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Mont Tremblant - November 27, 2022 (Opening Weekend)


Matteo C
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After months of anticipation, my 2022-23 ski season had an amazing start at Tremblant! This season, I bought new equipment through my favourite local ski shop, Kunstadt Sports. Additionally, I joined my university ski club, which provided a discount on equipment, as well as half-price lift tickets and transportation to Tremblant! After not skiing any large mountains last season, I was eager to return to Tremblant. I also hoped to finally be able to ski the more difficult runs open, as I had not done so on my last visit due to the differing levels of ski ability in my family. I was quick to sign up for the first bus of the season, which would run on Tremblant’s 4th day of the season. After an early morning bus ride, we pulled into the parking lot. After depositing our gear at the Chalet des Voyageurs, we received our lift tickets, and headed to the gondola.

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At the main base, I met up with my friend and old neighbour from Montreal, who is a new Tremblant pass holder. A record breaking (at least in my books) 16 trails were open on opening weekend, in contrast to the 4 last year! Below is the trail map displaying the runs and lifts open:

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The forecast was warm and partly sunny, with temperatures reaching 6 degrees at the base, and 2 at the summit. After waiting in a non-existent line, we boarded the gondola and were whisked up to the summit.

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Arriving on the summit, we put on our skis and weaved through the horde of people crowding the area. I was initially nervous to see how my new equipment would perform, as I had almost no idea what to expect. I thoroughly enjoyed my Elan Wingman 78 C skis, as well as my Atomic Hawk 110S boots. Being both stable and lightweight, they were an amazing step up from the rental equipment I had grown up using. We started by skiing P’tit Bonheur and Beauchemin Haut on the North side, followed by Alpine/Beauvallon and Nansen on the south side. We chose to lap the upper half of the mountain, as on the south side, the Johansen trail was a narrow band that quickly turned to moguls, and the north side run out trail was relatively flat. This kept us mostly on the Lowell-Thomas and TGV chairlifts, which had lines of 0-3 minutes, rare on a weekend for Tremblant! 
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The snow conditions were amazing for November despite the majority of the snow being man made, the warms temperatures meant slushier, yet still firm, conditions. There was ice on the steeper sections, though it wasn’t as hard as it could have been. The downside to the softer snow was that moguls did form, especially on steep portions, though they were not too intimidating and easy to navigate. We stopped for lunch and enjoyed the views as we ate the overpriced food from the Grand Manitou lodge cafeteria:9A66357F-19A7-4714-9FAC-CA6840882DEB.thumb.jpeg.4133132752479269febb58900cec8923.jpegAfter lunch, we went to ski the only black diamond run open, Taschereau. This run had some amazing views of Lac Tremblant, and wasn’t intimidating. 69F5B2A7-D898-46B7-9B0C-F72EA0779FC5.thumb.jpeg.2bf636b385060d32694961db0078afb2.jpegWe then ventured to the north side base, and made last chair up the Duncan expressD5CF75D9-DB14-4199-AEDB-323B196F912E.thumb.jpeg.b021c1f0bb35dcbd122dc81f02e843c5.jpegOur last few runs were spent on the south side, enjoying the blue cruisers Alpine and Beauvallon-even checking out the terrain park:C91817A9-F3BB-4FE7-BED0-BD84C6A37125.thumb.jpeg.c87fe33f2c2ddb4e0c2727b1553d4b47.jpeg

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77BA5441-9771-4FF9-A488-3DDC092BCA70.jpegAt 3:30pm, the lifts closed, and we made our way down the south side to reach the base village. We took the short green trail Roy Scott to avoid the narrow strip of Johansen that had been covered in large moguls, as no one seemed to even be attempting it! The 'strip' can be seen in the image below: IMG_2347.PNG.db3c6d76adb9f952ee1c277be67ce75c.PNG

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After reaching the base village, we parted ways, and I boarded the bus for the long ride (in the dark) back to Ottawa. Overall, this was an amazing start to my season, and, even as I write this 3 days later, my legs are still sore! I realize we were incredibly fortunate to have had such great conditions, warm weather, and low crowds for this early in the season, and I can’t wait to return in the new year! 

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Looks like it was a great day at Tremblant. Having slopes open from top to bottom on both main sides is great. I remember plenty of times going and only having top to mid mountain open, sometimes only on the North side.

Doesn't look like it was too busy.

Personally I really try to avoid the final bottom pitch on Johanssen as it is always icy or crowded with too many people. I too often will loop around the easy part to avoid that.

