For students everywhere, March Break is the much anticipated vacation time after grueling mid-terms. For those who wish to brave the cold and are looking for a fabulous winter tourist destination not too far from home, Mont Tremblant is the perfect destination to experience winter at its best with a bevy of exciting activities in and around their alpine village to keep everyone busy, active and happy!
With 96 possible trails spread over the North and South slopes, Mont-Tremblant has gained international recognition for its colorful ski resort village, the Mont-Tremblant Ski Resort, tucked away in the Laurentian mountains of Quebec. Situated approximately 130 kilometers North-West of Montreal, the village is just an easy two hour drive along the 15 North by shuttle bus or car from the city center.
There are a wide variety of excellent accommodations around the village. During my stay I observed that several avid skiers chose to stay in the heart of the pedestrian village in one of the mountain resort hotels and vacation homes that offer special activity privileges and convenient ski in/out access to their guests.
One such hotel is the newly renovated Westin Resort & Spa tucked comfortably between the mountain and the village that has recently benefited from a multimillion dollar transformation to its lobby, spa, Mediterranean restaurant and 122 rooms.
With an Eco-friendly philosophy that includes a fresh green wall and an innovative soap recycling program. The hotel really conveys an overall feeling of wellness to all its guests.
I loved how all the staff, from bell-hop to valet, were courteous and knowledgeable about the village and its surroundings. The hotel was pet and kid friendly and as an added bonus, offered the only outdoor heated salt water pool around the village – quite magical when you take a moment to relax with fresh snow all around! My spacious suite room was equipped with comfy beds and a useful kitchenette. I was thrilled to have a balcony opening onto an excellent view of the mountain and colorful pedestrian village below.
From the moment you settle into your room and gaze out at the skiers speeding down the mountain, you can’t help but long to be up there as well. The Westin offers guests a special packet of free activities that include ice skating, tubing and access to First Tracks which allows you to take the gondola as of 7:45 am and be among the first skiers to hit the slopes!
Skiing is an activity that has no age limit and is a perfect opportunity to spend quality time with friends and family. Nobody to bring along? Here’s your chance to take a group ski lesson: not only will you perfect your technique, but you will also get to make several new acquaintances. Need equipment? The resort offers a couple rental centers and there are always several specialty boutiques offering various sporting equipment.
Enthusiasm, Knowledge and Experience are key traits for good ski instructors, but I also find that it is important that they also be a good communicators, focus on the student and not just the lesson and sequence instructions to help build skills step by step.
Mont Tremblant Snow School has several passionate and experienced ski instructors on site who cater to both groups and individuals and who give valuable individual feedback as essential parts of their lessons. Booking a private instructor for a couple hours may be just the right activity to refine your technique, learn a trick or two or to simply discover the hidden meanings behind the names given to some of the trails ( Sissy Schuss and Fuddle Duddle anyone ?)
With my personal ski instructor Ellen Guay
Regardless of the level you’re at, it’s always a good idea to get in shape in order to make the most of the ski season, boost your endurance, perfect your technique, and lower your risk of injury. The resort also boasts a variety of lifts and runs that range from beginner to more challenging expert double diamond on both sides of the mountain so that everyone can enjoy their day at their own pace.
After a long day of having an adrenaline rush on the slopes, evening is the perfect time to treat yourself to a relaxing spa or a fine hearty meal.
Dining is truly and art and I am happy to say that there is a wide variety of restaurants around the village to satisfy any taste, budget and dietary requirement during your vacation. From local Quebec cuisine to Sushi, Crepes, Pizza or Mexican restaurants, you’re sure to find a Mont Tremblant restaurant to suit your appetite. Two restaurants that really stood out by offering unique gastronomic experiences are The Forge Bistro Bar and La Savoie:
La Forge Bistro-bar and grill, situated right at the foot of the slope at Place Saint Bernard, is a favorite spot for both skiers and boarders who converge in this convivial bar to enjoy a drink, swap stories and listen to live music. The second floor Grill is a gourmet restaurant decorated with wood, leather and wrought iron that offers a stunning view of the slope and village, a cosy atmosphere and excellent seasonal cuisine. Boasting an impressive open grill, the wharfing scents of fresh, sizzling meat over maple wood coals will definitely entice your senses and open your appetite.
La Forge has won repeated honors, for excellence in staffing and particularly for the bounty of their impressive wine list. I highly recommend using the services of one of their professional sommeliers who will be happy to pair every service with an accompanying wine, cognacs, scotches or eaux-de-vie.
I fell in love with my beer onion soup that had a crisp gratin top and that my sommelier Francois paired with a red Valpolicella Italian wine; light bodied and not overly fruity.
Filet Mignon with Foie Gras…
For my main meal I chose the Forge Specialty: a succulent Filet Mignon seared with Foie gras, mushrooms and red wine sauce that was cooked medium-rare to perfection.
Make sure to keep some room for dessert: a refreshing selection of assorted cakes, brownies and fruit sorbets brought our meal to a delectable close.
Lemon , Mango and Raspberry sorbet
Exterior of La Savoie – centrally located in the Tremblant resort village.
A Savoie cheese derives its name from the word racler (to scrape) which describes the way French mountaineer people melt and then cut their cheese.
For a truly authentic Alps cuisine and different dining experience, a visit to La Savoie is a must! From the moment you enter the restaurant the strong scent of melting cheese will strike you. I was impressed by the friendliness and authenticity of the waiting staff, the homely Alps like ambiance and the irreproachable quality and quantity of the food served.
The different Fondues, Raclettes and Pierrades on offer come with a generous portion of side dishes including prosciutto, salad, bread, pickles and potatoes.
Raclette : Melting cheese and scraping it is all part of the fun !
The wine and alcohol list is short, but there is enough variety, including Savoie wines and local ciders to complement your meal. As the Raclette is served as a “eat-as-much-as-you-can” option. I recommend pacing your bites and not overeating the bread and salad that precedes the main meal.
La Savoie is a unique dining experience and should not be missed by anyone who wants to discover a little bit of authentic Alps Cuisine!
Come relax your tired mind and body at this wonderful serene outdoor spa that offers relaxation rooms, massage packages and pristine clean hot & cold Scandinavian baths.
Situated only a short ten minute drive from the main Ski resort, the Spa Scandinave is the ultimate treat to give yourself at the end of the day.
A typical water circuit would be to alternate between hot and cold baths and then relax, wrapped in your plushy dress robe by the outdoor fireplace, in the Eucalyptus steam room , Finnish sauna or other various relaxation rooms. For the “cold” part, you can choose from brief dips in the cold baths, showers, or my personal favorite, the river!
For ultimate pampering and relaxation, several professional masseurs trained in the art of Swedish massage or other therapeutic treatments are available for booking.
I loved the layout of the spa , right in the heart of nature and along an accessible river. Tea is offered to all guests and the rustic feeling of the wooden buildings gives a sense of serenity and displacement from the rush of the outside world….
Up coming activities from Feb 28 – Mar 8
Activities and entertainment organized for spring break. Let the games begin! The Tremblant Snow School has a variety of cool programs for all ages and levels, for a safe and fun vacation on the slopes.
The biggest names in the ski and snowboard industry gather at the base of the South Side to let you try out the newest releases in snow toys and gear. Come and try out the new models of the 2015-2016 season!
For more info on the Mont Tremblant Ski Resort and up-coming March activities, please consult their website :