9 reasons why Québec is the ultimate winter playground for skiers and snowboarders
Promising diverse terrain that’s perfect for everyone from beginner to expert, amazing après-ski entertainment and endless activities for the whole family, winter is more than just a season in Québec; it’s a culture. And you really should experience it for yourself to understand just how special it can be.
The province’s four regions offer a variety of skiable terrain that skiers and snowboarders just can’t find elsewhere. From the mountains of Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean to the renowned resorts in the Laurentians, the natural vistas of Québec City and Charlevoix, and the family-friendly hills of the Eastern Townships, there are 75 resorts in total for you to choose from, all with their own unique qualities. No matter which you choose, you’re in for a truly unforgettable winter experience.
So, go ahead and book your lift tickets and start packing your gear. Here are 9 reasons why Québec is a winter paradise for skiers and snowboarders looking to experience the total package this season.
1. The snow conditions are unbeatable
Québec has become synonymous with winter thanks in part to an extra-long season and vast amounts of snow, both natural and man-made. Receiving over 400 centimeters of snow each ski season, Québec’s mountains boast the bountiful natural snow that skiing enthusiasts adore.
Thanks to sophisticated snowmaking systems, on top of boatloads of natural, homegrown snow, Québec’s skiing and snowboarding season lasts from December to mid-April each year (or even early November to May in certain regions!), giving you plenty of time to scratch your ski trip itch. Or to come back for another round or two, or three.
2. You can enjoy beautiful scenery and nature
As if excellent snow conditions and a multitude of runs weren’t enough, a view of the stunning natural landscapes as you make your way down the slopes is the cherry on top of the Québec winter experience. Here, you’ll witness breathtaking views that you simply can’t find elsewhere.
From a stunning view of the St. Lawrence River at Le Massif in the Charlevoix region, to the beautiful Monts-Valin mountain ranges as you glide through the natural snow at Le Valinouët in the Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean region, skiing in Québec means skiing in the heart of nature.
3. You’ll experience authentic winter culture
Winter isn’t something to be endured in this province, it’s something to be embraced! While you can ski or snowboard just about anywhere, in Québec, you get more than snow. You get authentic adventure in a warm and festive environment.
Simply put, Québec knows how to do winter the right way, and that means there are a number of must-try winter activities besides skiing. From ice skating with a cup of hot chocolate, to snowshoeing in the forest, to visiting the local cabane à sucre (or sugar shack), Québec is a true winter paradise.
4. There’s an unbelievable diversity of skiable terrain
One of the things that makes Québec one of the best downhill destinations in North America is the sheer number of resorts, hills, and terrain. Whether you’re seeking intermediate runs, backcountry skiing or a spot to practice your freestyle tricks, you’re sure to find what you’re looking for here.
Boasting over 100 runs as well as plenty of off-hill fun, the world-renowned Tremblant resort is an ideal starting point for first-timers to the region. Plus, it’s located in the Laurentians, just a short drive from nearby Montréal.
For freestyle thrills, big air-seekers can hit the Olympic-sized superpipe and snow park at Stoneham just 30 minutes north of Québec City. Or, if backcountry skiing is more your speed, head to Mont Édouard in Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean for over 20 km of trails in one of Québec’s largest alpine touring areas.
5. The province has something for all skill levels, and ages
Thanks to such diverse terrain, Québec offers trails for skiers and snowboarders of all skill levels and ages, from bunny hills to black diamond runs. Seasoned skiers will be most challenged at hills like Mont Sutton in the Eastern Townships, where over 45% of the terrain is marked expert level, making it the perfect place to test and hone your skills. (Safely, of course!)
For beginners looking to enter the sport, the majority of Québec resorts offer ski schools with lessons for both little ones and newcomers alike. This is especially appealing for families hoping to introduce young kids to the snow sport culture, and pass their winter passion down to the younger generation.
6. Don’t forget the festive après-ski atmosphere
Winter enthusiasts don’t just travel to Québec for the runs, but for what happens when you’re done with the day’s runs as well—and there’s no shortage of vibrant après-ski activities and entertainment for those looking for something fun to do off the slopes.
No matter which region you visit, you’ll find gourmet food and excellent microbreweries. Experience the province like a local at places like Auberge Sutton Brouërie, located just five minutes from the Mont Sutton slopes.
If relaxation is what you crave after a long day of skiing, a variety of Nordic spas can provide the peace and restoration you’re looking for. Spas like Nordique Spa Stoneham offer a Scandinavian-style experience. Just a quick trip from Stoneham resort, you’ll find Finnish saunas, Turkish steam baths, outdoor hot tubs—plus, astonishing views.
7. There’s fun for the whole family
Resorts like Mont-Saint-Anne, located under an hour from Québec City, make it easy to plan a trip the entire family can enjoy. Boasting 71 trails ranging from easy to extreme, ski and snowboard lessons for kids as young as 18-months-old and family-friendly lodging, it’s just one of the province’s many family-friendly resorts.
Now celebrating its 50th anniversary, Mont Grands-Fonds offers tons of fun for kids of all ages, thanks to a variety of winter activities that are perfect for keeping the whole family active and entertained. Take the kids downhill skiing one day, then cross-country skiing or snowshoeing the next for the full winter experience.
8. You can ski day or night
Did you know? Québec lays claim to North America’s largest illuminated ski hill. With 99 lit trails available for night skiing, Bromont, montagne d’expériences is the place to be for night skiing. Skiing lasts until 10 PM most nights, and they even host monthly “Nuits Blanches,” where skiers can keep going until 1 AM.
With several other hills offering night skiing, visitors can make the most of off-hill winter activities during the day and hit the slopes at night under a starry sky for a truly magical experience. Feel free to take a day off to get out and explore all the wonders the local area has to offer, knowing you can still hit the slopes later that night, or maximize your time on the slopes by skiing both day and night. The choice is yours!
9. It’s only a short trip to world-class cities, and unforgettable winter adventures
There are multiple resorts accessible from Montréal and Québec City in under an hour’s drive, making them perfect for day trips—although fair warning: once you visit, you likely won’t want to leave. For Ontarians bored of the hills at home, a half day’s drive or short flight into Montréal or Québec City can get you to exciting new trails in no time.
Plus, with the Eastern Townships located right near the U.S. border, Americans from northeastern states like New York, Vermont and Maine can get a change of scenery and a taste of Québécois life and its festive winter culture without venturing too far.
No matter where you’re visiting from, or what you’re looking for, Québec has something for skiers and snowboarders of all stripes. So, what are you waiting for? Plan your trip today.