Last Friday, my family hopped on a flight to Canada thanks to an invitation from Tremblant resort. To be honest, I had not heard of Mont Tremblant before, but as soon as the opportunity presented itself, my two Canadian co-workers were like, “YOU MUST GO! IT’S GORGEOUS!!!!”
Okay, you don’t have to twist my arm.
After a little research, I found out Mont Tremblant is known as the #1 ski resort on the East Coast, but for some reason, we’ve never considered traveling north of Vermont. I guess, we consider East Coast skiing to be resorts within driving distance and if we ever hop on a plane, it’s heading west.
Well, we were wrong to narrow our options, it seems, because Tremblant is indeed GORGEOUS and the snow was better than the snow we’ve gotten in Park City for the past two years. Granted, we usually go to Park City in March. The only drawback is that Canada in winter is FREEZING, but as they say in Tremblant— there is no such thing as too cold, only not the right clothes.
Here’s a rundown of our trip…
Day One: Getting Acquainted with the Village
The flight to Tremblant was actually pretty simple. We took a flight from Laguardia at 7am and then caught a connecting flight in Toronto that took us to Tremblant. This got us in at about 11am, which was plenty of time to enjoy the day.
At the Mont Tremblant international airport (which looks like a large log cabin), we were greeted with a van attached to a trailer for everyone to put their luggage.
It took us straight to the Westin Resort & Spa Tremblant where we were spending our first night. Our original plan was to book the Fairmont for the trip but since we couldn’t get the first night, we opted to switch in the middle. As soon as we saw our room though (a spacious two bedroom condo) we wondered if we should just stay.
After we got settled, we left to go for lunch. We didn’t get far though because two feet outside of our hotel, Mazzy and Harlow found an ice slide.
After convincing them that REALLY WE NEED TO EAT, we headed to O Wok, an Asian restaurant in town which serves Pad Thai and Fried Rice that is just as tasty as our favorite take-out in NYC.
The village looks like a storybook, with charming brightly colored buildings, snow dusted pedestrian-only streets and a big fire pit in the center of town. Seriously. Like a set in a movie. Or something in Europe. I was smitten.
Then the kids started begging to go in the hot tub so we hightailed it back to the hotel to have sufficient pool time before dinner. Both the outdoor hot tub and outdoor pool are heated so you can go in either. I have to say, there are few things more invigorating than lounging in a pool while your kids make snowballs with the snow piled on the ledge.
After we got showered and dressed, we headed out to dinner at La Savoie, a restaurant which serves traditional Savoyard food like cheese fondue and raclette. In fact, their version of chicken fingers has the kids making them from scratch themselves. We got the Raclette which was basically a huge wheel of cheese under a heat lamp that melted on anything you desired— potatoes, bread, your right arm, whatever.
We finished off dinner dipping marshmallows and strawberries in chocolate fondue. Mazzy and Harlow couldn’t say enough good things about that.
Day Two: Skiing, More Hot Tubbing and COLD HARD CANADIAN CASH
We started off our day with the breakfast buffet where Mazzy and Harlow both went nuts over the Fruit Loops, something we do not eat at home. Then we had to wrangle the kids into their ski clothes which was decidedly unpleasant for everyone involved.
Taking small kids skiing (before they know if they enjoy it) is definitely one of the toughest parenting tasks. And it’s voluntary so it’s totally on you. But, I will say, now that Mazzy is a pretty proficient skier and she LOVES it, all that hard work was totally worth it. Harlow will understand the struggle in time.
We skied over to the magic carpet area where Harlow had a scheduled lesson with one of their ski instructors. Mazzy would be coming with Mike and I for a family ski lesson up on the mountain. I can’t say Harlow was thrilled about this plan, but after one run down the bunny slope all together, we had a heart to heart. “Mazzy had to do the same thing. And so did I when I was little. That’s how you learn so you can ski with us one day.” Harlow nodded solemnly, like she was aware of her sacrifice even though she did not like it. We left with no tears.
Pierre, our ski instructor, told us he would be half instructor and half mountain guide. We told him what we liked to ski, explained our varying abilities and he took us on all the slopes that seemed appropriate, giving tips along the way to each of us. He was really impressed with Mazzy who loves to ski on all the little trails through the woods that often border the slopes. Sometimes they make me nervous, but Pierre said they are actually the best way for kids to learn turns and control.
At lunchtime, we went to La Forge Bistro Bar & Grill which is a restaurant serving authentic Quebec cuisine located right at the bottom of the mountain. Our table was upstairs and overlooked the slopes. Everyone says when in Quebec, you must try poutine, which is exactly what we did. It’s french fries with cheese curds and gravy, so not much that can go wrong with that.
After lunch, we walked around town a bit and then headed to the Fairmont which is where we were staying for the next two nights. It’s a beautiful hotel located right on the side of the mountain so it is ski in, ski out. When we entered our room (a suite with an adjoining room for the kids), we were surprised by a bunch of over-the-top amenities. There was a huge platter of sweets including macarons, pastries, and gummies, a bottle of wine and a cheese plate for the adults.
Mazzy and Harlow were super excited to find a note addressed just to them from the “Fairmont Princess Squad.” They were even more excited when they discovered two super soft kid-sized robes on their beds with their names monogrammed on the lapel.
