Thursday, January 19, 2017
Mont Tremblant: 01/14 - 01/16/2017
“Head for Canada!” has been frequently heard around the Saratoga Skier household since November, but it has nothing to do with the presidential election. It’s all about the snow – north of the St. Lawrence was the jackpot for eastern snowfall last winter (about 130% of normal), and that trend has continued into this winter as well.
We had a great 6-day stay at Mont Tremblant last February, and although we have other plans for this winter’s February break we still wanted to fit in a visit to Tremblant. So we took advantage of the favorable Canadian exchange rate and early-season discounts and booked a condo and lift tickets for the 3-day Martin Luther King weekend.
Tremblant hasn’t been completely insulated from recent winter weather ups-and-downs. They suffered through the same thaw that wreaked havoc with east coast ski conditions last week, but with significantly less damage than we suffered south of the border. We arrived for the weekend with deep coverage on the trails and in the woods and nearly 100% of Tremblant’s terrain open. The few trails that weren’t open as of Saturday morning were opened later in the weekend once the snowmakers and groomers finished working their magic. A surprise 10cm (4 inches) snowfall Saturday night didn’t hurt either.
January can be cold at Tremblant. You can pretty much count on numb extremities at some point. Saturday was our coldest day, with grey skies and temperatures struggling to get above zero. I didn’t take a single photo all day, and we must have taken a half dozen cocoa breaks. But each day got progressively warmer, with temperatures eventually hitting the balmy mid-teens by Monday.
Since we were already familiar with Tremblant’s layout, we didn’t waste any time finding our way around. We pretty much headed straight for our favorite terrain: black diamond cruisers like Jasey Jay and Superieur on the north side, the steep trails off the Expo lift, the fun (for the kids) terrain park features on Rope Tow, and CBC, a narrow, twisting, natural snow black diamond.
Our favorite trail pod is The Edge, with some of Tremblant’s best tree skiing. We stayed away on Saturday, figuring the woods would be frozen up tight from the previous week’s thaw, but Saturday night’s new snow was a game changer. The steepest tree shots were still dust-on-crust, but the medium- and low-angled hardwood glades were superb, by far the best tree skiing we’ve had all year. If you like the Twister Glades and Tahawus Glades at Gore, you’ll love ripping through Tremblant’s trees.
Tremblant’s base village may feel a bit like Disneyland, but I have to admit they have really dialed in an attractive package with quaint shops, plenty of food options and convenient lodging. Even though we skied pretty much bell-to-bell all three days, we had plenty of time for hot tubbing, exploring the village and hanging out by the fireplace. We would have ice skated, but we spent all our energy on the slopes.
The drive home Monday night was a bit of a downer with the Adirondacks looking more like mid-November than mid-January, but I guess that just helped reinforce our decision to spend the weekend north of the border. Who knows, if things don’t go in the right direction down here in the States we may be heading for Canada again before the winter’s through.