Air-Eau-Bois: much more than a summer camp!
Most people know the Base de plein air Air-Eau-Bois outdoor centre for its summer camps. But what does Air-Eau-Bois do the other 44 weeks of the year? Well, it certainly doesn’t hibernate, as I learned when my family and I stayed there this winter!
Sleeping bags, board games and food—that’s it. Packing is easy, since our stay at Air-Eau-Bois is simple! We’ve opted to stay at the gîte, a building that includes a shared kitchen and living room, and a series of rooms equipped with 4 bunk beds each. There’s one bathroom for every 8 people (two bedrooms). The place smells new, and everything is remarkably clean. Having pictured sleeping in dormitories used by preteens, I’m pleasantly surprised. After supper, it’s time to play. I’ve brought board games, because, you see, there’s no Wi-Fi or TV at Air-Eau-Bois. My little nomophobic fear turns out to be unfounded, because my kids never once ask for screen time.
And they don’t the next day either.
ACTIVITIES BOTH WINTER AND SUMMER
From the very start of the day, we’re lucky enough to be accompanied by Le Tigre, an instructor-guide who’s on site at all times. His job is to play outside! And that’s exactly what we do—from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.! The only time the children deign to come indoors is to wolf down their lunch.
First of all, we try out some Hok skis, and immediately fall in love with this winter activity!
In a word, Hok skis are shorter and wider than cross-country skis and fit like snowshoes. Their unique feature is the synthetic sealskin on the base that provides a non-slip surface, so you can climb hills and ski down them as if you were on downhill skis! It’s a real pleasure to explore the trails this way, because you feel like you’re discovering the area in VIP mode.
a happy young man
Next, the guys have a blast on the tube slide. They go down countless times, always accompanied by Le Tigre. I have to say, the service at Air-Eau-Bois is top-notch.
My eldest, an avid hockey player, has brought his skates, and he has the on-site rink all to himself for a whole afternoon. And who’s passing him the puck? Once again, Le Tigre. I don’t know if he offers evening babysitting services, but if he does, my email address isn’t hard to find …
We don’t try snowshoeing and cross-country skiing—but we could have! Another time for sure. Because there will be other times!
Lou vs Tigre
NEW FEATURES ON THE SITE
The Air-Eau-Bois team has plenty of ideas to enrich your experience on the site. At the time of our visit, they were setting up a space for a small bistro that will be open on weekends. No need to bring your own lunch! In addition to the new shelters built this past summer, there’s talk of installing some prospector tents on platforms. The outdoor base also wants to acquire some fat bikes, become a mecca for cross-country skiing, and offer introductory survival workshops. Visit their website or their Facebook page to keep up with what’s happening!
THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND
Whether you’re on your own, with your partner or with your family, Air-Eau-Bois is ready to welcome those who want to enjoy nature. Their goal: to make the outdoors accessible and affordable. Do you have a day off coming up? Air-Eau-Bois is open. Want to try Hok skiing? There will be someone there to show you how. And it’s all year round!