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Here is a letter we have sent to the Minister of Tourism - Quebec. Be warned!


January 12, 2003
Dear Sir,

We just returned from the worst vacation of our lives. We had decided to try a week of snowmobiling on the famous Quebec trails, and left our New York home in great spirits, arriving at our hotel, Auberge La Cuillere a pot, in St. Donat, some seven hours later. Our initial impression was positive, and we were even considering making this an annual family trip. Then things went terribly sour. On our first day of snowmobiling, we got back to St. Donat after dark, and proceeded to get lost trying to get through town and back to our hotel. The trails, which had been well-marked outside of town, had few signs inside the village, and none in English. We stopped, and asked for directions, and were told to go back the way we had come, head towards the main road, and follow the sidewalk approximately 1000 yards past the supermarket, until we would see a snowmobile sign on the right. Turn there, we were told, and the hotel would be a little way along that trail.
This we did, and were following other snowmobile tracks when we were stopped by a policeman. We told him that we were lost, and asked for help. His response was to ask for our license and registration, and then disappear inside his car, leaving us standing still and cold for a half an hour in subzero temperature. When he finally emerged from his vehicle, he handed us a $140 ticket for driving on the wrong sidewalk. Apparently, when we reached the main road, we should have gone through a deserted parking lot. At the far end of that lot, signs would have directed us to the trail on the south side of the road. We, in our ignorance, had followed other tracks across the road, and were traveling illegally on the north sidewalk.
The unfairness of this episode, and the rude treatment at the hands of the constabulary, got us very upset, and we decided to leave the next morning. Our innkeeper tried to dissuade us. First, he said, he had never heard of anything like this happening before. Perhaps he could persuade the police to reconsider. He made a few phone calls, to no avail, and said that the problem lay with new police procedures - as of December 16, the provincial police had taken over all municipal enforcement. Furthermore, he said, we had reserved our room for seven days – if we left early, we would still have to pay for the entire week! We left anyway, and vowed never to return to this Canadian province.
Obviously, there is very little that we can do to protest our poor treatment. We will take our tourist money elsewhere, of course. And we will post a copy of this letter to snowmobile usergroups. That may persuade a few others to avoid your inhospitable province. The economics of this situation are simple. Quebec collected its blood money of $140, but lost thousands of dollars in tourist income from us, our family, and our friends.

Sincerely yours,

Betty and Steven Bloom
 

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Not to upset you here, but it sounds like the snowmobile trails were in good shape, but you simply violated the snowmobile laws in the province.

Yes... I think the officer should have just pointed you in the right direction and certainly not ticketed you... but you should realize the innkeeper has a right to his 7 nights pay. Its not his fault at all, and I would beleive him that it is not a normal occurence to ticket tourists to the area.

I think you should reconsider what you are saying. Sounds too me like you should have just payed a little more attention to how you got from your hotel to the trail and visa versa.
 

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I agree with Snowmobile_Fan. In my opinion, it's the responsibility of the snowmobiler/tourist to check into any laws that may effect them when traveling or staying in a different country. You wouldn't go to England and assume that you still drive on the right (as opposed to left) side of the road, would you?? I would imagine if the trip was thought through more carefully, that asking the hotel clerk upon check-in would have saved you the $140 and the inconvenience.
I can appreciate the desire to avoid Canada from now on however if the sledding was worth it, aren't you limiting yourselves by ruling out a return trip??
Either way, thanks for the head's up. We're heading to Colebrook tomorrow morning and will be sledding in Canada all day Saturday.
 

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It's not the provinces fault that you didn't know where to go, you should've known that it might not be easy to find your way through a foreign city, especially one in a prodominately french area, so therefore you should have planned to return before dark, especially on the first day. Also its your responsibility to know the laws and regulations before riding anywhere, I don't necessarily know if he should've given you a ticket but he had a right to.
 

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I have sledded in Quebec for 19 years and have done over 100,000 miles in just the past 8 years. We organize trips and expeditons to safe, uncrowded areas of Quebec. I know that you probably are looking for an Alka-Seltzer at the mention of the place!). I guess that it could have been worse...I have heard worse stories than yours (if that helps any). You have a choice to make...learn and grow and teach others the "DO'S AND DON'TS" or just never go back.

