We arrived Friday evening to the Cap Tremblant, which is a fantastic condo/timeshare resort in the (actual) village, with most units offering a fantastic view of the south side of Tremblant. After a quick trip to the adults only hot tub, we took advantage of the condo kitchen to do make BBQ chicken with homemade Guinness BBQ sauce, and to prepare pizza sauce for Saturday's dinner. The Cap Tremblant units also offer BBQs, but it was far too cold to light one up this time around. This was to be a bit more of a low key trip, since on Saturday we'd be joined by my friend and her nine year old daughter, who are beginner to intermediate level. They ski Cascades frequently so Tremblant is a much more involved experience for them. So I planned to keep things easy Saturday, and then ski Expo on Sunday.
I had promised my friends a spring skiing experience, which usually involves blue skies, warm weather and slush bumps, but such was not to be. It was cold enough to need at least a few layers and a good scarf and goggles. And unfortunately conditions were not great (in fact it sounds like conditions were better at Sommet Sauveur that day!). It was overall pretty scrapey with tolerable coverage on the P'Tit Bonheur (but still easy to go pretty fast comfortably), with the Beauchemin having really thin cover, and Duncan being entirely unbearable and bald as can be. Every skier I saw passing under the chairlift was scraping down that one slowly. Lowell Thomas was closed of course, because of the replacement of its namesake chair. All of this might account for there being absolutely no lineups at the Duncan chair, so that was a plus. Upside: There was a huge and very loud party in the peak lodge, with djs playing something for everyone, and around the mountain there was maple taffy and cotton candy being made! At the end of the day I took Beauvallon back down the mountain, having heard that the Kandahar side was a disaster. It too, was pretty bald and the blowing wind didn't really make it any more fun. We had a nice time, but they definitely didn't ski as much as they would have liked due to the conditions.
We capped off the evening with homemade pizza and some time in the family friendly hot tub at the Cap Tremblant, and as the temps dropped I pondered how I would spend my Sunday. Having already used my Latitude days, I was thinking about skiing elsewhere instead of further dulling my edges.
I didn't take a lot of photos due to it being rather cold, but here are a few!
The view on Beauvallon. My face is red from the cold. My new Mammut jacket is keeping me super warm though!
North side pano. The light is pretty flat.
A pic of the viewing platform, to illustrate the direction of the wind!
Not being an early bird type, I made it up to the hill just before 2. It turns out that at Tremblant there is a full day rate, a half day rate, and a why are you so late getting here rate of $27 that starts at 2pm. I got my warm up in by walking uphill to the Flying Mile lift as both the Cabriolet and main gondola were closed for the season. It's ok though, I really need to improve my cardio for all the spring hiking I plan to be doing!
I headed immediately for the north side, and was not disappointed. I started out easy on Beauchemin and then switched over to Lowell Thomas and Duncan. I got a lot of great runs in on Saute Mouton, Jasey-Jay Anderson, Superior and Devil's River. Saute Mouton and Duncan lower section were more like slick groomers with few bumps, while the others were delightful soft bumps that my quads were not totally ready for. Pressing on, I made the last chair (so they said) up to the peak and headed over to the north side on Eric Guay, which was also full of bumps. I took my time getting to the TVG chair, thinking this would be my last run. I decided to hit the minivan sized bumps on "17" as the shortcut to McCulloch, and to my delight made it back down for last chair part III. They even let me on after the ski patrol, and were still loading people on til at least 15-20 mins past closing time of 5pm! (thanks guys!). For my last run I took Eric Guay again, and enjoyed it in total solitude. I met a ton of happy skiers/riders on the chair and had a fantastic time before heading home to home made burgers and chips. I'm already packed and ready to head back up tomorrow - I'd been considering going to Jay Peak but Tremblant is so perfect right now, Jay can wait another week!
Final shot of the day at the bottom: bumps!!
Bumps under Duncan.
That run that is off to the right of the Duncan chair, whatever it is. Yeah there were a lot of bumps, but a lot of fast groomers too!
Zigzag pano. Yeah there were bumps the size of cars. No I didn't do them.
Last run up TGV chair!
Requisite view down Eric Guay! (yeah more bumps!)
In summary: I can't believe they aren't gonna be open next weekend with all this great coverage!
Just received by email a media invitation ...
Mont Tremblant Resort invites media representatives to attend a press conference March 12 regarding new major investments.
The event is starting at 10am so sometime afterwards we will know what’s coming. I’ll be sure to share here when the press release comes out. The announcement will be webcast live on Facebook here : https://www.facebook.com/tremblant
Has anyone heard any rumours? I’m sure a new lift is in the works. Haven’t had any new lifts since the Gondola was installed in 1998 and the Soleil was installed as a result on Versant Soleil. The Destination Soleil gondola does not count as it operates on a limited schedule and doesn't serve any skiing.
Full details here: https://www.slopeedge.ca/content/intrawest-resorts-holdings-inc-to-be-acquired-by-affiliates-of-aspen-skiing-company-and-ksl-capital-partners
What are your thoughts. No doubt we will have to wait till the Fall or perhaps the following season to see what kind of improvements on mountain there may be. But in the meantime,
What would you like to see improved at Tremblant for the skiing experience?
-Lowell Thomas replaced with High Speed Quad.
-Duncan Express replaced with six-pack lift.
-More development on the Versant Soleil.
For Blue Mountain, they already have robust infrastructure with 4 six-pack lifts and additional quads, so not sure what could be realistically improved there other than possible terrain expansion, which I am not sure is even possible.
Making the rounds on the internet is some speculation that Intrawest may be for sale (or some of their properties may be sold off). Intrawest's once biggest property, Whistler Blackcomb, was acquired by Vail Resorts roughly a year ago. In addition, several of their other properties have been acquired by other groups as well.
Check out this article on TremblantExpress : http://www.tremblantexpress.com/intrawest-cherche-des-acheteurs/#gal/0/ and The Denver Post : http://www.denverpost.com/2017/01/17/winter-park-ski-area-operator-intrawest-sale/
The mountains they still hold include Tremblant and Blue Mountain in Canada and Steamboat, Winter Park, Stratton and Snowshoe in the USA.
In the case of Tremblant, lots of expansion was planned, especially for Versant Soleil. Unfortunately, the 2008 recession took its toll on these plans, and only a few lodging units and casino were built. The skiable terrain also has some expansion potential, as evidenced by master plans created by EcoSign, showing several new lifts, the replacement and upgrade of others, and more trails on Versant Soleil and adjoining areas. http://www.ecosign.com/project/mont-tremblant
I still hold hope that these plans can be completed one day, but obviously, the current reality of Intrawest and its owner, Fortress, have put a hold on this happening.
Remember the Winter Olympics in 2010, the uncertain future of Intrawest put lots of fear in that Olympic venue. While things ended well for the games, only a few years later the mountain was sold to Vail. With recent speculation of an acquisition of Stowe Mountain by Vail, could Tremblant or Blue Mountain also be on their short list to become part of the Epic pass family?
I personally am in favour of some new ownership, especially for Tremblant. There is so much potential for expansion and improvement, not that what is there currently isn't amazing. But replacement of lifts, notably the Lowell Thomas triple, with a detachable quad, should have already happened. It's surprising that this hasn't already occurred.
Even Blue Mountain has seen recent expansion with the new Orchard area, 6 new trails and a new six pack chairlift. I'm hoping there is some nice love in store for Tremblant in the near future.
What are your thoughts? Have you heard any other related news?