Parc national des Monts-Valin, Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean © TQ/J-P.Huard

Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing

Blessed with lavish quantities of snow, Québec offers cross-country skiers and snowshoers a veritable gold mine of trails. These sports that stimulate all five senses attract both active and contemplative nature lovers. You can ski or snowshoe on trails close to Québec’s urban centres—and sometimes right in the city as well!

Cross-country skiing

Sépaq manages a vast network of trails in breathtaking natural settings—namely, Québec's national parks and wildlife reserves. Most downhill ski hills also offer cross-country ski trails. Those seeking more of a challenge can embark on longer excursions, spending their nights in huts or even at backcountry campgrounds. Winter is also when a number of major competitions are held across Québec.

Snowshoeing

An ingenious means of transport invented by the Aboriginals and later adopted by the coureurs de bois (woodsmen), snowshoes have come into their own in the 21st century. Today’s models are equally great for scaling snowy slopes and striding through Québec’s vast wooded domains. If you're a first-timer, you can give the sport a try in the many parks and at cross-country ski centres across the province. Snowshoes are normally available for rent at these sites and the trails are generally groomed and signposted.

The Traversée de la Gaspésie is a yearly—and highly festive—weeklong excursion in the Chic-Chocs mountain range that’s enjoyed by hundreds of cross-country skiers. The TDLG (as it’s known) received rave reviews from the New York Times in 2013.