Mont Tremblant 3/6-9

Conditions: a little of everything

Hotel: Residence Inn in the village

Headed out Saturday a day ahead of schedule because the forecast for Sunday was sunny, the only sun we'd see. Stayed Saturday night in St. Jerome right off the highway and drove up about an hour to ski Sunday.

Sunday, 3/6: Bluebird day with temps in the 30s. Good snow, but the most crowded I've ever seen a ski area in my 45 years of skiing. 15-20 minute waits in every lift line. Top of mountain looked like the Park St. T stop during rush hour. Even the trees were crowded. We stayed mostly on the Versant Nord, particularly the Edge, as we wanted to do the trees for the first time this year. But I'd never recommend coming here on a weekend. And if you're staying on the way up, drive a little farther than we did and stay in Ste. Agathe. Closer to the mountain and a much nicer town than St. Jerome.

Monday, 3/7: A powder day with around 4" of fresh. Superb snow conditions, but totally fogged in. Couldn't see the next chair on the lift rides up. One time we got off the Soleil lift and couldn't find the lodge at the top for a couple of minutes and it was only about 30 yards away. This made tree skiing mandatory. We made our way to the Edge and spent most of the morning there doing every tree run a couple of times in fresh powder, the best skiing we've done all year. Best glade was Superior, which requires a short hike up just to the right as you get off the lift. Short, fairly tight entry then fairly steep pitch through evergreens before opening up more the rest of the way down. What I liked about the Edge was that you could stay in the trees all the way down to the base. Later went off to sample some other runs, but getting around was difficult in the fog. Best glade was the Tunnel. After that we spent most of the day riding the lower half where the fog wasn't so bad.

Tuesday, 3/8: Today was cloudy, but at least you could see. Much leftover fresh in the woods from yesterday. Sampled the remaining glades like Brasse-Camarade, Bon Vieux Temps, La Jamme and Buzz. Les Bouleaux off the Ryan trail involved a pain-in-the-ass hike to reach, and I wouldn't bother as it wasn't worth the effort. Did many of the groomed runs, but most of them skied pretty much the same. It was nice to ski runs with no ice for a change. After the crowds of Sunday, it was great to be able to ski onto the lifts on the weekdays.

Wednesday, 3/9: Things were wet today after a little rain overnight. The leftover powder in the woods was more of a hindrance than help as it turned to mashed potatoes. Spring conditions. The fog was back, too, although not nearly as bad as Monday. Started out on a great warmup trail, Toboggan. We hit most of the groomers we hadn't done yet on Versant Sud, like Eric Guay and McCullough. Around noon it started to rain. Luckily we were prepared with rain gear and skied in the moderate showers until around 2. I liked the fact that we could ski all the way down to the front door of our hotel.

Overall impressions: Tremblant has a ton of snow compared to Maine, NH and Vt. Should be a good spring there. The village is nice, and you can park your car and forget about driving. Lots of good bars and restaurants and the prices are reasonable. Plus you get the 30% discount with the exchange rate. The ride up was easy, but talking with locals, I would avoid driving back after skiing on weekends as the traffic is epic. Sounds like I-70 in Colorado heading back to Denver. Never had to exchange any currency as everywhere takes credit cards or they will give you the exchange rate if you're paying with US money. If you're limited to weekends, don't come here. The crowds are awful.

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