What comes to mind when you think about Quebec?
Great fashion. Check.
A winter wonderland. Check.
With some of Canada’s most fresh snowfall recorded every year, Quebec is a winter enthusiast’s paradise. And one of the must-visit places on your Quebec travel radar should be Mont-Tremblant.
One hundred and thirty kilometres northwest of Montreal, among the Laurentian Mountains, Tremblant is home to one of the best ski and snowboard hills east of Whistler, a bustling pedestrian village with fabulous shopping and mouth-watering restaurants. It also has one of the cutest airports you ever did see, with flights coming and going on both Porter Airlines and Air Canada—not to mention a host of private planes.
Whether you visit for a week or just a weekend, here are 15 things you’ll love about Tremblant:
From a basic single room with a couple of double beds to luxurious multi-room ski-in and -out residences, Tremblant has it all. Located in the heart of the lower village is the Holiday Inn Express, which offers clean and cost-effective lodging that includes breakfast each morning of your stay. It’s close to shops and restaurants and is only a few feet from the cabriolet “people-mover” that takes you swiftly up to the main pedestrian village.
Midway between the upper and lower village, you’ll find Le Westin Resort & Spa, which has a wonderful buffet breakfast and room categories to suit families of every size. You’ll pay a bit more to stay here, but it’s worth every penny for the additional comfort, modern décor and top-notch amenities.
Finally, sitting in prime real estate just steps from the activity centre, bunny hills, night tubing and gondola, there’s the Fairmont Tremblant. This five-star mountain château has all of the bells and whistles a family could ever need, including ski-in/out privileges, its own ski valet, heated outdoor pools and baths, and two of the village’s best restaurants.
TRAVEL TIPS: There are also official Tremblant resort accommodations outside of the village, accessible by free daily shuttles. Don’t forget that winter has its own low and high season, too, so save money when you choose low season. Watch for flash sale promotions, when visitors have reported room rates as low as $99 per night. (Specifics on tremblant.ca.)
There’s so much to do and explore that you could spend a fun-filled weekend at Tremblant and never set foot on the slopes. Go snowshoeing and eat fondue in the mountains. Spend an afternoon lounging with the kids at Aquaclub LaSource. Rent a fat bike and ride through the many trails. Take an adrenaline-boosting drive on a dune buggy if your kids are five or older. Take a walk through the village. If you find yourself bored at Tremblant, you’re simply not doing it right.
If there’s one must-try restaurant in the entire Tremblant village, it’s La Savoie, which features savoury raclette that will change the way you’ve been eating cheese. Imported from La Savoie in France, half a wheel of cheese arrives at your table with its very own heater that melts it onto fresh baguette, boiled potatoes and a selection of cured meats. If the experience of scraping freshly melted cheese isn’t enough, end your meal with the exceptional chocolate fondue. Just be sure to make a reservation well in advance, as the restaurant is quite small and only open for dinner.
Best-in-class ski and snowboard instructors await at Mont-Tremblant. In just one weekend that included five hours of instruction, my family went from never-ever newbies to skiers who could make it down a green hill with very few falls, bumps and bruises. The instructors are fantastic with kids, nurturing those who have both fearless and cautious personalities. They teach pole-free independence for the littles and inspire confidence and intricate technique in the grownups. Lessons for mountain veterans are also readily available.
That’s right—for as little as $99 per day, your three to 12 year olds can enjoy a full-day group ski or snowboard lesson that also includes a healthy lunch. This means you get about six hours to explore the village, enjoy a kid-free meal or get on the mountain yourself. Heck, with the kiddos occupied for the whole day, you can do all three! And for those with even younger kids, there’s an onsite daycare, too.
Free for kids 12 and under and provided for every child in Snow School, this personal tracker can pinpoint your child’s precise location on the mountain at any time. It also tracks daily stats on the Net, such as total distance travelled, vertical elevation reached and maximum cruise speed.
The best part of skiing or boarding at Tremblant is that no matter your skill level, there’s a run that will be enjoyable (or an enjoyable challenge) for every member of the family. Spread across four mountain faces, there are 96 trails broken up into 21 per cent beginner, 32 per cent intermediate and 47 per cent advanced and expert options. Take the six-kilometre Nansen Trail, for example—just one of 22 green runs—which starts at the top of the 2,871-foot summit and carefully winds its way down around the south side of Mont-Tremblant. The best part? It takes at least half an hour to make your way down the Nansen, meaning lots of time for practising new skills and having a few laughs before you need to worry about catching a chair lift back to the top. And that’s something you just can’t do at a smaller ski hill.
