Last Wednesday, my friend Eric messages me on Facebook, "Dude, want to go to Tremblant, someone's hurt and selling their spot for cheap."
I checked with my boss that I could take the days off, worked out travel arrangements and everything, and within 24 hours, I had a spot on a 3 day trip to Tremblant, during a holiday weekend, for a substantial discount.
I boarded a bus at 3pm on Friday, and began the long journey North. Due to having two pickup spots, rush hour traffic, the driver making 1 miscalculation regarding where we could stop for food, and the border crossing, we didnt get to our hotel till 4am. Thankfully, I slept quite a bit on the bus.
We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express, across the way from the Cabriolet that takes you from the parking lots to the South Base of Tremblant.
Saturday morning, woke up to -24 degree (F) temperatures. Frostbite danger. Still, it didn't deter me and several others from catching the earliest Gondola ride to the summit we could. Staying on resort offered us First Tracks. I took my first run around 8:10, and it was COLD.
The day never warmed to higher than 0, and roughly every two runs, I ducked into the lodge to warm myself, and melt the ice that formed on my goggles. Overall, conditions were okay, very little ice, mostly hardpack and packed powder, windy and cold, and an empty mountain.
Sunday, we woke up to the promise of snow, though it never truly materialized. What we did get were temps that high 37, and tremendous crowds. I am talking 30 minute lift line wait crowds. We hit some glades off the top of the Expo chairlift, which were a lot of fun (Buzz), and finished them off by cutting back into Riptide.
Riding up the lift after hitting that twice, the gentleman next to me told me how to find The Edge, we 7 of us proceded to make our way to The Edge. What we found was a lift line-lless gladed heaven. Hahahahaha. We spent the next two hours alternating between the Reaction Glades, the Haute Tension Glades, and the Sensation Bas Glades. The cover was deep enough to ski/ride, but it was far from deep powder.
Eventually we went back to skiing on the normal piste, as The Edge closes at 2:30. Finished out our day by making a run to the Gondola, riding it back up, taking a run down the Soleil side of the mountain, and then taking a long winding route back to the main base.
Monday morning, the bus took the majority of the group back to New York, but fortunately, the spot I bought was in someone's car, and we had three day lift tickets. I say fortunately, because overnight, we got 3-5 inches of snow. First tracks! Real tracks. We immediately went to the North side, did a couple of laps, to be on the one of the first chairs up Expo. Hit the glades. We were probably the second or third group through them. We were timing ourselves, making sure that at 9:30, we were on the line for The Edge. When we hit the Reaction Glades on Monday morning, we were the first people in them. All fresh powder. It was wonderful. The next two hours were spent on that side of the mountain.
We called it an early day, as the powder was skied off by around 1, and after three days, I was fatigued. Rested in the room.
About Tremblant. It is a very very pretty mountain. Not extremely challenging, but I think we lucked out and didn't get it's typical ice. It has four distinct areas, three accesible from any side of the mountain, as almost all the chairs and the Gondola go to the Summit. However, this does mean that you need to plan your day carefully, lest you be stuck a good distance from where you want to be, especially as the lifts start closing at the end of the day.
I feel like the lifts are on the slow side, and the management of the lines could be vastly improved. Food on mountain was hit or miss, and comparably priced to other North Eastern resorts (the US dollar has a nice exchange rate with the Canadian dollar right now). Staff was very friendly, not the rudeness I expected from Quebec after a trip I took to Montreal last year.
Overall, I would return to Tremblant, but only once in a blue moon. I don't think it's an amazing enough mountain to warrant being on my annual circuit, as it is very very far from NYC.
Here is a video of a run through the Reaction Glades on Sunday.