Which ski resort has more than 100 trails, 1,900 lodging units, 75 shops, 14 lifts servicing nearly 30,000 skiers per hour and direct shuttle access to and from its own airport? Tremblant.
A two-hour drive from Ottawa or Montreal and a short one-hour flight from Toronto’s island airport, Mont-Tremblant is home to some of the east’s best terrain — more than 750 acres of it, in fact — for skiers and boarders. There are so many things to do in Mont-Tremblant that in the four winters my family has fondly called it a home-away-from-home, we still haven’t managed to do everything available for couples and families. Aside from simply getting out on the mountain or wandering around marvelling at the winter wonderland captured in its charming pedestrian village, here are 16 of our top insider tips for navigating this Quebec gem.
1. The Ski Valet gets top billing in this list because unless you’re without kids or staying in the upper village, it can be a real pain carting all your gear to and fro every day. For $5 per person, the Ski Valet will keep your board or skis and poles overnight — just 50 paces from the gondola. (Hint: guests at the Fairmont Tremblant can use the hotel’s free onsite ski valet!)
2. Buy your lift tickets before you arrive for the best savings — tremblant.ca sometimes has bundle deals, but you should also check out Costco and Liftopia.
3. Enjoy a free group mountain tour any day of the week with an Info Ski Guide; head to the Grand Manitou Lodge at the summit (turn right when you get off the gondola) and inquire at Guest Services. Just bring some cash to tip your guide.
4. Stay at a hotel in the village to get extra perks like First Tracks, snow-tubing passes and free ice skate rentals. Great picks aside from the Fairmont include Tremblant’s Holiday Inn Express & Suites and Le Westin Resort & Spa.
5. Accommodations with even the smallest kitchens can save you loads of money! Prepare a few meals of your own instead of eating out for breakfast, lunch and dinner throughout your stay.
6. If it snows overnight, and you don’t have the lodging privileges noted above in No. 4, pay the $29 extra for First Tracks access, which gets you on the gondola 45 minutes before everyone else so you can dig into that fresh pow.
7. Have little kids? Go in search of the TAM-TAM trail. Just off the ever-popular 6km Nansen run (follow Nansen Bas) on the south side of the mountain, TAM-TAM features different games and obstacles as it winds through a narrow stretch of glades. Animal sculptures are complemented by various tips for kids and the trail also has a treehouse — complete with footbridges and a slide — for families who want a bit of a mid-mountain break.
8. Unless your kids ski at the same level you do, take advantage of the onsite daycare or kids’ Ski School for at least one day so you can get out and explore at your own pace.
9. Have a Baileys coffee and a hot bowl of homemade chili at Le Refuge du Trappeur. Midway up Versant Soleil and accessible only on boards or skis (take either the black diamond Tiguidou or blue Toboggan run and watch for the very small “Refuge” signage), this little log cabin also has a wood-burning stove where you can dry off your mitts.
10. Order pulled pork poutine at Le Shack and tell them you miss the olden days when it was served in a cast-iron skillet in hopes we can convince them to make it that way again.
11. Do raclette the traditional French way at La Savoie, where half a wheel of melting cheese awaits! Make reservations well ahead of time because this hot spot is only open for dinner and doesn’t have a lot of seating.
12. Speaking of après ski, dance the night away at Le P’tit Caribou (for a younger crowd) or Bar Café D’Époque (typically an older crowd). Maybe don’t plan on hitting First Tracks the next morning, though.
13. If you’ve been to Tremblant before and remember Aqua Club La Source, it’s set to re-open this season as brind’O Aquaclub with a completely revamped space featuring new waterpark features, a fitness centre and an adults-only outdoor hot tub.
14. Watch Tremblant’s website and social channels for info about where Le Nomade, the resort’s brand new on-mountain mobile canteen, will be each day.
15. Get out of the resort to feed the birds in Domaine Saint-Bernard, where chickadees will eat right out of your hands (there’s free bird food in the welcome centre).
16. Finally, remember to brush up on some basic French; a “bonjour” here and “merci beaucoup” there goes a long way with the locals.
Other things to do in Mont-Tremblant are easy to figure out on the fly, but for even more direction, check out this Tremblant winter activity guide and Tremblant restaurant guide for every restaurant in the village.
All photos unless otherwise indicated are courtesy of Andrea Traynor.