The cold weather may not be to everyone's liking, but some people in Quebec's tourism industry are rejoicing as the abundance of snow and low temperatures help bolster business for ski hills and hoteliers.
The past few years have been difficult ones for those in the winter tourism industry, as a lack of snow early in the winter forced many ski hills to miss the Christmas season, and lose revenue.
This year is a different story though, as ski hills gear up early for a flood of holiday visitors.
"It's exceptional," said Hugues Fournel, director of operations at Sentiers du Moulin in Lac-Beauport. "We have trails open that are never usually open at the beginning of the season."
The uptick comes as a relief for ski hill operators who depend on the cold weather.
Ski Bromont has invested more than $10 million in snow-making equipment and technology over the past 15 years, and Mount Sutton put in $500,000-worth of snow-making equipment in 2016 alone.
Open for business
The Ice Hotel in Valcartier village is also benefiting from the chilly weather, as managers are hoping to set a new record for early season opening.
"This is the first time we have hope to open earlier in the season," said artistic director Pierre L'Heureux. "We got a head start. We managed to make all our snow and build at the end of November."
Last year, the Ice Hotel set a new record by opening on Dec. 27.
"We're hoping to break that this year," said L'Heureux.
He said that all that remains is putting the finishing touches on the interior decor, all of which will be circus-themed this year.
"All the rooms will feature scenes or sculptures that are very on trend his year," he said.
Breaking new ground
The Quebec government also announced this week that its invested $1.5 million in the Vallée du Parc ski resort in Shawinigan to help pay for five new trails, a new ski lift and new artificial snow-making machine.
The investment plays into the resort's $4.4-million development plan which will also see the enlarging of the main chalet and new lights for the trails.
"It's something we've been working on for a long time," said executive director Alain Beauparlant.