Obviously, the Fairmont went out of their way to make our trip extra special, but I asked and you can arrange pretty much anything for an extra fee if you call the hotel ahead of time. In general, the service at the Fairmont was truly top notch.
We put those robes to good use by changing into bathing suits and heading down to the hot tub and pool area, where they had an outdoor heated tent just to hang your robes and put your slippers so they didn’t get icy while you were lounging in the hot tub.
We spent a good few hours swimming and relaxing in the pool. I had a glass of wine, the kids drank hot chocolate and really— this is what Apres Ski is all about. Harlow also took her first few unassisted swim strokes in the pool, but that’s a story for another day.
After we got back to the room, we ordered room service for the kids and got ready to go out. Did I mention we had booked a sitter through the concierge? She showed up with a bag full of toys and lots of ideas. The kids didn’t even look our way when we said bye and left the room.
We went to a restaurant called Altitude which was a short drive away on the second floor of Casino de Mont Tremblant. The food was excellent but the standout was definitely dessert. We had something called Pouding Chômeur which is translated to “Poor Man’s Pudding” and it was INSANE. Basically cake baked in maple syrup with vanilla ice cream placed on top, so it seeps into every nook and cranny. OH MY GOD. It was delicious. Mike and I both finished our own without sharing.
After dinner, we exchanged some money for chips and sat down at the blackjack tables. I haven’t won money at a casino since the very first time I played blackjack in the Bahamas when I was in high school, so I was not optimistic. I looked at my $100 worth of chips as the cost of admission. Well, Tremblant proved me wrong once again, because I turned that $100 into $550! Mike won too and we quit the second we started losing, which is of course, the key to walking away a winner.
Day Three: Skiing, Dog Sledding and Night Tubing
On the third day, we went to the breakfast buffet at the upstairs Club Lounge, which is a smaller more intimate breakfast experience with just as many chocolate croissants to choose from.
Then we geared up and skied directly from the hotel over to the magic carpet to drop Harlow off for her lesson. Here she is learning how to make a pizza.
Not easy when your skis weigh more than your legs.
Pierre took Mike, Mazzy and me up the mountain again. This time, he took us through a wooded area that Mazzy loved which was filled with wooden carvings of forest animals.
He also challenged Mazzy by taking her on a mogul trail (per her request) that I don’t think we would have considered, if we were with her on our own. The trail had soft bumps and wasn’t that steep so it was really perfect for learning. I’d never thought to use a a ski instructor as a guide before but I think in the future, when I am exploring a new mountain, I will look into it. We got a lot more skiing in (you can cut all the lines when you are paying for a lesson) and he took us on exactly the right trails for us as a family, many of which we never would have known about on our own. Just something to keep in mind when planning a ski trip!
For lunch, we got from the front desk at our hotel lunch boxes, which were a courtesy of Le Grain de Cafe coffee shop, so we could eat quickly in the room while we changed for dog sledding. Yes, dog sledding. Talk about a once in a lifetime experience! We took a shuttle to a family run location about 45 minutes away from the ski resort. Once there, we were taken into a yurt which had a wood burning fire and hot chocolate inside.
Also, Siberian husky puppies running around inside. Mazzy fell in love.
Harlow and I shared a sled with a professional driver at the helm. Mike and Mazzy went together in another sled. The dogs were barking like crazy when we walked over to our sled (they told us it was because they were very excited for the ride) and I was really impressed that Harlow didn’t seem scared at all. She walked to the sled herself and just seemed to be taking it all in.
For all the barking pre-trip, the actual ride was very peaceful.
Harlow loved it, only getting nervous a couple of times on the downhill parts. Mid-way through the sled ride, the guide let me get out and drive with him, which was really fun and probably one of the most unique experiences I’ll have in my lifetime. That’s me all the way in the back.
This was Harlow after the ride was over.
After the ride, Mike took Harlow back to the yurt, while Mazzy stayed outside to pet the dogs and thank them for the trip.
When we got back home, it was already dark out and Mazzy asked if we could go tubing. We had seen the night time tubing from our hotel window the night before. We were all tired since we were leaving the next morning and we were already dressed for it, we headed over, grabbed some tubes and went up the magic carpet to the top.
Harlow cried her first ride down but then two minutes later, after she had a chance to think about it, announced, “Actually I liked it! Let’s do it again!” Mazzy could have gone down the hill over and over all night. We went about ten times and then Mike and I practically had to drag them to dinner.
We ate at Coco Pazzo, an organic Italian place in town that was delicious. I got a pasta with duck ragu that was out of this world. Then we headed back to the room so Mike could watch the Super Bowl. He fell asleep right before the Patriots started winning. I would have woken him up but I wasn’t paying attention. Too busy looking at all my amazing pics from the trip.
Day Four: Saying Goodbye
We woke up early in the morning, got dressed, and had a leisurely breakfast. We spent our last hour in the village trying to track down a Beaver Tail— a flatbread pastry that’s fried and covered in sugar and assorted toppings. Unfortunately, it was too early and the place was closed. I kicked myself for not trying to eat one sooner. Many people also highly recommended that we try maple sugar taffy on snow but we didn’t have time for that either. Oh well. They always say to leave a few things so that you have a reason to come back. We will definitely be back.
I’m happy to have an East Coast skiing option that is just as exciting as going out West.