Kids as young as five can join mom or dad on a snowmobile tour through just some of the 30,000 kilometres’ worth of trails that Quebec boasts. These hour-and-a-half guided tours take you through wooded terrain that’ll leave you breathless—because of both the landscape and the thrill of the ride.
Snuggle up under warm blankets and sip some hot chocolate as a bilingual guide takes you on a journey through the Laurentians in a horse-drawn carriage. There will be folk songs and group participation with an instrument or two while everyone enjoys hearing about the legend of how Mont-Tremblant got its name.
Grab your lift ticket at Centre Aventure and head up the gondola to the Grand Manitou where you can book an “info ski guide” at the customer service desk. For no cost, except an optional tip, a Tremblant ski expert will help you navigate the best runs for your skill level. Unless your kids are at the same level, we recommend setting them up in day care, Snow School or private lessons to give you time to experience the mountain this way. You’ll ski through tree-lined pathways and shortcuts, cover more of the mountain than you ever could on your own if you’re new to Tremblant and be challenged to push your ski game a little farther. And did we mention it’s free?
TRAVEL TIP: For a special treat, request that your ski guide escort you to the Refuge—a little log cabin with fantastic coffee—which you’d be hard-pressed to find on your own.
Every night during the winter season from 6 to 9 p.m., the bunny hill beside the Fairmont hotel is designated sliding space. One side of the hill is devoted to Zipfy sleds while the other side features two tubing runs (down which up to six people can slide together!). Brightly lit and music playing, it’s a party for the whole family. And it’s free if you’re staying at a Tremblant property.
Picture dogsledding. (OK, got it?) Now replace the dogs with a single miniature horse. Introducing a world first on the outskirts of Mont-Tremblant: horse-sledding. Using modified dog sleds, those looking for some seriously fast-paced adventure need not look further than this activity, which will take you through wooded trails behind a mini-horse with a whole lot of pep! Kids from six to 10 ride with the guides, while parents and older kids who are thrill-seekers can manage a sled of their own. Note that this is not for the faint of heart!
There’s a lovely ice-skating area on a frozen pond near the St. Bernard Chapel, which is open to anyone from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. And when you stay at one of the many Tremblant resort hotels or condos, from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. you have access to free skate loans if you don’t bring your own. Evening skates are complemented by music and lighting, creating a rich experience that your family will treasure for years to come.
TRAVEL TIP: There are only two plastic chairs available for those new to skating who need some extra support. Consider bringing a harness or skate trainer if you think your little one will feel more confident.
Since you’re in Quebec, the rest of Canada will be disappointed in you if you don’t make at least one attempt to consume poutine. The original home of this French fry-gravy-cheese curd concoction, Quebec’s interpretation of the dish is always a delicious one. We strongly recommend the pulled pork poutine at Resto-Bar Le Shack, served in a cast iron dish. And while you’re here, try the village’s best milkshakes, too. Looking for other restaurants your kids will enjoy? Pizzateria has the tastiest spaghetti au gratin, while Coco Pazzo and Nansen Lounge allow for more refined dining experience that also cater to kids. If your family likes Asian cuisine, Ô Wok should not be missed.
TRAVEL TIP: Windigo offers breakfast and dinner buffets that are free for kids under five and half-price for those six to 11.
Taking in the beauty and tranquility of Mont-Tremblant has never been easier thanks to the panoramic gondola ride that goes to the highest peak in the Laurentians and overlooks Lac Tremblant. No need to be a skier to enjoy this activity! Simply use your lodging privileges when you stay in Tremblant accommodations for a free ride up (and down) the mountain. Don’t forget your camera for this one.
TRAVEL TIP: Head to the gondola in the early morning for the shortest lines, and if you’re solo, take the line on the far right for singles (bypassing the bigger lineup on the left) and jump in with a bigger group that has a spare seat or two.
If you’re thinking about heading to Tremblant for March Break, you can find more information about last-minute deals and free activities here.