It’s been wintering and freezing cold for the past three or four months now in QC, but those of you who know us knows that that isn’t an excuse to stay at home netflixing all day (though I wouldn’t have entirely against that).
It was another sunny but butt-freezing Saturday morning that we decided we should go skating. We headed to one of the famous outdoor-in-nature skating parks around Quebec City. I have heard about this park years ago when I was volunteering at a retirement activity center. The park called the Domaine de la Fôret Perdue, located about an hour south from Quebec City. During summer, this place is some kind of petting zoo for kids. In winter, this place offers the opportunity to skate along the 15 km maze-like trails through a pine forest during the day, and or even at night when the weather permits. Seriously, it's magnifique.
This frozen forest definitely reminds me of one of Disney animation; Frozen. You all know that movie, right? Yes, I know you do, some of you might even start having that annoying chant, ‘Let it goo, let it goo..’ inside your head right after you read the word FROZEN.
The trails are smooth and well maintained, each trail gets zambonified every now and then. There’s actually a Zamboni that goes around polishing the trail non-stop all day, making sure that you have the smoothest skating experience.
There are few outdoor animal sanctuaries along the trail where you can go visit and feed the animals (there are pellet dispensers next to every sanctuary that will give you a handful of pellets for 25 cents).
There were all kinds of skaters in this place; the professional, the mediocre, the debutant, then there was me...
Among all of other winter activities there are, I chose skating because I thought the ability of skating is permanent, like the ability of biking and or reading. Once you’ve got the hang of it, you are good for life. FYI, the last time I have skated was more than 20 years ago, in an indoor rink in Jakarta, you all.
I have never been so wrong in my life…
I had troubles just for standing up straight, nevertheless moving forward. Oh wait, I did move forward, without my own consent that was. OMG, I didn’t remember skating to be so hard, but then again I remembered when I skate in Jakarta it was in an indoor rink, with handles around.
Luckily this place rents a sleigh chair which meant to carry your toddlers along while you skate, I used it to move forward as if it was a walking aid… Fumbling all the way the whole 15 KM…
With all those Canadians around who probably started skating as soon as they exit their birth canal, I felt hopeless. They were slaloming left and right effortlessly. They made it look so natural, as natural as a normal walk in the woods, only you were on a very slippery hard ice on two blades. What a sorcery! I felt like being on a German autobahn (highway) with all the fast cars around while I drive a flimsy trotinette.
Although I had such a hard time trying to skate, it was so much fun and I loved it. It was enjoyable, especially when Nico was sweet enough to let me on the sleigh and he pushed me around like a sick puppy. I would totally do it again. Next year. Once I forget again that I actually don’t skate well.
Here is some practical info to know about this lovely park in winter:
Opening hours: in winter, the skating trail opens from December to March, from 10 AM to 22 PM. no need to reserve in advance unless you are a big group of 25 people or more.
Prices: Entrance fee is 16 $ per adult and 14$ for kids (4-17 years old). You can also rent a pair of ice-skating shoes for 10$. For more information on prices, click here.
At the end of your visit, you can redeem a souvenir with your ticket. The souvenirs are their local product such as a jar of honey, a bag of honey candy, maple syrup, buckwheat flour, etc.
Location: Unfortunately you can only get there by car. I don’t think there is an easy way to get there by public transport unless it’s an Uber or taxi.
Services: they have one changing hall where you can put on your skating equipment, one big dining hall to rest, one snack corner selling hot meals like hot dogs, poutines, and stuff, and toilets. They also rent cabins in the woods if you go with groups and would like to have a refuge of your own.
Activities in winter: This place open all year long, the services and entertainment they offer are different depending on the season. In winter, you can either ice-skating through the forest or do some snow-shoeing. These activities have separate paths. They also have a pond to do ice-fishing (reserve well in advance).
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve gotten a chill just from looking through these pictures. I am off to snuggle in the arms of my beloved, whispering softly in his ears if we have anything to snack on. I could totally go for a bowl of poutine right now. What is it that you say? Poutine is not considered as a snack? Well, it is. If you are me.