Story by Rod Charles
Vacay.ca Deputy Editor
MONT-TREMBLANT, QUEBEC — Mont-Tremblant has just wrapped up its 75th ski season, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t great things happening on the mountain this summer.
This year, I was able to celebrate my first time on skis in almost 20 years. And while I’m certainly a long way from joining hometown hero and Olympian Erik Guay on the professional hills, I was proud I had made it down the slope in one piece.
“It’s really a gem of Quebec, I would even say eastern North America, because of the variety of the terrain, the village at the bottom which makes it very, very special,” said Annick Marseille, one of two guides who accompanied me down the hill. The other was Andre LaChapelle, who seemed to know every inch of the mountain. “It’s a one-stop shop. You can come here for the whole week and enjoy lots of perks and privileges when you’re lodging on site. For skiing, the mountain has whatever you want, depending on the type of skier you are and the type of terrain you’re looking for. And, of course, the beautiful panoromic view when you’re on top of the mountain is very special, especially on a sunny day like this.”
LaChapelle added that Tremblant for Quebec has a long history, it’s been a playground of wealthy people in the beginning, but it became more of a family resort for some areas.
“There are a lot of skiers and a lot of international champions that were raised here on this mountain. We have great ski schools and training schools and training teams,” says LaChapelle. “This year actually, we just changed the name of two trails — ones called the Giant, that became Jasey-Jay Anderson, who I saw this morning shaping his board at the shop, and there’s Eric Guay, who is a famous skier and we’ve changed one Grand Prix trail name for his name. So it made me proud of this mountain.”
Founded in 1938 by American explorer Joe Ryan — who originally came to the region looking for gold — he soon discovered that all the gold he would ever need was on the hills. Accompanied by three friends, including an American journalist and ski expert Lowell Thomas, Ryan vowed to transform the area into a world-class alpine village. In February 1939, Ryan opened the Mont-Tremblant Lodge. From there, the legend of this beautiful place has grown. It’s not hard to see why Ryan fell in love with the area, and it’s not hard to be in awe at how the dream has grown.
Vacationers flock here year round, thanks to direct flights from Toronto and New York. The resort has 1,900 lodging units, more than 75 restaurants, boutiques, and a casino. Skiing will always define Mont-Tremblant. But just because this 75th ski season is behind us doesn’t mean the celebrations are over. There are wonderful activities and attractions to enjoy throughout the summer.
Mont-Tremblant National Park
At 1,510 square kilometres, Mont-Tremblant National Park (located north of the town) is one of the largest in Quebec. Activities include swimming, canoeing, fishing.
Hang out in the village
The architecture gives the village a distinct feel. Visitors have a choice of hotels in a range of prices, including Homewood Suites by Hilton, Mont-Tremblant Resort, Fairmont Tremblant Resort, and Amerispa Westin Resort & Spa Tremblant. For dining, try Coco Pazzo, La Diable Microbrewery, La Savoie for fondue and Le Shack.
Summer events that will help you chill
At Mont-Tremblant, there are several activities for outdoors enthusiasts who trade in their skis for hiking shoes and sneakers when the temperatures rise. Rock climbing and golfing are two popular draws for visitors to the resort. The area also has some breathtaking hikes, with 11 trails ranging in length from 1 to 11 kilometres.
Another activity to be enjoyed is the Luge, a fun-filled ride on a three-wheel-cart that uses a unique braking and steering system that gives the rider full control. ZipTrek, a new summer activity that opens on June 20, has five ziplines raging down the mountain.
Summer events that will get you into shape
If there is one word that sums up Mont-Tremblant, it’s fitness. Events that are taking place over spring and summer include activities that are not for the squeamish. TheIron Man competition is one to watch, including Subaru IRONMAN 70.3 Mont-Tremblant (June 22) featuring as many as 2,900 participants from 30 countries and Subaru IRONMAN North American Championship (August 17).
The last race to mention is a bike race. The Gran Fondo Mont-Tremblant (May 31) sees cyclists face a steep challenge. The circuits include 125 km, 80 km or 45km (only experienced cyclists will be allowed to take part in the 125-km race). Even if you aren’t a Clara Hughes, it’s still a cool thing just to be there to watch the cyclists cross the finish line.
Summer events that will help you groove
The Tremblant International Blues Festival (July 4-13) will celebrate 20 years this year. Ronnie Earl, James Cotton, Jimmie Vaughan, Jonas and many others will be at the festival this year. Need more music? Festi Jazz (August 6-7) will get the mountain shaking with several acts including Rachel Therrien Quartet, Gary Schwartz, and Le Trio Cardinal.
Two other events to keep your eyes out for are Tremblant Beneath the Stars (August 8-9), an event that allows visitors to relax under the dark sky and celebrate the stars. The second is the Wanderlust Festival (August 21-24), an event that blends yoga and meditation with the beauty of Mont-Tremblant.
Lastly, there’s Mont Tremblant Casino. Games include all the favourites — poker, roulette, blackjack and slot machines. The casino also features Altitude Seafood and Grill, offering an outstanding view and Sunday brunch ($23.90).
MORE ABOUT MONT-TREMBLANT
Website: The Laurentians Tourism Website
Telephone: 1-800-561-6673 (Canada & United States)
Mont-Tremblant International Airport: 1-819-275-9099
Porter Airlines: Direct flights from Toronto to Mont-Tremblant International Airport. Call Porter at 1-888-619-8622
Mont-Tremblant Dining: Click here
Mont-Tremblant Casino: Click here Phone: 819 429-4150 or 1 877 574-2177