Do you know these 5 winter sports?

The Canadian winter can seem to last forever unless you’re having fun outdoors in the snow! Practicing winter sports is the perfect way to stay active and get you through the cold months with a smile. Sure, there’s skiing and snowboarding, but have you ever tried out fatbiking, snowkiting or alpine touring? Or have you given the more classic but under-appreciated snowshoeing or winter jogging a go?

These five sports promise plenty of pleasure and even big thrills. Gear up to go play outside and dare to try one (or a few) of these winter sports!

The fatbike lets you cycle even in the winter

Fatbiking is one of the coolest trends (pun intended) in winter sports, winning over increasing numbers of fans, and the number of accessible trails [In French only] goes up every year. Even first-timers fall quickly for this bike with its special oversized wheels designed for riding in the snow.

In the depths of winter, you’ll find hardcore fatbikers heading way off the beaten path, cycling through epic snowscapes. Could this be the start of a new passion?

Snowkiting is for fans of extreme sports

Snowkiting, kite skiing, or para skiing was born in Canada in 1990, and Quebec was the first place in North America to develop this sport. Snowkiting is the sport for you if you’re seeking big-time winter thrills.

On a snowboard or even skis, the rider is powered by the wind in their kite, reaching speeds of up to 70 kilometres an hour! This winter sport requires real technique and tip-top physical condition – and of course a helmet. Where can you do it? Saint-Fulgence in Saguenay has a wind corridor that’s known worldwide for its perfect snowkiting condtions.

Alpine touring gets you out to the most breathtaking snowscapes

Still winning over lovers of the outdoors in Canada, alpine touring is practiced on snowy landscapes out in the middle of nature where you won’t find ski lifts or groomed runs. Just imagine how strong your cardio will be by the end of the season! The ascent is done “on foot” with special skins on the bottom of the skis that helps you stick to the snow.

Alpine touring ski areas are often quite a ways from civilization where the landscapes are pristine. The Chic-Choc Mountains in Gaspésie are a favourite with their immense open spaces.

Snowshoeing is more athletic than it appears!

The calm of snowy nature is always incredible. Some snowshoers compare this type of athletic endeavour to meditation in movement. Excellent for the cardio, but also to tone the entire body, snowshoeing is a complete sport with a zen component.

The SEPAQ website is a great reference to find accessible snowshoeing areas around Quebec. Check it out regularly for there are often group excursions, including some at night that are lit only by torches – for a truly magical experience!

Jogging in winter gives you a whole new perspective

Who’s to say you need to stop running in winter? It’s a lot more fun than on a treadmill at the gym! Keep in shape with shoes designed for running on the snow or a traction system that you attach to your traditional running shoes. When it comes to clothing, it’s important to find that sweet spot that’s neither too warm or too cold: dress as if it’s 20 degrees warmer because your body temperature will go up while running.

Of course, when practicing any of these five sports, don’t forget to stay hydrated, as the cold sometimes makes us forget its importance. And watchout for frostbites, which can happen quickly. To prevent them, don't head out the door without a good cream on your face and hands. You can also consider covering your entire face and head. Another essential for excursions in the middle of winter are protective sunglasses, as the reflections off the snow can harm your vision.

Lovers of the outdoors know that nature is uncontrollable, so keep informed about avalanche risks before hitting the slopes or heading off trail.

Finally, enjoy your winter to the fullest!