Favorite Ski Areas of Quebec and Ontario
For many Americans, Eastern Canada is the land of Niagara Falls, French, and maybe poutine—for those lucky enough to have made the trip, it might even be the land of Montreal, Toronto or Quebec City. But, with its snow-abundant winters and richly varied topography, this gorgeous stretch of Canada is also fantastically well-suited for cross country skiing. Below are some of our favorite venues, that showcase these totally unique natural treasures and do so with an air of Canadian hospitality and charm. Happy skiing!
As the name might suggest, this is a Nordic Center with something extra special going on. Set in a UNESCO protected biosphere, this winter wonderland of almost 400 acres and 30 km of trails lets visitors experience the beautiful intricacies of a centuries-old forest, as well as the grandeur of the landscape—a view which you can absorb from atop Southern Ontario’s longest suspension footbridge! Sadly the caves themselves—amazing glacial formations that descend as far as 70 feet below the earth’s surface—are closed during the winter. But rest assured, equally breathtaking adventures await skiers who stay topside.
Tucked in a pocket of thick woods amidst the miles of cropland that surround Toronto, Hardwood Ski and Bike offers visitors an escape into over 40 km of rolling, wide-groomed trails through lush (as you might have guessed) hardwood forests. While in the summer months the center is a mecca for Ontario mountain bikers, the cycling doesn’t end when the snow starts: fat biking is a favorite activity of both hardened cyclists and novices alike, and with Hardwood’s rental gear you can be zipping around the snowy trails in no time. And, of course, cross country skiers are well provided for with the center’s full range of rental gear, a capable and accommodating ski school, and terrain for every ability level. And as a bonus activity, which you’re unlikely to see anywhere else, Hardwood offers tours of their trails from the heated comfort of their state-of-the-art grooming rig.
If you’re a Nordic skier in North America, Mont Sainte Anne is a bucket list type of destination. With 184km of terrain, 170km of which are impeccably groomed for skate skiing, it is easily one of the largest and most technically diverse ski centers on the continent. Along this wildly impressive trail network there are situated five heated cabins to warm and feed skiers on cold days—and two of these cabins are even set up to accommodate overnight, ski-in guests! Whether you go for a day ski, or book an overnight adventure through these densely forested and rolling mountains of the Quebec City region, be sure to check out all that the charming town of Mont Sainte Anne has to offer, including a bevy of French-Canadian fine dining options, microbreweries, and some stunning natural landmarks (the Canyon Sainte-Anne is not to be missed).
Just down the road from the renowned Mont Tremblant Resort and the Mountain itself, Ski de Fond Mont Tremblant (ski de fond is French for XC Skiing) maintains over 70 km of perfectly varied trails. At the start of each winter, the highly skilled and passionate staff at the ski center begin the process of transforming the exquisite Mantiou Golf Course into a top notch Nordic ski center with views of Mont Tremblant, and trails that connect the town of Mont-Tremblant with nearby Domaine Saint-Bernard.
Recognizing that access to one’s local natural wonders is a public good, this extensive trail network (boasting over 130 km of trails, over half of which is consistently machine-tracked) is managed by the municipality of Morin Heights. Much of this awesome ski resource is on private land, so the managers ask that skiers are respectful of the trail rules; and if you happen to be one of these landowners, you are rewarded for your generosity with a complementary VIP pass to the whole trail network.
By converting the services, amenities and health benefits of a traditional gym or exercise club to the outdoors, the Relais offers winter recreation and invigorating workouts that also get folks out into the sparkling beauty of the Gatineau region. With a full lineup of rental XC ski gear and snowshoes, a ski school ready to hone your technique or get your kids started skiing, and a crisp “aerobic ski loop” designed for logging kilometers and nailing your stride, the Relais is an ideal venue for skiers of all abilities.
Ideally situated in the Algona Highlands, just north of the US-Canada border, and near the banks of Lake Superior, Stokely offers skiers everything from gently meandering valley trails to intense and heart pounding climbs and drops. Thanks to the airborne moisture from the nearby Great Lake, snow is rarely hard to come by in these South Ontario Highlands, and the dedicated crew at Stokely is sure to take full advantage of this geographic wonder. Their 100km trail network winds its way up from the Goulais River, crossing creeks and fields all the way to the impressive summit of King Mountain. By caring for the stunning 8,000 acres on which these trails sit, and by maintaining the public’s access to it, the folks at Stokely keep pristine and available a natural treasure that is not to be missed.
Read our Desitination artivle on Stokely Creek here!