Let’s be honest: downhill skiing is really just fancy tobogganing. To really embrace winter, you’ve got to strap on a pair of cross-country skis. The best part? You don’t have to spring for lift tickets. Here, Montreal’s best trails.
Mount Royal Park
Trailage: 20 km
You haven’t truly experienced the mountain until you’ve skied its tree-lined trails. Make sure to stop by Café Smith for an organic fair-trade hot chocolate, or if you really deserve it, an ice cold lager. 15 Mt. Royal St. W., 514-843-8240.
Trailage: 18 km
Plush trails begin in the Gardens and wind their way through the adjacent Parc Maisonneuve. Be warned: You may have to share parts of the paths with winter birdwatchers and their fearsome quarry. 4101 Sherbrooke St. E., 514-872-1400.
Cap-Saint-Jacques Nature Park
Trailage: 30 km
Montreal’s largest park boasts the largest network of cross-country skiing trails. Bordered on three sides by water, the picturesque trails interweave, forming a maze that means you’ll never take the same route twice. 20099 Gouin Blvd. W., 514-280-6784
Trailage: Untold hundreds of metres
During the frosty months this urban park turns its myriad walking paths into cross-country skiing trails. The nearby bars of St-Denis offer myriad rewards; the challenge is holding out long enough to earn them. 3933 Parc-Lafontaine St., 514-872-3947
Bois de L’Ile Bizard
Trailage: 18 km
The western end of Laval Ile Bizard offers a decidedly non-urban form of seclusion, complete with snowy trees and frozen rivers. 2115 Chemin Bord du Lac, 514-280-8517
Image courtesy of a4gpa.