Top 10 things to do in Mont Tremblant
Only 90 minutes north-west of Montreal, Mont Tremblant is one of the highest peaks in the Laurentians at just under 3,000 feet. Unsurprisingly, it’s a huge draw for skiers and snowboarders - many of whom consider this ever-expanding resort as the best in eastern North America. But what makes this place so memorable are the range of activities that go beyond thrashing up and down slopes. We check out the 10 best things to do in an all-season playground that’s as appealing in the summer as in the winter.
Relax to the max at Scandinave Spa Mont Tremblant
What: Owned by two Canadian NHL hockey players-turned-investors, this Scandinavian-style pampering sanctuary is set in seven acres of natural land on the shores of the Diable River. Open year-round, the state-of-the-art facilities include Scandinavian steam baths with whirlpools, Nordic and thermal waterfalls, hot and cold plunges, Finnish dry saunas, 18 private treatment rooms, and a river that’s perfect for summer swimming. There’s also a lovely bar for healthy snacks and freshly-squeezed juices, as well as a selection of bliss-out-and-relax areas that include a zero-gravity pavilion, terraces, solariums, hammocks, and an outdoor fireplace.
Highlights: After working your way around the incredible hot-cold-hot-cold bathing and rinsing experiences, book one of the spa’s signature massages. Available in 60-, 90- or 120-minute sessions, you can choose from Swedish, therapeutic, deep tissue, duo (for couples), prenatal, and hot stone. The spa opens daily from 10am to 9am.
Tee off on Mont Tremblant’s two golf courses
What: Open between May and October, Mont Tremblant’s two challenging 18’ers delight golfers with unique course layouts. The 7,056-yard Golf Le Diable (110 Chemin de l'Albatros) designed by Michael Hurdzan and Dana Fry thrills with imposing red-sand bunkers, long narrow fairways, and plenty of devilish surprises throughout. Alternatively, the Thomas McBroom-designed Golf Le Géant (8630 Montée Ryan) is a 6,836-yard masterpiece sculpted right into the mountainside for heart-stopping views of the Laurentian landscape. Both courses have electric golf carts, great practice areas, and certified CPGA professional staff on hand for tips and guidance.
Highlights: Located at Golf Le Diable, Tremblant Golf Academy ranks as one of the best in North America. Facilities include a putting green, a driving range for 65 golfers, seven bent grass target greens, and individual or group lessons. There’s also state-of-the-art digital technology, including an ES14 Advanced Launch Monitor for critical shot analysis and crucial ball tracking.
Go hiking in Mont Tremblant National Park
What: To get to grips with the real wilderness of the Laurentians, Mont-Tremblant National Park is the 580-square-mile playground celebrated for its 400-plus lakes, superb wetlands, sandy beaches, canoe routes, brilliant mountain peaks, and 40 species of mammals. It’s also where you’ll find 18 different trails that span over 50 miles and vary in length and level of difficulty. A couple of the best include the easy two-mile La Corniche Trail that takes you to a wooden viewing platform for views of Lac Monroe, and the more challenging six-mile La Boucle de Centenaire Trail that rewards with towering trees, large rock walls, and plenty of nature,
Highlights: While it may leave you delirious with fatigue, nothing beats the seven-mile hike from Mont Tremblant National Park, through the heart of the forest, and to the summit of the 1,166-metre high Laurentians. The journey takes between three and four hours - by which point you’ll be more than relieved that there’s an easy-to-access gondola for the descent.
Take to the water in a kayak, raft, canoe, or boat
What: Newbies, experts and those in-between can look forward to a huge selection of watersports during the summer months - many of which take place on Lake Tremblant or the winding River Rouge in the upper Laurentians. There’s boat or pontoon rentals for cruising and sightseeing, a full-service activity centre for waterskiing, wakeboarding and tubing, and an exciting choice of white water rafting experiences using a brand new fleet of self-bailing inflatables. Further watery thrills include canoe trips on Lake Moore, Lake Mercier or the Diable River, and guided fishing expeditions to hook bass, musky, perch, salmon, lake trout, and more.
Highlights: If you fancy being strapped to a board-like contraption and shot into the air by high-pressure jets of water, the latest watersports craze known as “flyboarding” is now available at Mont Tremblant Activity Centre. Helmets, lifejackets, wetsuits and a flyboard are included. Participants must be 12 years or older.
Hit mountain trail on the Via Ferrata Du Diable
What: Set up on the rock wall of the Vache Noire at the entrance of Mont-Tremblant National Park, the Via Ferrata du Diable (also known as the Devil’s Via Ferrata) is a one-of-a-kind mountain sports trail led by a professional guide. Complete with routes that are customised for beginners, intermediates and advanced mountaineers, you’ll be clipped onto a steel cable that runs the length of the cliff as you tackle the built-in steps, beams, footbaths , walkways, and various types of bridges that overlook the meandering Diable River far below. Once you’ve made the 200-metre ascent, you’ll be rewarded by as-far-as-you-can-see views of the Laurentians.
