Mont Tremblant, A Quebec Laurentian Dream
By Dee Dee McKinney Photos by Fred McKinney
The Mont Tremblant Resort is located less than 1 1/2 hr north of Montreal, Canada. According to major ski and travel magazines, this is one of the premier Ski Resorts in North America, consistently earning the #1 Ski Destination Resort in the east. Impressive accolades are given for being family friendly, and for the lodging, food, and aprés activities. In 2014, National Geographic ranked it as one of the 25 Best Ski Towns in the World.
Tremblant became a renowned skiing area in 1940 when it was founded. It became a instant winter ski destination with the daily arrival of a ski train from Montreal. After the resort built its first lodge with a cluster of cottages around the base of the lodge it became a instant success. The newly formed Tremblant Ski School developed ski weeks and lessons opening the world of skiing as a winter sport to average tourists. The ski school was staffed by many European instructors who not only helped skiers develop their skills, but made Tremblant an exciting place for aprés skiing. The heart of the Mt Tremblant then as well as now centered around the base lodge and ski village.
The old Mt. Tremblant resort was purchased by Intrawest Resorts about 20 years ago, and has been transformed into an amazing ski resort and recreation experience! Today it has become a mega ski destination with good roads and a unique log cabin international airport. The village at the base of the mountain is car free, contains stores, ski shops, over 30 restaurants and bars, boutiques. It is a true Quebec French experience. Over the first floor properties are luxury condos and apartments available for skis and families. Locations are within a 2-3 minute walk to the base lift area and ski school learning centers. The brightly colored ski village towers 4-5 stories in the sky with an array of design easily viewed from the mountain. 13 resort hotels are within the village ranging from 4 star luxury to more conservative and affordable 2 and 3 star hotels. Lodging for vacationers is broad ranging from luxury international chain hotels, cottages, condos and apartments. In the proximity of the resort are ski lodges that provide half board and provide shuttle service mornings and afternoons.
Restaurants abound in the village with specialties from around the world, from Swiss fondue and crepes to pasta, international eateries but you haven’t experienced Tremblant if you miss the traditional poutine. The food aromas from around the village are inspiring to the visitor. A homemade Chocolate Factory is inspiring as well as the speciality tea and coffee cafes where one can take a break anytime day or night.
During the development of the new ski village, Intrawest Corporation preserved the original lodge and some of the old ski cottages. By incorporating them into the village, they maintained the quaint history and romantic atmosphere of Mt. Tremblant in the 1940’s & 50’s! The original cottages are now part of the village setting used as unique shops and food establishments. This blending of old and new is unique in the mega resorts of the east. One normally must travel to Europe for this ski history experience.
The mountain has 662 skiable acres across 4 mountain faces, serviced by 14 lifts; including fast moving gondolas, high speed detachable chairlifts, a few surface lifts and magic carpet rides. All levels of skiers and riders will find over 96 trails.
Every child in a snow school lesson wears a GPS leg band tracking system for child safety. It adds fun to the lesson after skiing by enabling the child to retrace their day on the trails online! The mountain views give skiers awesome views of Lac Tremblant and the snow covered and remote Laurentian Mountains in distance scenes.
The Laurentian Mountain forests have some trails that have served skiers for 75 years. Ski weeks are very popular for this destination. Ski School will teach and bring skiers to a new level of ability very quickly. Group lessons and private ski instructors can custom tailor programs to every learning curve. The Laurentian Mountain range has been a setting for skiers with over 12 smaller ski areas along this range. Night skiing is also offered at many near-by mountains.
It’s an easy walk from the parking lot to a open-air gondola lift called Cabriolet. This free lift moves people in small cabins to the top of the village into the plaza and base of the major ski lifts. At the plaza, skiers and visitors easily disperse into the village for shops, hotels, condos or onto the ski lifts. There is a full service gaming casino offered at Casino de Mont-Tremblant.
The village is central for visitors of all ages. Some areas offer daily and nightly entertainment and music. When the stars come out at night, hundreds of pedestrians stroll the ambiance of this beautiful Quebec village rather than sit in hotel rooms watching TV. The village is alive with most shops opened late. There are aromas of international foods, live music and happy vacationers sliding or sledding on the lower ski slopes under lights. Dogsledding is found on nearby Lac Tremblant. French is the predominate spoken language, and Bonjour is the first word heard in establishments. The resort staff are well versed in speaking English.
A trip to Tremblant is a true winter experience, a resort of class, excellence and diveristy!