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Quebec City Plus Skiing at Mont-Sainte-Anne

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A great winter getaway: combine a family ski trip with a visit to 400-year-old Quebec City. It's like a mini-trip to Europe, with the bonus of a snowsport holiday.

Spring break is another great time to visit: with typical weather, Quebec City will have less snow on the ground, highways will be easily drivable, and Mont-Sainte-Anne will be operating into April.

1. Wander In The Old Town of Quebec City

Quebec City photo - charming streets
Photo courtesy of Quebec City Tourism.
400 years of history gives Quebec City some charming streets to stroll: in fact, the town's a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Wander down lanes lined with shops and restaurants with names like Le Cochon Dingue ("The Crazy Pig", a good place for hot chocolate.)

2. French Canadian History, English Speakers Welcome

Photo courtesy of Quebec City Tourism.

Quebec City was founded by a French explorer in 1608, and was an important part of France's vast holdings in N. America. By 1763, however -- after a key battle in Quebec City-- the French territories came under British rule. Today the province of Quebec is the only French-speaking province in Canada, but don't hesitate to visit: the "Quebecois" (kay-bek-waw) extend a warm welcome and those who work in tourism speak English.

3. Fun For Families - Museum of Civilization

Photo © Teresa Plowright.
Don't miss this imaginative and interactive (and bilingual) museum, designed to fascinate kids. For instance, one exhibit looked in-depth at dragons: from myths, to paleontology, to fantasy fiction. Admission cost is modest, and free for kids under 12.

4. Treats, Poutine, and Molecular Cuisine

Quebec City - food for all ages
For foodies of all ages: start with treats or hot chocolate in Quebec's old town. Be sure to introduce your kids to poutine: french fries topped with cheese bits and covered with gravy; most fast food places serve poutine (-even McDonald's.) And as a treat for grownups: Quebec City has sophisticated restaurants, such as l'Utopie, with the latest in "molecular gastronomy".

5. Quebec City Carnival

phot Quebec City - Carnival
Photo courtesy of Québec City Tourism.
An especially good time to visit Quebec City is during Quebec City's winter Carnival (two weeks, late Jan.-early Feb.): with Ice Palace, night parades, tube slides, snow rafting, ice fishing, concerts, snow sculptures, horse-drawn sleigh or dogsled rides, and ice-skating. "Bonhomme" (left) is the beloved mascot of the Carnaval de Quebec.

6. Visit the Ice Hotel

Ice Hotel suite. Photo © Teresa Plowright.
Photo © Teresa Plowright.
Families visiting Quebec City in winter should be sure to take a day-trip to the Ice Hotel, located just ten minutes from downtown. It's fun to tour this unique structure that gets created anew every year; designers outdo themselves with amazing ice carvings and room motifs, and a wedding chapel that does dozens of weddings every season. It's also possible to stay overnight; guests get a room at a nearby (conventional) hotel in addition to their beds at the Ice Hotel. The season for the Quebec Ice Hotel starts early in January and lasts until approximately the last week in March.

7. Stay in Quebec City, Ski at Mont-Ste.-Anne

Photo courtesy of Mont-Sainte-Anne.
Photo courtesy of Mont- Sainte-Anne.
Just a half-hour drive away -- on flat roads, past farms and views of islands in the St. Lawrence River-- is a family-friendly ski resort. A shuttle bus takes skiers from several Quebec City hotels. Some hotels have ski packages-- such as the charming Hotel Manoir Victoria (which also has a "Family Plan", with discounts on kids' meals, and kids under 18 free in parents' room.*)

8. Mont-Sainte-Anne Ski Resort

Photo courtesy of Mont-Sainte-Anne.
Photo courtesy of Mont- Sainte-Anne.

Mont-Sainte-Anne is a mid-sized mountain with over sixty runs; its 2065 feet of vertical drop is a good size for eastern Canada. Cross-country skiers, meanwhile, can bliss out on 213 km of ski trails. Mont-Sainte-Anne tends to open early in the ski season, and to stay open into April.

9. Stay at Mont-Sainte-Anne

Photo courtesy of Mont-Sainte-Anne.
Photo courtesy of Mont- Sainte-Anne.

Visitors can stay right at the mountain at Chateau Mon-Sainte-Anne: ski-in ski-out, at the base of the lifts; loft-style rooms; and upscale high-design condos coming soon. Check the web site for updates, and for packages.

10. Mont-Sainte-Anne - Gondola

Photo courtesy of Mont-Sainte-Anne.
Photo courtesy of Mont- Sainte-Anne.
Left: click on the photo to see the gondolas: such a nice refuge in cold or snowy weather, especially when you're on the mountain with kids.

Mont-Sainte-Anne is popular with locals, and a remarkable number of young skiers barrel down right under the lifts -- impressive!

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