As I mentioned last week, I recently took a trip to Canada to spend some time in Montreal and Mont Tremblant. The trip originated with our desire to go skiing somewhere that might have better, more reliable snow than we’ve had in recent years in New England. So we settled on Mont Tremblant, packed our bags and headed north.
Mont Tremblant is a ski mountain/resort about an hour-and-a-half north of Montreal (making it about six to seven hours from Somerville). The drive from the city is easy and we were up there in no time. On the way to the ski mountain, which is basically just for tourists, you’ll drive through the actual village of Mont Tremblant where people live and work.
Where to Stay
If your main goal is to ski or snowboard, you should definitely book lodging at the Mont Tremblant Resort. There are lots of options, from renting a house or condo to staying in a fancy hotel. We chose to stay in the Homewood Suites by Hilton right at the base of the mountain. Our room came equipped with a full kitchen, fireplace and sitting area, which was key to a successful trip. The hotel also has an outdoor hot tub and a storage area where you can lock your skis and snowboards. We found a great deal on Hotels.com and were very pleased with the hotel’s facilities.
Where to Eat
We found this to be the trickiest part of our trip to Mont Tremblant. From what we could see online, there appeared to be a nice little village surrounding our hotel at the base of the mountain. And this turned out to be true, except that the restaurants were all mediocre to sub-par and extremely pricey. We’re definitely spoiled by living in Somerville, but all of the places we ate were really disappointing and we were very happy to have access to a full kitchen.
After a couple of disappointing dinners, we completely gave up eating at Mont Tremblant, so I honestly cannot recommend any restaurants for a full meal. The one place I can point you to on the mountain is the Brulerie St. Denis. We enjoyed some really lovely coffees and afternoon snacks sitting in the window seats at the cafe watching the snow fall and people walk by. We also purchased excellent coffee there to brew in our room.
What to Do
Ski and Snowboard: We had one incredible day on the mountain where we rode all day on beautiful snow with the sun shining on us. We didn’t want the day to end when the gondola closed at 3:30. After that, the weather was really dicey (picture 55 degrees and raining and then the temperature dropping about 30 degrees in three hours with high winds). As much as we loved the one great day we had, the rest of the week was kind of a wash.
Go to Mont Tremblant Village: We stocked up on groceries in the actual village of Mont Tremblant (better prices and selection) and enjoyed wandering around the main street. We found some cute shops to browse in and really liked getting a glimpse into the lives of the people who actually live there. While you’re in town, stop by Mille Pates to pick up fresh-made pasta, sauce and other goodies (it’s also a restaurant, so sit down for a meal if you don’t have access to a kitchen). We absolutely loved the dinner we made from the supplies we purchased here!
Go Ice Skating: The Mont Tremblant Resort boasts an adorable outdoor ice skating rink that’s the perfect way to warm up on a chilly winter night. We scored free skate rentals with our room, so we hit the rink for about an hour under the stars and cozied up to a nearby outdoor fire after. (Tubing was also included with our room, but we never made it out due to cancelations and frigid temperatures. We also tried to snowshoe, but the trails were closed due to inclement weather.)
Visit the Roots Store: Sort of like a more outdoorsy version of J. Crew, the Roots store at the Mont Tremblant Resort was a sight to see. We found some really neat postcards and patches as well as fun T-shirts and other clothing to browse.
- Check the weather. We booked our trip pretty far in advance, but if you can hold off and go when the weather looks promising, I’d recommend it.
- Go mid-week. We were at Mont Tremblant during the week and heard from nearly everyone we met how crowded it is on the weekends.
- Buy tickets on Liftopia. We purchased three-day lift tickets for about the price of a two-day lift ticket by locking in a deal on Liftopia.
- Stay somewhere with a kitchen. Trust me, after dining at many of Somerville’s restaurants, you’ll be disappointed by what food you find on the mountain.
- Bring entertainment. There is a small movie theater on the mountain that shows films in both French and English, but we had already seen both of the movies. Anyone who’s ever been on a ski vacation knows that you tend to have a lot of downtime once the mountain closes. Bring games, cards and books for the off-hours.
- Exercise with care. I usually try to stay in hotels with fitness facilities, but since I knew we’d be skiing a lot, I chose Homewood anyway. And while we really enjoyed our stay there, the hotel doesn’t have a gym and so I had to use another one on the mountain that cost a pretty penny when I wanted to run (because we couldn’t ski while it was raining). The sidewalks and roads were really slippery there, so running outside wasn’t really an option when we went.
Have you been to Mont Tremblant? What did you think? I honestly can’t say if I can recommend going after having been. While some parts of the trip were terrific, others were disappointing, which is why I wanted to write honestly about it. We were surprised by a lot of what we found and wish we had read some more truthful (or less sugar-coated) reviews of the area before booking a trip there.