Highlights: A brief safety course will set you up with all the basics before hitting one of the trails. There’s a choice of three exciting routes: The Excursion (500-metres-long; approximately three hours), L'Intermédiaire (800-metres-long; approximately five hours), and La Grande Virée (approximately 1,000-metres-long; approximately five hours).
Take an exhilarating dogsledding tour
What: Nothing beats venturing into the heart of the Laurentians led by a team of enthusiastic Expedition Wolf huskies. Available daily from early-December to late-March, you’ll receive basic training in sledding before gathering and harnessing your own pack of dogs and embarking on a six-mile trek through the snowy forest. Guests usually get to ride in pairs (depending on weather and weight distribution), but if you have an odd-numbered group you’ll be accompanied by a guide. The experience lasts for two hours (including an hour of sledding) and includes a pit stop for a warm-you-up hot chocolate and cookies at a log cabin in the woods.
Highlights: On your return, you’ll enjoy a meet and greet with the rest of the husky fleet (there’s 250 in total, some of which are rescue dogs) and invited to relax with some tea or soup in the main house. Should time allow, take the chance to visit the heated kennels, and sneak a peek at any puppies.
Spend time in the Pedestrianised Village
What: It’s all cosy cafés, upscale restaurants, privately-owned chalets, an ancestral church, and even an old train station transformed into an art exhibition centre in Mont Tremblant’s quaint cobblestone Pedestrianised Village (sometimes called Resort Village). Located within easy walking distance of the P’tit Train du Nord trail and Lac Mercier beach, must-dos here include browsing in the boutiques and ski shops, stocking up on fresh produce at the Saturday farmer’s market, and stopping off at Rocky Mountain Chocolate to pick up some delicious sugary goodies.
Highlights: Opened in 2009, the Mont Tremblant ski-in-ski-out casino is one of only four casinos in Quebec. Set in the very heart of Versant Soleil, it features 400 slots, three Texas Hold’em tables, 16 gaming tables (roulette, blackjack, and more), and a 29-seater bar. There’s also a large high-rollers section, a seafood grill restaurant, and live music performances on weekends.
Hit the area’s vast number of bike paths
What: Given its location in the Laurentians, Mont Tremblant offers plenty of flat and easy cycling trails (including a load of new paths and repaved roads built in preparation of the Ironman Triathlon in 2013). There’s also over 30 miles of challenging mountain bike trails, all of which are managed by the not-for-profit Velo Mont-Tremblant organisation who are devoted to their upkeep and expansion. All mountain bikers will need a valid pass, available from four Mont Tremblant locations: Station Mont Tremblant on Chemin des Voyageurs, Cybercycle on Chemin du Village, Jo Velo on 745 Rue de St-Jovite, or the tourist kiosk on Montee Ryan.
Highlights: Located in the heart of the Laurentian region, P’tit Train du Nord is the longest trail in Canada. Following an old 20th-century railway line, it offers 142 miles of cycling trails as well as plenty of interesting stop-offs at rivers, lakes, villages, and restored train stations. The trail is not recommended for road bikes, so it's best to rent a mountain bike or hybrid.
Check out the excellent wining and dining scene
What: There’s no shortage of foodie spots in Mont Tremblant’s three villages: Pedestrianised Village, The Old Village, and Downtown (St Jovite). Head to Coco Pazzo for gourmet Italian cuisine, Le Cheval de Jade for CAA/AAA approved French fare. Also try Le Shack for signature burgers and barbeques, La Savoie for phenomenal Swiss-style fondues, sEb L'Artisan Culinaire for spectacular regional offerings, and Crêperie Catherine for a truly delectable selection of crêpes filled with everything from ham and cheese to bananas (you’ll have to queue for ages, but it’s worth the wait).
Highlights: A Mont Tremblant staple for 20 years, the Microbrasserie Saint-Arnould on Rue des Pionniers tempts with a mouth-watering variety of craft beers made on site, a beer museum, and amazing cuisine with beer-based recipes. There’s also a daily happy hour from 4pm to 8pm on weekdays, and a lovely terrace for a nice brew when the weather’s good.
Take a helicopter flight over the Laurentians
What: There’s a few year-round helicopter tour operators in Mont Tremblant, all of which offer flights over the magical Laurentians. Complete with an experienced pilot (usually with over 3,000 hours of logged flight time), you’ll get a window seat, a headset, and a blow-by-blow account of the scenery below. Most companies use a Robinson R44 - a four-seat, singled-engine light air helicopter hailed as this century’s most-produced general aviation aircraft. Most rides allow one pilot and a maximum of two passengers, under-twos are allowed, but they must sit on their parent’s lap and not exceed the weight restriction (600lbs per flight; 300lbs per seat).
Highlights: Choose from a 10-minute flight over the Diable River, Mont Tremblant Village, Laurentian Mountains and Lake Tremblant, a 20-minute flight over the town of Labelle, Iroquois Falls, the Rouge River Valley and Lake Mercier, or a 30-minute light over the forests and the lakes of Mont Tremblant National Park.