Best Cross-Country Skiing Places
The Québec City area has the longest season in Eastern Canada and the highest concentration of trails for classic cross‑country skiing and skate skiing in the province. Get ready for some of the best ski days of your life thanks to the superb conditions, inspiring scenery, and excellent trails!
Québec’s national training centre for cross‑country skiing just happens to be one of the most extensive trail network in North America, with over 200 km of trails and numerous heated huts along the way. As you might expect, the grooming is impeccable. Should you need any gear, a ski boutique is conveniently located onsite. When you’re all skied out, there’s a Nordic spa located at the entrance to the cross‑country skiing centre. Go ahead—treat yourself!
Looking for unbeatable conditions that often last into mid‑April? Camp Mercier is a cross‑country skier’s dream, with trails that go winding through a majestic evergreen forest. At the end of your ski outing, you can warm up by the enormous fireplace in the cozy chalet at the entrance. Bonus: Admission and equipment rentals are free for children and youth age 17 and under.
This is a go‑to spot for cross‑country skiers in the region, for one very simple reason: Forêt Montmorency puts snow away in the spring and brings it out again in the fall, so their first trails open in October—the earliest season start date in Eastern North America! The forest’s geographic location also makes for ideal conditions. Located north of Québec City and at a slight altitude, it often gets snow when warmer temperatures make for rain in the city. Keep your eyes peeled: you may see elite athletes or teams there training.
Sentiers du Moulin
Dreaming of cross‑country skiing through a snowy evergreen forest with tight trails and a nice succession of uphills and downhills? This heavenly place, especially for classic cross-country skiing, is only 20 minutes from Québec’s city centre. Bring your equipment or rent on site and spend a day exploring more than 45 km of magnificent trails and 6 huts in an absolutely magical setting.
Station touristique Duchesnay
If you want to combine skiing with quality family time, Duchesnay Resort has a wide range of winter activities on site, with free admission and equipment for those age 17 and under. The network of groomed trails for classic and skate skiing extends for over 45 km and has 4 heated huts for a mid‑ski break.
You’ll find this skiable terrain in an unusual location: the grounds of Valcartier military base. It’s got plenty of trails for classic and skate skiing and the grooming is impeccable. Get your skis ready in the waxing room, then head out to explore the site. There’s something for everyone: flat trails, uphills, downhills, and turns, all in a gorgeous setting.
Cross-Country Skiing in the Heart of the City
Don’t miss the opportunity to see this big urban park all covered in snow. There aren’t too many cities where you can slip on your skis almost as soon as you leave your hotel.
The Plains of Abraham has hosted multiple FIS World Cup events and is absolutely free, giving you the chance to go cross‑country skiing in the heart of the city, steps away from a number of hotels. If you’re a beginner, start by the skating rink so you can get your bearings on flat terrain. You can even rent your equipment onsite. A unique urban experience!
When Does the Cross-Country Skiing Season Start and End?
Thanks to their snow storage techniques, Forêt Montmorency is the first place to open for cross‑country skiing, usually at the end of October. Other locations open in late November or in December. The season usually comes to a close at the end of March, but you can—and should—enjoy some lovely spring skiing right up until mid‑April at Camp Mercier and Mont-Sainte-Anne.
What to Wear and Equipment Required
You don’t need much equipment to go cross‑country skiing: skis, boots, and poles. Most ski areas rent equipment. Adults and children alike can have fun on cross‑country skis. It’s quite physically demanding and you will need a bit of practice and good technique to get the most out of the sport. If you’re a beginner, we recommend taking a class or two for guidance as you master the basics.
Pro tip: dress in layers! You’ll warm up as you get going and you need to be able to take a layer off if you start to sweat. Ideally, you want to be a little cold before you start so that you stay nice and comfortable once you warm up.