Trust an adventurous Quebecker to come up with yet another way to play with adrenalin in mid-winter. Just 30 minutes from Québec City, at the foot of Mont-Sainte-Anne, caving enthusiast Marc Tremblay created the brand new sport of ice-canyoning – abseiling down the vertical face of a frozen waterfall. And it’s the only place in North America you can do it.
First step is to sign up with Canyoning-Québec, then take a short forest walk. Helmet and crampons are the necessary gear. After a couple of practice runs on short descents canyoners are ready for the top of Jean-Larose Falls where they don a harness clipped to a rope, take a deep breath and step back into the void. The world takes on a dramatic new perspective as you lower yourself down a 40-metre (131-foot) ice tower at your own pace. Sunshine glitters off icy stalactites that crunch under boots and theriver below winds through a snowy landscape.
Ice canyoning is an chilly twist on the regular canyoning offered the rest of the year. "It uses some of the techniques of rappelling and ice climbing,” says Tremblay, “but it’s easier and still delivers the vertical thrill.”