Text by: Quartz Co. Editorial Team
Is it the shorter days, the bracing cold or the never-ending winters that have prompted the Québécois people of Quebec to cultivate so many original winter activities? Beyond skiing and ice skating, there is a plethora of other choices that are available to those who love to stay active while in the throes of winter, while also getting off the beaten path. Here are six unique experiences that will both charm and surprise you!
Sleeping in the Quebec City Ice Hotel
It may be a tourist classic, but spending a night at the Quebec City Ice Hotel (the only one of its kind in North America) is a must and a fun change of pace from your daily routine! Keep in mind you’ll need to follow a mandatory training session and be well equipped to spend a night that’s all sleep and no chills. And when the time has come to retreat back to your room, be sure to take a little detour by the hotel’s relaxation area, complete with a spa and a sauna, to warm up and dry down before bed.
Work your way through the first winter Via Ferrata
Only 30 minutes from Quebec City, the winter Via Ferrata at the Sainte-Anne Canyon is a great option for a family outing, at which fun is guaranteed! There’s something for everyone with several proposed routes, varying in difficulty and duration. The Via Ferrata is therefore appropriate for all levels of fitness (and enthusiasm!) and its new continuous via system makes it safer than ever. Canyon Sainte-Anne Park is open in winter only to Via Ferrata participants, and you must make an advance reservation, which means you’ll feel like you have the park and its impressive waterfalls all to yourself!
Relax in the heart of nature
The Nordik nature spa in Chelsea offers a relaxing nature massage package, in a wooden pavilion setting. Available for solo or duo massages, the Massana-Nature cabins are truly a haven of peace. The experience is all the more enchanting in the middle of winter, when the branches of the picturesque trees are laden with snow. Choose between a Swedish, Californian, deep tissue or toning massage for a moment of perfect bliss and total relaxation.
Dance to the beat at Igloofest
Of all the music festivals in the world, Igloofest is certainly the coldest! From January 16 to February 8, 2020, Igloofest invites you to get out and dance during nine fun-filled, unforgettable evenings. We love the exhilarating atmosphere and, if anything, the cold temperatures will only make you dance even more intensely to the beats of the best DJs from all over the world. Take this opportunity to dust off your old winter suit and participate in the annual Iglooswag contest.
One of the highlights of the Quebec City Carnival is assuredly the ice canoe race. This is a throwback to the traditional First Nations means of transportation adopted by the coureurs des bois, with some notable modern time updates (such as the use of fibreglass lighter, faster canoes). Teams must cross the icy waters of the St. Lawrence a set number of times and the fastest team wins. This event goes beyond pure sport, though: the tradition of ice canoe river crossings is part of Quebec's intangible heritage.
Being front row at an Ice Cross race
It’s official, the most epic downhill skating race will be back in Quebec this year! The Red Bull Crashed Ice has rebranded itself to become the Ice Cross World Championship. The province of Quebec will host two races, one ATSX 250 race in Percé on February 1, and one ATSX 500 race in Quebec’s Old Town, on March 7.
Photos by: Alamy/Helemis, Moja Gear Climbing