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Had the complete opposite experience last saturday, constant 15-30 minute lines, with the gondola line reaching over an hour in wait times in the morning, was overcrowded, prices were hardly reduced making Tremblant somewhat of a ripoff for the experience compared to other Northeast resorts. Cant wait to get back to Mont Ste Marie this weekend, and enjoy no lift lines, having the space on trails to make some nice wide carves, and at 1/3 the price. As someone from Ottawa, Mont Ste Marie, despite having 1/5 the total acreage, has been a godsend the last few seasons for my friends and I since discovering this hidden gem (shhh) , having 80% of the vertical of tremblant with 100% detachable lifts on the main mountains, without bankrupting us from Tremblants lift ticket prices and accommodations. Hopefully with the two hotels planned at mont ste marie (1 under construction), and rumours of a jay peak styled waterpark at the main base, will make Mont Ste Marie more financially viable, and expand onto the backside around the Sudderman run, and truly challenge tremblant (whose monopoly on the western quebec market has led to its decreasing quality and experience at their resort) and drive prices down at tremblant due to increased competition. Skiers at both Tremblant and Mont Ste Marie would really benefit from the crowds being dispersed between the resorts. Such a shame intrawest didnt develop Mont Ste Marie to the extend of Tremblant, because the market in Ottawa could easily financially support a destination resort only an hour away. Plus, Mont Ste Marie is much more accommodating and welcoming to non french speakers and immigrants, unlike Tremblant 

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@QuebecsnowboarderThat's what I heard-it was crazy busy on Saturday, but for some reason much quieter on Sunday. The last time I visited tremblant in March 202I, I was extremely unhappy after paying such a high price for a ticket on a weekday only to find out it was a pet day and wait 30+ minutes every lift! If it wasn't for a 50$ lift ticket through my ski club, I wouldn't have been there! I have been wanting to go to MSM for 2 ski seasons now, and hope to ski there a ton this season. I have a feeling its big vertical, low crowds, and fast lifts will make it my new favourite mountain! As for development, it is simply too far from Ottawa to become a destination resort. Calabogie peaks had also made plans to develop a Tremblant-style base village/resort, though quite frankly I think these are just pipe dreams, and will never fully materialize. I would love some hotels near MSM, but I don't expect a waterpark. As for the run expansion, that was something I have already looked into on google maps in the past! As for accomodation, I think that Tremblant can be much more accomodating to English speakers than certain areas of Quebec and Montreal (I say this as a former english speaker who spent most of his life in montreal!), but it is still more French-speaking than the MSM area. Lastly, you mentioned MSM competing with Tremblant. Unfortunately, I don't think it is possible. Don't get me wrong, MSM looks like an insane ski hill with some really cool runs (Dustin Cook looks awesome), though it doesn't have the vertical or ease of access (one hour of winding single lane road to reach it) that Tremblant has. Additionally, I have heard many comments about Mont St Marie's runs being either too flat or too steep, with not much in between, which isn't the msot appealing. If you were to pull up google maps, you can see that both the Vanier and Cheval Blanc sides have portions of extreme flatness, as well as steep sections suited only for advanced skiers (I attached a google maps image to try to explain my point).

Google Maps.pdf My apologies for writing so much, I guess I enjoy talking about ski hill geography and expansion plans;)

 

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Sweet report Matteo. Love the pics. I have been to Tremblant in the summer but never skied it. For what I've been seeing for regular rates this season, it's a no go for me unfortunately. Glad you got off to a good start for the season! At least they had a variety of trails to ski on. Looks like I'll have to wait a bit for a hole in my schedule to get first runs. At least the skis are back from the shop and ready to go!

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As I said in the other comment replies, Tremblant is insanely expensive. A peak holiday season adult ticket can probably cost near 170 with tax, which is the price I'm paying for three months of night skiing at Camp Fortune! The thing is, all major resorts have been upping lift ticket prices to encourage pass-buying. If a 1000 dollar Epic or Ikon pass gives unlimited access to resorts all around the globe that would usually cost 200$ per day, it is worth the money, as it gets 'paid off' in 5 visits. HOWEVER, I would NEVER spend over 1000 dollars on a ski pass in the first place!

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This looks like a pretty fantastic opening day @Matteo C! I usually reserve my Tremblant days for the spring, but skied the first 14 days straight of Saint-Sauveur (Nov 17-29....30 was a wind/rain day). I must admit I've been a big slacker in writing about it however. I really enjoyed reading about your day and it's great to see the trip busses are up and running again!

You're right that many of the bigger resorts, even in Quebec, are upping the passes and particularly day ticket pricing. The holdouts I recommend are Orford, Sutton and Owl's Head where I spent a lot of time last season. Still super affordable and lots of great trails and something for everyone. Like steeps and groomers? Hit Orford! Love glades? Sutton is the place! Owl's Head for the view and the slow like molasses Panorama Chair ride. I suppose I can add Bromont to the list but I think of Bromont as more of a night skiing spot as I have a pass there and since I've been there often it's not new and exciting anymore. But yeah, Tremblant pricing these days...ick.

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@Ocean Wow Orford's 55$ student ticket and 75$ adult ticket is way cheaper than I imagined, considering its Quebec's 4th tallest ski hill! 14 days in a row is insane, I would have gotten so tired and sore by day 4! I would love to see some trip reports from Sauver or Bromont this season, the latter seems like an interesting mountain, obviously not as charming as Owls Head or Sutton, but the sheer number of night skiing trails they have open is mind blowing (most night skiing terrain in North America I think!)

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