Here is an article that will help you to not do it the hard way as I did and show you the “trail to evolution of a sledder”: http://snowtours.com/article.html This article published in most of the North East State snowmobile associations tells of very bad experience I personally had in Quebec and what I did about it. I hope that you enjoy it.

I think that planning a trip to a new place especially in an other country is not easy for a visitor. There is not enough information available for you to succed and ride in security. Here is an article that you can check out that will give you an idea of how to plan a trip: Adventure and Security: Can they Co-exist? http://snowtours.com/testimonials.html

If there is anything that I can do to help, please call or email or visit the website www.snowtours.com

Newenglandbob
 

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I have always heard how great the trails and the people were in Quebec. The only problem that I have heard of is theft. Most of the good hotels have good security though. It seems pretty childish to leave the next day. It does suck that you got a ticket, but the next six days of riding could have been great.
 

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Runnin Against The Wind!
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This has nothing to do with snowmobiling, but our hunting party got ripped off by a guide we booked with in Quebec. He happened to be from the states, and we told him when we left that if he ever is in Michigan again promoting his hunting, he's going to get a good crowbar to look at. :eek:
 

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Runnin Against The Wind!
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We booked a bear hunting trip with him at a hunting show in MI. We were to have our own private hunting camp for our party to stay at. He even showed us a picture. He called this his remote camp. It was a mobile home in the woods. We drove 750 miles to Quebec only to be told when we got there that we would have to stay at the base camp because his remote camp burned down 2 weeks prior. I asked him why he did not notify us of this, and he said, "2 weeks before you got here?" I said yes, 2 weeks or 2 days. Well we had no choice we stayed there and accomadations were filty. 3 day's into our trip I was driving from our hunting spot back to camp and got pulled over for speeding. The cop asked where we were staying. I told him. I also told him that it was to bad that this guide's remote camp burned down. The cop then told us that this is a small town and that he knew who the guide was, and that he never had a remote camp that burned down.
We then confronted the quide about this and he was lost for word's, and pretty much avoided us for the rest of the trip and had some one else handle the rest of our trip. We were also told by the cop that this guy has done some shady bussiness before.
The next year we went back to the hunting show to see if this guy was there. The same booth was there, but not him. We asked where he was and they gave us some bull line. We then stuck around the booth for pretty much the whole day telling people about our bad experience. They didn't get much bussiness. We told them to tell the guide that if we find him in MI.
He will be dealing with a big crowbar wrapped around his head.
Reason for that is because the cop told us that the local's beat the shi. out of him with a crowbar. This guy's name was Patrick Henry. If you ever do any hunting trip, keep this name in mind.:mad:
 

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Runnin Against The Wind!
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I'm passing threw Ontario on Thur. Going to New York for my son's hockey tournement.
 

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I am Spartacus
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Damn, that sucks...I've always wanted to do a trip like that, but was afraid of the people I'd be dealing with. I know New England Bob's Excursions is very popular (I think it's out of Newfoundland), he's in all the snowmobile mags. I might try him.
 

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Runnin Against The Wind!
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It would be best to get references for sure. I know my next trip will be out west for muley's with my boy's. I've learned from my experience and won't happen again.
 

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Quebec is the best riding on this side of the world (alaska's a bit too far away from NY and ohio). yeah, theres not a whole lot of engilsh being spoken, but there are way less sleds, and if you study the area/map, you might be able to find your hotel. we backpack, and make it to places fine. a little problem here or there, but otherswise, nothing. the trails are great and they get a lot of snow. a good place to stay is the Domain Driftwood.

quebec riding-DO. DEFINATLY A DO.

Luke, the owner of the Domain Driftwood is really nice, and his wife cooks some awesome food. sorry, cant find a website, but they rent out cabins, and price includes dinner and everything youd need. forgot to say it's in Moffet.
 

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Runnin Against The Wind!
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Might be good for the snow show, but watch who you book a hunt with.:mad:
 
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