There are pros and cons to skiing in the Eastern Townships and the Laurentians. The slopes in the Townships are generally steeper and slightly more challenging, but it requires more time to get out to them. Also, the Townships’ centers tend to be quieter and more family-oriented, so if it’s après-ski action you’re looking for, you might prefer heading out to a Laurentian hill like Mont St-Sauveur where, for many, partying is as much the experience as is conquering the slopes.
As for cross-country skiing, you needn’t even leave the city to find choice locations to pursue the sport. There’s a network of winding trails stretching throughout Parc du Mont-Royal, and the Lachine Canal offers a 12-kilometer (7-mile) stretch of relatively flat terrain, making for both a scenic and relatively simple cross-country excursion.
Tourisme Québec. The "Ski-Québec" brochure available from the tourism office has a wealth of information about skiing in and around the city, and the website has a complete lists of all the hills and trails in the province. Montréal, QC. 514/873–2015 or 1-877/266–5687. www.bonjourquebec.com.
Cap-St-Jacques Regional Park. The best cross-country skiing on the island is on the 32 km (20 miles) of trails in the 900-acre Cap-St-Jacques park in the city's west end, about a half-hour drive from downtown. 20099 bd. Gouin Ouest, Pierrefonds, Montréal, QC, H9K 1C6. 514/280–6871. www.ville.montreal.qc.ca (French only). Henri-Bourassa, then bus 68 west.
Mont-Royal. Within the city itself, "the mountain" (as it's familiarly called) is essentially a toboggan run, but its modest slope makes it ideal for beginners and little ones learning to ski, and a good place to get in a quick cross-country workout. Parc du Mont-Royal, Montréal, QC. 514/843–8240 Ext. 0. www.lemontroyal.qc.ca.
Mont Bromont. Seven different hillsides and 145 trails here offer a variety of slopes to challenge every skill level, plus lots of night skiing to boot. Bromont lies in the Eastern Townships, 45 minutes southeast of Montréal. 150 Rue Champlain, Bromont, QC, J2L 1A2. 450/534–2200 or 866/276–6668. www.skibromont.com.
Mont St-Bruno. Although it has a modest vertical drop of 525 feet, this ski area has Québec's biggest ski school, 15 trails, four lifts (including a high-speed lift), and two T-bars, and also offers night skiing, Located on the South Shore, it's a quick hop over the bridge, 26 kilometers (16 miles) from downtown Montréal. 550 Rang des 25, St-Bruno, QC, J3V 4P6. 450/653–3441. www.skisaintbruno.ca.
Mont St-Sauveur. If you're looking for the complete ski package, including shopping and nightlife, this mountain village is a good choice. At the gateway to the Laurentians, the 38 trails here are only an hour north of the city, helping make them a local hangout for Montréal residents. QC. 450/227–4671. www.montsaintsauveur.com.
Mont Sutton. A quaint village, a beautiful mountain—lots of glades—and plentiful snow make this the best skiing in the Eastern Townships (and possibly the province). It gets busy, but multiple chairlifts can handle nearly 12,000 people per hour. Sutton, QC. 450/538–2545 or 866/538–2545. www.montsutton.com.
Mont Tremblant. This huge resort is the best in the Laurentians for skiing, though it can be pricey. Sleep, ski, and eat in total comfort—there are plenty of high-end hotels on site, some with luxury spas. The pedestrian village is like something out of Disney, with charming storefronts and colorful rooftops. Four slopes, 95 runs, and 14 lifts await, two hours north of Montréal. 1000 Chemin des Voyageurs, Mont-Tremblant, QC, J8E 1T1. 866/356–2233. www.tremblant.ca.