Mont Tremblant is a fantastic resort area know for its hiking, biking, and skiing activities. I spent an incredible day walking around the beautiful village, stopping for hot chocolate and fresh croissants while doing a little shopping. I ended the day by reading by the giant outdoor fireplace and people-watching while my friends went down the slopes. We all got together at lunch to talk about our adventures and to prepare the for the afternoon ahead. As a non-skier/non-snowboarder, I was pleasantly surprised there was something for everyone.
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Canadian Postcard Up in the Laurentians
Visitors in search of the ultimate winter Canadiana postcard will find it up north, just outside of Montreal, in the region called the Laurentides. Dense pine forests, log cabins and unimaginable amounts of snow await, as well as a feeling of utter amazement. How can nature be so tranquil, so stunning, yet so violent to the human body? But with such views filling every day of the seemingly never-ending cold season, one can hardly be angry at Mother Nature. Nordic spas —yes, the cold ones— and outdoor sports are a must in the region, especially in the surroundings of Mont-Tremblant and Saint-Sauveur. Both offer wellness treatments, ski opportunities and simply magnificent panoramas that those unaccustomed to winter are not soon to forget.
While it is possible to practice just about every winter sport within Montreal, it is far more exciting to take the road and head to the massive, snowy mountains outside the city for a true winter adventure. Ski resorts like Bromont and Saint-Bruno are located just under an hour’s drive from downtown Montreal, and offer downhill skiing, cross-country skiing and snowboarding possibilities – even after night fall! Local ski aficionados are particularly fond of Le Massif right outside Quebec City, with over 50% of its runs being of the “black diamond” category (i.e. not for amateurs). Other possibilities include the Switzerland-like ski village of Mont-Tremblant and Mont Saint-Sauveur, which also has a dozen runs entirely dedicated to tubing.
Located just below the main gondola of the mountain is a frozen waterfall. Here, guests can learn, or practice, ice climbing in a safe, and easily accessible area. This activity can be signed up for at the activities desk located at the base of the mountain. Try not to fall or the whole gondola will see!
The snowmobile, invented in Quebec by Joseph-Armand Bombardier, is a quintessentially northern vehicle and "ski-doing" is a must-do Canadian experience. A cross between a pair of skis and a motorcycle, locals love them and Europeans come to visit exclusively for ski-do holidays. You can get hooked on the exhilarating speed and the ability to get to areas of wilderness you couldn't easily see otherwise. Not for the reckless, this activity is about immersing yourself in nature. Guided tours are a great way to see the forest and they even offer moonlight trips! Be sure to watch for moose.
Around Tremblant there are more than 25 square kilometers of marked trails to take advantage of. In the snowy months, cross-country skiing or skate skiing are perfect for an invigorating day trip. If you're a couple looking for a romantic outing, try the trail at night with headlamps. Just when you think the starlit experience couldn't get dreamier, a little bird might come perch on your shoulder. If it's a challenge you want, try the trail around the Diablo River which offers a little of everything: gentle inclines, flat stretches over the lake and some quick unexpected down-hilling. Take note of rabbit, foxes and deer along the way.