Friends always told me there’s nothing like La Belle Province in the winter months. The snow-sprinkled region offers unique outdoor activities, Quebecois festival culture, and a remarkable landscape that blossoms in the deep freeze. I finally had the opportunity this past month to see for myself the wonders of Quebec in the winter time.
I give you the top 5 things to do with school groups itching to experience snowy Quebec City and the surrounding areas:
#5 - A day or night on the slopes
Quebec is blessed with great ski resorts, many a short drive from Quebec City. Averaging three meters of snowfall every winter, with over 800 trails, Quebec has some of Canada’s best skiing opportunities! Stoneham Mountain Ski Resort is a particularly great venue for school groups, providing equipment and helmet rental services along with exceptional beginner and intermediate ski/snowboard lessons. With 18 trails and a beautifully renovated indoor dining experience, it certainly has Brightspark’s stamp of approval!
If you're worried about the difficulty rating of skiing, why not try a night of tubing with your group? Valcartier Water Park has adapted to Quebec's winters. When the weather turns cold, they trade sun visors for toques and turn their water slides and hills into a snowy tubing adventure. If you can sit on a tube, you can have fun at Valcartier. You don't even have to walk up the hills, there's a rope to pull you and your tube up the hill while you relax.
#4 - Who let the dogs out?
A bucket-list item is definitely experiencing the Canadian classic activity of dog sledding, with a history that dates back to the early inhabitants of Canada! The opportunity to dogsled Quebec’s beautifullandscape, powered by huskies is incredible. The team at Chenil la Poursuite works hard to ensure students are knowledgeable of the safety precautions they must take before their ride. Students are also kept in small groups, giving them a chance to sled in pairs and snowshoe along their beautiful trails. If they're lucky, the group may even get a chance to hold some adorably fluffy husky puppies.
#3 - Ice, Ice Baby!
One of North America’s best kept (and chilled) secrets is The Hotel de Glace in Quebec City! This ice palace is celebrating its 15th anniversary, and is filled with 44 rooms and suites; each suite with its own unique design. Students are sure to be amazed by a chillingly wonderful tour of the Ice Hotel, with its beautiful architecture, ice sliding activities, plus time to explore the site on their own!
#2 - Celebrate with Bonhomme!
When I think of Quebec City, I automatically associate the snowy capital with its Winter Carnaval dating back to 1894. This New France tradition has evolved into the world’s largest Winter Carnaval, filled with outdoor activities ranging from snow-tubing, ice-skating and tobogganing, watching artists create beautiful outdoor ice sculptures, and even ice fishing on the Plains of Abraham! Hosted by its jolly mascot Bonhomme de Neige, be sure to visit the Carnaval de Quebec from January 30th to February 15th.
#1- Did someone say Maple Syrup?
What better way to end a chilly trip to Quebec than by warming up to a delicious Quebecois meal in a traditional Cabane a Sucre (sugar shack)! Staff lead the group in an instructional activity about maple syrup production, followed by live music, Quebecois cuisine, traditional maple taffy treats and maple syrup. Lots of maple syrup! Located just a short drive from Quebec City, sugar shacks are a must visit and a great way to dance the night away!
Quebec is cold in the winter, but these 5 activities will definitely make it worth the trip to Quebec's beautiful capital city for a winter adventure. If you are ready for winter FUN, contact your Brightspark Sales Rep to have a winter itinerary customized for your group.