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Overlooking Tasiujaq Lake and their Cuestas. © Nunavik Parks

Nunavik holds a few of the best-kept summer and winter adventure secrets around. The vastness and diversity of the ecosystems that comprise this northern territory represent nothing less than an outstanding opportunity. To truly discover the warm hospitality of the Inuit of Nunavik and deepen your understanding of their age-old culture, practices and customs, a winter expedition is imperative.

The largest protected area in Québec, and one of the largest such areas in Canada, lies in the heart of Nunavik, translated as “great land”. Parc national Tursujuq covers over 26,000 km2, an area 52 times greater than the Island of Montreal.

Nunavik Parks, which operates the four parks in Nunavik (Tursujuq, Pingualuit, Kuururjuaq and Ulittaniujalik), has a new and unique all- inclusive winter package for March and April 2018, well off the beaten path: A Ski Journey from Hudson Bay to the High Land.

For nine days, visitors will explore Parc national Tursujuq and Inuit culture in the community of Umiujaq. The proposed itinerary leads participants from Umiujaq via the imposing cuestas (astonishing non-symmetrical landforms with a steep slope facing inland and a gentler back slope facing the bay), the coast of Hudson Bay, vast plateaus and numerous Arctic-tundra lakes to the centre of a mountainous landscape and Lake Tasiujaq before reaching the coast. The two planned departures will permit six adventurers each to live this exclusive experience in the company of a team of knowledgeable Inuit guides.

“This is an unparalleled opportunity to discover Inuit culture which is so closely linked to winter, and to experience the Land in a boldly new way,” points out Patrick Graillon, assistant director for parks operations with the Renewable Resources, Environment, Lands and Parks Department of the Kativik Regional Government.

Visitors capturing the beauty of the Nastapoka Waterfalls. © Véronique Nadeau

The six to seven-day ski component makes the expedition ideal for backcountry ski enthusiasts — a total distance of between 100 and 120 km, covered at a pace of 15 to 20 km per day. “This component has been designed to be accessible to intermediate through advanced skiers,” explains Michel Harcc-Morissette, visitor experience officer for Parc national Tursujuq.

Two days are devoted to cultural encounters in Umiujaq — a window into the universe of Inuit traditions and complement the teachings of the Inuit guides during the ski component. The Ski Journey from Hudson Bay to the High Land has been developed to reflect the age-old Inuit way of life. It is a nomadic experience that transitions from cultural activities and backcountry skiing to traditional camping under Northern Lights, the discovery of breath-taking landscapes and Nunavik’s diverse ecosystems.

Semi-permanent, heated and comfortable shelters will receive participants on the first nights, while heated tupiks on the following nights will provide a greater connection to an age-old way of life and nature under starry skies. If snow and weather conditions permit, participants may also have a chance to spend a night in an igloo constructed by their guides.

Participants will travel lightly, needing only warm sports clothing and one piece of hand baggage. All other necessary equipment, including northern parka, down booties, poles, boots and skis, winter sleeping bags, mats and tents, are supplied and handled by your team of guides.

Meals are also included and will vary according to locally available supply. For those interested, opportunities to observe traditional hunting and ice fishing practices, and therefore taste locally harvested foods, will also be available.

Return airfare Montreal–Umiujaq plus three nights in a hotel makes this an especially attractive all-inclusive travel experience.