Published Dec 07
Below, you’ll find everything you need to know to plan your day exploring ski trails and discovering tasty treats in the Chaleur Region.
The word ski comes from the Old Norse word skíð, which means "stick of wood," or ski, and started as a travelling technique at least eight millennia ago. Early skiers even used only one long pole or spear while travelling!
Since the mid-1800s, when it evolved into a more recreational activity, outdoor enthusiasts young and old across the globe have been counting down the days to each year's first snowfall; stepping into their boots, tightening their bindings and waxing their skis in anticipation.
Anyone with at least one outing under their belt will tell you: gliding through snow-covered landscapes is an exceptional way to spend a winter day.
Not only is cross-country skiing a relaxing way to enjoy the serenity of nature in the winter, but it is also a great, low impact workout! This combination makes it the perfect winter activity for someone looking for a way to stay both physically and mentally healthy.
To top it off, recent health regulations and social distancing measures have created a special challenge when it comes to enjoying social activities. This year more than ever, cross-country skiing is the perfect winter sport to try.
...and did we mention that the Chaleur Region happens to be one of the best spots in Northern New Brunswick for Cross-Country skiing?
Before hitting the trails, you'll want to check in with our local ski club for a day pass (or if you want to ski regularly: a full membership!).
The Snow Bear Cross-Country Ski Club is your local go-to spot for all things ski related in the Chaleur Region. Through their efforts and dedication, year after year, they maintain over 10km of groomed trails that suit all levels of experience.
The 2022/2023 full-season registration can be done online on the Snow Bear Ski Club’s Zone4 Application, with modest fees for individuals, families and even children. After filling out this application, bring your receipt (digital or physical) to the Nepisiguit River Company sporting goods store, located at 1015 St Anne Street in Bathurst to collect your ski pass.
Only looking for a day pass? These can be purchased at the Nepisiguit River Company as well.
Next up, you’ll need to get some skis if you don’t already have some! Classic skis can be rented at the Nepisiguit River Company store for $35 per day, but they also sell skis and other high quality outdoor equipment if you're looking to really gear up.
A note on getting ready to tackle the great outdoors: when it comes to skiing, it’s best to dress not too warm, but not too cold! Windbreakers and a fleece sweater are typically a good pick and it's best to avoid cotton because it absorbs sweat and can quickly get cold. Of course, don’t forget a comfortable pair of gloves and a warm hat too!
Now that you’re geared up, you’re ready to hit the trails!
If you’ve never skied before, you’ll need to decide on what technique you are going to attempt to learn. The good news is that both freestyle and classic techniques are allowed on the Snow Bear trails. The classic method involves moving your skis parallel to one another, and the skate method is true to its name and is similar to skating.
For novice skiers, we recommend the classic method. This technique is easier to pick up, provides a slower pace, and requires less physical effort. (Pro tip: if you’re going skiing without someone to teach you, look up a few technique videos the night before!)
Once you’re on the trails, take note of the signs marking the various routes you can take. If you’re just getting the hang of gliding forward, choose the beginner trails. These paths are mostly flat, making it easier to move along.
After you’re done with your skiing adventure for the day, you’ll want to return to the Nepisiguit River Company! Inside, there is a room where you can warm up after being out in the cold.
Cross-country skiing may look easy, but it is quite the workout! Afterwards, you’ll want to find a relaxing way to spend the rest of your winter day. We recommend cozying up and refuelling by taking a visit to one of our local coffee shops!
Treat your taste buds to a rich hot chocolate or a unique coffee. Our cafés also offer irresistible sweets and pastries that you definitely won’t want to miss out on!
(If you prefer to warm up at home, or if an indoor gathering is currently not an option, all of the following locations are great takeout ideas!)
Our first cafe recommendation is Kaffeine Espresso Bar.
This local coffee shop is located in downtown Bathurst at 145 Main Street. Their cozy lounge is the perfect place to unwind with a warm cup and their menu features a wide variety of drinks, so there is something for everyone!
If you’re a coffee-lover, we recommend trying one of Kaffeine’s specialty coffee drinks. Their Caramel Macchiatos are simply unbeatable!
For anyone who prefers a choice without caffeine, their rich hot chocolate or sweet steamer are perfect picks to warm up on a cold winter day!
Needless to say, you can’t have a hot drink without a treat to go with it. Kaffeine also has a wide range of baked goods (or sandwiches, if it’s time for lunch!). You won’t want to miss out on trying out the fresh artisan baked goods they often offer; made by local cake master Shannon Doucet of Lekker Bakery! (Sweet tooth beware: her macarons are impossible to resist.)
Kaffeine also offers a wide assortment of local goods, and you can even pick up maritime-roasted coffee beans to take home!
A true staple of Petit-Rocher is the cozy café known as Auberge d’Anjou - Cocooning Café.
Located at 587 Rue Principale, this warm and welcoming café is a popular winter spot for locals and travellers alike! With lots of places to sit back and relax, this is the perfect spot to treat your tastebuds.
Their drink menu features many different options to suit all kinds of tastes. Their café lattés and café mochas are perfect drinks for coffee-lovers, while their hot chocolate will no doubt satisfy your sweet tooth. They also have amazing tea-based drinks, such as their London fog!
(Image Credit - Auberge d’Anjou-Cocooning Café Facebook Page)
Along with hot drinks, breakfast and lunch are also available every day! If you’re feeling hungry, treat yourself to a filling and warm breakfast, panini or even a homemade pizza.
Lastly, don’t miss out on their baked goods! There is always an assortment of fresh viennoiseries. They occasionally have different seasonal creations too, so each visit is bound to be unique!
If you prefer to take your treats home to enjoy, stop by Andrea Confectionary!
This local candy store with an iconic look at 120 Main Street in Bathurst has every sweet you could imagine! We recommend picking up some of their hot chocolate mix, along with a few of their decadent chocolates!
You’ll also want to take a look around and discover all the quirky and fun candy they have for sale. They have lots of classic favourites, and plenty of new unique creations to try.
R&J Boulangerie Artisanale recently opened the doors of a brand new bakery in downtown Bathurst.
This French-style artisanal bakery is located in the Promenade Waterfront at 40 Douglas Avenue.
They offer a wide range of delicious baked goods, all of which are homemade with an impressive amount of care. Their delicacies are made using organic flours, and the bread is traditional sourdough. No efforts are spared!
They offer many different types of bread, croissants, cookies, and brioches. If you’re willing to beat the rush, you’ll even get to enjoy some of their decadent pastries such as French macaroons or chocolate éclairs.
(Pro tip: visit this location to start your day! They open early, you’ll beat the rush, and there’s nothing better than bread still warm out of the oven!)
If you’re looking for a laid-back winter day filled with plenty of fun, look no further than the Chaleur Region!
Cross-country skiing is a perfect winter activity to get you outside in a new way. Once you experience the peacefulness of gliding through the snow you’ll definitely want to ski again!
Then, with a new favourite coffee or treat, you’ll reminisce on your day’s adventure and start planning your next trail!
This winter, everything you need for a perfect staycation is right here in the Chaleur Region!
Looking to plan a more adventurous day? Check out our other Winter Escapade Idea: Fat Biking & Brews Below Zero!
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