Story by Merle Rosenstein
MONT TREMBLANT, QUEBEC — Ranked as the No. 1 ski resort in Eastern North America by Ski Magazine, Mont Tremblant takes winter to the next level.
With gourmet fare, unsurpassed accommodations, sensational downhill skiing, top cross-country trails, action-packed ice climbing and superior dog sledding, this is one place you simply have to visit.
A quick flight on Porter Airlines from Toronto Island Airport had us at the resort in less than 2 1/2 hours. After a sumptuous dinner at L’Avalanche Bistro Lounge, a funky eatery in the heart of the pedestrian village, I was well fortified for any calorie-consuming activity. An amazing assortment of tapas included chicken wrapped with bacon and maple syrup, rack of lamb with mustard sauce and white wine, and risotto with mushrooms and truffle oil. For dessert, there were two kinds of crème brûlée.
At 8 am the next morning, I witnessed icicles clinging to trees in lovely lace patterns, and pointy pines straining under the weight of freshly fallen snow. The wind tickled my ears as I glided down challenging trails on slick skis. After lunch, I was handed ferocious-looking crampons to affix to my ski boots.
“Don’t walk like a duck,” warned Martin, the ice climbing instructor. He explained that one of us would tear our snow pants by angling the crampons inward. I had a sinking feeling that eventually it would likely be me. I followed Martin and six other students to a frozen waterfall where we donned bright blue helmets and tight-fitting harnesses. I was amazed at my ability to kick the crampons into the ice and haul myself up.
It took a tremendous amount of energy and muscle power to keep going, especially after a morning of skiing. But it was extremely gratifying. I climbed the hill three times — not bad for a 49-year-old. After the lesson, all six students and Martin, helmets, crampons and ice picks in hand, strutted like superheroes back to the rental shop while curious onlookers stared at the scene. After a full day of outdoor adventure, I retired to my room at Le Westin Resort & Spa Tremblant. My spacious suite, overlooking the hill, came with a comfortable king bed bedecked with fluffy pillows and a cozy comforter. Little extras like the outdoor saltwater pool, exercise room, fireplace and kitchenette made the stay even more memorable.
Dinner at Aux Truffles was a gastronomic delight. Awarded 4 diamonds by CAA/AAA for the 11th year, 5 stars by Guide Resto Voir and highly recommended by Where to Eat in Canada, Aux Truffles offers local cuisine with world-class flavour. My meal began with a Caesar salad deconstructed followed by rack of lamb with spaetzle and chanterelle mushrooms.
For dessert there was crème brûlée, poached pear and chocolate cake. Chef Martin Faucher uses a variety of 21 different vegetables and grains such as quinoa to create quality comfort food. After spending a second morning on the slopes, my weekend at Mont Tremblant was complete.
With fabulous food, excellent accommodation, good company and challenging outdoor adventure, the resort lives up to the accolades it has earned.