While many winter events are being cancelled due to the Omicron wave, the Valley has a variety of outdoor spaces and activities to take advantage of this winter.
The Saint-Anicet Golf Club offers walking trails, cross-country ski trails, snowshoeing trails, and sledding slopes. During last year’s lockdown, the club opened its snowy greens to the public for nature walks and cross-country skiing. Initially started by a couple of locals, the initiative saw more demand for outdoor space than anticipated. A small team of volunteers came together and worked all winter to create and maintain activities.
“The volunteers have put an enormous amount of time and work into this project,” says Marc Faubert, owner of the club. While last year involved more trial and error, this year there are clear goals being accomplished by a larger team of eight volunteers – Ken Aiken, Yvan Dubois, Marc Faubert, Sylvain Gascon, Patrick Loiselle, Sophie Lalancette, Jacques Leblanc, Clément Trépanier, and Bob Yaworski – which has worked hard to improve the activities and expand services.
While no equipment is supplied to the public, access to the site is completely free, and the club intends to keep it that way. “It’s a great place to spend time outdoors; not just for residents of Saint-Anicet, but for anyone in the region, and people are coming from all over,” says Faubert.
A schedule of activities and conditions is updated every few days and is available on the club’s Facebook page.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the Valley, the Parc Regional de Saint-Bernard in Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle has a wide array of winter activities on site. The main attraction is tubing down the park’s big hill; however, there are walking paths, cross-country skiing trails, “ski-scooters,” and two skating surfaces – one for hockey, and one for skating in nature.
While the park doesn’t rent equipment for all activities, it does rent out snowshoes, tubes for sliding, and “snow scooters” or kick sleds, which are a new addition and have been very popular. “People are loving the kick sleds, it’s an activity that we’ve had a lot of positive feedback on. People can also bring their own from home, or rent; we have many sizes,” says Mégane Pelletier, a representative for the park. “We even have people who bring their trained dogs and use our kick sleds as dog sleds.”
Information on entry fees or rental prices can be found on the park’s website, and any other questions can be answered by phone at 450-246-2598, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Facebook at Parc Régional Saint-Bernard.
Trails, tubes and rinks
Many municipalities in the region offer free activities. Ormstown, Hemmingford, Huntingdon, Cazaville, and Saint-Chrysostome all have local skating rinks. Ormstown also has tube sledding at Mario Dumas Park, where tubes can be borrowed for free.
Vergers Ivanhoe Faille on Covey Hill has cross-country ski trails that are open from Thursday to Sunday; for more information, call 450-827-2742.
While one more pandemic winter has brought circumstances that are less than ideal, there are still many wonderful things to do, outdoors, in the Valley. There are places to go, and ways to get out and have fun during these snowy months.