This winter, learn the Art of Snowshoeing !
Considered the fastest growing winter sport in the world, the art of snowshoeing has become more sophisticated over time and has now garnered quite the universal following with several national parks offering beautiful trails and a whole range of equipment and accommodation packages for all ages and levels.
Snowshoeing is a great alternative for many sports – especially those who like walking or running, however, there is more to the sport than just taking a refreshing stroll in the snow: For the casual snowshoer, a brisk walk or day hike for pleasure is sufficient; however the enthusiastic sportsperson will find ultimate pleasure in trekking through the back country and participating in competitive races.
I believe that the best way to start snowshoeing is to just go ahead and rent or buy a pair of snowshoes, dress warmly to keep dry and ultimately have fun.
Mont-Tremblant National Park boasts over 48 km of trails spread over 2 sectors.
Mont Tremblant National Park
Last weekend I had the pleasure to discover the natural beauty of Mont-Tremblant National Park that boasts over 48 km of trails spread over 2 sectors.
A site rich in natural and historic heritage, and home to 40 mammal species including bears and wolves, the circuits are designed for families, curious amateurs and avid season users alike. The park is part of the Quebec SEPAQ association - the largest outdoor network in Quebec that includes several national parks, wildlife sanctuaries and tourist centers.
A typical start to your adventure would include a stop at the Discovery Centre or Pimbina Visitors Center where you can acquit your park fees, rent equipment or accommodation and obtain useful maps and tips from the park rangers. Snowshoe trail fees are included in your park entry, but for those who prefer to cross country ski, an extra charge for trail maintenance will apply.
Equipment rental is available at the Discovery center and is offered free of charge to minors.
A nice addition this year: Snowshoes rental and park entry is offered free to any child or teen under 18. The center also has a small sports equipment gift shop, a hot soup station & snack and beverages for purchase.
Once equipped, you are ready to face the serenity and beauty of winter by heading off on one or more of the park’s trails:
In the Diable sector (26 km), you can go snowshoeing on the eastern shore of Lac Monroe, or on the following trails: Lac-des-Femmes, La Roche, La Corniche and Les Ruisselets, which leads to La Hutte hut. The popular Centenaire trail is also accessible on snowshoes.
I tried the La Roche trail that is an almost continuous gradual ascension towards a stunning belvedere lookout:
La Roche belvedere lookout is worth the trek
I strongly recommend a good warm up and after hike stretch as the trail is marked as intermediate level and could put some pressure on certain individuals knees upon descent.
At a beginners level , I also enjoyed the easy, circular trail around “Women’s Lake” that provided several viewpoints for amazing photo opportunities;
The Pimbina sector offers 25 km of snowshoeing trails, including the popular 10-km trail leading to Chute-aux-Rats waterfall. You can also admire splendid views at Envol and Mont-des-Cascades or take the trail leading to Le Lariou hut towards an untouched area for snowshoers (1 km , marked, well identified, non-groomed).
La Diable sector
December 18, 2015 to March 21, 2016
December 18, 2015 to March 21, 2016, from Monday to Thursday
Christmas period: every day, December 21, 2015 to January 1st, 2016
Spring break: every day, February 29 to March 4, 2016
Accommodations at the National Park: EXP experience:
For a truly immersive experience, try renting year round one of the five EXP chalets – discreetly located around lake Monroe and designed for 2 people that provide an immediate and very intimate connection to nature.
Designed with efficient comfort in mind, the five available cabins boast modern architecture and are equipped with several large windows, a full kitchen, a cozy fireplace with large bean bags seats and a heated washroom .
The EXP are great for a romantic couple's getaway or for those who wish to feel as though they’re practically living outdoors.
It is also interesting to note that access to the cross-country skiing trails is free for customers staying at Sépaq-network cross-country skiing centers.
For those who wish to have a weekend get-away or just a day trip, Mont Tremblant National Park is an overall marvelous destination for nature and sports enthusiasts alike.
Have a great time outdoors everyone!