Winter Weekend In Mont Tremblant

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I mean…I had always heard of Mont Tremblant. Truth be told, I wasn’t 100% sure where it was (France? no), but my mind associated Mont Tremblant with the same chic, skiing gravitas as if someone had casually mentioned that they skied Chamonix last week.

Quebec. Turns out, Mont Tremblant is in Quebec.

The first time I found myself in Mont Tremblant was on a training trip for the kids. Their ski/snowboard team was training at the snow park/airbag at iMaximize, not far from Mont Tremblant, so I went up with a friend and was completely. blown. away. Quebec feels more French than France, and is ridiculously charming.

So when our flights to Park City we canceled last Spring Break – with no other flights available, sob! – we packed the kids into the car and drove up to Mont Tremblant. What started out as a consolation prize quickly turned into one of the most serendipitous of surprises: we absolutely loved it.

Winter Weekend, Mont Tremblant: Where We Stayed, Skied, Ate & Played

ski jacket | ski pants | helmet | goggles | orange kid helmet

Here are a few things we especially loved about Mont Tremblant, including where we stayed, how the skiing compares to other East Coast resorts, the apres scene, and one activity you absolutely shouldn’t miss.

1. Pedestrian Village: Wander, Shop & Eat

Right next to the slopes is the very walkable Pedestrian Village. It’s wildly charming, with hotels, restaurants and the cute boutiques you’d expect to see in a ski town. There’s actually a small gondola (the Tremblant ‘Cabriolet’) that will take you from the top of the pedestrian village to the bottom half, but it’s an easy enough walk.

Pax’s beanie & boots | My beanie, similar coat, jeans & boots

The entire Pedestrian Village is very skier-friendly, and most of the shops/restaurants don’t mind if you wander in with ski boots on. The hotels also have a pretty solid apres scene, too.

ski jacket | ski pants | helmet | goggles

One Pedestrian Village favorite was waiting in line at Beavertails – Quebec’s answer to funnel cake since 1978. They’re made with whole-wheat, though, and are freaking amazing. While you can order a bunch of toppings, our favorite was the ‘Sunrise’, a classic (cinnamon & sugar), but with a fresh squeeze of lemon.

beanie | similar coat | sunglasses

Pedestrian Village is even fun to wander around at night. There’s actually a little laser tag place right in the middle – Mission Laser – which was an unexpected (and fun) activity after dinner one night. Of course, even just wandering around (and getting another one of those Beavertails) was a blast.

beanie | packable puffer | jeans | wedge Sorels | Pax’s poncho & beanie


2. Where We Stayed: Hotel Quintessence, Mont Tremblant

I’d honestly recommend any of the hotels located in the Pedestrian Village (the Westin, though, does has a fireplace in each room and a particularly rockin’ apres scene), but since our Mont Tremblant weekend was a consolation prize for our canceled Park City week, we splurged a little and stayed at the Hotel Quintessence. This was, in fact, one of the nicest places we’ve ever stayed. Hotel Quintessence is truly an indulgence, and I cannot recommend it highly enough.

We arrived to a gorgeous suite with fireplaces lit, beds beckoning (Raines literally crawled right in and had a little nap – ski season is exhausting), and I discovered this view from our balcony:

Why yes, those are deer crossing the frozen lake.

Their pool is open year-round, but in a very Quebec way: the outdoor hot tub is heated (deliciously so), but the actual pool is NOT heated, and serves as a cold plunge. Cold plunging is a VERY big deal in Quebec. In fact, it’s kind of Quebec’s thing. A thing that we are now very much into.

While we’re usually on the slopes bright & early, we were visiting Mont Tremblant towards the end of a pretty grueling competition schedule, and ALL needed some downtime. So. Instead of rushing out the door in the morning, we let the boys sleep in, and Mike & I had the kind of lazy morning we rarely get in winter. Coffee in bed, and room service next to a roaring fire?

Yesssss.

Also, the bar & restaurant in Hotel Quintessence are amazing. We opted for a table in the wine cellar (next to another roaring fire), and ended our evening with cocktails at the bar. It’s cozy and elevated, and feels like a secret. The cocktails were spot-on, too. It was exactly what we were looking for.

similar dress, worn with these UGGs 😉


3. The Skiing (& Snowboarding) At Mont Tremblant

ski jacket | ski pants | helmet | goggles | orange kid helmet

Is the skiing better than Stowe? Nah. The size of the mountain, the trails, and the difficulty of the terrain are pretty comparable. The snow was similar, as were the cold temps. (Don’t be afraid: -6 degrees Celcuis is just 21 degrees Farenheit – aka perfect skiing conditions.)

Frankly, it was just really fun to ski somewhere different! The kids had a blast chasing powder…

…and checking out Mont Tremblant’s two parks.

One park had smaller jumps and a few rails, and the other had some seriously big jumps. Per usual, Raines launched himself off one of the big ones and crashed – giving me a heart-attack and zero photos, obvi – but he was fine. (Coach Noah, if you are reading this, Raines wants me to mention that he did cruise over the jump first, checking it out.)

Anyway, skiing/snowboarding Mont Tremblant was tons of fun. I’m not surprised that it frequently gets rated as one of the best ski resorts on the East Coast.

ski jacket | ski pants | helmet | goggles | orange kid helmet


4. Try A Nordic Spa

Nordic spas, which are, basically, a series of hot and cold plunge pools – are a big thing everywhere in Quebec. And a short drive from Mont Tremblant is a really, really good one: The Scandinave Spa, a “thermal journey in nature”. They are verrrrry strict with their cell phone policy, so the above photo is the only one I was comfortable taking inside the spa itself. It is…quite the journey.

