Quebec's Best Winter Adventures - United Hub
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Quebec’s best winter adventures

By Nick Harper, November 21, 2017

Quebec City is one of North America's oldest and most visually impressive urban settlements, a city of cobbled streets, soaring spires and the picturesque Old Town, watched over by the grand and iconic Château Frontenac.

It also happens to be one of the snowiest places on the planet, with an average snowfall of around 124 inches. And while it's a great city to visit at any time of the year, Quebec really comes to life in the winter. So, to make the most of what may well be your first visit there, consider these five essential winter experiences.

Check in at North America's only ice hotel

For a short window between January and March each year, Quebec City is home to one of the world's most exclusive–and unusual–hotels. Since 2001, the magnificent snow-and-ice Hôtel de Glace opens its doors and offers luxurious shelter from the elements. Built 4km north of Quebec City, this magnificent ice edifice is home to 44 themed rooms and suites, hot tubs, sauna and ice bar. Part architectural masterpiece, part frozen work of art, for that small amount of time each year, there's no hotter address in the city or on the planet.

Morning Winter Ski Trails in Quebec

Hit the slopes

Quebec City is a powder hound's paradise, with four world-class ski resorts sat just a snowball's throw from the city center. Mont-Sainte-Anne, Le Massif de Charlevoix, Stoneham Mountain Resort and Le Relais offer ski, snowboard and XC slopes for all ages and experiences. XC? That's cross-country in powder parlance. In all there are 197 runs, ranging from the Easy to the Extremely Difficult/Borderline Insane, with 66 of them lit for evening adventure. A Multi-Resorts Ticket and regular shuttle busses from the city center make sampling multiple slopes easy and essential.

Person snowshoeing on trails in Quebec

Embrace the Big Freeze

In order to embrace the wintery conditions still further, strap on a pair of traditional rawhide snowshoes–think tennis racquets for your feet–and head out on foot. Hundreds of kilometers of marked trails make snowshoeing an unmissable Quebec experience.

Then again, you may want to consider one of Quebec City's more unusual leisure pursuits. Ice canoeing, ice canyoning, ice fishing and ice climbing are just four options elevated by having the word 'ice' prefixed. Anyone almost anywhere can canoe or canyon, fish or climb, but Quebec City takes the experience to a higher level by adding ice into the equation. Indeed, the ice climbing option involves scaling the almost 300ft-high Montmorency Falls waterfall, clambering a vertical ice face from top to bottom. In the world of water-cooler one-upmanship, it won't be beaten.

Quebec in winter

Join the Winter Carnaval

As far back as 1894, Quebec City has hosted a festival to celebrate the onset of winter and help the Quebecois prepare for the snow and would 'warm their hearts during the cold season'. The festival came and went until 1955, when a group of city businessmen realized a regular event could boost the economic development of Quebec. And so an annual traditional–Quebec Winter Carnaval–was born.

Held between the end of January and the middle of February and presided over by Bonhomme 'the giant snowman' Carnaval, a mix of parades, palaces and parties attract huge crowds to the city, making it one of the world's most popular winter festivals. We'd warn you to miss it at your peril–but if you're in Quebec during Carnaval season, missing it is nigh on impossible.

Experience a Nordic spa

It's said that you haven't truly lived until you've experienced a Nordic spa. In which case, head to Quebec City's Laurentians region and you will truly come alive.

For the uninitiated, a Nordic spa treatment involves working up a sweat in a sauna or eucalyptus steam bath, then plunging into an ice-cold pool, waterfall or freezing river, then repeating the process. This contrast between hot and sweaty and oh-so-very-cold stimulates circulation to reduce inflammation, boost your immune system and generally make you feel both relaxed but alive like never before.

Thanks to its stunning landscape and the snowy conditions, Quebec has become a haven for Nordic spas. The Polar Bear's Club and Scandinave Spa are just two of many excellent examples.

Essential information

Quebec's winter runs December through March, with December through February being the coldest and best time to visit for winter events and snow. Average high temperatures in December, January and February hover around the 20 degrees Fahrenheit mark. Pack accordingly and, to avoid disappointment, book what needs booking well in advance.

If you go

United Airlines offers flights from many cities to Quebec. Visit united.com or use the United app to plan your trip to this top winter destination.

Shaping an inclusive future with Special Olympics

By The Hub team, July 24, 2020

If your travels have taken you through Chicago O'Hare International Airport anytime since October 2019, you may have had a friendly, caring and jovial exchange with Daniel Smrokowski. Daniel is one of four Service Ambassadors thanks to our ongoing partnership with Special Olympics. This inaugural ambassador program aims to provide Special Olympic athletes employment opportunities within our operation, affording them a unique and meaningful career.

