a peek inside the fishbowl

01 Jan, 2017

A family visit to Tremblant, part one (accommodations, snowshoeing, a bear)

Posted by andrea tomkins in: travel talk

I have soooo much to write about! If you follow me on Instagram you might already know that we went on a short family holiday right after Christmas. It was our Christmas gift to ourselves. This meant way fewer gifts under the tree but I am so happy we took this route. There were a few little bumps in the road, but overall, it was a lovely little family getaway.

We booked three nights at a place called Cap Tremblant. (If you’re looking for rental accommodations in the Tremblant area you can check out their website here.) The accommodations were ok. The condo we rented was clean, spacious, quiet, and with a view of the mountain, although if you’re looking for modern furnishings/decor/appliances you might be disappointed. Think: cheapest possible coffee maker, toaster, comforter, toilet paper, soap, etc. On the plus side, it’s only a 15 minute drive from Tremblant village and the free resort shuttle makes it all pretty easy.

The plan was to zero in on a few wintry activities while we were there. First up, snowshoeing, but due to some serious confusion we didn’t actually end up with snowshoes. It’s a long story, but I will summarize by saying that Tremblant staff at the equipment rental place at the base of the village told us that they didn’t rent snowshoes and that we had to get them at the OTHER place at the top of the village, near the base of the mountain. The people there told us the exact opposite.

Our plan was to buy a pedestrian lift pass, rent snowshoes, take the gondola to the summit and check out the trail up there. Easy, right? Er, apparently not.

I eventually asked a staffer in the ski rental area if we could hike the trail in our boots. Given the recent weather, I thought the trail might be hard packed. He agreed, and we finally went on our way.

It was with some degree of trepidation that we made our way to the line up for the lift. What if we got all the way up there, only to find that we needed snowshoes after all?

We waited in line for about 20-25 minutes, boarded the lift, and a short time later, found ourselves at the top of Mt. Tremblant. We’d spent a good chunk of the day trying to figure out the blasted snowshoe rental and it was almost lunchtime. Thankfully, we decided to refuel before setting out. There is a restaurant at the summit – it’s more like a cafeteria – and it was very busy. We grabbed some food and ate upstairs. (I opted for the poutine.)

And THEN, it was finally time to set out.

I have done the summit snowshoe adventure before, on a trip with Ford Canada, and loved it so much I had to come back with my family. This previous visit is what saved our bacon because I was able to tell my family, somewhat convincingly, that we were INDEED GOING THE RIGHT WAY. You see, if you are planning on hiking or snowshoeing the trail and have never been there, you probably won’t really know where to go at first. If you’re lucky you’ve grabbed one of their mountain maps, which gives you a rough idea. I will say this: You need to walk alongside the downhill ski trails until you reach the start of the snowshoe trail, which may be obscured by snow and tree branches which are weighed down by snow and ice.

We trudged along, sticking to the sides as much as we could, hoping not to be knocked over by skiers, feeling a little lost because there were no clear markings (e.g. “LE SUMMIT TRAIL ICI.”) We were also on the receiving end of a few looks, to say the least. We eventually found the beginning of the trail. It was only 10-15 minutes away from the summit. The entrance was a bit downhill, off the beaten path of the skiers, so we slid down between the trees and entered a whole different world of silence and snow. It was, in a word, amazing.

Winter hike at the summit, Mt. Tremblant

Winter hike at the summit, Mt. Tremblant

Winter hike at the summit, Mt. Tremblant

I felt like we were walking in a snow globe, or a story, or a dream. It was so quiet and still.

We walked, and walked, only occasionally sinking into the snow up to our knees if we strayed off the path. We passed a few other brave souls, but we were largely alone in this winter wonderland.

Tremblant summit hike

Summit hike, Mt. Tremblant

Tremblant summit hike

There are three lookouts along this route. We made it to the first one. It’s the top of another set of runs at Tremblant, and was closed due to the condition of the hill. It was strange to be so alone in a place that is normally so full of life.

At the Pic Edge lookout, Tremblant summit hike

At the Pic Edge lookout, Tremblant summit hike

At the Pic Edge lookout, Tremblant summit hike

We put it to a vote and decided to forge ahead to the next one. In hindsight, this proved to be a tactical error as fatigue soon began to set in and we knew that we needed enough energy to carry ourselves all the way back.

Just before we were about to turn back I retrieved a package of fudge from my backpack that Mark’s mom had given us. I was eating it quite happily, slowly regaining some energy, when I realized that we were being watched. My eyes followed the trail ahead of us and stopped on a hulking black shape that was giving us an evil staredown. It was furry. Large. Four legged.

What did I say out loud? I am not sure. I know I said something, and it wasn’t G-rated, but I do remember my only thought:

A. Bear.

I didn’t even have time to think more than that before I realized it was actually a very large dog and the owners were scurrying up behind it to snap on a leash. Sigh.

(You’d better believe that the story of The Day Mum Saw The Bear will live on in my family’s history, forever.)

On our way back we realized how weary we had grown and were glad we turned back when we did. The worst part of the whole experience was walking BACK to the summit along the ski trails. It was mostly uphill, somewhat icy, and once again we found ourselves being narrowly missed by double-diamond calibre skiers because there was no safe designated pedestrian route marked out for people like us. Oh well. We survived.

We were one of the only people taking the gondola down, which was nice. We disembarked, and treated ourselves to coffee and hot chocolate in the village.

Despite the initial confusion, the faux bear sighting and related heart attack, the tired feet, I highly recommend checking out this trail if you’re visiting Tremblant. Do study a snowshoeing trail map beforehand! Better yet, bring one on your phone or tuck a paper copy in your pocket. Maybe bring your own snowshoes if you have them or call ahead to confirm EXACTLY where you can rent them. We still don’t actually know. :)

Next up: a bit about our attempt to ski. Plus more wildlife!

p.s. don’t miss the New Year’s giveaway I’m hosting right now with terra20!

3 Responses to "A family visit to Tremblant, part one (accommodations, snowshoeing, a bear)"

1 | a peek inside the fishbowl » Blog Archive Our family visit to Tremblant, part two (We skied and survived!) - a peek inside the fishbowl

January 4th, 2017 at 1:24 pm


[…] my previous blog post, I wrote about our attempt at snowshoeing during our trip to Tremblant, which turned out ok […]

2 | Karen

January 5th, 2017 at 9:54 pm


I just had a thought. Next time you are in Tremblant, go snow shoeing at the Domaine Saint-Bernard. It is about 8 kms from the hotel you stayed at. They have walking trails, cross country trails and snowshoe trails ( that don’t cross downhill trails)

I go regularly with my crew ( 15,8,6 and 3) and we always enjoy it.

3 | a peek inside the fishbowl » Blog Archive Christmas 2017 recap - a peek inside the fishbowl

December 30th, 2017 at 9:01 am


[…] past years we’ve gone to Tremblant and Chateau Montebello. This year, the eldest came home from school and we stayed closer to home. […]

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