Before we headed north on our honeymoon, Manda and I jumped online and tried to figure out what there was to do in Québec in the Winter. So many of the sites that we visited said "SKI!! SNOWBOARD!!" Unfortunately, neither of us know how to do either and didn't want to spend 10 days banged up and recouperating from trying to learn. We did, however, find one promising lead: The Valcartier Vacation Village.
Online, the website promised snow tubing, snow rafting, ice skating, and something called "ice karting" which was described as go-karting on a frozen track with spiked tires. I think there was something else about the parking lot being paved with gold and the urinals being able to cure cancer. After today, I can assure you that all of it is true and all of it is fantastically fun. (Well, okay. I made up those last two features, but everything else is true.)
Snow tubing was fantastic.
There were about sixty different tracks available, each one rated from Easy to Double Black Diamond.
And there were no lines. Maybe it was the sub-zero temperatures. Maybe it was the fact that it was a Wednesday. Whatever the case, there was hardly anyone there and we felt like we largely had an entire snow park to ourselves. As for the tube runs, even the Easy ones were hella fun. The most difficult were insanely steep and pretty extreme. I wouldn't quite call diagonally falling down a hill while sitting on a rubber donut "difficult," but the increase in each hill's "difficulty" rating definitely meant an increase in its thrill level.
In the middle of the entire park, as though it had been the first tube run and the rest of the park build around it, was Everest - a massive, insanely steep tube run that stretched up into the sky via a four-story set of steps. I eyed that damn ride all day, anxious to ride the most extreme ride in the park. In my old age, I can't seem to go on rollercoasters anymore without getting motion sick. Snow tubing, however, I can do and I can do it for hours without the faintest hint of motion sickness. And so I kept eyeing Everest as a chance to take on a big thrill ride and not get knocked on my ass by it.
The only problem is that you can't ride Everest on your own. There's a minimum of at least two people required per run. As best as Manda and I can figure, it's so that you and your tube weigh enough so that you don't shoot off of the track and die. It took a while and a lot of "It'll be fine! Totally safe!" requests from me, but Manda finally agreed to join me on a Grand Finale run down Everest before getting some dinner and headng home.
The short version is that I'm never going to be an Olympic Luge participant. I wiped out - hard - smashing into the ice retaining wall at about 30+ miles per hours.
My knee, my foot, my arms - all of them scraped and banged against the icy track in an attempt to slow myself down. What went wrong? My ski goggles had fogged up so I put them up on top of my forehead, fearing that I wouldn't be able to see where I was going. Unfortunately, as soon as we got going down Everest, tiny bits of snow and ice flew up into my face, latched onto my eye lashes, and instantly froze my eyes shut in the -25° temperatures. I couldn't see a thing. When I couldn't see, I leaned the wrong way into a turn and wiped out with YouTube-worthy grandeur.
I'm kinda' banged up, but nothing broke or sprained or tore so that's good. I think I still owe Amanda a few dozen more "You were right"s, but disasterous wipe out not withstanding, we had a great day. The tubing was excellent. The ice-karting was fun - if a bit hard to steer (go figure).
All in all, I'd go again. Except for maybe Everest.