The Québec maritime Blog
For the last several years, Le Québec maritime has organized the “Win a Dream Snowmobile Vacation for 4 in Québec maritime” contest. Ontario resident Jean-Guy Charette was the lucky winner of the 2014-2015 edition. Mr. Charette and three of his snowmobiling friends rode the trails of Bas-Saint-Laurent and Gaspésie from February 5 to 11, 2016. We spoke to him about their adventure.
Le Québec maritime (LQM): Can you tell us about your trip? Was this your first snowmobile ride in Bas-Saint-Laurent and Gaspésie?
Jean-Guy Charette (JGC): Actually, my first snowmobile trip in Bas-Saint-Laurent and Gaspésie was in 1991, so last winter was my fourth visit! I love these regions because the people are really friendly. I did this trip with the same group with whom I crossed Western Canada in 2006; we’re used to travelling together. Everything went really well because the journey was well planned, with reasonable distances to cover every day.
LQM: What do you think distinguishes our regions from other snowmobile destinations?
JGC: Usually, there’s lots of snow, which is great because it keeps the trails in excellent condition. It’s also fun to ride through the mountains and see the sea.
LQM: Despite the vagaries of winter, how did you find the trail conditions (grooming, signage, etc.)?
JGC: We were lucky to get lots of snowfall during our trip, so we rode on excellent trails throughout Gaspésie and Bas-Saint-Laurent. The snowmobile clubs do a great job with signage, which is very helpful for foreign tourists who are looking for services.
LQM: What did you love the most about our regions and why?
JGC: The scenery is beautiful throughout, especially along the north side of the Gaspé Peninsula. We also had superb food everywhere we went. I’d like to thank Le Québec maritime for our lodging, because all the hotels we stayed in were excellent. I also got to discover new places such as Auberge Beauséjour in Amqui, where we were particularly well received.
LQM: What tips would you give snowmobilers who are visiting our regions for the first time?
JGC: When you visit Gaspésie, make sure to plan for shorter daily distances because you may be hit by heavy snowfall—the region often experiences severe snowstorms.
LQM: Have you visited other regions or countries to go snowmobiling?
JGC: Since 1985, I regularly go on trips of 10 days or more with snowmobiling friends. I’ve been all over Québec, Ontario and several American states.
Here’s a list of my main snowmobile trips over the last few years:
- In 2005, I did a round trip through Québec and New Brunswick all the way to the Atlantic Ocean in Nova Scotia.
- In 2006, I left from Kamloops, British Columbia, and rode through the Rockies and the Prairies for a whole month and then all the way home to Casselman, Ontario.
- In 2009, I rode from Ontario all the way to Happy Valley-Goose Bay, in Labrador. On the way back, I took the White Trail on the Lower North Shore.
- In 2015, I did a grand tour of six countries: the U.S. (Michigan), Canada (Ontario), Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia (Murmansk, on the Arctic Ocean).
- After my trip to Bas-Saint-Laurent and Gaspésie last winter, I undertook an 11-day expedition from Fermont to visit two Inuit villages: Nain in Labrador and Kangiqsualujjuaq in the Nord-du-Québec region.
Next winter, I’m joining the MichCanSka team again, for the Maine to Michigan ride; from Maine, we’ll cross through New Hampshire, Vermont, New York and Ontario to get to Michigan. In 2018, I’m embarking on another major expedition that will take us on the Top of the World Highway in Alaska; first we’ll cross the American Midwest (Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota and North Dakota) and then six Canadian provinces and territories (Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia, the Northwest Territories and Yukon). Another dream vacation!
LQM: How many kilometres do you travel by snowmobile each year?
JGC: Somewhere between 8000 and 10,000 km (5000 to 6000 miles).
LQM: What model snowmobile do you ride?
JGC: A 2016 Yamaha Vector XTX.
LQM: What would you like to visit on your next trip to our regions?
JGC: The Chic-Choc Mountains!
An avid snowmobiler, Mr. Charette is happy to be able to promote our regions. Thank you for telling us about your trip; we look forward to welcoming you again!
M. Charette’s 2016 Itinerary in Our Regions
Day 1: Beauce region to Rivière-du-Loup
- Trails: TQ35, #526 and TQ85
- Dinner and overnight stay: Hôtel Universel Rivière-du-Loup
Day 2: Rivière-du-Loup to Amqui
- Trails: TQ5, #579 and #587
- Dinner and overnight stay: Auberge Beauséjour, Amqui
Day 3: Amqui to Carleton-sur-Mer
- Trails: #587 and TQ5
- Dinner and overnight stay: Hostellerie Baie Bleue, Carleton-sur-Mer
Day 4: Carleton-sur-Mer to Percé
- Trail: TQ5
- Dinner and overnight stay: Auberge de La Table à Roland, Percé
Day 5: Percé to Rivière-au-Renard
- Trail: TQ5
- Dinner and overnight stay: Auberge Le Caribou, Rivière-au-Renard
Day 6: Rivière-au-Renard to Sainte-Anne-des-Monts
- Trail: TQ5
- Dinner and overnight stay: Hôtel & Cie, Sainte-Anne-des-Monts
Day 7: Sainte-Anne-des-Monts to Rimouski
- Trails: TQ5 and #578
- Dinner and overnight stay: Hôtel Rimouski