Snowstorms mean only one thing for me: Cross-country skiing!
After a particularly heavy snowfall earlier in the month I got out my skis and headed out for the first time this year. I ended up at the Massif du Sud regional park in the Chaudiere-Appalache region.
The Massif du Sud is located about an hour from Quebec City in the town of Saint-Philémon. While the Massif du Sud is known for amazing alpine skiing, I was curious to check out their cross-country facilities.
When I went it was fairly quiet therefore it was easy to find a parking space. However, there isn’t a large parking lot therefore you may need to park along the street.
There is a main building where you can purchase your tickets, obtain information, use the bathroom facilities and purchase snack type foods. On the lower level of the building they have a large room with tables and chairs as well as two large tables to prep your cross-country skis. I was particularly impressed by the fact that each table had an iron for applying wax and a broom to clean up the wax scrapings. Also, the bathrooms of the lower level had shower stalls if you want to freshen up after a ski work out.
There are a number of trails available going from 4 km all the way up to 17 km The shortest trail was marked as moderate so I opted for that one since it was my first time out and I had a limited amount of time. To get to the start of the trail, you have to climb up a short hill that is shared with people doing snowshoeing and tubing. Once on the trail I was happy to see that they were well maintained and well indicated with signs so you know where to go without getting lost.
The 4 km trail I did was a loop and for the first part of the loop I noticed a constant uphill through the woods. Eventually I crossed a river and that’s when the trail started going down… and by down I mean full on alpine skiing downhill. For most experienced cross-country skiers, it’s really not that special. But for those who are new to the sport or just out of shape [ahem… me], be warned that it will be a long and bumpy time out of the woods. So full disclaimer, I wiped out 3 times. Luckily, it was super quiet and no one saw me eat a mouth full of snow. However, if you want to experience more challenging trails, this is definitely the park to visit. The environment is also beautiful, I loved being in the forest and had beautiful views of the nearby mountains.
Another thing to note, the trails have a few heated cabins along the way where you can stop in and warm up if you are doing a longer route. These are open to people snowshoeing and skiing. The park also has a variety of refuges that you can rent if you want to spend the night in nature.
Overall, it really is a great park to head out for some outdoor fun whether it’s for skiing or snowshoeing. If you need an idea for an apres ski, I would recommend going to the microbrewery in Buckland called Microbrasserie de Bellechasse (2020 de l’Église) given my fondness of beer and pub food!
Park information: http://massifdusud.com
Tourism in Chaudiere-Appalaches region: https://www.chaudiereappalaches.com/en/home