Is it Worth Day Tripping to Ski at Mont Tremblant, Quebec from Ottawa, Canada?
Mont Tremblant Ski Resort is known for being one of Eastern North America’s largest ski resorts with a great deal of vertical feet elevation. It’s located about one hundred. and fifty kilometres from Ottawa. I would end up extending my business travel week by adding a personal day at the end of it to take in a day of skiing at the resort. Would this end up being a wise decision given the distance required to get to the ski area?
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Activity: Is it Worth Day Tripping to Ski at Mont Tremblant Quebec, from Ottawa, Canada?
As a frequent visitor to our nation’s capital of Ottawa, Canada, I’ve often wondered if it was worthwhile to take a day at the end of the work week, and tag on an extra ski day over the weekend. In this post, I’ll go over my experience trying to accomplish this on a recent trip.
Planning a Visit to Mont Tremblant:
The Ski Resort of Mont Tremblant is located approximately one hour and forty minutes drive away from Ottawa, Ontario. The province of Quebec has a winter tires law that all vehicles should have winter tires installed on them during winter months. Unfortunately, my issued rental car did not have winters tyres installed so I felt a little suspect driving through the province of Quebec with a non road legal vehicle.
While there is a Mont Tremblant airport, the nearest airport is the Kelowna International Airport (Airport Code: YTM), it is seasonally served by Air Canada Express and Porter Airlines. The next nearest alternative is Montreal International Airport (Airport Code: YUL). With no air service between Ottawa and Tremblant, the only option for me was to drive.
Getting to Mont Tremblant:
I set off from the Ottawa Marriott Hotel towards Mont Tremblant by rental car. The city had just received a massive fifteen centimetre dump of snow the night before. This was one of those snow dumps which didn’t have signs that it was coming the night before; as it was complete “dry in the sky” before I went to bed. Needless to say, it was a little slow going on the roads.
I eventually located the highway exit for Mont Tremblant on the secondary Quebec highway 323. Unfortunately, the highway itself was closed for a car accident, and I had to route around on highway 325 in order to bypass a truck that had slid off the road and into a ditch.
The driving conditions were pretty blustery. While google maps promised a travel time of one hour and forty five minutes, the journey ended up being approximately two hours and forty five minutes as a result of the weather conditions and the car accident road closure.
Eventually, I arrived to Mont Tremblant at about 10:30 AM. I was relegated to the far parking lot of Tremblant P3 since all others had filled up with morning skiers. I had hoped to get there a little earlier, but there wasn’t much I could do about the road conditions or car accidents.
Arriving to Mont Tremblant:
After taking a short shuttle bus to the main lower lodge, I headed inside to collect and print a lift ticket. As can be guessed, it was a cold day in Eastern Canada with temperatures around -12 Celcius.
I took the short cabriolet gondola up to the upper village where I could join the lines for the main Tremblant Télécabine Express (Gondola). It was a snowy morning having just had the same dump of snow in Ottawa, so things were looking a little grey.
My ticket was scanned without any issue. Since I was travelling as a single, I was able to gain access to the singles line which allowed me to bypass this large queue.
Skiing Mont Tremblant:
With Mont Tremblant being a single lift mountain, it was pretty quick to get up to the top. I got off the Télécabine Express Gondola, and there we were; a whole 875m or 2,871 feet of elevation above sea level.
Starting the day on Versant Soleil:
The day started off with blistery windy and stormy conditions with the weather system just finishing for the day. Needless to say, this made for some great powdery skiing. It wasn’t hard to find some terrain that had decent snow on it.
I started off on Versant Soleil, which wasn’t very sunny despite it’s name.
Skiing Versant Nord:
As the day rolled on, the weather started to break. I later explored Versant Nord, which was it’s own ski area almost in itself. I’d later find a separate parking lot and series of lifts over on this colder side.
The grin from my face represented the grin of cold temperatures down to about -15 degrees Celcius. It was definitely some hearty conditions for skiing.
I was also able to locate some gladed skiing. Skiing in Eastern Canada often offers gladed skiing which is a unique experience of skiing through thinned out trees. It’s terrific during powder days, and can often be used as a great against wind. It was pretty packed out by the time I got there, however.
Lunch Break – Doubling Down on Poutine:
While Quebec is known for it’s gastronomie cuisine, I wasn’t sure what I might expect to find for lunch. Since it was freezing cold, I was hoping for something that might warm me up. That dish ended up being a serving of French Poutine; a dish of cheese curds and gravy over fries.
It was truly terrific and just the snack I needed to warm up and get going again.
I spend the last of the day on Versant Sud, or the south side. As the day wound down to the end at 4 PM, I enjoyed Lac Tremblant views as I explored this side of the mountain.
With the skies now clear, it made for pleasant views over the Mont Tremblant pedestrian village where I had started the day earlier.
Mont Tremblant had more than enough to keep me satisfied for a few days worth of skiing. I’m not sure how I’d fare if I spent a whole week here, but for a day or two, and with the addition of fresh new snow, there was more than enough to explore.
Exploring Mont Tremblant after the day:
After the day’s worth of turns, instead of taking the Cabriolet Gondola back down to the bus loop, and bypassing all the shops, I opted to walk down through Mont Tremblant village.
I saw a few people walking through the village, but most had already ditched their skis at their hotel rooms. The village represented their best attempts at a European styled resort, with pedestrian only streets along with a few retail and restaurant outlets.
It was a pretty good representation of a European village. If I were staying for longer, I’d probably enjoy a little exploration through the village.
I ended up bussing back to the car in distant parking lot P3, and self driving back to the Ottawa Marriott Hotel. My return journey took about 2 hours, which was much better than my almost three hour drive in.
Was it Worth Driving into Mont Tremblant for a day?
This question on whether it was worth driving into Mont Tremblant for the day is one that I happen to still struggle with. Having Whistler / Blackcomb Mountain about two hours from my house makes for great skiing in my home backyard. It seriously colours my decision making ability when great skiing is available almost at your home doorsteps.
Firstly, I was expecting the drive to be about one hour and forty minutes. That drive, thanks to terrible snow conditions, and avoidance of closed roads due to car accidents, ended up being almost three hours. The fact that I didn’t have a rental car with street legal winter tires, also made the day a little more worrisome than it needed to be.
Despite the long drive in, which ended up being without incident, the skiing was pretty reasonable. There was more than enough terrain to make it worth a one and a half hour drive. I’m just not sure whether it was worth a three hour drive.
I don’t know that I’d be in a rush to complete this trek again on my next winter visit to Ottawa. I think I’ve chalked this up in to the book of experiences having done this.
Summary: Trekking to Mont Tremblant from Ottawa
It was a bit of a longer trek than expected from Ottawa to Mont Tremblant for the day.
While I’d feel the need to do this if I lived in Ottawa and needed to get my downhill skiing fix on, I’m not so sure that I would do this on a regular basis as a visitor to Ottawa looking to extend a business ski week.
As a hard core skier like me that’s always looking for winter turns, you’re not likely to be disappointed with trying out Mont Tremblant out for a day. You just might not be in a rush the next time around.