Day 1: Thursday, St. Patrick's Day:
I've always wanted to take advantage of the First Tracks program that some ski areas offer. Apparently I'm not the only one, because all eight of my companions on a multi-day trip to Quebec's Mont Tremblant decided that First Tracks sounded like fun. I was skeptical last night that we'd all make it, but sure enough, all nine of us boarded the gondola in the fog at 7:45 this morning to head up to Mont Tremblant's summit.
The fog persisted right to the summit, but as we skied down the north side of the mountain the fog cleared and views above the clouds opened up. Eventually, we descdended into the clouds, boarded a high speed quad, and returned to the summit.
We repeated that cycle three or four times between 8 and 9am, when Tremblant's lifts open for everyone else: freshly groomed corduroy, empty slopes, and views above the clouds.
Eventually the strong March sun transitioned the cold corduroy cruisers to spring conditions, although it took until lunchtime for the fog and clouds to burn off at the lower elevations.
We alternated runs between the mountain's north and south sides, and as the snow softened in the afternoon we found excellent advanced terrain off the Versant Edge lift on the north side, with both spring bumps and beautiful tree skiing. Tremblant is a big mountain (600+ skiable acres), with a lot of variety. We found cruisers, steeps, bumps and trees. We'll see what we can find tomorrow.
Day 2: Friday:
We had hoped for a carbon copy of yesterday's beautiful weather, but instead we got a mixed bag of everything: rain, wind, fog, even snow. Fortunately most of the day was precipitation free and temps remained above freezing except for at the very summit.
The snow stayed soft all day, so even though it wasn't a good day for taking pictures it was still a good day for skiing, at least on the sheltered north side of the mountain.
Two north side lifts closed unexpectedly, one before noon and the other at 2:30, eliminating some terrain that we had wanted to ski. But we still had access to most of the north side terrain, and we found plenty to ski, including one favorite line of soft bumps under the lift that we returned to three or four times.
It's always fun to explore new ski areas, and this trip has certainly been no exception. I hope to have the chance to come back.