The Canadian railway system, called VIA rail, wants to attract skiers and riders to the snow north of the U.S. border.
You can take the train to Montreal, jumping off spot for Tremblant to the north, and the Eastern Townships, including Bromont, Sutton, Owl’s Head and Orford; or to Quebec, which offers you access to Mont-Mont -Sainte-Anne, Le Massif, and Stoneham, among others.
VIA rail also is offering some packages which provide fun in the snow, if not on downhill skis or snowboards.
“The Quebec Winter Wonderland” takes you to Montreal, historic Quebec City, and a Canadian winter resort experience, with a choice of ice skating, cross country skiing, or other activities at a local mountain right in Montreal, as well as a chance to learn to mush your own dogsled team.
This trip starts in Montreal where you are met at the rail station by a private car which takes you to your hotel.
You take a city tour on the second day and then spend the afternoon in the activity you choose upon booking, including snowshoeing, cross country skiing, ice skating, or tobogganing.
A private car takes you from the hotel to the station for your trip to Quebec City on the third day. There, again, you are met by a driver who delivers you to your hotel within the historic city walls.
The next day you have a two-hour tour of Quebec City, and visit, among other spots, the Latin Quarter, the Citadel, Plains of Abraham, National Assembly, and various other points of interest of the this historic city. The remainder of the day will be yours to explore on your own.
You are taken from downtown Quebec to the Sainte Catherine Jacques Cartier region on the fifth day. Your next stop is the Station Touristique Duchesnay on the shores of Lake St. Joseph, where you will spend the next two nights. Included during your stay are your breakfasts and dinners, as well as complimentary use of their winter equipment such as snowshoes and cross country skis.
Then comes the day to mush your own dog team. Learn how to harness dogs and drive both your sled and dogs. The remainder of the day is for you to enjoy the resort’s winter activities.
You are taken back to the Quebec City airport for your flight home on the final day, after breakfast.
Prices for the Quebec Winter Rail Wonderland package start at $1559 U.S. (See link below.)
You could have visited Igloofest earlier in January, which aims to promote and popularize electronic music. One of Montréal’s winter “must-do’s,” this festival has forged a reputation for itself through its punchy visual and architectural concept, an ambitious line-up, and an enchanting igloo village.
Or you could go the other way, on VIA Rail’s Corridor service from Montreal to Toronto for that city’s WinterCity Festival, which started Jan. 28 and runs until Feb. 10.
Locals consider this the event of the season. The festivities include: "Wild on Winter," which are outdoor events and include ice sculptures, ice skating, concerts and shows, and fireworks displays, mostly centered around Nathan Phillips Square; "Warm Up" includes indoor performances and discounted admission to some of the popular attractions in town; and, finally, there's "Winterlicious," a promotional event where a number of restaurants offer special menus and great deals.
Montreal to Toronto starts at $69 plus tax.
Sold separately, the Montreal to Quebec City fare is as low as $44 plus tax.
VIA rail has packages for the Quebec Winter Carnival, which is Feb. 11-13, and Valentine’s Getaways, in Montreal and Quebec City.
The Rockies and Whistler Ski Safari starts in Calgary, with stops in Banff and Jasper, ending in Vancouver for some serious skiing and riding at Whistler. This is an 11-night trip. Prices start at $2,745. Contact Fresh Tracks Canada (link below.)
Less extensive and expensive is the Canadian, which is a four-day trip from Toronto to Vancover, with stops at Edmonton, Jasper, and Winnipeg. This train covers Canadian plains and the Rocky Mountains.
The toll-free number for VIA rail from either Canada or the United States is 888-VIA-RAIL (842-7245). If calling from Montreal, the number is 514- 989-2626; from Moncton, the number is 506- 857-9830.
The toll-free number for Fresh Tracks Canada is 866)-820-1034 from either Canada or the United States.
Full package terms and conditions and details on all of VIA Rail’s available offerings.