Mont-Tremblant, Quebec is the consummate wonderland for families looking to slow the pace and reconnect with nature. A four-season holiday destination and resort set within the Laurentian Mountains northwest of Montréal, Tremblant is accessible from the Tri-State area via air or road trip and offers nearly a hundred ski trails, dozens of restaurants and boutiques, 3 spas, and a variety of family-friendly activities from ice skating and dog sledding to beach volleyball and tennis. We began the New Year with an unforgettable family trip to experience Tremblant's magical pedestrian mountain village in all its winter glory. Here are our cold weather recommendations for Mont-Tremblant with kids:
HOW TO GET TO MONT-TREMBLANT
If you're up for a road trip, Mont-Tremblant is approximately 8 hours north. With kids, we recommend the 2-hour+ Air Canada flight to Toronto Pearson from LaGuardia, with a 1-hour+ connecting flight to Mont-Tremblant. We left New York on a Friday morning at 6:15 am and arrived in Mont-Tremblant Village shortly before noon. The chateau-chic wooden airport terminal was a quick reminder we weren't in NYC anymore! There was snow on the runway when we landed and the fairy tale-like surrounding forest was lightly dusted with continuous falling powder. The scenic transfer from the airport to Mont-Tremblant Village takes approximately 45 minutes, depending on the weather. Naturally, we spied deer and horses along our journey. which helped pass the time.
WHERE TO STAY IN MONT-TREMBLANT
There is no shortage of anything in Tremblant, least of all great lodging and hotel options like the Fairmont, Westin Resort & Spa, Marriott Residence Inn, Holiday Inn Express & Suites, and Homewood Suites Hilton, many of which have mountainside addresses. With small children, we opted for a 3-bedroom, 3-bathroom suite to spread out in at Ermitage du Lac at the base of the village. Our suite included a living room/dining room with fireplace, a kitchenette, and 2 balconies. It's a laid back, comfortable option for families and groups with a great breakfast, 24-hour hot chocolate and coffee, outdoor hot tub, and a central location. The Cabriolet, which takes you up to the base of the mountain, is around the corner.
WHAT TO DO IN MONT-TREMBLANT
The best reason to escape to Mont-Tremblant is the sheer number of family-friendly activities to enjoy. A long weekend simply isn't enough! Whether you ski or just snow-shoe, there is something for everyone:
Skiing: Tremblant offers 662 skiable acres across 4 mountain faces, equating to 96 trails and 3 terrain parks. SKI Magazine readers named Tremblant at the top of their list of favorite ski villages in both Canada and across the US for the 18th time, which really speaks to the resort's popularity. Winter weekends are obviously peak time. Our kids put on skis for the very first time for a private, 1.5-hour family lesson. Of course, they have no fear and took to it immediately. Ski rental and valet is very convenient at the base of the mountain and our instructor Frank was patient and knowledgeable. I couldn't have asked for a more positive "first" experience for them. They rode the magic carpet ride up a small hill over and over and learned to wedge their way down and stop. Overall, the experience left them yearning for more and helped build their confidence. We had a trip to Colorado planned a couple of weeks afterward and the easy-going atmosphere prepared them for all-day ski school.
Shopping: Thirty or so specialty boutiques from sporting goods and apparel to jewelry and artwork to toys and specialty foods line the picturesque village of Tremblant. The exchange rate is a bonus for Americans. Among our favorites is Atelier Mont Ts, a husband and wife run interactive shopping experience that allows guests to create and personalize t-shirts. The kids had a blast choosing their shirt designs and drawing on the back. Lucas opted for spin art, while Sebastian decided to free-hand.
While designing T-shirts, Mont-Tremblant's mascot, Toufou popped into the shop to say "Bonjour!" Toufou can be found throughout the village greeting children and posing for photos. Our kids LOVE character experiences so this was a nice and unexpected treat.
