12 Fun Facts That Prove People in Québec City Are Nuts About Winter

Ice canoeing
Guy Lessard

Winter turns Québec City into a giant frosty playground. And the locals are really, really into it. With an average annual snowfall of 305 cm, it’s one big chance to let your inner child out and embrace the wonders of the season—like powder (“poudrerie”), slush (“sloche”), and snowbanks (“bancs de neige”). Don’t be afraid of the cold. Come out and play! Here are 12 facts that will have you rocking winter like a local.

  • 1 There's a New Ice Hotel Every Winter

    Hotel de glace
    Mention de source Renaud Philippe

    A technical marvel, this snow-and-ice structure is rebuilt every year over a period of 3 months to welcome visitors from the four corners of the globe. This year, the only ice hotel in America (“Hôtel de Glace”) will have more than 40 uniquely themed rooms and suites. Don’t miss the chance to spend a magical winter night in a fairytale setting.

  • 2 Cross-Country Skiing Opens Here First

    Ski Foret Montmorency
    Mention de source Forêt Montmorency

    Skiing in late October? Of course! At Montmorency Forest, they’ve developed a special snow storage process, so as soon as it gets chilly, they bust out the reserves and lay down a 2.5 km Nordic trail—the only one of its kind in northeastern North America.

  • 3 We Skate as Soon as we Learn to Walk

    Patinoire hockey Quebec
    Mention de source Camirand

    Kids in Québec learn to skate almost as soon as they learn to walk. Every village has an outdoor skating rink come winter. Some even run along rivers and across lakes. Whether for hockey—our national sport—or just gliding around, there’s no better place to lace up those skates.

  • 4 We Hit the Slopes after Work

    Station Touristique Stoneham
    Mention de source Station Touristique Stoneham

    Heard of night skiing? Some ski resorts have it every night of the week and they’re less than 30 minutes from the city centre. Swooshing down the slopes under the stars is an incredible experience that everyone should try at least once in their life.

  • 5 We Ski and Snowshoe in the City

    Ski plaines d'Abraham
    Mention de source Guy Lessard

    How many places in the world do you know where you can step out from your hotel in the heart of the city with your skis on?  Québec City locals are blessed with a huge urban park—the Plains of Abraham—for cross‑country skiing and snowshoeing. It’s not uncommon to see Parliament Hill employees head out on their lunch break to take a few strides across the Plains.

  • 6 We Take Canoes across the Icy St. Lawrence River

    Canot à glace
    Mention de source Michel Émond

    Back in the day, people used ice canoes to get from Québec City to Lévis across the mighty St. Lawrence River. Today, ice canoeing has become a local sports phenomenon. More than 60 teams compete each winter on the frozen waters of the St. Lawrence River, including the famous race during the Carnaval de Québec. The more adventurous can even go on a guided tour with experienced guides to try this challenging activity.

  • 7 We Do the Snowpants Dance

    Party extérieur
    Mention de source André-Olivier Lyra

    Love the nightlife? Québec City has some of the best winter parties going. On New Year’s Eve you can dance the night away under the bright lights on Grande Allée. Later on, the Winter Carnival will keep you groovin’ in February.

  • 8 We Go Snow Rafting

    Village Vacances Valcartier
    Mention de source Village Vacances Valcartier

    Sledding is winter fun for everyone—kids, grandparents, the whole fam‑dam. But sledding at Village Vacances Valcartier is fun on a level previously unknown to man. Hit the slides with a tube, head down the massive slopes on a raft, or take a turn on an exclusive Valcartier Vacation Village innovation, the aptly named “Tornado.”

  • 9 We Have a Bike for Every Season

    Fatbike
    Mention de source Francis Gagnon

    Fatbikes are the latest mountain biking craze. With their oversized tires, they’re perfect for hitting the trails all winter long.

  • 10 We Take Nice Cold Baths

    Carnaval de Québec
    Mention de source Audet Photo

    Every year, valiant festivalgoers head out in bathing suits, toques, and mittens to brave the frigid conditions of the grand ol’ snowbath at the Québec Winter Carnival.

    If you’re looking for a more laid‑back experience, head to one of the many nordic spas in the region. They’re supremely relaxing.

  • 11 We Have Crazy Sports Challenges Like the Pentathlon des neiges

    Pentathlon des neiges
    Mention de source @pentathlonqc

    The Pentathlon des neiges (Snow Pentathlon), Québec City’s latest winter tradition, is the biggest winter multisport event in the world, drawing an average of 6,000 competitors each year. Québec City locals are some of the keenest participants, with families, businesses, schools, and even seniors forming teams for the tandem and group challenges. It’s become so popular that nearly everyone in the city knows someone in the Pentathlon des neiges.

  • 12 We’re Always Coming Up with New Ways to Have Fun

    Montage fous hiver

    If you think you’ve run the gamut of winter activities, just wait ’til you come to Québec. Mountain sports like the Via Ferrata, ice climbing, ice canyoning, and many more winter adventures await!


Québec cité
Editorial Team

As proud ambassadors of our beloved city, we’re delighted to be sharing the things and places we love most in the Québec City area. What a joy for us to help you discover everything this vibrant and welcoming city has to offer!

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