a peek inside the fishbowl

04 Jan, 2017

Our family visit to Tremblant, part two (We skied and survived!)

Posted by andrea tomkins in: travel talk

Way back when the kids were Very Small we had to make some big decisions. Cloth or disposable? Co-sleeping or crib? Playmobil or Lego? Downhill or cross country? ;)

I felt very strongly that the family who is sporty together, stays together. I pictured our little family on our bikes in the summer, hiking, and going on camping trips. In the winter, we’d skate and toboggan. And then there was the question of skiing. I enjoyed both cross-country and downhill skiing, but was slightly better at the former. So was Mark. And although there’s no rule you should only do one or the other I felt like it might be a good idea to focus on one, especially since there are only so many “good” weekends in the winter (which is ironic because there are actually quite a few cold months of the year). So we opted for cross-country.

When the girls were small we rented equipment for them every winter. It wasn’t until they stopped growing that we bought them skis outright.

Once you have the equipment it’s practically free. As an added bonus, there’s no need to commit a whole day to the sport. We’re lucky, here in Ottawa, that it’s easy to pop out for a quick ski and come back home in a reasonable span of time.

Over the past few years we’ve been going cross-country skiing as often as we can. We’re getting better and discovering some good trails around Ottawa BUT it also means that we’ve been downhill skiing only a handful of times.

In my previous blog post, I wrote about our attempt at snowshoeing during our trip to Tremblant, which turned out ok despite a bit of a shaky start. Next on our winter activity list was downhill skiing. Even though cross-country was more our speed, I felt like we couldn’t go to Tremblant and NOT ski. So we bought lift passes and equipment rental for the four of us, just for the day.

Pro tip: I strongly recommend renting skis online if you can but what we did worked too. We were in Tremblant village for dinner and swung by the rental shop afterward to rent our equipment the night before we were planning to hit the slopes. There were not many people looking to rent at all, and the staff were able to take their time with us and not rush through our fittings. Woot!

The last time I skied at Tremblant was about 20 (!) years ago. Mark and I were dating and drove up for the day. I remember it so clearly. It was one of those picture-perfect, sunny ski days. One of the restaurants in the village had also set up an outdoor grill and after a day of skiing we bought a burger and ate it outside. It was heavenly.

Fast forward to 2016. The ski conditions during our visit were far from perfect – windy, icy, snowy –  but we forged ahead anyway. If you’ve ever skied at Tremblant you know that it has lovely beginner runs. Mark took the youngest to the summit. I stuck with our oldest and took the “Flying Mile” lift partway up to ski from the halfway point. Part of me wishes that we’d taken a bit of a refresher lesson but we weren’t quite organized enough to think of it ahead of time.

The Flying Mile is an open lift that seats four in a row. The wind was so brutal we had to tuck our faces inside our scarves. Getting OFF the lift was a minor miracle because the wind was blowing so hard that I didn’t think I’d be able to hoist myself off the seat in time. Only one person, who shall remain nameless, lost her balance (and a ski) at this point but Tremblant staffers were there to save the day.

We squeezed in some runs before the elements got the better of us. I took about four photos because it was so unpleasant to stop and pull out my camera. Here are two:

Frozen Andrea

Ski day at Tremblant

I would have liked to spend more time skiing but the weather really wasn’t cooperating. Oh well.

Afterwards, we dined at the Bullseye Saloon et Grillade at the base of the mountain. I had an excellent clam chowder and the nachos were also stellar. All in all, it was a very satisfying day.

Next up: the final and best wildlife sighting of our trip!

3 Responses to "Our family visit to Tremblant, part two (We skied and survived!)"

1 | Misty Pratt

January 4th, 2017 at 4:00 pm


I feel the same way about our family – I have a dream of reserving one day each weekend for skiing, and getting a family pass every winter. After our trip to Tremblant two years ago, both my husband and my oldest caught the downhill ski bug. I’m still partial to cross-country, but when we attempted that there were A LOT of tears. We’re still at the stage that we can’t all go together (my 4 year-old was NOT happy trying downhill the other weekend) but I will keep persisting :)

And for the nameless person who lost her balance and ski on the chair lift, I did pretty much the same thing on that lift, but also took out a teenage snowboarder in the process. It was only slightly embarrassing ;)

2 | andrea tomkins

January 7th, 2017 at 9:30 am


Persistence is key! I also found it helpful to give kids a goal: whether it’s a special destination, a lunch, or a thermos of hot chocolate. Makes it all a little smoother. :)

3 | XC > DH

January 10th, 2017 at 2:58 pm


Andrea said: I felt like we couldn’t go to Tremblant and NOT ski.

XC is skiing. And it wayyy better than downhill. And the XC at Tremblant is fantastic. Just sayin’.

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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human offspring: Emma (23) and Sarah (21). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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