Ski Guide: Mt. Tremblant

Beautiful skiing combined with the joie de vivre of Quebec's French heritage, minus the cost of a trans-Atlantic flight.

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Mont Tremblant saw its first tracks in the season of 1940. Its opening distinguished it as Canada’s first ski resort and the second in North America. Nestled in the Laurentian Mountains an hour north of Montreal, Mont Tremblant carries the same attraction as the North American Alps—beautiful skiing combined with the joie de vivre of Quebec’s French heritage, minus the cost of a trans-Atlantic flight.

Only at Mont Tremblant
Until Tremblant’s renovations are complete, skiers and snowboarders can enjoy the resort’s 4 different terrains; in addition to Versants Nord and Soleil, there is also Versants Edge and 2 challenging snow parks, including a super pipe. Additionally, the surrounding Mont Tremblant National Park, encompassing 373,000 acres, offers snowmobiling and dog-sledding, in addition to Acrobranche courses, which consist of ice-climbing and tree-climbing instruction. Beginners tend to bundle up just above the village, while more advanced skiers head to the steeper trails on the mountain’s Versant Nord. Locals and season-pass holders tend to skip the top-to-bottom lifts that can get clogged during the weekends and holidays. Instead, make your own tracks in the glade laps off the Versant Soleil trails.

Best-kept Secret
In the next decade, Mont Tremblant’s quaint cobblestone village and the trails on its north and south sides (Versant Nord and Versant Soleil) will undergo a 1 billion Canadian dollar facelift. Intrawest will expand the skiable acres from 625 to 1,000, thereby increasing the number of skiers from 12,000 a day to approximately 20,000.

Where to Sleep
With some 3 dozen places to choose from, Mont Tremblant boasts ample accommodations. Options range from the practical condominiums, suites and hotels to the luxurious Club Intrawest with Tibetan carpets and soaker tubs. Prices range accordingly.

Where to Eat
The fare in Mont Tremblant is in no way limited to French cuisine (although the 50+ varieties of crepes at Creperie Catherine are not to be missed). Asian, Italian and continental cuisines, as well as coffee houses and sweet shops, are all available for hungry skiers. The village is home to many bars where you can find sports (Le Shack), music and dancing (Bar Café d'Époque), and original beers brewed on-site (Microbrasserie La Diable). LeShack, with its toboggan-shaped bar, is one of several places that offer après ski options. The others include La Forge Bar & Grill, Casey’s Bar and Grill the Nansen Lounge Fairmont Tremblant Hotel and the bar Quintessence Resort Hotel.

Where to Shop
The resort village at the base of the mountain offers a variety of options in a European-street-style setting. Visitors can peruse gifts shops, clothing and sporting-goods stores and even enjoy antiques as well as North American and South American crafts at the village’s art galleries.

For the Non-skier
The Loto Quebec Casino opened last year and provides a competitive twist on après ski. If you’re visiting Mont Tremblant before the first flurries of winter, enjoy a round of golf before placing your bets—tee times extend into late November.

Biggest Bang for Your Buck
Two enclosed, free gondolas service the resort. One takes riders from the resort village to the top of the mountain. The other transports riders from the village on a 10-minute ride to the resort’s casino, where visitors can choose to gamble away their savings or maintain the frugal approach and enjoy free coffee and other soft beverages before enjoying another free gondola ride back to the village. The gondola rides provide dynamic panoramic views of the Laurentian Mountains.

Travel Channel Tip
The temperatures on Mont Tremblant can cut skiers and boarders to the quick. Make sure to layer and take plenty of breaks for chocolat-chaud during the bitter Quebec winter.

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