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Tremblant trip report, March 8-12 -- LONG

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I thought I'd offer a report from our family ski trip to Tremblant. We arrived on Sunday March 7. We'd booked a condo in the Hilton Homewood Suites through Lyne Lapierre. The condo is slopeside facing the Flying Mile chair and has one regular bedroom and one double bed upstairs in the loft. The kids loved the loft and immediately fought over who should have the side that faced down to the windows, and probably more germane, the TV! The only slight knock we had against the condo was that the noise of the grooming machines woke us up a few times during the night.

We had superb spring skiing for our week. Three days of pure blue sky and temperatures above freezing. Tuesday was cloudy in the morning but sunny in the afternoon; Friday snowed off and on. Our week is in between the Quebec and Ontario school breaks, as we've done for the last several years. Even allowing for that, we couldn't get over how few people were around the mountain this year. Our condo building was a ghost town. Never a line-up for a lift. La Source (the pool complex) had lots of room for swimming and games.

My seven-year-old joined a group for the 4-day ski week program. This was his fourth year on the mountain and he had a blast. Nominally, there were 5 kids in his group but the parents of two always picked them up at noon. The group progressed through greens, blues and onto easy blacks the last two days. His parallel turns are coming along nicely and I'm amazed how quickly he learned to use a pole plant to initiate his turns.

My five-year-old is very shy and the deal we eventually struck was that she would ski with Mom and Dad on Monday and go with a group for a lesson on Tuesday. She had moderate success on the Magic Carpet on Monday. For Tuesday's lesson, she ended up with the same instructor my son had had two years earlier, Linda. Linda was great and overcame some heavy parting tears to get my daughter on the slope. (Um, those are my daughter's tears; not Linda's!) My daughter had a good day, learned to snowplow, had fun, but still took the next day off. She was lucky enough to rejoin Linda on Thursday. That was a breakthrough day for her. She and her group skied the green runs top-to-bottom, both sides of the mountain, for the full day! She was even starting to step into parallel turns by the end of the day. You should have seen her beam at the end of the day!

While the kids were in lessons or with their Mother, I had lots of time to jellify my legs on the black and better runs. The main drawback was the low snow base; the glades had far too many rocks for my tastes. Wednesday in particular was just outstanding spring skiing. Expo started softening up about 10:00 AM and I had the slope virtually to myself. The laps were just so sweet on easy-carving snow! Incidentally, when did they groom Expo? I've never seen it without bumps before. Anyway, more and more skiers kept arriving and a few bare and icy spots began to emerge. I went off for lunch about 1:00 PM and my legs felt like they'd been in a blender.

Where do kids get the energy? They'd ski all day and after a brief snack in the condo, they'd mount an all-out offense to get us to take them to La Source. (Check the family pass rates if it is not included with your lodging; saves a bit.) Between the whirlpool, "Tarzan" swinging rope, hot tubs and regular pool area, the kids were going non-stop.

Friday was our family day. The kids showed off the stuff they'd learned from their lessons. After a few runs together, we split up along boy-girl lines. We all had a good day despite the occasionally poor visibility.

In all, another super trip. The only complaint I have against Tremblant is the snow—Tremblant just does not get enough! At the end of each day, bare and icy patches were emerging all over the mountain. Also, the bottom of the Nansen is ugly. In sections, the 'snow' is stained brown from mud or liberally speckled with gravel. I'd gnash my teeth each time I had to take my (expensive) skis over these sections. For us, the combination of P'tit Bonheur and Beachemin has basically the same terrain and doesn't have the piles of corn snow and crappy patches that Nansen does. I guess I've been spoiled by the deep, soft, forgiving snow from trips out West.

Nonetheless, Tremblant still seems to be the best all-round choice for us. Near enough to drive, terrain for everybody, activities, shopping, dining and atmosphere--and tolerably expensive. The equation keeps changing as the kids grow up but I expect we'll be back next year.
post #2 of 8
Glad you had a good time at Tremblant. It's a shame that Intrawest is such a miserable corporation, and is slowly but surely ruining Tremblant.

I posted my trip report from February here a few weeks ago and it mysteriously DISAPPEARED. Intrawest slimebags hacking the Epic site now too? How about making some snow with your spare time instead?

Well, if anybody still wants to hear about my opinion of Tremblant, you can still find it HERE.

On the bright side, I just got back from Red Mtn, BC this week. Man, what a mountain, what a difference! Red is awesome. Buh Bye Tremblant. I'll try to post a more detailed Red trip report another day. [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]
post #3 of 8
I went to Tremblant once and that will be the only time.

It's too far, too cold, too crowded, and too flat in alot of areas.

