Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Quebec shenanigans and surviving the ice hotel (part 1)

By: Janine

Staying in an ice hotel is something that I’ve wanted to do for years. Thanks to a great deal on Groupon, I was finally able to cross it off the bucket list this past weekend. Hotel De Glace is located just outside of Quebec City and is the only ice hotel in North America.

Hotel De Glace
The front of Hotel De Glace

We drove up from NJ with Larissa from The Traveling Mortician and her husband on Friday and arrived to a blizzard...The plan was to stay at the Best Western Friday night so we had a chance to see some of Quebec city and then stay at the ice hotel Saturday night. After walking around in the blizzard for a while, we abandoned our sightseeing efforts and retreated back to the hotel hot tub...

Saturday morning we woke to the sun shining and fresh powder. It was a perfect day to play in the snow! We purchased a “Visitor’s Initiation” package from Expedition Mi-Loup which included one hour of dog sledding, one hour of either ice fishing or snow shoeing, and one hour of snowmobiling.

First up was the dog sledding. The guide gave us brief instructions on how to lean your body to turn the sled, slow down, and stop. I drove for the first half hour while Brian sat in the sled chair in front of me and then we switched places. At first I felt bad hitting the brakes because I felt like it would hurt the dogs, but once we got moving I realized how excited they were to pull the sled and I started to really enjoy the experience. 

Dog Sled Quebec
The demonstration dog sled


When we finished our ride, we returned to the lodge to get ready for ice fishing and enjoy some lunch and hot chocolate. At one point we were served a glass of very, very cloudy water which was described by the waiter as "bizarre but good." Realizing the hot chocolate we all drank was probably made with the same water, we spent the rest of the day worrying we would get stomach issues... Thankfully we were all fine!

Next up was ice fishing. We were given short fishing poles and one piece of corn to use as bait. This was mostly uneventful as it was pretty evident there were no fish to be caught. I asked the guide if anyone had caught a fish that day... the answer was no. We started to get bored so we starting making snow angels, building snowmen, you know, doing all the things adults do in the snow.....

ice fishing quebec
Ice fishing

Finally, it was time to snowmobile. The guys really enjoyed doing this. When we switched drivers, I struggled to keep us going straight and kept slowing down drastically on the turns. At one point, I started to feel confident so I went faster and that resulted in us going off course into deeper snow and getting stuck. We were able to get out after some effort... I let Brian drive the rest of the time after that.

snowmobiling quebec
We were thoroughly cold at this point, but had so much fun

Now that we got our adrenaline fix for the day, it was time to head to the main event, the ice hotel....

To be continued....

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