Sled down snow-covered hills, learn to cross-country ski, and even ride a colourfully-lit ferris wheel during the family-friendly, activity-packed Fête des Neiges de Montréal, every weekend from January 18 to February 9…
The Fête des Neiges de Montréal transforms already-picturesque Parc Jean-Drapeau into a winter wonderland of non-stop activities and entertainment over four winter weekends. Located just across the St-Lawrence River from Old Montreal, and easily accessible via the city’s metro system, the park – host to music festivals such as Osheaga and outdoor dance party Piknic Electronik during summer – presents a natural setting for Fête des Neiges’s ice skating, snowshoeing, skiing, dog sledding and over 20 more activities day and night, many of them free.
Whether you’re a daredevil with a need for speed or perfectly content with horse-drawn sleigh rides, Fête des Neiges aims to please. Whisk down a 100-foot-long snow slide or fly above the park on a 75-foot-high 850-foot “Himalayan” zip line – kids (and those of us less comfortable with Himalayan heights) can try the 40-foot-high, 400-foot line instead. Learn the basics of dog sledding, with experienced tour leaders and trained dogs, or just hop on for a ride. Fête des Neiges also keeps kids happy at play with a Disney Junior zone – a miniature winter village full of slides, ice castles, games and toys – along with circus performances and visits from the event’s polar bear mascot. Along with all that activity, listen to live music, watch professional dancers and see ice sculptors in action at the Scène le Glacier stage.
Though entertainment and unexpected winter activities abound, more traditional winter sports also dot the Fête des Neiges landscape. Cross-country ski and snowshoe along a riverside path with amazing views of the city, go curling in historical style outside the Musée Stewart using the same equipment used by 19th-century Montrealers, try winterized rock climbing, or skiing and snowboarding with a teletraction system – a cable system much like waterskiing. Rentals are available on site as are tours of the park and ski lessons for the uninitiated – always a good idea, if only to save yourself from excessive posterior bruising. A “Comfort Zone,” complete with food, drink and Adirondack chairs and fire pits, offers a place to chill out and warm up.
Fête des Neiges de Montréal, January 18-February 9, 2014
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