4 winter activities to try at Château Montebello
More than a traditional hotel, Fairmont Le Château Montebello is a unique resort offering an impressive variety of guest activities.
Accompanied by Jennifer, Fairmont Le Château Montebello’s PR manager, I set out in search of the resort’s best winter experiences. Check out these 4 must-try activities during a stay at the Château!
Introduction to curling
After admiring the decorations and lights adorning the Château in winter, I head for the ski shop and the first activity of the day: the curling clinic, a true initiation to this sport.
As I enter the building, I’m surprised by its size and by the presence of a reception room with a bar. This place is huge! The two large curling rinks allow four matches to be played simultaneously. I’m told that this log building dates back to the 1930s. I have a feeling that the members of the Seigniory Club often gathered here!
On site, Jennifer and I meet our friendly instructors, Kevin and Denis. I’ve curled only once before and it didn’t go too well, so a real introduction with qualified instructors can only improve my game.
Kevin starts by demonstrating the basics of the technique, while Denis explains the (rather peculiar) scoring system and goes over the strategy with us. We can now take a few curling stones (also called rocks) and try some practice throws. Here’s a description of my throws: Not hard enough … Too hard … Too hard … Crooked … It’s at this moment that I understand I have no future in curling, and also develop huge respect for all those athletes on TV who slide the stones so smoothly.
There follows a friendly one-end competition (an “end” is completed when both teams have thrown all their stones, and a game usually consists of eight or ten ends) between Jennifer and me, accompanied by lots of laughter. Denis is taking his coaching role very seriously and Kevin is sweeping very little because of our missed shots. The verdict is in: Jennifer scores a point and wins the end with her last stone. I’m definitely going to need more practice!
For a fun competitive learning experience with family or friends, I strongly encourage you to sign up for the curling clinic! All you have to do is book your time slot. For an additional fee, you can also rent one of the rinks.
Skating in the fresh air
After this great start, we switch from indoor to outdoor ice for a skate in the fresh air. It feels so good! This is my first skate of the season—always special. It’s moments like this that make me realize how lucky we are to have our Canadian winter. By the way, the outdoor rink at the Fairmont is very well maintained. I’d even go so far as to say that the quality of the ice is similar to that of an indoor rink.
To the sound of the music from the speakers near the ice, we chat, we laugh and we skate! I even rent a hockey stick and some pucks to practise a few shots.
I recommend checking the rink schedule, which alternates every hour between free skating and hockey.
An excursion on foot, snowshoes or cross-country skis
After enjoying the skating rink, I put on my boots to explore the hiking trails on the Château grounds. On snowier days, you can rent snowshoes or cross-country skis at the ski shop.
There are five kilometres of snowshoe and hiking trails on the property itself, and they lead to other trails, so you can extend your walk as long as you like. Cross-country skiing enthusiasts can explore 42 kilometres of groomed trails for all levels, right on the site.
I start by walking the trail along the edge of the Ottawa River. Between the icy river and the rosy sky, the view is breathtaking. There are many benches along the trail where visitors can sit and contemplate the beauty of their surroundings—something I do not fail to do! A landscape worthy of a postcard! As I continue along the trail, I catch sight of the snow tubing hills. I picture myself hurtling down them like a child … Next time for sure!
Did you know that the Manoir Papineau National Historic Site is located right next to the Château? I opt to take a trail that passes right in front of it. I admire the architecture for a few moments before continuing along the nearby trails through the woods.
Warming up by the fire
After an active day, we relax by an outdoor fire and admire the sunset. There are three fire pits on the Château site, so choose your spot and bask in the warmth!
It’s the perfect time to look back on our day and have some great conversations. Needless to say, a hot chocolate is in order! Not only does it warm your hands, but it’s a nice way to end a cold winter day.
After spending a day outside, it’s wonderful to regain the comfort of the hotel and its welcoming atmosphere. With family or friends, relax in the lobby in front of the massive six-sided stone fireplace. It’s so inviting!
For a resort experience fee of $35 per room per night, you can take advantage of the many activities offered by the Château. It’s one of the best experiences going! So … when is your next visit?