A view of Canada’s Mont Tremblant Ski Resort. SUBMITTED PHOTO

A view of Canada’s Mont Tremblant Ski Resort. SUBMITTED PHOTO

If you are seeking a romantic ski getaway or a memorable family vacation of three days or more and are feeling flush, an escape over the border to Canada’s Mont Tremblant Ski Resort is well worth considering.  

Ninety minutes northwest of Montreal, in the mountains of Quebec, the Village of Mont Tremblant looks as if it sprang from the sketchbook of Walter Elias Disney. Colorful and curiously quaint, the architecture and cobbled streets of the pedestrian neighborhood are more like a movie set than a real town. As you stroll through this resort fantasyland, shiny merchandise greets you from the windows of a conflagration of upscale shoppes all tempting you to open your checkbook and let the cash fly.  

The complete absence of cars, busses, and vehicular traffic greatly contributes to the charm of the resort. Cars are either hidden underground or relegated to off-campus lots.  

The entire village is nestled beneath a grand mountain vista that stretches across the horizon. Hopefully it will be knee deep in soft fluffy white during the time of your visit. The Mountain is gracefully large with close to 100 trails at every level of expertise with the exception of the extreme. It is a gentle giant serviced by a comfortable gondola that glides up at a leisurely pace as it ferries skiers and snowboarders to the summit. Virtually all trails begin their descent from this high perch which makes friends and family easy to find and re-group with.  

Along with the glitter of the posh retail boutiques and the extensive hub of fanciful hotels, the village bustles with a bevy of bistros, restaurants, cafes, pubs, and a Starbucks. Food and drink is a well respected art form in all of Quebec. From the smallest of breakfast nooks to the elegance of five-star dining clubs, the French Canadian cooks and chefs take great pride in the quality of their cuisine but especially in the presentation of their plates. Their concoctions are a feast for the eye as well as a delight to the tummy.  

The nexus of connection between the lower part of the village and main lift is a cute little tram. While riding this tram we met Claude, a friendly veteran who has spent over 25 years skiing Tremblant and has a chalet near-by. We asked him about his favorite mountain eatery and he regaled us with the glory of “La Diable” a favorite of the locals where beer is king. Their speciality elixirs are brewed on-premise, solely and exclusively for the delight of their publicans. We spent a lot of time at “La Diable” where the patrons eat, drink, and dance in the aisles. 

As well as our nearby resorts, winter is even late in coming to Canada this year. On my recent visit only a smattering of ski trails was open for exploration and those trails were thoroughly blasted with snow guns. The weather bobbed around the freezing point and the upper mountain remained in a misting cloud of fog. However, the trails that were open were thoroughly smothered with a deluge of snow from the arsenal of snow guns blowing at full tilt.  

My favorite Tremblant hotel, by far, is the glorious Fairmont. It is my usual predilection to encourage frugality in an effort to make skiing more affordable. I promote early season season pass purchases and visiting ski swaps. However, in this instance, it pays to go first class.  

The Fairmont is right at the base of the mountain, the only ski-in, ski-out property at Tremblant. It is rife with amenities: an indoor and outdoor pool, two outdoor hot tubs and one indoor hot tub, a 24 hour fitness center, sauna and steam rooms, a game room with air hockey, Xbox and Wii.  

Drive right up to the Fairmont entrance and the valet will take your car and that’s the last you will see it until you leave. The hotel has it’s own rental shop, internal cafes and restaurants, and a terrific breakfast buffet. 

In order to make the Fairmont more affordable, book a Deluxe Room (two queen beds and a pull out sofa) with family or close friends and split the bill.   Book in advance and avoid booking during the Holidays and the first two weeks of March (Spring Break). Reserve your room in advance with a non-refundable prepay. Book midweek for three or four nights and your total room fee for up to six adults and kids is $202 (American) per night.   

Convenience, warm hospitality, ski-in and ski-out, and the host of amenities make the Fairmont a luxury plan to consider.

For your most economical hotel, you can book a room at the Comfort Inn just a ten minute drive from the mountain for $75 midweek plus tax, breakfast included.  

Drive time to Mont Tremblant is 6.5 hours.  I suggest an overnight in Montreal with dinner, a Jazz concert or a Montreal Canadiens Hockey game.  Have a breakfast in the city at ‘Eggspectaion” then drive the last 80 miles to the Mountain.  

An often heard remark: “If it is not snowing in Canada, it’s not snowing”

Greg Morell is an avid skier, snowboarder and cross country enthusiast. He can be reached at [email protected] The Snow Business Column seeks to encourage outdoor winter recreation.

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