Cap-Chat and Chic-Choc Mountains, Snowmobile Trans-Quebec Route 5
Published on December 10, 2010 in

Cap-Chat and Chic-Choc Mountains, Snowmobile Trans-Quebec Route 5

In Search of Snow

Cap-Chat and Chic-Choc Mountains, Snowmobile Trans-Quebec Route 5

Snow can really ruin a winter. Not enough of it, that is. Last season was tough all over, with little or no snow throughout most of northern New England. Not only did they have all of our money in Washington D.C., they had all of our snow, too. Talk about being slapped around. By late February, I had had enough, and packed my bags. Eight hours later, I arrived in the Quebec maritime. Finally, snow, and plenty of it.

I’d never ridden in the Bas-Saint-Laurent or Gaspésie regions before and had no idea what to expect. Friends had told personal stories, and the photos online looked nice, but being there was something else. Physically, Quebec isn’t all that far from home, but mentally, you believe differently. It’s a compilation of the language, food and traditions; all of which are quite good and give the sense of a vacation far away from all your worries. Yeah, the cell phone worked, but I kept if off for the most part.

My stay lasted just under a week. We rode easy miles, cruising about 150-200 miles a day, through some of the most spectacular scenery I’d ever come across. If you’re a high-mile junkie, you could travel in excess of 300 big ones in a day; no problem. The trails are that good. The endless mountain ranges and long views over the St. Lawrence River are what I enjoyed the most, not to mention the great chocolate desserts. Word of warning: You should avoid this place if you like to ride all day and eat all night, because that’s just about all there is to do. Just kidding, you can flop around in a Nordic spa and have a relaxing massage, too. Did I mention the desserts? I’m surprised I ever made it back home. Yes indeed, it is that good.

Rent or Trailer?
When I visited Yellowstone a few years ago, trailering wasn’t even considered, but Quebec is closer to home, and taking your own sled is an option. So why would you rent? Consider this: driving by car versus truck & trailer will save upwards of $300 in fuel and allow much quicker travel. A 7-day trail pass costs $180 per sled but is included in a rental. Wear and tear on your sled and trailer are eliminated. We’re talking over 1,000 miles on each. Mechanical failures? So long as you didn’t inflict the damage, you don’t pay a dime for repairs. Renting can make good sense.

Panda Aventures
460 2ème Rue Est, Rimouski (Québec) G5M 1R6
Tél: (418) 725-PANDA (7263) / www.pandaaventures.com
Proprietor and Rimouski native, Steve Gaudreau, is a genuine snowmobile guy; a great one at that. He rents sleds, motorcycles, ATV’s and more. Panda is the only rental provider in Quebec that carries all four brands of sleds, so you should be able to ride something you’re familiar with. You could even go crazy and try out something completely different. I did. Rental fees hover around $200 a day, depending on the model. Weekly rates are even better. The cost includes helmet, clothes and boots, which you may not need.

Lodging in Quebec maritime
Auberge L’Ambassadeur
266, boulevard Saint-Benoît Ouest, Amqui
418 629-6464 / 1 888 588-6464 / www.auberge-ambassadeur.com
A modern facility with all the bells & whistles: restaurant, bar, exercise room. Close to many businesses and services that snowmobilers may need. What’s unique: a secured garage to park your sled in; leave the canvas cover at home.

Domaine Valga
300, chemin des Écorchis, Saint-Gabriel-de-Rimouski
418 739-4200 / www.domainevalga.com
A beautiful log inn, hand-built by the family that runs the lake-side facility. Relax by the wood stove after a day of riding. What’s unique: obviously the log building but the home-cooked meals and desserts are outrageously good.

Hôtel Levesque
171, rue Fraser, Rivière-du-Loup
418 862-6927 / 1 8000 463-1236 / www.hotellevesque.com
A fabulous hotel/resort that offers views of the mighty St. Lawrence River. Beautiful facility, gorgeous rooms, family-friendly, health spa. What’s unique: good choice if your significant other doesn’t like to ride everyday.

Pohénégamook Santé Plein Air
1723, chemin Guérette, Pohénégamook
418 859-2405 / 1 800 463-1364 / www.pohenegamook.com
The resort is all about active families. Nordic spas for the adults and snow tubing for the kids. They offer many lodging options. What’s unique: this is the place for families. Activities for the kids and opportunities for adult relaxation.

Village Grande Nature Chic-Chocs
951, route Saint-Octave, Cap-Chat
418 786-2349 / 1 800 530-2349 / www.villagegrandenaturechic-chocs.com
Nine cottages sit below the main hotel in this quaint village. French dining is an experience not to be missed. A place where rustic charm and European elegance collide. What’s unique: spellbinding views from the balcony are unforgettable.


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