DID YOU KNOW?

Snowshoeing only became popular as a recreational activity in the 19th century with the emergence of Canadian snowshoeing clubs. The city of Sherbrooke in the Eastern Townships boasts one of North America’s oldest clubs, founded in the 1870s.

Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing

Make your mark

Photographie. Thanks to its abundant snow cover, Québec boasts countless trails for use by cross country skiers and showshoers. These sports make use of all our senses and attract both active and contemplative nature lovers with a sharp eye for picking out animal tracks in the snow, a keen ear attuned to the sound of a running stream or crackling branches, and a nose trained to the incomparable scent of the evergreen. So strap on your skis or snowshoes and set out on an adventure!


Cross-country skiingSnowshoeing

Snowshoeing

Treading lightly over winter

La Mauricie National Park of Canada An ingenious means of transport invented by the Aboriginals and later adopted by the coureurs de bois, or woodsmen, snowshoes have come into their own in the 21st century. There’s still no better way to stay atop the powder on a winter hike. Snowshoes are great for scaling snowy slopes and striding through Québec’s vast wooded areas. In the cold season, don’t leave home without them!

Snowshoes, then and now

La Mauricie National Park of Canada The Amerindians had perfected their design well before the arrival of the Europeans, taking inspiration from shapes found in nature and coming up with four basic snowshoe types: the beaver tail, the owl tail, the round-end and the bear paw. These days, snowshoes tend to be more compact, featuring light metal frames, crampons and straps that are better adapted to today’s footwear. However, old-fashioned babiche (rawhide) snowshoes, if largely relegated to the status of decorative objects, are nonetheless perfectly snow-worthy—according to their proud owners!

All-season hiking

Photographie With hundreds of miles of trails at every level and winters lasting four to five months, Québec is snowshoe heaven. If you're a first-timer, you can give the sport a try in parks and cross-country ski centres across the province. The equipment is generally available for rent, and some centres even offer full-moon excursions—a truly spellbinding experience! For the most part, trails are groomed and signposted, making the activity extremely safe. Highly accessible, snowshoeing offers plenty of opportunities to spot animal tracks, can be as competitive or contemplative as you wish, and is equally enjoyable on marked trails or out in the backcountry. Regions like Québec City and Area, Charlevoix, Gaspésie and Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean are particularly popular with snowshoers due to their great natural beauty, exceptional snow cover and vast trail networks.

In the city, in the country...

Photographie Snowshoeing is the perfect complement to other winter sports like skating and cross-country skiing. Seasoned adepts often opt for longer excursions punctuated with overnight stays at shelters or wilderness campsites. Whatever your level, you’re wise to wear several layers of clothing to stay warm and dry, and—when embarking on longer hikes—to carry a trail map and compass (or GPS system). The Sentier des Caps trail in Charlevoix, a network that’s particularly cherished by long distance hikers, offers superb views of the St. Lawrence.

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