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Experiencing My City
David Huggins Daines


Urban trails
Published on
February 6, 2018
At 6:11 a.m. three or four times a week, as soon as there is a good snow cover on the ground, David Huggins Daines climbs aboard bus 29, with skis in hand, headed for Mount Royal.

The 40-year-old cross-country skier, a native of Calgary, arrived in Montréal in 2010 after his studies in the United States. He grew up on cross-country skies, with the Rocky Mountains as a backdrop.

Everyday skiing in Montréal

At this time of the morning, I’m often the only skier on the bus,” said Huggins Daines. He arrives at his destination just as the sun comes up, puts on his skis and tries to choose between a dynamic climb up chemin Olmstead or gliding along the forest trails, where the trees offer protection from the wind.

« In Montreal, we are very lucky to go cross-country skiing in the heart of the city ».

Ski au mont Royal

He’s never really alone there. Dog walkers, runners and a few skiers come to enjoy the morning calm, just like him. In the evening, the atmosphere is different, as there are more lovers of snow sports.

“We exchange greetings by the light of our headlamps,” he said.

Skiing that’s accessible by bus

David Huggins Daines

Since he doesn’t have a car, Huggins Daines visits parks that are accessible via public transit. This winter, he intends to take bus 97 from the Plateau, where he lives, to the end of the line near the Pie-IX metro station.

There, after the wide-open spaces of the Parc Maisonneuve, the skier wants to check out the winding paths of the Botanical Garden, where the city noises are muffled by the sound of birds singing. Maybe he’ll see the fluffy tail of one of the two red foxes in the area?


The city offers outdoor lovers a vast network of more than 100 km of equipped and groomed trails for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, running or hiking. If, like David Huggins Daines, you’re taking public transit and don’t want to carry your equipment, rental services are offered in many of the city’s large parks. There are also introductory courses for young and old alike.