There is something special about the places where we go skiing. All those areas always have groomed ski trails for classic and skating XC skiing. For us, it is requirement number one.
Let’s start with the ski trails in SEPAQ parks. Oka, Mont-Saint-Bruno, and Mont-Orford are the national parks that are the closest to us and have both classic and skating ski trails. We buy season ski passes SEPAQ, as we go skiing to those parks very often.
Cross-country ski trails: Oka National park has 5 cross-country ski trails. Classic XC ski trails – 25 km. Skate XC ski trails – 25 km. Only two trails number 6 (Note: starting January 2020, it is number 5) and number 2 have classic and ski trails going parallel. Usually, we take number 6 to warm up. Mostly it is a flat trail with small ups and downs.
Cross-country ski trails: The trails are easy. There are 6 ski trails. The trail number is equal its distance in kilometers, i.e. trail 1 is 1 km, etc. For skate skiing is trails 3 and 5. Classic skiing is on all trails.
The ski center is within 1.5-hour drive from Montreal and located in the resort Esterel.
Since that area is close to Mont-Tremblant, the landscape is mountainous. So be ready for ups-downs and sharp curves on Esterel ski trails. One of the ski trails crosses a lake once it is covered by ice.
Small cabins on ski trails to keep warm.
Extreme lovers will appreciate difficult ski trails.
Linear Park Le P’tit Train du Nord is not an ordinary park with loop ski trails. Actually, it is an old railway from Bois-des-Filion to Mont-Laurier passing Saint-Jérôme and Mont-Tremblant. In the winter time, a 232-km cycle path is transformed into a cross-country ski trail. It’s the longest park of its kind in Canada!
An ideal place for those who do not like to ski in a circle. So there are many entry points to the Linear Park Le P’tit Train du Nord. Some of them are more comfortable for skiers, some of them less. We have not explored the whole 232 km of the ski trail. Here you find the coordinates of an entry point we found good enough.
Entry point km 25 Gare de Sainte-Adèle (Mont-Rolland)
The ski resort Le Mont Grand-Fonds is located in a picturesque region Charlevoix within 2-hour drive from Quebec City.
Once we started skiing in Le Mont Grand-Fonds, we were charmed by that place! The trees covered with snow along the trails are absolutely magic. Unfortunately, the bone-chilling cold weather did not let us fully enjoy the beauty of the place.
We would like to say a couple of good words about the chalets on the trails. We have never seen the service like that anywhere else. Usually, there are small cabins for a couple of people. Le Mont Grand-Fonds have big heated chalets. Inside you will find at least half-dozen tables with benches. Free refreshments: coffee, tea, hot chocolate or chicken broth. You can even dry your clothes inside.
It is a ski resort. You can do the alpine ski here as well.
Large waxing room.
Restaurant and bar on site.
Waxing tables are old.
The parking lot is huge. If you do not park in the first line, be ready to walk.
9. Centre de Plein Air Les Sources Joyeuses, La Malbaie, Charlevoix
The Centre de Plein Air Les Sources Joyeuses is much less than Le Mont Grand-Fonds. However, you will also find breathtaking views there. On one of the ski trail, there is an observation tower with an amazing overview of Charlevoix at 360 degrees.
As we already mentioned above, we were in Charlevoix in very cold weather. We would have frozen if we had not worn our favorite ski pieces of clothing, i.e.
Park Gatineau is within 20 minutes drive from Ottawa.
When we arrived at the main entrance, there were two news for us a good one and a bad one. The bad one was “no waxing room on-site.” The good was as SEPAQ ski pass holders we had 50% discount on daily ski pass at Park Gatineau.
More than 50 cross-country ski trails from easy to difficult.
A lot of parking lots along the ski trails.
Rental ski not available.
No waxing room.
Small parking lots.
Minimum of comfort for cross-country skiers. Only an outdoor toilet available.
What did not we say about?
About the beauty of each cross-country ski trail. They are all beautiful in their own way. Besides the beauty of a ski trail is subjective and depends on the weather.
About natural bad conditions of XC ski-trails, i.e. all kinds of leaves on trails. The most of ski trails pass through the forest. And you’re not going anywhere.
We always bring our own equipment: ski, poles, ski boots, wax and… wax iron.