The Adventure Kids, aka Debra C. Argen and Edward F. Nesta, hit the slopes to ski Mont-Tremblant, Canada in the province of Quebec for an invigorating and breathtakingly beautiful Luxury Experience.
On the day we were to ski, we rose early in anticipation, and looking out the window, we discovered that the day was overcast with a temperature forecast of 23° F (-5° C) at the base of the mountain, yet despite the cold temperature we were ready for a ski adventure. Dressed in multiple layers of clothing consisting of long underwear, ski socks, ski sweaters, ski bibs and ski coat (Edward) and ski jumpsuit (Debra), neck warmers, goggles, ski hats, ski gloves, and ski boots, we picked up our skis from the Ski Valet, walked outside our hotel, the luxurious Fairmont Tremblant the only ski-in, ski-out resort, stepped into our skis and skied the short distance over to the gondola.
The gondola one of the 13 lifts (remontées) whisked us up to the summit of Mont-Tremblant, standing at an impressive elevation of 2,871 feet (875 meters) with a vertical drop on the South Side of 2,116 feet (645 meters). We chatted amiably to another couple on the ride up, fellow skiers also braving the early morning cold temperature to make the most of the day.
Riding the Gondola to the Summit
Stepping out of the gondola, the snow was blowing and gusting around us, and if we had thought that 23° F (-5° C) was cold at the base, we did not even want to contemplate what the temperature and the wind chill was at the summit. However, a little thing like cold weather and pelting snow hitting our faces like an invigorating morning wake-up call was certainly not enough to deter the Adventure Kids from a day of skiing.
Despite the weather, the scenery was so gorgeous that it demanded to be photographed, and at the risk of freezing fingers we removed our gloves to take a few photographs. After mere seconds of exposure, our fingers were tingling as we hurriedly put our gloves back on and headed inside to Le Grand Manitou to the Guest Services Counter where we were to meet our Guide. One of the many extra values of skiing at Mont-Tremblant is the complimentary Guided Tours offered daily (beginning December 7th) at 9:30 am and 1:30 pm, where volunteers lead 45-minute to 1-hour ski tours showing the highlights of the mountain, regardless of the skier's skill level.
Although resorts usually have ski schools (ecole sur neige), which Mont-Tremblant also has, this was the first time that we had ever seen complimentary guided tours offered, and this was something that we definitely wanted to experience as it is a great way to learn ski tips from local skiers, and is also a way to meet new and interesting people.
It was just 9:00 am when we approached the Guest Services Counter to sign up for the Guided Tour, and since we had 30 minutes to wait before our tour began, we took advantage of the time to go back outside since our fingers had regained movement, to take more photographs of the area. By now the sun was beginning to break through the clouds, and we were getting acclimated to the wind although we kept hoping that it would calm down a little before we bravely faced the slopes.
At 9:30 am, André introduced himself as our Guide in charming French accented perfect English, and it was showtime as off we went to explore the North Side of the mountain (Versant Nord). Since the day before it had rained and hailed before turning to sleet and then back to rain during the night, playing havoc with the trails, the South Side (Versant Sud) was closed for grooming, and many of the trails were still being groomed on the North Side. However with a skiable terrain of 631 acres (255.3 hectacres), and a total of 94 trails (pistes) on the four faces (versants) of Mont-Tremblant, consisting of 17 easy trails, 31 difficult trails for Intermediates, 36 very difficult trails for advanced, and 10 extremely difficult trails for experts, even with the closed trails there was still plenty of action to be had by both skiers and snowboarders.
André the Guide
As this was our first ski adventure of the season in early February 2009, we opted for an easy beginning as an "Amuse Jambe" (amusement for the legs) as we got to know and appreciate Mont-Tremblant. The first thing that struck us as we traversed Ptít Bonheur was the magnificent beauty of the intense blue sky dramatic against the pristine snow covered mountain dotted with tall pine trees wearing their finest winter coats of snow. Despite nature's pelting the night before, the trail was well groomed with enough groomed powder (poudreuse darnée) to enjoy the slope, and slowly our legs fell into the old groove, remembering what they were supposed to do, as we followed André, savoring each turn on the way down.
Riding the chair lift to the top, where we had a birds-eye view often riding above the trees, the view was spectacular and we knew how people could become addicted to skiing and snowboarding here; its beauty is immeasurable. We also had amazing front row seats on the chair lift as we watched with fascination as the snowboarders sailed through the air over jumps directly below us.
Exiting the lift, since (Edward) is a novice skier, and (Debra) a more experienced skier, we split off to experience the mountain at our own pace and level of expertise, discovering Beauchemin Haut and Sissy Schuss; skiing through the glade (sous-bois) Axel, where the stillness was profound and absolutely secluded from the wind by the tall pine trees; continuing on to explore Beauchemin Bas, and Fuddle Duddle, before we finally conceded that the wind had won the battle, and we were ready to call it a day.
Debra Taking a Break
We returned to Le Grand Manitou, and the three of us sat down at a long wood table and enjoyed the ambience and steaming cups of hot coffee as we discussed our morning on the slopes; which is really the best part of après-skiing, sharing the adventure with friends.
André and Edward Skiing
Riding the gondola back down to the base of the mountain, our legs were a bit shaky from the morning's workout, but our spirits were flying as we remembered our day of skiing at Mont-Tremblant, which was truly a Luxury Experience.
Need further incentive to visit and ski Mont-Tremblant? With everyone looking to stretch their travel dollars, Canada is a great destination, and as of February 2009, the exchange rate was 1 Canadian Dollar (CAD) to 1.23 US Dollar (USD), and 1 Canadian Dollar to 1.60 Euro (EUR).
So how do you get there? Continental Airlines flies direct from Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) to Mont-Tremblant International Airport (YTM) in less than 90 minutes. Mont-Tremblant has convenient 90-minute flights from Toronto and Newark, New Jersey, and is approximately a 90-minute drive from Montreal.
Read other articles on Mont-Tremblant in the Destinations, Hotels and Resorts, Spas, Restaurants, and Chefs' Recipes sections.
For more information on Mont-Tremblant and upcoming events, please visit the websites: www.Laurentians.com and www.Tremblant.ca.
For information on Quebec, please visit the website: www.BonjourQuebec.com.
For information on Continental Airlines service to Mont-Tremblant International Airport, please visit the website: www.Continental.com. For information on the Airport Shuttle Schedule from the Mont-Tremblant International Airport to Mont-Tremblant hotels please visit the website: www.MTIA.ca.
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