By Ann Schissler – I’ve just returned from the best ski trip I’ve had in a while. The annual meeting for the Eastern region of the North American Snow-sports Journalists Association was hosted by Mont Tremblant, Quebec, Canada. And what amazing hosts they were. Everything about Tremblant is first class. Simply put, this mountain is big with a 2,871″ elevation, 2,116″ vertical drop and 665 acres of skiable terrain. The trails are exceptional. There’s fun to be found on the long, steep, groomed cruisers that are my favorites and on an easy green dot trail called Nansen that’s 3.75 miles long. It brought me to the bottom on several occasions when my leg strength was tapped to the limit. Plenty of lifts and no lines on weekdays make for a lot of skiing.
When you’ve finished skiing for the day, Tremblant shines again by offering an overnight ski valet service. It’s so convenient to leave your equipment safely locked up at the base and not have to schlep your gear around with you when you want to return to your hotel or stay in the village to shop or eat.
The shopping is also outstanding. The village is filled with boutiques that make for an intimate shopping experience. All of the shops have a distinctly European style. The proprietors are courteous and helpful without being intrusive or pushy. One shop I frequented, Les Cuirs Tour Eiffel (left) had a fantastic selection of handbags, (I purchased two) and another, LOLE, a stunning selection of workout and yoga attire. The village rivals my experiences in places like Vail in every aspect but with less attitude and more hospitality enhanced by a distinct French Canadian flair. In addition to the boutiques, there are great ski shops, demo centers, a cheese shop, candy store, general store and much more. Please visit tremblant.ca and you can actually take a tour of the village shops and restaurants. This would be a very handy way to actually plan your vacation.
Now that we’ve skied and shopped we’re hungry and need to find a good place to eat. Once again Mont Tremblant over delivers. Restaurants are plentiful and varied. Our first night we were treated to a cocktail party at Quartier Tremblant followed by dinner at Gypsy [email protected]. The itinerary mentioned that we would be sharing tapas, but none of us expected the amount, quality and variety of the delicious food that was presented, not to mention the sparkling wine that flowed throughout the dinner. Let’s just sum it up by saying a great time was enjoyed by all.
We also experienced a great lunch the next day at La Diable Microbrewery. My homemade vegetable soup followed by a bacon cheeseburger was yum! When ordering, keep in mind the Canadians will not serve your burger cooked rare or medium rare. Be sure to try a microbrew with your meal. We sampled a Blizzard, a non-filtered Belgium style wheat beer that was absolutely delicious.
The last night of our stay we dined at the Fairmont’s Windigo restaurant. Very chic. The four course dinner was a culinary extravaganza. The dining room is beautifully decorated and as appealing as the food. Eric Beaupre acts as the Executive Chef and the night we dined he came out to meet our group. He was met with applause and accolades from everyone. This was truly a fine dining experience to remember.
We wrapped up the trip by meeting for lunch at Le Shack. It’s a sports bar with lots of giant screens and family friendly food. This restaurant is uniquely designed to give you the feel of outdoor dining when you are actually inside a very large room. The ceiling is painted like the sky, complete with birds. There are trees “growing” inside and plenty of floor to ceiling windows overlooking the base of the mountain offering a front row seat to all the action on the Place Saint-Bernard. We ate some delicious pub style fare and then said goodbye to our friends and colleagues. Until next time.
So we’ve covered skiing, shopping and dining. For those who want more, feel free to try your luck at the casino, take a sleigh ride, enjoy a spa day, snow shoe, ice climb, or take a dog sled tour. There’s something for everyone to enjoy here and with the favorable exchange rate, you can do it all for about 30% less. Oh Canada!