To each his own.
post #4 of 8
We do the last week in March (week after Ont school vacation) at Mt. T. ever year as a family vacation. Some random points--

1. If I was just going to ski, I'd go to Sugarloaf or Sugarbush/MadRiver/Stowe. For a family vacation though, Mt. T. is great. The proximity of the lodging/skiing/shops/restaurants/pool is great if you have a family with little kids. It's a resort first but has good skiing.

2. Mt. T doesn't have black and double-black top to bottom like a place like Stowe but there is enought difficult terrain to challange any east coast skier. You don't have to ski a huge amount of connecting trails and flat if you ski the right lifts and know your way aronud. Sure you have to do some blue cruising once in a while. I like to spent 20% of your time in my easy zone so it works out about right. I find it much less annoying than Killington even though I do like some of the terrain at K.

3. It ain't cold in March when we go. Of course, I was skiing Wa when it was -14F this year. I've never gone mid-winter. I can't believe it's that much colder than Sugarloaf of Wildcat. It's more north but over 1000' lower.

4. It is more crowded than US resorts. In March during the week, most US East resorts would be deserted. It's not packed at Mt. T though. Maybe five-ten minute lines on the big lifts in the morning and hop right on by the afternoon. I would never waste my time there on a vacation week or weekend; I'd ski VT or ME.

5. The snow has varied from year to year but always been pretty good. The woods are hit or miss. In the good years they are as good as any woods at any of the East US areas. I've had some of my best East coast runs ever in woods at Mt. T. In lean years, the mountain still makes a ton of snow on the trails including the steep stuff. In the years I've been there, about 1/2 years the woods have been good.

6. In spring, there's always rocks/slush at the bottom of mountains. One thing nice about Mt. T is you can ski the TGV lift and the Thomas Lowell lift up high and avoid the bottom till the end of the day. You can get of ton of laps on black and double-black trails on the TGV lift.

7. Learn the mountain and ski where the snow is best. In spring, try low on the North side (which is really east), Expo, in the morning and high on the South side(which is really west), TGV, in the afternoon.

8. At eight hours from Boston, it's only worth it to ski there for five days.

8. If it weren't for the family vacation thing, I wouldn't put all my eggs in one basket and do a ski week at Mt. T (or anywhere I didn't fly to), I'd do two or three day weekday trips to VT/ME instead. We go to Mt. T with our kid and our friends and their kids for a vaca. If we every stop that routine, I'll go back to doing the short trips to VT/ME and try to hit the best mountains with the best snow at the time just to ski.

9. I certainly can see why Mt. T isn't for everyone. It ain' for me except for a vaca but it is a great vaca.
post #5 of 8
I'm there now. We just got a couple of inches of snow which helped conditions tremendously. It am crowded here with the Ontario school break but it was our school break as well so what can you do?

Still there are only lift lines for an hour or so starting around 9:30 through about noon.

We had a great day today with the fresh snow. My 10-year old skied their big double black - Expo, and he skied it pretty well too.

I like Tremblant because it does have some really good skiing. It's pretty darn big. Tons of really high-speed high speed lifts. And lots of good places to eat, plus shopping and other vacation like diversions for the non ski-to-die crowd.

Two caveats - don't go before March because it's too darn cold; and don't go during Ontario's school break because it's too darn crowded.
post #6 of 8
Just thought I'd toss in my two cents. We liked Tremblant; we were there about a year ago and the snow was good and it wasn't too cold. We loved the food and the village. However, we had an awful experience with ski school. We found that they put kids of very different ages together and with different languages so they didn't have fun. For example, 5 year olds were grouped with 10 year olds, which is never okay in my book unless they are related. And there were lots of kids who spoke no English grouped with kids who only spoke English so it made communication very hard.

But worst of all for us was that we saw that the class instructors kept "losing" ski school students on the mountain. We found kids alone and crying who didn't know where their class had gone. I guess that's why all the instructors have radios but the personnel acted like it's no big deal to lose a kid. At the very least, the instructors should keep the kids safe at all times.

Our final view on Tremblant is that we would like to go back when our kids are older and have grown out of ski school but that won't be for several years.
post #7 of 8

Did you report this to management? I suggest they wouldn't be very happy either.
Michel LaMothe is the Ski school director:
post #8 of 8
> ...Did you report this (ie, lost kids) to management? ...

When they try to tell you, "You're young, you can have more", then you can *really* get mad. [img]graemlins/evilgrin.gif[/img]

Tom / PM

PS - It's an old ski school example/joke about what sorts of situations are to be taken very seriously and NEVER are to be joked about.
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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Mountain/Resort Related Forums › Resorts, Conditions & Travel › Tremblant trip report, March 8-12 -- LONG