“It’s not a life skill,” said my eight-year-old when we told him that he’d be in ski school on the first day of our family ski trip to Tremblant, one of Quebec’s biggest ski resorts located about an hour drive north of Montreal (six hours from Toronto by car.) Truth was he just wanted to ski with us – together as a family.
Yep, family travel is more about experiencing new things together as a family than actually vacationing in the kick-back-and-relax sense of the word. But parents already know that.
Sure it’s a lot of work but it is worth every effort when you find yourself nestled in a picturesque snowy ski village in the beautiful Laurentian countryside enjoying the outdoors on and off the slopes, speaking (or trying to speak) French and taking in the après-ski with rosy-cheeked and exhausted kids.
This year we took a ‘break’ during March Break at Tremblant with two very beginner skiers in TOw and zero expectations on whether we’d become full-fledged ‘ski family.’ What we learned was that Tremblant is the perfect destination for families to gather and embrace the great outdoors – even off the slopes. And there is a lot to love when you take up an activity together – everyone is active, outdoors and spending time together (minus the hours the kids are in ski lessons. By the way, in the end, he loved his lessons!)
Here are some ways to make your ski vacay to Tremblant smooth and memorable:
Where to stay: The easiest way to access the slopes and all of Tremblant’s amenities and activities is to stay in the Pedestrian Village. There are hotels and rentals and so many are mere steps from the slopes, overlooking the hills. It’s pretty magical. That said, there are lots of rentals off-resort. Parking is ample in the village if you drive in for a day of skiing.
Trip tip: Those who stay in the village have access to “First Tracks” free of charge. That means they can hit the slopes first before other skiers.
Where to eat: We didn’t try all the restaurants but those we did were quite good for a family meal. Kid menus and poutine are plentiful. My guys enjoyed La Microbrasserie and Le Snack (photo below). During a busy period, there will be line-ups so try to head earlier. Or, go fast(er) food with a trip to St-Hubert (photo below.) It was so quiet the evening we were there.
Trip tip: If you stay in a hotel room, eating out will be your go-to. Get a hotel that has breakfast included. Most restaurants in the village open at 8 a.m. and really that just adds time and expense to your day.
For one of the most economical breakfasts or lunches, head to the base of Tremblant Village to the Chalet des Voyageurs (see photo below.) Breakfast is served at 7:30 am. When we ate there, it was pretty much just us and the locals.
Where to ski: There are 96 runs at Tremblant serviced by a Gondola and lots of chair lifts on the south and north side. There are areas just for beginners. Ski school starts out at a mini bunny hill with a ‘tapis magique’. Next up, just next to the Gondola is a chairlift that leads to some green runs with an adventure and play zone for kids 3-12 years old, three beginner areas with two safe and secure zones for learning. The Tam-Tam trail (via Nansen Bas) has kid-friendly obstacles and eight animal sculptures. See the full ski trail map here or check out the webcam.
Trip tip: Season Passes for 2018/2019 are on sale now – best deal if you buy before April 20, 2018.
Ski school: There are full day group kids and adult lessons. For full-day lessons, hot meals are included.
Trip tip: Book in advance (you can cancel without charge 72 hours before.)
Non-skiers and non -ski days: Fat biking, snowshoing, dog-sledding, skating to name a few. You can also go up the Gondola to Le Sommet on foot. There is a small water park (pool, tarzan rope and outdoor hot tub) at the Aquaclub La Source. Night tubing from 6-8 pm. There is also a snow tube hill a 15 minute drive away. Feeling less active – cozy up to a campfire in the main square or make your own t-shirts at the T Bar.
Trip tip: During March Break there was “La Tire” sugar shack set up slope side.
Any other tips? Please leave a comment!