Thursday, December 2, 2010

Winter has arrived - break out the ski and snowshoes

The city of Montreal sits at the base of the St. Lawrence River Valley, but it is bordered to the south by the Monteregian Hills and to the north by the Laurentian Highlands. As a result, once winter arrives there are skiing and snowshoeing opportunities available only a short drive away, even if there is little snow present in the metropolitan area.

In the Cantons De L'Est, Mont Orford Park, Bromont, and other hills boast popular downhill ski runs. However, they also feature extensive cross-country ski and snowshoe routes. If you are like me, and never developed a taste for downhill, you can still spend time being active outdoors and meet with friends in the lodge afterwards.

To the north, the Laurentian highlands also house numerous ski hills. The number and variety of options speaks to the love of winter activity of the residents of Quebec. I particularly enjoy Mont Tremblant Park, with its many trails groomed for skiing and others available for snowshoeing. The Sentier du centenaire, in the Diable Sector, is a great snowshoeing trail. I did not include it in Hiking Trails of Montreal, but that is only because the park contains so many great routes that I was forced to make some tough choices about what to profile in the book.

So, once November arrives, expect that you may ski or snowshoe as much as you want, regardless of what the conditions are in downtown Montreal, if you are prepared to travel a short distance to the hills nearby.

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