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Snow Lover’s Trivia: Quebec City offers much more than skiing

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Québec City (French: Ville de Québec), is the capital of the Canadian province of Quebec. The city has a population of over half a million, and the metropolitan area more than 700,000, making it the second most populous city in Québec after Montreal, which is about 145 miles to the southwest. Furthermore, Québec City should be part of your ski vacation when you plan to ski Mont-Sainte-Anne and Le Massif de Charlevoix.

The narrowing of the Saint Lawrence River proximate to the city’s headland, Cap-Diamant (Cape Diamond), and Lévis, on the opposite bank, provided the name given to the city, Kébec, an Algonquin word meaning “where the river narrows”. Founded in 1608 by Samuel de Champlain, Quebec City is one of the oldest cities in North America. The ramparts surrounding Old Quebec (Vieux-Québec) are the only remaining fortified city walls that still exist in the Americas north of Mexico, and were declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1985 as the ‘Historic District of Old Québec’

Québec is the city’s official name in both French and English, although Québec City (or its French equivalent, Ville de Québec) is commonly used, mostly to distinguish the city from the province. The city’s most famous landmark is the Château Frontenac, a hotel which dominates the skyline and sits on an expansive hill, the highest point in the center of the city. The National Assembly of Quebec (provincial legislature), the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec (National Museum of Fine Arts of Quebec), and the Musée de la civilisation (Museum of Civilization) are found within or near Vieux-Québec.

Tourist attractions located near Quebec City include Montmorency Falls, the Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré, the Ice Hotel, Mont-Sainte-Anne ski resort, and Le Massif de Charlevoix ski area.

Mont-Sainte-Anne is a ski resort in the city of Beaupré, Quebec, Canada, located about 25 miles northeast of Québec City. The mountain has a summit elevation of 2,625 ft above sea level and a vertical drop of 2,051 ft. There are 66 trails covering 43 miles on three different sides of the mountain. 17 trails covering 9.3 miles are available for night skiing on the highest vertical for night skiing in Canada. The average natural snowfall at the summit is 187 in.

The other big ski resort in the vicinity is Le Massif de Charlevoix ski area. It is located in Petite-Rivière-Saint François, Charlevoix, Québec, a 75-minute drive from Québec City. Its vertical drop is 2,526 ft, the most in Eastern Canada.

Apart from a big vertical drop and lots of snow, Le Massif de Charlevoix’s main claim to fame is that the area is accessible both from the top and from the base. There are three peaks, two of which are currently developed.

Le Massif de Charlevoix gets a lot of snow, and keeps it, as it also gets little rain for an eastern ski area. The natural snowpack (in the trails) can exceed eight feet at the summit on a typical winter. However, the base is nearly at sea level and can lose its snow quickly once April rolls in. Skiing season usually lasts from early December to late April.

La Charlevoix, the steepest trail at Le Massif, is home to the only alpine training center east of the Rockies for Canada’s athletes. This trail, with a steepest pitch of 64%, is considered by many to be one of the top three most difficult women’s downhill trails in the world.

So if you are looking for skiing and a bit more, experience Québec City, and ski Mont-Sainte-Anne and Le Massif de Charlevoix. Check out www.quebecregion.com.

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