Reviewed by Sally Francklyn
Nov 06, 2008
Trace a line formed by Maine's State Routes 16, 27, 4, and 142 and you will encircle some of the state's highest mountains. In the southern part of the circle you'll find the long, impressive mass of Saddleback Mountain, from whose summit drop the twisty, wooded trails of Saddleback the ski resort.
Sugarloaf boasts 138 trails, 15 lifts, and a bustling village at the base.
Even on the biggest dump days the place is peaceful: Lift lines barely push four minutes, and locals take leisurely dips into untracked shots all day.
Mont Tremblant has a decidedly European flavor—from the cobbled streets to the French chatter in the lift lines. Even the food is European—options for fondue and Italian pasta dishes are not in short supply. The weather, however, is all Canadian. There are two things you need to know about weather in Canada—it’s cold and icy. Don’t be alarmed if you encounter freezing rain. In March, things start to warm up, but until then, bring lots of down and don’t forget to tune your skis.
Quick Tip: Even though the line usually looks longer, the Express Gondola gets you to the top faster than taking the two chairlifts.
Backcountry Access: There is no backcountry access from the resort, but Mont Tremblant is situated in a national park, which offers plenty of ski touring. Lake Tremblant is nestled into the valley and provides an area for cross country skiing, dog sledding, or snowmobiling.
7 A.M.: On the Rue des Remparts you’ll find the best Beaver Tails, Canada’s signature breakfast treat. (Look for the big beaver sign.) Ask for the maple flavor, and you’ll get a flat flakey pastry topped with gooey maple sugar.
8 A.M.: Ride the Express Gondola to the top, and warm up on the Versant Nord (French for North Side) on Superieur, a spacious groomer.
10 A.M.: Hit the Edge lift (also on Versant Nord) first thing on a powder day. Turn looker’s left at the top of the lift and wind through the nicely spaced trees on Emotion. Keep lapping the Edge, which stays relatively traffic-free.
11 A.M.: Marie-Claude Asselin and Banzai are two parallel, matchstick-straight runs, just wide enough for the snowcat to fit through. Grab a friend and race.
Noon: At the top of the Express Gondola, find Le Grand Manitou. Chow down on some potato soup—you’ll need something warm when it’s below zero out.
2 P.M.: Take a few laps in one of two terrain parks. Adrenaline Park is home to an Olympic-size pipe and bigger hits, and the park under Lowell Thomas lift has more beginner features.
3 P.M.: For your last few runs, Sensation is the spot to go. Hang a right at the top of the Edge quad, and slink through the aspens.
4 P.M. Le p'tit Caribou has cheap drinks and free, freshly-made popcorn. To mingle with a more laid-back crowd, head to La Diable for a pint of local beer and a fat burger.
7 P.M: At La Savoie cook your own chicken, beef, and shrimp to dip in the fondue pots. When you walk in, the staff will greet you with a complimentary glass of wine. Make sure to save room for the chocolate fondue.
10 P.M. One thing’s for sure: Tremblant knows how to party. When the sun sets, the ski school learning hill turns into a rail yard with blasting hip-hop. Or head inside Le Café d’Epoque for vodka tonics and a packed dance floor.
Overnight: L’Ermitage Du Lac has a shuttle service to and from the airport, an espresso machine in the lobby, and includes a full breakfast complete with waffles until 10 A.M. (from $159 canadian per night; lessuitestremblant.com
Elevation: 2,871 feet Vertical Drop: 2,116 feet Snowfall: 150 inches Acres: 631 Info: tremblant.ca