by Chantal Lemieux
Foods to Try
- Sample Poutine – a hot dish made of French fries, melted cheese curds and a brown sauce.
- Savor French Onion Soup in a freshly-baked bread bowl.
- Try real Quebec Maple Syrup on snow in the pedestrian village.
- Eat a Beaver Tail for dessert – a Canadian favorite covered in a delicious chocolate hazelnut spread.
- Short direct flight time from Houston to Montreal or with a stopover from points like New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Charlotte.
- The Montreal International Airport to Mont Tremblant is about an hour and a half by car. The drive from the airport is on major well-kept highways.
- Montreal is one of the five largest French speaking cities in the world. Paris is the first.
What To Pack For a Family Ski Holiday
For ease of packing, consider packing all of your ski clothes and accessories in a separate suitcase. You can rent boots, skis, and your helmet from the ski shop at Mont Tremblant but here are a few things you shouldn’t leave home without, especially for the kids:
- Ski Goggles
- 2 sets of Ski Gloves
- Gaiter/neck scarf/balaclava
- Several pairs of ski socks
- And for indoors, slippers
- Grab your skates, bundle up, and enjoy the view!
- Enjoy the absence of light pollution (and an early sunset) to stargaze.
- Take a scenic walking tour in the pedestrian village
- After working up your appetite on the mountain, enjoy an authentic fondue dinner
- Get a little retail therapy and warm up by a fire pit.
- Families with young kids can stop at the pocket park in the village to build a snowman and enjoy playing in the snow.
- Ride the Cabriolet – an open-air gondola down to the foot of the village and walk back up.
Winter is a great time to get outdoors with the kids for a family ski and snowboarding vacation. Every winter we seek out a new family ski destination to combine our love of travel with our love of skiing. Situated in the Laurentian Mountains in Eastern Canada, Mont Tremblant is a top-tier ski destination with 102 trails stretching more than 50 miles – it’s not huge, but it still manages to offer something for everyone for a youthful yet upscale skiing experience. One of the great things about the area is that it’s like you’ve landed in a traditional European ski village reminiscent of a Swiss or French village in the Alps. The mountains of fluffy snow and the European vibe struck a magical adventurous feeling and offered a perfect balance between leisure and outdoor sports for every member of our family.
Taking the kids skiing, especially for the first time can seem monumental. My kids started learning to ski at three but I always sign them up for a beginner ski package, which includes a group lesson, rental equipment, and a lift ticket for the day. The ski school at Tremblant is superb, and all the instructors speak English fluently. There is a separate beginner ski area with its own easy-to-ride Magic Carpet lift that gently takes you to the top of a soft slope. The instructors pace the program according to the ability of the kids in their class and will give you ample feedback about the readiness of your child. They’re patient with gloves, potty breaks, and mild tantrums on the slopes. You can be sure your children will fall, luckily snow is soft and with encouraging smiles, their light elastic young bodies bounce right back into action, and their young minds soak up new skills as naturally as a sponge. Seeing the smiling rosy cheeked faces of my children looking for cookies and a warm cup of cocoa after a day on the slopes was definitely one of the highlights of my trip.
I always start my vacation skiing very gently. It may seem insignificant, but a gentle approach also lets you build your confidence and by the end of our vacation my 7 -year old, competent and fearless was going in for a high-five as he rode down the slope yelling “it’s like flying”. One notable highlight of Mont Tremblant is its milder green runs which are perfect for skiing with kids. While we wanted to enjoy time with our children, we also wanted some ski-time for ourselves, the combination of ski lessons, childcare, and fun activities made us feel secure in the knowledge that our kids were also having a great time with trained, caring and professional staff.
Our resort sat at the foot of the mountain in the charming pedestrian-only ski on/ski off village, making it the perfect base, as it was just a minute from the nursery slope, a short walk to the center of the village and five minutes from the main lift station. Everything inside the colorful, cobblestoned, European-style hamlet is walkable, the village streets are lined with plenty of restaurants which is important after a long day on the hills. Having a cozy yet active village helps a family stay connected to the hill and makes getting around easy. Early evenings were often spent in our lounge, the glass frontage faced the peaks dusted with snow like decorations from an elaborate holiday window display making it the perfect place to sit and soak up the sunsets and enjoy the gleaming white field of snow below. I had a genuine feeling of being somewhere special reconnecting with my family in front of the fireplace after a day on the slopes.
For multigenerational groups with non-skiers, the mountain can still be enjoyed to your heart’s content with several off- slope experiences to choose from that include dog sledding, snowmobiling, snow-tubing, snowshoeing, ice climbing and ice skating on a nearby lake. A guided sleigh ride through the fields and forests, complete with storytelling, folk songs and hot chocolate is a must-do. For a little indulgence, there is a Scandinavian Spa a short drive away which offers a series of thermal and chilling pools for the ultimate in hydrotherapy or you can try your luck playing at the Casino de Mont-Tremblant.
Winter days outdoors with the crisp, clean mountain air is great for the whole family but above all a perfect ski vacation in a picturesque and serene atmosphere helps build a lifelong love of snow sports for children. Our family ski trip to Mont Tremblant was definitely one that we will look back on fondly.