When the temperature falls and the snow piles up, many people immediately think of booking a trip south to warmer climates. But cold weather vacations can be fun too. For the ski bum in all of us, there’s nothing better than seeing a huge snowfall coming down on our favorite ski hill.
When we want to ski, the two of us don’t always hop a flight to the likes of Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, or British Columbia. The East Coast ski scene is great, too, and here are a few of our picks for hitting the slopes just outside of the Canadian city of Montreal.
Probably the most famous ski hill in Quebec, Mont Tremblant is the biggest and most developed. People come here just as much for the village nightlife as they do for its excellent skiing. With 654 acres of terrain and 95 trails, there’s skiing for people of all skill levels. Mont Tremblant has four distinct slopes, letting people spread out and break free from the crowds. Because of one gondola, eight chair lifts and a magic carpet, the area can accommodate more than 27,000 skiers per hour. If you are like Dave and me, you’ll want the maximum amount of time on the slopes, and this is where you’ll get it.
Chillin’ at Tremblant
If you’re like us, you also look forward to enjoying Après-ski just as much as carving the hills themselves. Mont Tremblant really does have the ultimate Après Ski culture. The village is located directly at the bottom of the hill, and once you are done for the night you can choose from dozens of bars restaurants and bistros. We like to stay right on the mountain at the Fairmont Tremblant or the Le Westin Resort & Spa. There’s nothing like skiing in and skiing out to maximize fun on the slopes and in the village. Our favorite part of the village beside the cuisine: the people mover, of course. This is a mini-gondola that transports you from the lower village to the upper village. You don’t even need to break a sweat to see it all.
I love this place because it makes me fantasize that I’m skiing in France. Located just 75 minutes outside of Montreal, this is where the locals go for great value. It has the second highest mountain in the area and the best variety of ski terrain in Quebec. It’s a great alternative to its more famous neighbor, Mont Tremblant, with more affordable rates. Mont Blanc also has all the amenities needed for a great family vacation. There’s a variety of lodging here, including condominiums, chalets, and hotel rooms.
Viewfinder Tip: Take advantage of free mountain tours at most ski hills when you arrive to get oriented.
What we love most is the skiing. With 41 trails ranging from expert to beginner, it, too, has something for everyone. We first explored Mont Blanc when visiting Tremblant, it’s only 10 minutes away and is great to have a choice of ski resorts in the vicinity.
If you like night skiing, you’ll love Mont Bromont. It has the largest lit ski area in all of North America. It’s also the closest ski hill to Montreal. Located only 45 minutes away, it’s a great place for a quick getaway after work or for an easy day trip during your visit to the city. With six snow parks, the area is a great place to learn how to freestyle. Mont Bromont has different parks for all levels of difficulty giving newbies a chance to hone their skills.
Taking a break at Mont Blanc
One cannot mention skiing in Quebec without mentioning St. Sauver. It’s considered the home of Quebec’s ski industry, which started it all way back in 1934 when the first ski lift was installed. It also is the spot where cool Montrealers go. How do we know this? Well, we went with our cool pals who are from Montreal. (If they go, it must be cool.) Located only an hour from the city, it’s yet another ski hill that claims to have the largest lit skiable area in the world. It also boasts eight lifts and 38 runs—a good size for a local ski hill. State-of-the-art snow making equipment allows St. Sauver to boast one of Quebec’s longest ski seasons at 160 days.
There are so many ski destinations in the Laurentian Mountains outside of Montreal that the region is a ski-lover’s playground that attracts people from all over the world. You can fly direct to the Laurentians from hubs such as Toronto, or you can fly to Montreal from anywhere and catch one of the shuttles out of the city.
Where is your favorite ski resort?