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The Five-Point Weekend Escape Plan

Break a Sweat in Québec City

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3. What to Do

A nearly five-mile-long sled route isn't just for kids at Le Massif.  

Strap on some crampons and a helmet for ice canyoneering (also known as canyoning) down the frozen Jean-Larose Falls near Mont-Sainte-Anne, a resort town just 30 minutes from downtown. Run by an English-speaking veteran outdoorsman, the Canyoning Québec excursion (from $77) includes a lesson on the navigational challenges of maneuvering down a waterfall. After learning the basics, you’ll be ready to tackle the majestic frozen Montmorency Falls with the pros from climbing school Roc Gyms (day-long initiation course from $103). Located about fifteen minutes northeast of the city, these 272-foot falls are the highest in the province, topping Niagara Falls, and even a simple stroll across the suspension bridge above them is a thrill.

Relive the childhood joy of sledding at Le Massif, a nearby ski resort with a 4.6-mile sled route for those who’d rather slide than schuss down the mountain. The excursion (from $33) takes about two hours, with a break midway down. For more fun in the snow, head to Valcartier Vacation Village (passes from $23), a water park during the summer, but in the winter, a wonderland of snow-covered slides perfect for bombing in a raft or inner tube. Come after 4 p.m. for discounted tickets (from $17) and fewer families, or on a weekday, when kids are in school.

Make a two-wheeled foray into the city’s snowy surrounding landscape on a fat-tired bike (designed for riding on the snow and ice) from Vélo Passe-Sport ($18/hour). Québec City’s vibrant cycling culture doesn’t stop in the winter: Québecers still commute to work and ride for recreation on an extensive network of trails and bike lanes. Join them along the Boulevard Champlain, a flat stretch with gorgeous views of the St. Lawrence River (it’s approximately a 30-minute ride south from the rental shop to the beautiful Promenade Samuel de Champlain, a nearly mile-long waterfront park inaugurated in 2008 for the city’s 400th anniversary). Serious cyclists can opt for a more rigorous ride to Montmorency Falls; go with a guide (from $35 for an hour and a half) to avoid getting lost on snow-covered trails.

Published on Feb 6, 2014 as a web exclusive.

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