Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Western Quebec Offers Winter Wonders Including Ski Trails, Outdoor Spa

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Western Quebec Offers Winter Wonders Including Ski Trails, Outdoor Spa

Article excerpt

Western Quebec offers range of winter wonders

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CHELSEA, Que. - There is a retreat in western Quebec that could possibly transform the way curmudgeons feel about the winter months.

Le Nordik, an outdoor spa that claims to be the largest in North America, is tucked into the village of Old Chelsea, Que.

The hideaway, about 20 minutes from Parliament Hill, has become a year-round escape that even has high-power politicos jumping into bathing suits and bathrobes.

"It's surrounded by nature ... it is a great place to relax," said spokesperson Marianne Trotier. "It feels as if you were on a trip when you come here."

Le Nordik also has become a huge money-maker due to its popularity, drawing in around 160,000 people every year.

Trotier would not disclose the spa's annual revenue figures, but she said the business has invested $22 million on its development projects since it opened a decade ago.

"Since the first day we opened, the spa was a real success," she said.

The site includes several baths -- hot, cold and temperate pools -- as well as saunas, indoor and outdoor relaxation spaces and two restaurants.

Its main attraction, called the thermal experience, is based on the idea of alternating between hot and cold temperatures.

The concept has garnered the attention of the Ottawa Senators Hockey Club, which has a partnership with Le Nordik to allow hockey players access to services for mental and physical recovery.

The spa is located near Gatineau Park, which also offers its own dynamic landscape for active winter activities, including cross-country skiing, camping and snowshoeing.

The park is considered one of the jewels of the National Capital Region and draws more than 700,000 visitors annually, according to senior program co-ordinator Louis-Rene Senechal.

Many patrons come more than once a year, meaning the park is visited about 2.7 million times, he added.

"If I were to paint a picture of the winter offering in Gatineau Park, I would start off by saying that it is a destination of choice for outdoor enthusiasts of all ages and all levels of abilities," Senechal said. …

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