The Mont-Tremblant ski resort (www.tremblant.ca) draws the biggest downhill crowds in the Laurentians and is repeatedly ranked as the top ski resort in eastern North America by Ski Magazine. Founded in 1939 by a Philadelphia millionaire named Joe Ryan, it's one of the oldest in North America. It pioneered creating trails on both sides of a mountain and was the second mountain in the world to install a chairlift. The vertical drop is 645m (2,116 ft.).
When the snow is deep, skiers here like to follow the sun around the mountain, making the run down slopes with an eastern exposure in the morning and down the western-facing ones in the afternoon. There are higher mountains with longer runs and steeper pitches, but something about Mont-Tremblant compels people to return time and again. The resort has snowmaking capability to cover almost three-quarters of its skiable terrain (265 hectares/655 acres). Of its 95 downhill runs and trails, half are expert terrain, about a third are intermediate, and the rest beginner. The longest trail, Nansen, is 6km (3 3/4 miles).
There is plenty of cross-country action in the Mont-Tremblant area. Parc National du Mont-Tremblant boasts 10 loops (53km/33 miles) of groomed track in the Diable sector, including 12km (7 1/2 miles) for skate skiing. The Pimbina sector is designated exclusively for snowshoeing and backcountry skiing. Visit www.sepaq.com to locate visitor centers and information kiosks, or to check availability of the sector's five new yurts, which sleep four in any season. Many enthusiasts maintain that some of the best cross-country trails are on the grounds of Domaine Saint-Bernard, formerly a congregation of the Brothers of Christian Instruction and now managed by a land trust located at 545 chemin St-Bernard (tel. 819/425-3588; www.domainesaintbernard.org). It's also not uncommon for hotels, especially those adjacent to golf courses, to also have trails leading directly from their property.
Additional Snow Sports
Curling, ice climbing, ice fishing, ice skating, dog sledding, tubing, snowmobiling, and acrobranche -- a series of zip lines that allow you to swing from tree to tree at heights exceeding 22m (72 ft.) -- are also available in the Mont-Tremblant region. For a truly unique aerial view, try acrobranche at night; make reservations through the Tremblant Activity Centre (tel. 819/681-4848; www.tremblantactivities.com).
In warm weather, watersports are almost as popular as the ski slopes are in winter, thanks to the opportunities surrounding the base of Mont-Tremblant. They include Lac Tremblant, a gorgeous stretch of lake, and another dozen lakes, as well as rivers and streams, many of which are accessible through Parc National du Mont-Tremblant (www.sepaq.com), along with 82km (51 miles) of hiking trails.
From June until October, Croisières Mont-Tremblant, 2810 chemin du Village (tel. 819/425-1045; www.croisierestremblant.com), offers a 60-minute narrated cruise of Lac Tremblant, focusing on its history, nature, and legends. Fares are C$18 for adults, C$15 for seniors, C$5 for children ages 6 to 15, and free for children 5 and younger.
Centre Nautique Pierre Plouffe Tremblant, 2900 chemin du Village (tel. 888/681-5634 or 819/681-5634; www.tremblantnautique.com), has a wide array of boats for hire, as well as waterskiing and wakeboarding lessons.
About 30 campgrounds dot the Laurentians. Some operate through national or regional parks, while some are privately run. Tourisme Laurentides (www.laurentians.com) has an online directory with services listed for each campground. Keep in mind the cabins and recently added yurts in the national park, available year-round.
Canoeing & Kayaking
Guided and self-guided trips along the Diable or Rogue rivers can be planned through the Tremblant Activity Centre on Place Saint-Bernard in the pedestrian village (tel. 888/736-2526 or 819/681-4848; www.tremblantactivities.com). Reservations are required. Maps and guides are also available through the Fédération québécoise du canot et du kayak (tel. 514/252-3001; www.canot-kayak.qc.ca).
One could golf a fresh 18 holes every day for a month in this region. Options include the renowned Le Diable and Le Géant courses, which are operated by the Tremblant ski resort. Le Diable ("the Devil") is the trickier, more challenging course, whereas Le Géant is described en anglais as the "gentler giant." Virtual tours and aerial shots can be found at www.tremblant.ca/golf.
About 10 minutes from the mountain, Le Ranch de la Rivière Rouge, 3377 chemin du Moulin, Labelle (tel. 819/686-2280; www.ranchdelariviererouge.com), leads year-round horseback experiences for persons of all ages and skill levels.
You'll be hard-pressed to travel throughout this region without passing by one of more than a dozen public beaches -- in fact, it may be difficult not to stop and take a dip! Crémaillère beach and Lac-Provost beach, in Parc National du Mont-Tremblant (www.sepaq.com), both have lifeguards and bathrooms.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.