There are no kids allowed, but this spa is 110% worth sneaking away from the kids to try. Check out their website for better photos, but this mostly outdoor spa offers a series of stunning hot & cool plunge pools all along the river, as well as relaxation stations (both indoors or out). In many areas, no talking is allowed. It is, without a doubt, an incredibly relaxing experience.

While I’m no expert to this hot/cold plunge thing, here’s my general understanding of how it’s supposed to work:

  • Start with the hot tub. There are varying degrees of heated pools – some were just lukewarm, others were really hot. The temps are posted on placards outside each pool. I think the rough estimate is 10 min in a hot tub.
  • Then, cold plunge. While true cold plungers go for 10 min (or longer), I think the minimum you’re supposed to try is 60 seconds. And just like the hot pools, there are a number of cold plunge pools of varying temps, including….the iced-over river itself!! THAT is wild. You descend down a staircase to the dock, move the floating ice away from the dock’s ladder, and then, uh, submerge yourself? I put in a foot, just to see. The river is painfully cold (but such a unique experience).
  • After the cold plunge (we did a minute in one of the cold plunge pools, not the river), you go to a relaxation station to let your body warm up naturally. You can choose from some indoor spaces (think: floor-to-ceiling windows, couple-sized lounge beds, and individual sun loungers facing relaxing, beautiful views) or – my fav – outdoor loungers overlooking the river, complete with heat lamps, cozy blankets, and a roaring outdoor fire.

The Scandinave Spa is really well known, so reservations are probably a good idea. If you do decide to just pop in (like we did), you might have to wait in line outside. Our wait time was only a few minutes, and the outside waiting area is lovely – complete with hot tea.

beanie | similar coat | jeans | boots

If you really want the kids to try a Nordic Spa, Hotel Quintessence does have that hot/cold plunge pool setup where kids are welcome, or there are some Nordic spas in the area with kid hours (depending on age). Strom Nordic Spa is one such spa, and has several locations around Montreal.

Because we drove up to Mont Tremblant from Vermont, we made a little detour to hit Balnea Spa. Certain times of the year they’re open for kids, and we managed to get lucky. We went at night, and it was a seriously cool experience for the boys. So much so that they were pumped when we arrived at Hotel Quintessence and found another hot/cold plunge pool situation.

Plus, the Balnea Spa is a little off the beaten path, and within walking distance of another hidden gem, the Beatnik Hotel.

We were driving in the same storm that canceled our flights, so our drive was pretty slow-going. This stop, just past half-way, was intended to ensure we had a place to stay while the storm passed, but ended up being an incredibly lucky find.

It really set the tone for our whole trip, and we keep saying that we’ve gotta go back and do a little more exploring. Plus, the Beatnik has one of the best free hotel breakfasts we’ve ever tried.

hoodie | joggers | UGGs

Once again, spas seem to frown on photos (haha thank goodness), so we don’t have any to share, but you can get an idea of what the spa experience looks like on their website.


5. Visit The ‘Old Village’ Mont Tremblant

If you get away from the resort (aka the “Pedestrian Village”) of Mont Tremblant, there’s an older section that the locals just call the “Old Village” or even just “Old Tremblant”. The vibe here is decidedly less touristy, and has some serious gems, like this outdoor ice rink, with open skate hours (and some opportunities for pick-up hockey, or “shinny”, as my Dad would call it).

There’s also places to snowshoe, cross-country ski, or even just play outside – the playgrounds in Quebec are pretty amazing, even in winter.

And if you’re looking for lighter, healthier fare (most of the fancy restaurants in Mont Tremblant are French, and tend to be as rich as they are delicious), my favorite places to grab coffee, healthy breakfast sandwiches, and/or fresh lunches are in Old Village.

For breakfast sandwiches & coffee, OCafe, co-located with the bike shop, Cyber Cycle Tremblant, was my favorite. Not much English is spoken (or, at least, wasn’t when I visited), but it won’t really matter – everything is good.

For lunch, we also loved La Sandwhicherie Cafe + Bistro. In addition to sandwiches they also have really good (and healthy) bowl options, as well as some surprisingly elevated main courses as well. The vibe is decidedly cafe, but you can also have some wine, and the whole thing feels very French. Love it.


6. Take Home A Few Local Goodies

On our way out of town, we stopped at Boulangerie La Perle Noir, a French bakery near the actual Mont Tremblant downtown (an area of Mont Tremblant that’s different than Old Village or Pedestrian Village, and not nearly as charming except for this stellar bakery). Go grab croissants to go – you won’t be disappointed.

We also loved this local chocolate that was sold in a few places (Le Sandwicherie being one of them). Totally yummy.


Ahhhh we had such a good time – cannot wait to go back.

xo,

S

5 COMMENTS

  1. Alright, alright, I’m canceling spring break in Florida and going here. But what is exactly is that navy sherpa-lined jacket you’re wearing with the pink beanie??

  2. Just wanted you to know these recommendations were spot on. We got delicious beavertails in Mont Tremblant as a treat after our first day on the slopes, stopped at La Sandwicherie on our way out of town, and then spent a few hours at Strom Spa on the drive back to Montreal on a Tuesday evening when they allow teens. It was such an amazing experience- my 12 year old wasn’t sure he’d like it but ended up loving it so much. He said he was so relaxed afterward his legs felt like jello.

    • Ahhhhh this made me so happy!! Those travel posts are such a labor of love – I’m glad you found this one helpful. xo

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