If renting a cottage for a weekend is on your list to-do list this winter, chances are you'll be heading over to the busy slopes of some of the large mountains in your area. There are, however, many other ski hills that are at least as beautiful as the well-known destinations, yet are not as crowded and not as expensive. We have rounded up for you 7 hidden gems in Quebec:
Boasting the biggest vertical drop in all of Quebec, the Massif du Sud in the Chaudière-Appalaches region is at least on part with any of the province's larger ski resorts. On average, about 600 centimetres of natural snow falls on the mountain every season. With almost as many gladed runs and there are groomed ones, the Massif du Sud offers breathtaking, almost surreal vistas at every turn. Parents and more experienced teenagers will want to tackle the 60% incline of trail #5. Beginners, on the other hand, will probably prefer the Familiale trail, which stretches over 3.5 km.
Located in the heart of the Laurentian Mountains, Belle Neige is a charming hill that enjoys full sun exposure all day long and is protected from chilly north-west winds. Make the most of these enjoyable weather conditions to discover the resort's many attractions. Among them, you'll find a boardercross area and the Plushies trail, a beginner's trail lined with over a thousand plushies and figurines that will surely make your tiny tots fall in love with skiing!
Source: Belle Neige — Official website
Owl's Head playground extends over 50 groomed trails and 8 chairlifts, making it one of the best ski destinations of the Eastern Townships. In addition to sweeping views of the Memphremagog lake, fearless skiers can head into the forest and try their hands at off-piste skiing, a rather rare opportunity in Quebec. Beginner skiers who prefer a more classic experience but still want get away from the crowded groomed trails can try out the easy gladed areas, perfect for trying out off-piste for the first time.
Mont-Comi is the biggest ski hill in all of the Bas-Saint-Laurent, Gaspésie and Côte-Nord regions. With more than 30 trails available to skiers of all calibres, the mountain offers stunning views covered with 100% natural snow. If, by chance, you happen to be in the area between March 18 and 20, be sure to check out the yearly Snowsession event, one of Quebec's most popular snowboard competitions. Tons of fun guaranteed for young and old alike!
Val Saint-Côme, located in the Lanaudière region, is known for the quality of its ski school and exceptional snow conditions (with about 100 snow guns on the mountain). You would be hard-pressed to find a better location to learn how to ski and enjoy fresh air in a family-friendly atmosphere. Take your kids down the Contour and Autoroute trails, or introduce them to freestyle skiing with a visit to the resort's mini-snowpark, the Bimbo.
Source: Val Saint-Côme — Official website
Mont Grand-Fonds might not be as well-known as its big sister in Petite-Rivière-Saint-François, but its slopes are worth the trip. Visitors can enjoy the mountain's 20 trails to the max, in relative solitude. An excellent balance between beginner and more experts trails make Mont Grand-Fonds a beautiful place for the whole family to spend time together. Should you prefer not to ski, you can head out on the snowshoe and cross-country ski trails, and warm up with a hot drink in one of the heated shelters along the way.
Source: Mont Grand-Fonds — Official website
Thanks to a microclimate, Le Valinouët, a ski hill located in the heart of the Saguenay-Lac-Jean, enjoys fantastic snow coverage throughout the season. Two of the mountain's longest runs, Le Boulevard and La Détente, are perfect for beginners. Riders looking to ski natural powder snow will love to slide down Le Valinouët's 30 groomed runs!