Québec: Canada’s Original Ski Destination
Québec is the “it” ski destination for the 2023/24 season for good reason.
In addition to excellent skiing and fascinating terrain, you’ll find all kinds of après ski festivities, local flavors and microbreweries, close proximity with Montréal and Québec City, high-end shopping, relaxing spas, and a European vibe. Plus there’s a myriad of fun easy-to-access winter sports activities for skiers and non-skiers alike.
Skiing is an age-old tradition in Québec; the region offers world-class resorts blended with old-world charm and a ski vacation like you’ve never before experienced.
What you need to know about Québec
Québec is a province in eastern Canada with both international and regional airports, close proximity to New England, and a very manageable driving distance from the urban centers of Toronto (8 hour), Boston (6.5 hours) and NYC (8.5 hours).
The region boasts an historic fortified city (Québec City) that’s the site of one of the oldest European settlements in North America and the vibrant urban center of Montréal. You’ll experience a culture that dates back centuries, historic sites, natural wonders, and unique, often locally sourced cuisine that incorporates a potpourri of flavors.
Québec is known for its excellent hospitality year-round; however, travelers in the winter months can attest to a magical experience that’s found no other place in the world.
It is a great place to practice your high school or college French, or just soak up the atmosphere with a smile, cold microbrew and hot plate of poutine.
Geographically, Québec province is, in one word, breathtaking. It’s three times as large as the state of Texas. The geography is distinct, with flat lowlands punctuated by rugged cliffs, rolling hills and abundant lakes and rivers. The population is relatively sparse, with most people living along the majestic St. Lawrence River and in the cities of Montréal and Québec City.
Québec enjoys one of the longest ski seasons in the world. Thanks to its northern latitude, the “river effect” from the St. Lawrence River, and the fact that Québec has a massive number of waterways, snow (natural and manmade) is abundant. While you’ll find plenty of natural snow, most ski areas have state-of-the-art snowmaking to augment mother nature’s bounty.
More than 90 percent of Québec is public lands, with half of the province covered in woodlands or dotted with more than three million lakes. Québec is home to some 50 national parks and wildlife refuges. There are lots of places to ski and snowboard, for both in-bounds and backcountry adventurers.
Many of the ski areas are close enough that you can pick a basecamp and experience a new area every day of your trip. In addition to excellent resort and backcountry skiing, there are plenty of ice climbing, fat biking, sledding, snowshoeing and ice fishing opportunities.
Think a morning of skiing, followed by an afternoon of ice climbing or fat biking, followed by a trip to an outdoor hot pool. All topped off by good music, a flight of local wine or beer, and tasty food, either gourmet or unique local cuisine. That’s what a visit to Québec is all about.
Why Ski Québec?
There are more than 75 ski resorts in Québec, from charming, low-key local operations to the ritzy Tremblant. Whether you are staying in Québec City, which has several ski areas within a half hour of town, a ski-in/ski-out resort, traditional hotel or rental cottage, accessing snow sports is easy.
While the region has plenty to keep expert skiers and snowboarders happy, there’s also an abundance of terrain for beginners and intermediates.
What to expect?
You can expect good (reliable) snow, spectacular scenery, and diverse terrain from perfectly packed groomers to endless Nordic tracks to wild backcountry for alpine touring. There are many excellent ski schools with private and group lessons for everyone from inexperienced to expert.
While the vibrant Québec après scene is legendary, this area is incredibly family-friendly. There is plenty of adventure here for people of all ages, on and off the snow. From all-inclusive resort experiences (Tremblant) to a seat-of-your-pants grand van life-tour, Québec deserves a spot on everyone’s ski bucket list.
The trick about a winter vacation to Québec is zeroing in on exactly what type of experience you want. The vast terrain in this region offers endless possibilities for the winter outdoor enthusiast.
For example, you can head to Le Massif de Charlevoix, with its 53 trails that stretch over 400 acres and the highest vertical drop east of the Rocky Mountains. Or, if you prefer staying in Québec City, the family-friendly resort of Stoneham just 20 minutes from the old city; there are excellent beginner and intermediate runs (and harder stuff if that’s what you’re looking for), as well as three terrain parks.
You can get lodging on-site, or head back to Québec City for some amplified nightlife.
But you need to remember, Québec is a big province, with plenty of choices.
In addition to the Charlevoix-Québec region, there’s also the Laurentians, with close proximity to Montréal and site of Tremblant, widely considered the #1 ski village in Eastern North America,; Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, one of the wildest places in Canada with mountains, lakes and everything in between; and the Eastern Townships, with its excellent après ski at local breweries and restaurants, relaxing spas and cozy hotels and ski pass that gives you access to four resorts within 25 minutes of each other.
All offer unique ski opportunities, vibrant culture, local gastronomy, and of course world class après ski experiences.