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No Lift Needed: Cross Country Skiing at Mont Tremblant

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Photo credit: Langlauf 2 via photopin (license)

Sure, Mont-Tremblant’s an amazing hub–one of Canada’s finest–for topnotch downhill skiing and snowboarding. But the fun’s not confined to the Laurentian runs: far from it. In Mont-Tremblant National Park, you’ve got stunning backcountry to explore on cross-country skies or snowshoes: forays into silent woods that provide a blissful counterpoint to the hubbub of the resort slopes.

Here’s a brief overview of the cross-country and snowshoe possibilities in this oldest of Quebec’s national parks, a real jewel of the Laurentian Mountains.

Cross-Country Skiing

Nothing beats slicing through the birches and spruces on a pair of cross-country skis–and sneaking in a little downhill-style coasting on the occasional glacially molded descent! Mont-Tremblant National Park boasts some 27 miles of groomed and marked cross-country skiing trails in the Diable sector. There are routes for beginners and experts alike, with loops ranging in difficulty from easy (like the 4-mile La Renardiere trail) to demanding (like the 10.5-mile L’Ours trail). Six warming huts offer welcome shelters along the circuits.

More experienced skiers have yet more countryside to explore courtesy of 70 miles of unpacked backcountry ski trails in the Diable and Pimbina sectors. A day out on these farflung tracks is more than enough to convince you that Mont Tremblant is more than just a downhill fanatic’s paradise.

Snowshoeing

Strapping on a pair of snowshoes and tramping out into the pristine drifts of Mont-Tremblant National Park isn’t just a grand old time: It’s also the chance to tread in the tracks of history’s ghosts, from Algonquin deer-hunters to French fur-trappers. More than 30 miles of designated snowshoeing routes wind their way through the Diable and Pimbina sectors. An especially popular six-miler brings you to the brink of one of the park’s defining landmarks: the broad cataract of the Chute-aux-Rats Waterfall.

The Siren Call of the Mont-Tremblant Backcountry

Cross-country skiing or snowshoeing in the Laurentian wilderness of Mont-Tremblant National Park introduces you to some of the most stirring and untrammeled scenery in the region. It’s a chance to ditch the crowds and commune with the soul of a very ancient landscape: the crystalline rocks and transition forests of the southern Canadian Shield.

Besides the exercise and the snowy vistas, you’ll also enjoy the opportunity to take the pulse of the Laurentians’ wild denizens firsthand. Your snowpack path is bound to intersect the trails of animals: snowshoe hares, red squirrels, coyotes, moose, white-tailed deer–maybe even an eastern wolf. And your quiet mode of travel makes sighting critters in the flesh all the more likely: a fluffed-up raven in a barren aspen, a hardy band of deer holed up in a conifer stand, a river otter galumphing along an ice-glazed river.

Outdoor Adventure Made Easy

The staff at Mont-Tremblant National Park can recommend the best skiing or snowshoeing routes for your interests and abilities. And you don’t even need your own gear: The Discovery Centre along Grand lac Monroe rents out skis and snowshoes; they’re free for children 17 years old and younger who are accompanied by parents.

Some of Quebec’s finest winter recreation awaits at Mont-Tremblant National Park, and a pair of cross-country skis or snowshoes are your passport for adventure. Come on out and hit the trails!

Victor Putman combines his work in the travel industry with a passion for winter sports. He enjoys sharing his insights and experiences with an online audience and writes for several websites on a regular basis.