With Montreal’s official winter sport locked up behind the closed doors of the NHL, we look towards the sky of falling flurries for answers. And there it is, white powdery snow. Grab your tuque, mittens, and child-like wonder and check out some of the winter sporting activities in Montreal…
First up, Ice Fishing in the Old Port. What I love most about Ice Fishing in the Old Port is doing for hearty laughs and good instagram photos, what the founders of Montreal did bitterly for survival probably in this exact spot hundreds of years ago. Back then many did not survive. Today on the other hand, we can enjoy the 300, 000 feet of ice in heated shelters, and all the materials necessary to catch species like walleye, perch and burbot. Check out their website to find out how to reserve. Big groups and families welcome!
Aptly nicknamed “Chess on Ice” – curling is a game of strategy, wit, and ice sweeping. Back in the 18th century, Scottish soldiers would play this sport out of modified cannonballs. At the Stewart Museum on Ile-Sainte-Helene you can slide and brush your way back in time with costumed instructors, cups of hot broth, and ye ol’ tales around a crackling fire. I don’t know if it’s against the rules, but how much fun would hot toddies and old-fashioned curling be? Especially when there are period costumes involved. Check out the details here.
I remember the first time I went snowshoeing as a child; I was convinced that this is what like walking on the moon felt like. I’ll admit that when I went snowshoeing last year, logic held no place in my heart and still thought the same thing. Starting January 5 and going all the way until March 9, strap on a pair and see the wonders of Montreal from Mount Royal in a 75 minute guided tour on snowshoes. The family-friendly trek starts shortly after sunset, and it might not take you to the moon, but from atop the mountain you’ll certainly feel a lot closer.
Many Canadian children learn to skate before they learn to walk. Nothing beats gliding atop frozen water like a wintery Jesus and pretending you’re Joannie Rochette. Montreal has tones of places to skate this winter: The beautiful Bonsecours Basin with the Montreal skyline in the background, Beaver Lake surrounded by the urban wilderness of Mont-Royal, the winter wonderland of Parc Lafontaine, or the hockey loving Maisonneuve Park. Hate the cold? Try Le 1000 Atrium at 1000 De La Gauchetiere West for an indoor simulated skating experience sans frostbite.
Just because we can’t watch the NHL this winter, doesn’t mean we can’t get our fill of ice game. The Stars de Montreal is the Women’s hockey team! Remember these are many of the same women who have lead Canada to gold medal victory at the past three winter Olympic games. They’ll be playing home games December 8 & 9 plus January 19 & 20. Plus tickets are only $10!
If you’ve never tried Cross-Country Skiing before, chances are you’ve made fun of Cross-Country skiing. If ice fishing and curling doesn’t torch enough calories for you, then look no further than the deceptive nature of Cross-Country. This is a serious workout, and can be a fun challenge if you’ve never tried it before. Note: If you’ve never done it before, take a lesson because it’s far more difficult than just willing yourself forward. Check out trails on Mont Royal, Parc Maissonneuve, Cap Saint-Jacques or the Bois de L’Ile Bizard. Although if it snows enough this holiday seasons, there’s nothing stopping you from skiing anywhere really.
“Toboggan” comes from the French-Canadian word “tabaganne” which comes from the Native American (Micmac) word “topagan” which means, “sled.” Now, I would never claim to be a skilled tobogganist, but there is a certain art to it. The art being going fast enough to be “yay toboggan!” but not so fast you crash and smash your pelvis. Which my friend has done tobogganing. The best tobogganing in Montreal is on Mont Royal by Beaver Lake. Although all you really need is a snowy hill. So look, climb, and conquer. Be safe and wear a helmet!
Last but not least, my favorite winter sporting activity: Outdoor Aerobics during Igloofest. Put on your sleekest snowsuit, channel your best Fonda, and jazzercise yourself slimmer to the beats of the best DJs in quite possibly the coolest (pun not intended, and it stays) atmosphere ever. Also, instead of icky water like at a real aerobics session, you can refresh on breaks with not-water, ergo alcohol.