Dogsledding Tour: While nearly every aspect of our trip to Tremblant is noteworthy, I would have to put our dogsledding tour with Expédition Wolf at the top of my list. We started our day with an awesome hotel breakfast then met at the Activity Center in the heart of the village for a shuttle. We picked up two more families then left for the Expédition Wolf's campus, which was about a 30+minute scenic drive. I snuggled with this one:
Our first stop was Expédition Wolf's "headquarters" and by headquarters I mean a log cabin complete with a fire, more breakfast, and bathrooms. We received a quick overview of the morning's agenda, then walked across the street to where the more than 200!!! dogs live to help harness and ready them for the ride.
More than half of the dogs at Expédition Wolf are rescues, getting a second chance at life in the mountains. I was blown away by the loving staff that cares for the canines and how they intimately know each dog, his temperament, strengths, and weaknesses. When the dogs saw our group approaching, they began barking and howling with excitement, demonstrating how much they wanted to be chosen for our run.
Adults get to walk each dog from its dog house to the sleds, which is a really fun experience. Dogs are positioned in pairs on the sleds, one male, one female, to avoid fighting. While we had the leashes, the dogs were doing the leading! Once the pairs were harnessed to the sleds, we received instructions on how to drive the sled including braking and commands. I opted to chill with Lucas and have the guides command our sled, which is a more relaxing option and allowed me to take in the entire experience.
It's pure magic riding through the white mountains with these beautiful dogs doing what they do best. After a few miles we stopped at a log cabin in the woods for maple syrup cookies and hot cocoa. It was like a fairy tale.
Leo and I have done some adventurous travel in our time and this dogsledding trip ranks among the most memorable experiences. I'm so happy it's a family-friendly activity that we could enjoy with our children. A photographer captured photos and videos along the way that were available for purchase afterward, along with soup and refreshments. The expeditions book quickly so keep that in mind when planning your own trip to Tremblant! You don't want to miss it!
Aquaclub La Source: Located in the heart of the pedestrian village, Aquaclub La Source has both indoor/outdoor pools and hot tubs, and a fitness center with personal training. If your children like waterparks, they'll love Aquaclub! Sebastian was obsessed with the outdoor hot tub!
Ice Skating: Right outside our hotel by Saint Bernard Chapel is an ice rink with music, lighting, and a crackling fire to warm up to. Guests staying onsite enjoy free skate loans from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m.
WHERE TO EAT IN MONT-TREMBLANT
One of my favorite things about Tremblant is that it's a walking village. There is no need to rent a car and worry about car seats and boosters. Everything is a short walking distance including an abundance of kid-friendly restaurants and après-ski bites.
Casey's Bar & Grill: Our first dining experience in Tremblant after our morning of travel was the laid-back bar and grill, Casey's. There were lots of other families with children, which made us feel right at home, as did the children's menu with a long list of options, the sports memorabilia lining the walls, and hockey games on every t.v. There are après-ski specials in the afternoon with half off appetizers and drink specials. Of course, we had to kick-off our trip with a bowl of poutine to acclimate ourselves!
Pizzateria: Après-ski day two, we warmed up with baked brie and a soup du jour at Pizzateria a short walk from the base of the mountain. Simple pastas & classic pizzas with innovative toppings make Pizzateria a great option for even the pickiest of eaters.
Ô WOK: For a family or intimate night out, we recommend Ô WOK Thai & Chinese. The small, colorfully painted restaurant is decorated with a Southeast Asian decor and the cocktails don't disappoint! While it's gourmet Asian cuisine and not American-style fast-food Chinese food, there is a children's menu with classic favorites. As if on cue, we could see fireworks from the window while we dined!
Le Shack: This casual mountain-side pub is perfect for lunch or après-ski with the kids. Artificial trees poke through the ceiling and you can watch skiers coming down the mountain or extreme skiers on the television screens. Another full menu of kid-friendly options and libations.
Café Johannsen: Honorable mention goes to Café Johannsen, the perfect mountainside pit stop for hot chocolate and cookies!
While ski season is coming to a close, there's still time to book your trip to Tremblant and/or start planning for next winter. The trails are blazing through April and when spring springs, Tremblant offers an entirely different warm-weather itinerary. If you've been waiting for your kids to be mature enough for skiing, Mont-Tremblant is the perfect, family-friendly place to give it a go.
Consideration provided by Mont-Tremblant.