Since 2018, our partnership with Special Olympics has become one of United's most cherished relationships, going beyond the events we take part in and volunteer with. While the plane pull competitions, polar plunges, duck derbies and Special Olympics World Games and other events around the world are a big part of our involvement, the heart of this partnership lies with the athletes and individuals supported by Special Olympics. To advocate for their inclusion in every setting is one of our biggest honors, and we take great pride in the role we play in the organization's inclusion revolution.

Aiding in the success of Special Olympics' mission to create continuing opportunities for individuals with intellectual disabilities, throughout the two-year partnership, United has volunteered over 10,500 hours and donated over $1.2 million in travel to the organization. The impact of this partnership is felt at every level, both at Special Olympics and within our own ranks.

"The Inclusion Revolution campaign, led by our athletes, aims to end discrimination against people with intellectual disabilities. United Airlines has joined in our fight for inclusion, empowering our athletes with the skills needed to succeed and opportunities to contribute their abilities as leaders," said Special Olympics International Chairman Tim Shriver. "United Airlines believes that people with intellectual disabilities should be perceived as they really are: independent, world-class athletes, students, employees, neighbors, travelers, and leaders who contribute to make this world a better place."

Our Service Ambassador program is just one of the many ways Special Olympics has impacted not only our employees, but also our customers. "I see every day how our Service Ambassadors connect with our customers the moment they walk into the airport lobby," said Senior Customer Service Supervisor Steve Suchorabski. "They provide a warm, welcoming smile ad assist in any way they can. To see these young adults hold positions that a society once told them they couldn't is truly the most heartwarming part of my job," Steve continued.

"The opportunity to be a part of the United family means everything to me," Daniel said. "I feel so much pride showing up to work in a Special Olympics/United co-branded uniform, working among such a loving and supportive community. The relationship between these two organizations is truly helping to shape my future while letting me use my gifts of communicating and helping others. Hopefully, I can spend my entire career at United," Daniel added.

In honor of Special Olympics' Global Week of Inclusion in July, we're asking our employees, customers and partners to sign a pledge to #ChooseToInclude at jointherevolution.org/pledge.

And be sure to check out Daniel's podcast The Special Chronicles.

United works with partners to send food to USDA food bank

By The Hub team, July 23, 2020

In collaboration with food-logistics company Commodity Forwarders Inc. (CFI), United moved nearly 190,000 pounds of fresh produce to Guam for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Coronavirus Farm Assistance Program. This new program was created to provide critical support to consumers impacted by the COVID-19 global pandemic.

A variety of fresh fruits were transported from Los Angeles (LAX) to Guam (GUM) on United's newly introduced, non-stop cargo-only flight – a route added to meet cargo demand during the COVID-19 crisis. The fresh food was repacked in 10-pound cases in Los Angeles, prepared for departure at CFI's LAX location, and flown to GUM by the United team. Through this beneficial partnership between United and CFI, the perishable goods were kept cool during every step of the process and distributed as part of the food bank program in Guam.

"Everyone on our team has worked relentlessly during the pandemic to get critical goods to where they are needed most. Establishing a comprehensive network of cargo-only flights have allowed us to keep the supply chain moving even while passenger flight capacity has been reduced," said Regional Senior Manager of Cargo Sales, Marco Vezjak. "Knowing that we are able to help during these difficult times – in this case the Guam community – is our biggest reward and greatest motivation to keep moving forward."

United is proud to play a role in maintaining the global food supply chain and helping people access the supplies they need. Since March 19, United has operated over 4,000 cargo-only flights, moving over 130 million pounds of cargo.

Jessica Kimbrough named Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer

By The Hub team, July 10, 2020

Jessica Kimbrough, currently Labor Relations and Legal Strategy Managing Director, will take on the new role of Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer Managing Director.

Jessica assumes this new and expanded position to focus on global inclusion and equity as part of our enhanced commitment to ensure best practices across the business to strengthen our culture.

In this role, Jessica will be responsible for helping United redefine our efforts on diversity, equity and inclusion – ensuring that our programs and approach are strategic, integrated and outcome-oriented, while we continue to build a culture that reflects our core values. She will report to Human Resources and Labor Relations EVP Kate Gebo.

"Jessica's appointment to this role is another critical step our executive team is taking to ensure diversity, equity and inclusion remains a top priority at United," said CEO Scott Kirby. "Given her drive, experience and commitment to champion collaboration and allyship among our employee business resource groups, she is uniquely qualified to take on this position and I look forward to working closely with her."

As Labor Relations and Legal Strategy Managing Director, Jessica worked closely with senior management to create and maintain positive labor relations among our unionized workforce, providing counsel on labor litigation, negotiations, contract administration, organizing issues and managing attorneys who represent United in labor relations. Previously, she served as Labor and Employment Counsel in our legal department.

Jessica has a passion for creating a pipeline of diverse lawyers and leaders, and was honored as one of Chicago Defender's "Women of Excellence" for excellence in her career and civic engagement in 2017. She currently serves as President of uIMPACT, our women's employee business resource group.

Jessica's new role is effective immediately.

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