Your winter wonderland
No other region surpasses the Laurentians for the cross-country skiing it offers. Indeed, here we find more than 1000 km of trails to practice this sport, without counting the thirty ski centers and the nine ski clubs and schools spread throughout the territory.
Here are some suggestions for practicing this sport so its popularity further expands, Alex Harvey effect?
Before I go any further, let me fill you in on two cross-country skiing techniques. The best-known and oldest is the so-called “classic” one; we also sometimes use “alternative step” to designate it. This technique consists of advancing in two parallel tracks. In the 1980s, the technique appeared: the “skating step” or skating. This style can be similar to roller or ice skating. Each of these two techniques has specific equipment.
Let’s take our hats off (or our tuque) to Herman Smith-Johannsen, known as Jackrabbit, who, in the 1930s, created a vast network of trails that connected all the villages of the Pays-d’En-Haut. Some of these tracks are still traced and passable today; we think of the mythical Maple Leaf, the Fleur de Lys and the Gillespie. You can ski from the village of Val-David to Morin-Heights via Sainte-Adèle, just as we did in 1930.
According to historian Denis Chabot of the Laurentian Ski Museum: “The interconnections between ski networks and heritage trails distinguish the Laurentians from other regions of Quebec. It is the only place in North America where you can practice cross-country skiing as you do in some European countries. We would be crazy to do without it. What are you waiting for to put your “skis” on?
In honour of all, let’s start this overview with the cross-country skiing capital of Quebec, I named: Morin Heights.
An excellent way to discover the countless possibilities offered by Morin-Heights in terms of cross-country skiing is to park at the reception of the Aerobic Corridor Park. This linear park offers more than 16 km of mechanically marked trails, from km 0 to km 8.5 and from km 22.3 to km 30. The average drop is only 5%, making it a playground for training, but also an ideal place for those new to cross-country skiing, especially children. What is gratifying is that by skiing on the Aerobic Corridor, a world of possibilities is offered to you. Indeed, an extensive network of trails intersects and allows you to explore the multitude of trails that are part of the outdoor network of Morin-Heights. Kilometres of fun for all levels. Skating enthusiasts are not left out, in addition to the corridor, other trails are also marked out for this purpose: Basler, Aladin, Promenade, Founders, Poste. Just look at the map to see the extent of the network.
In short: Essential, historic, many options.
Le Gai-Luron cross-country ski center
Located in Saint-Jérôme, the Gai-Luron cross-country ski center offers a total of 27.2 km of trails. Eight are dedicated to the practice of classic skiing, and one is dedicated to skating (4.2 km). They are all very well maintained and mechanically worked. Equipment can be rented (without reservation), and there is a waxing room and a restaurant.
In short: Impeccable trails, family and safe destination.
Parc du Mont Loup-Garou
With these 14 km of trails, the Parc du Mont Loup-Garou is certainly not the largest cross-country ski center in the region, but the park is nevertheless worthy of interest. From the outset, let’s make it clear if you are a beginner or if you want to introduce your young children to the practice of cross-country skiing, do not choose this destination. If, on the other hand, you like the “intermediate” and “expert” type trails, you will find what you are looking for. No waxing room or catering service.
Here is a suggested route from the park staff: La Grande-jaune: Lac Richer viewpoint, continue with the Loup-Garou to get to the refuge and Cap Bruce-Foy viewpoint. 5.6 km loop | About 2 hours | Advanced
In short: Perfect center for lovers of climbs, descents… and tranquility.
Val-David-Val-Morin Regional Park
The numbers don’t lie. Here, there is 50 km of marked and groomed cross-country ski trails; 15 km of easy-level trails; 18 km of difficult-level trails; 17 km of very difficult trails, including 14 km of non-skating trails. Let’s not sulk our pleasure.
You can access the park via the Dufresne sector, where the Anne-Piché reception chalet is located (Val-David) or via the Far Hills sector (Val-Morin) where there is a waxing room. The park has heated relays, which are very practical for cold days. If you gasp at the end of an arduous climb, it will, of course, be caused by the cardiovascular exercise you have just provided, but also, above all, by the beauty of the views of the surrounding nature.
In short: Versatility.
La Randonnee cross-country ski center
Located in Brownsburg-Chatham, the La Randonnée cross-country ski center has only 13 km of marked trails divided into three trails: the Oasis, the Érablière and the Cerf. But it has a unique feature: free. Indeed, during the 2020-2021 season, the municipal council of the Town of Brownsburg-Chatham made access to the Center free of charge.
Access is via the entrance to Golf l’Oasis, at 424, route du Nord. In order to know the traffic rate, visitors are required to come and register at the reception to obtain a day pass.
Be aware, however, that all the trails see snowshoe walkers and skiers coexist. We, therefore, ask visitors on snowshoes to respect the dedicated spaces located outside the ski trails to avoid any incidents and to preserve the layout of the cross-country ski trails.
You can also rent skis, boots and poles at a very reasonable price: $15.
In short: free!
We could have continued to offer you centers for a long time as the offer is generous. But it’s time for skiing… we promise to come back soon with other intoxicating proposals.
Good skiing, and enjoy the winter.