, locals like to thumb their noses at the weather and head outside to play in the snow and ice. Here are 10 ways to do so:
- Frozen Mardi Gras: party outside an ice palace, watch canoes race across the ice-chunky St. Lawrence River and hit Old Québec City’s streets, converted to a playground during the frozen Mardi Gras that is Carnaval de Québec, the world’s biggest winter carnival.
- Let the dogs do the driving: learn to mush husky dogs and go dogsledding through the forest, spending the night in a tipi.
- All-night party: celebrate winter during the 11-day Montréal en Lumiere by tasting international guest chefs’ creations, skating outdoors, watching light shows and dancing to live music on snowy streets during an all-night party on “Nuit Blanche.”
- Dreams of ice: sleep in a hotel made of ice in the Québec City Ice Hotel on a bed made of ice, sipping vodka from a glass made of ice at a bar made of ice…
- Backcountry deluxe: snowshoe, backcountry ski and dine on gourmet cuisine in the middle of the Gaspé’s vast mountain and forest wilderness at the luxury Chic-Choc Mountain Lodge.
- Dance under the stars: strut your stuff at Igloofest, an outdoor winter festival that celebrates electronic music in the Old Port of Montréal.
- Ride the rails: a new train with fine dining now travels the scenic route from Québec City to Le Massif de Charlevoix, the province’s best-kept downhill skiing secret.
- Snow me the way: hop on a snowmobile and tour over 33,500 km (20,815 mi) of groomed and signposted trails crisscrossing the province. After all, local Quebec boy Joseph-Armand Bombardier dreamt them up here.
- Sipping cider: travel the ice cider route and visit a cider festival in the Montérégie region, sampling a chilled nectar made from frozen apples, Quebec’s unique, tart answer to icewine.
- Sugaring-off: tap your toes to traditional fiddling at a real sugar shack while dining on traditional Quebec winter cuisine including tourtière meat pies, then finish up with maple sugar pie or taffy pulled off a bed of snow.
Story and photo courtesy of the Canadian Tourism Commission.