Participating in winter sports is the most fun anyone can have wearing many, many layers of clothing. From skating to cross-country skiing to new winter trends like kicksledding, winter revellers should look no further for the best of winter fun…
People in Montreal love to cross-country ski and you don’t even have to travel very far to enjoy some of the best trails. The stunning Mount Royal Park, located in the center of the city, has 22km of trails for all levels and ambitions. If you don’t have skis, don’t worry. You can rent them there.
Parc Jean-Drapeau also offers great cross-country skiing for families, mostly because the ground is fairly flat which makes it appropriate for beginners. An added bonus is that the park itself has been transformed into a winter wonderland for the Fete des Neiges. The Botanical Gardens (one of the largest botanical gardens in the world) is full of great trails that cover the beautiful snow laden grounds. And it’s free of charge. The only problem is you can’t rent skis, but if you’ve got them, this has all the makings of a perfect winter afternoon.
If you enjoy feeling like a free spirit pioneer, blazing a trail through uncharted lands and you like to work those glutes, try snowshoeing. It’s the magical sport of yesteryear, but don’t fret if you’re without snowshoes. You can rent them at Mount Royal Park, which offers a byzantine number of trails and it’s great for all members of the family. Parc-Nature du Bois-de-L’Île-Bizard is a little difficult to get to but totally worth it if you’d like to snowshoe through one of the city’s most resplendent parks.
There’s a new winter sport in town. It’s called “kicksledding” and it’s exactly what it sounds like. The growing trend in North America (originally from Scandinavia) has winter enthusiasts buzzing with delight. Some call it the “winter bicycle” while others just call it a really good time. The premise is simple, it’s basically a scooter that you slide around on. It’s great for children, seniors and everyone in between. You can rent a kicksled at various locations in and around the city.
Snow tubing is a perennial favourite. Some endearingly refer to the popular tubes as air donuts, so what’s not to love? Whatever you call it, children and enthusiastic adults will delight in the speed (and relative safety) it provides. Mount Royal Park is a sure bet for renting a tube. If you’re a maverick with your own crazy carpet or sled, you can do it just about anywhere this time of year, but if organized chaos is what you’re after, Mount Royal Park again the perfect place, on account of it being a mountain. Parc Jean-Drapeau is also a popular spot and if you’d like to go somewhere quaint, Parc-Nature De L’Île-de-la-Visitation is a beautiful metropolitan getaway.
One of the best aspects of Montreal is the skating rinks. Whether it’s a date or an afternoon with the family, there’s the perfect rink for every occasion. The frozen pond at Parc La Fontaine is free, beautiful and central. If you’re looking for a fun place to take a date, definitely go to Bonsecours Basin in the Old Port. It was one of the first skating rinks in Montreal and being in the Old Port, the atmosphere is unbeatable. Beaver Lake is always a good bet for a great view of the city, with optimum skating conditions. It tends to get pretty packed up there, especially on the weekends, so there probably won’t be enough room to do your best Elvis Stojko impression. But that’s okay, you don’t have to be Elvis Stojko to enjoy winter sports.