What happens to all the snow that falls in Gaspésie during the mighty storms that hit this region? Snowploughs remove it from the roads as soon as possible, of course, and then the locals dream up even more outdoor activities to enjoy in the snow, much to the delight of visitors!
First, let us dispel a myth: no, Gaspesians don’t travel by snowmobile on the roads in the winter! They did so in the 1960s, but for some time now, snow removal has made roads accessible to motorists all winter long. Instead of travelling along the roads, snowmobilers spend their time exploring the peninsula on over 3000 km of marked snowmobile trails.
Storms that leave behind large accumulations of snow naturally keep snowplough operators busy, as they work to clear major arteries (such as Route 132) and then secondary roads as quickly as possible. After long hours of snow removal—during which the snow is piled up on either side of the roads, creating huge snowbanks—all roads are passable by car.
Mont-Saint-Pierre. Photo: Dany Vachon
In Gaspésie and throughout Québec, it is best to be well prepared before hitting the road during storm season. Here are 5 tips to help you travel hassle-free in Gaspésie in the middle of the winter.
Before you set off, be sure to check the road conditions on the Québec 511 website. If a section of the road you want to drive is closed due to bad weather conditions, you are better off postponing your trip and staying warm and safe indoors (with a good book, board game or your favourite gin!).
Also be wary of your own impressions: sometimes precipitation has stopped falling, but strong winds make visibility difficult in some areas. This is often the case on roads lined with fields or snow-covered bodies of water.
Make sure you have winter tires on your vehicle, which is mandatory by law in Québec. Winter tires will reduce the risk of skidding on ice and make it easier for you to drive on snow-covered roads.
Keep a shovel, snow broom and ice scraper in your car at all times. You should also consider travelling with traction aids and booster cables in your trunk—these will come in handy if your car breaks down in very cold weather!
Make sure you dress properly for the winter or, if not, have winter boots, a winter hat, mitts, a scarf and other warm clothing in your vehicle. You never know what might happen… and pushing your vehicle out of a snowbank with your bare hands, wearing only a shirt (no coat) and shoes, is a very unpleasant experience!
Village Grande Nature Chic-Chocs. Photo: Steve Deschênes
Opt for another means of transportation if you are uncomfortable driving in the winter:
- Motor coach: Orléans Express offer daily departures from Montréal to Gaspé and vice versa.
- Plane: The Mont-Joli, Bonaventure and Gaspé airports offer a few flights a week to and from certain towns in Québec with Pascan Aviation or Pal Airlines.
- Train: VIA Rail serves Matapédia, Causapscal, Amqui, Sayabec and Mont-Joli three times a week to and from Montréal.
- Public transit and taxis: RÉGÎM offers intercity bus services within Gaspésie. Several towns and municipalities also offer taxi services.
Come and experience the joys of winter storms in Gaspésie!