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Photo: Jeff Bartlett

5 Places to Learn How to Backcountry Ski in Gaspésie

Visit one or more of these 5 places and discover why Gaspésie is the best backcountry ski destination in Québec!

Vue aérienne de l'Auberge de montagne des Chic-Chocs dans la réserve faunique de Matane
Auberge de montagne des Chic-Chocs. Photo: Jeff Bartlett

Auberge de montagne des Chic-Chocs: A luxury stay

Perched at an altitude of 615 metres in the Réserve faunique de Matane, the warm and friendly Auberge de montagne des Chic-Chocs offers you comfortable 4-star accommodations in a pristine wilderness environment. Surrounded by an exclusive 60-km2 natural playground, this mountain lodge offers access to 9 ski areas.

The lodge also offers 18 rooms, a spa, a sauna and a dining room featuring fish and game dishes. In the winter, you can enjoy a 2- to 7-day all-inclusive package that includes accommodations, meals, snacks, transportation from Sainte-Anne-des-Monts (the only way to get to the lodge), the services of experienced guides, and outdoor and safety gear.

 Cap Castor Ski Hors-Piste
Photo: Cap Castor Ski Hors-Piste

Cap-Castor: Skiing with views of the St. Lawrence

Located 10 minutes east of Sainte-Anne-des-Monts, Cap Castor Ski Hors-Piste is a private ski area offering 23 slopes and a powder potential of 400 acres. A team of passionate and experienced backcountry ski guides provides safe and supervised mountain experiences with breathtaking views of the St. Lawrence Estuary.

Cap Castor offers various packages (introduction to backcountry skiing, day packages for groups, etc.) as well as backcountry ski gear for rent. The site is located less than a kilometre from the Sea Shack, which has two houses available for rent this winter.

Ski dans le parc national de la Gaspésie
Parc national de la Gaspésie. Photo: Roger St-Laurent

Parc national de la Gaspésie and Ski Chic-Chocs: An endless playground

Learn how to backcountry ski safely at the Parc national de la Gaspésie Mountain School, which offers guide services and gear rentals in partnership with Ski Chic-Chocs. You can stay in the park at the Gîte du Mont-Albert, a 4-star hotel with a dining room, or in a nearby cabin; it is also possible to winter camp in the park.

Skieurs aux Mines Madeleine avec Ski Chic-Chocs
Mines Madeleine. Photo: Ski Chic-Chocs

You can also contact Ski Chic-Chocs directly. In addition to the park, the company offers backcountry skiing on the Haute-Gaspésie coast and in the Réserve faunique des Chic-Chocs (including in the Mines Madeleine sector, where it is the only company to offer transportation in a sled drawn by a snowmobile). A heritage house accommodating 9 people is available for rent near downtown Sainte-Anne-des-Monts. Located only 30 minutes from Parc national de la Gaspésie, the house overlooks the St. Lawrence and the wharf.

Skieuses du White Lips au mont York à Murdochville
Mont York, Chic-Chac. Photo: Phil Émond

Chic-Chac: Catskiing, heliskiing and other powder adventures

Located in the heart of Murdochville, Chic Chac offers a variety of packages that are suitable for both beginners and experienced backcountry skiers. They range from all-inclusive to à la carte packages and may include lodging, meals, guide services, lessons, gear rentals, etc.

The Chic-Chac ski areas include Mont Porphyre and Mont Lyall as well as access to Mont York, which offers wooden platforms that will give you the impression of jumping off a natural cliff. Chic Chac is the only company to offer both catskiing (via snowcat) and heliskiing (via helicopter). It also owns Mont Miller, a 100% natural snow ski resort that is the ideal place to try out backcountry skiing for the first time.

Mont Miller.
Mont Miller. Photo: Chic-Chac

Downhill ski resorts: Great for beginners

Three ski resorts in Gaspésie offer you the opportunity to go backcountry skiing in dedicated areas: Mont-Miller (Murdochville), Pin Rouge (New Richmond) and Le Petit Chamonix (Matapédia). In all three cases, you will have to skin up the mountain. Ski resorts are great places to test your gear and skinning skills!

A few tips before you set off

For your first backcountry ski trip in Gaspésie, we strongly recommend that you book the services of a guide. A local guide will have a thorough knowledge of the territory and be informed about snow conditions and avalanche risk (depending on the weather and the time of year). They will be able to recommend a ski area that matches your abilities and ensure you experience the best skiing conditions available at the time. Make sure you hire a guide who is certified by Avalanche Canada, has done wilderness first-aid training and is authorized to guide in the area you have chosen.

It is also very important to make sure you have all the right equipment. Many companies offer gear for rent, which can include avalanche safety equipment such as an avalanche transceiver, shovel and probe. You should always reserve your gear in advance.

To help you prepare your trip, we also recommend that you read the following blog post:

Are you looking forward to backcountry skiing in Gaspésie? Be in the loop! Plan your trip at tourisme-gaspesie.com today. #gaspesiewinter

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