Active + Adventure

Vacation Boot Camp

by Sarah Tuff

Cross-Country Skiing in Québec

Calories burned: About 600 per hour

Call to action: The Laurentian Mountains of Québec, a land of towering pine trees and abundant snowfall, are an ideal destination for a heart-strengthening, calorie-killing cross-country skiing expedition. In winter, a 25-mile section of the Parc Linéaire le P'tit Train du Nord, a railroad bed converted into a long squiggle of parkland, is groomed for classic and skate skiing. The trail is punctuated by bistros and lodgings, but after a day or two on the P'tit Train, pop the skis in the car and treat yourself to a suite with a wood-burning fireplace at Mont Tremblant's Hotel Quintessence (it's about 20 minutes by car from the trailhead in St. Jérôme). You could downhill ski here, too, but you only burn a fraction of the calories when you let gravity do all the work!

The warm-up: Francophiles unafraid of freezing conditions must be prepared to ski eight miles independently on the P'tit Train du Nord in order to span the distance between inns; beginners can find lessons and rentals at Tremblant.

When to go: From December through January, snowfall averages nearly 100 inches. There's less in late winter (30 to 40 inches between February and early March), but that's when the ice and snow sculpture festival comes to Tremblant.

P'tit Train Du Nord access is $9.50 per day; suites at Hotel Quintessence start at $340

Next: Climb out of your exercise rut in California >

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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