Winter in Québec is a magical time of year and its ski fields are a huge draw for locals and visitors alike. With its uncrowded slopes and family-friendly resorts, it’s the ideal destination for beginners and intermediates to hone their skills, while advanced skiers and thrill-seekers can take advantage of the steepest slopes this side of the Rockies.
Québec is one of the few places on earth you can ski from mountain to sea or partake in outdoor adventures in some of Canada’s most picturesque wine and farming regions. Its mountainous national parks are sprinkled with quintessential Francophone villages that offer unforgettable après-ski with friendly, welcoming locals. The feeling you get as you carve up the scenic mountains or sip hot chocolate by the fire of your charming chalet will live in your heart long after the ice melts.
Home to North America's first ski lift (circa 1931) and the birthplace of night skiing, the snow fields of the Laurentians are steeped in history and infused with character. Just 130 kilometres from Montréal, the Laurentians are known for family-friendly resorts, with 12 to choose from in the region.
Mont-Tremblant’s charming pedestrian village is a great place to base yourself for skiing or snowboarding. With 96 marked runs, as well as dogsledding, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, and even ice climbing, there’s no shortage of ways to enjoy the outdoors. Check out the Adrénaline snow park, with its creative assortment of modules for all ability levels.
A bit closer to Montréal you’ll find les Sommets, a group of five ski hills — including the popular Sommet Saint-Sauveur — offering full packages that cover lift tickets, lessons, and meals. Then there’s Mont Blanc, the ultimate ski resort for families, with three peaks, 43 trails, 11 kilometres of snowshoe trails, and a giant indoor play park for the kids.
Insider’s tip: Planning your trip for March? Check out the cabanes à sucre (sugar shacks) that pop up during the sugar season for the maple harvest.
Picture yourself flying down a snow-covered mountain, surrounded by pristine forest coated in vanilla ice-cream. In the distance, the ocean glitters under a blue-bird sky as the slopes converge towards the St Lawrence River. At Le Massif de Charlevoix you won’t believe your eyes, and you may just want to stay forever.
Boasting the highest vertical drop east of the Canadian Rockies, Le Massif is adorned with groomed and off-piste scenic trails that carry you all the way to the sea, as well as the ideal microclimate for perfect snow conditions.
Make a point of carving up Stoneham’s three terrain parks (extra points if you do it after dark on one of the 19 night skiing trails), and test your skill on the Olympic half-pipe. Mont Grand-Fonds, on the eastern side of the region, is perfect for families, with numerous beginner and intermediate runs and a world-class ski school. Known to be one of the sunniest resorts in Canada, it might be wise to pack the sunscreen.
One of the best things about skiing in Charlevoix is its proximity to Québec City as well as numerous quintessential Francophone villages. Stay at Mont-Sainte-Anne (30 minutes from Québec City), Petite-Rivière-Saint-François, or Baie-Saint-Paul (both an hour from Québec City) for easy access to the snow fields. Soak up the friendly village vibe and enjoy the outstanding terroir cuisine. After a long day on the slopes there’s nothing like tucking into a home-style meal sourced from locally-produced fare. This is one place you won’t find fried foods on the menu.
Insider’s tip: Check out the Baie Saint-Paul luge. The 7.5-kilometre sled run winds down Mont Liguori, offering a whole new perspective of the mountain. Hang on to your tuque!
From bunny hills to powdery trails, Québec’s Eastern Townships boasts four major ski resorts very close to one other. The best part? The entire region is festooned with enchanting villages, award-winning wineries, chocolatiers, and farmers. It’s the authentic nature of the region that sees visitors returning year after year, escaping the more commercial resorts in favour of a genuine Quebecois winter experience.
Mont Sutton is renowned for its unique glade skiing and proximity to the Eastern Townships’ most character-filled inns and hotels. Make the most of the trails during the day, take a break in one of the upscale spas, or enjoy the many local restaurants, wineries, and cafes serving iconic classics, like Québec ice cider, alongside delicious gourmet treats.
Mont Orford offers the highest mountain in the region, with 61 alpine trails and a ton of additional trails for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and hiking. Nearby Bromont has 141 trails on seven slopes and is the largest lit skiable terrain in North America. Meanwhile, Owl’s Head’s panoramic views of Lake Memphremagog make its 51 groomed runs even more breathtaking.
Insider’s tip: Head to the Centre d’équitation Jacques Robidas in Magog for a wintery horse-back ride through the rustic wooded trails nearby.
With impressive annual snowfalls and countless ski hills close to Montréal and Québec City, there’s no reason not to head outdoors in Québec this winter.