Last Sunday, I headed to Tremblant with the Carleton University Ski Club, making use of the 50$ lift tickets and inexpensive bus transportation for my last ski day of the Christmas break. With the warm temperatures and amazing snowfall brought by December, I had done most of my skiing in +0 Celsius weather-however, this day at Tremblant would be an exception. The temperatures were forecasted to range from -11 to -20, depending on the wind chill and elevation, so I knew temperatures would be unpleasant! I arrived at 9:30am, where it was clear that snowmaking was in full swing.
The mountain had warned that conditions and visibility would be impaired due to the low temperatures being utilized for snowmaking, in addition to the closing of the Soleil side (2 runs), due to a power outage. Nevertheless, they planned on having 60 of their 100 runs open, and every lift except their Edge and Soleil lifts. (Apparently, the versant soleil was skiable if the Casino Gondola was taken back to the main lodge, though I didn’t want to undertake such a long traverse and end up back on the bottom). After getting dressed and arriving at the main base area, I opted to take the Flying Mile lift (no line), due to the 20 minute line for the enclosed gondola. Turns out, this was for a reason. The entire flying mile area was under intense snowmaking, making the lift ride a miserable experience of being blasted by many snow guns, all inside a cloud of no visibility! I can see why there was no line!After skiing down to the upper mountain lift, the TGV, I took another no-vis lift ride to the summit, where conditions were even poorer, with no visibility and brutal wind.
It seems like upper mountain clouds, wind, fog, and snowmaking clouds all combined to create a ‘perfect storm’ of sorts! My first few runs were on Le petit bonheur and Beauchemin Haut, upper mountain blue and green cruisers. Surprisingly, despite despite being brutally cold and without decent visibility, the snow was amazing! Some small ice patches were found, but otherwise, the grooming team had produced soft, granular snow, on a flat (non mogulled) surface, making for some excellent carving conditions! As seen above, only the bottom of the Lowel Thomas chairlift had decent visibility. After a few laps of the upper north side chair, I decided to head down to the lower north side, after hearing rumours of sun exposure. These were true, and I spent the next 2 hours on the lower north side, lapping the trails off the Expo and Duncan lifts. As you can see below, the layer of fog is actually where the upper mountain is supposed to be! This was the expo chair on the lower half of the north side:Some ungroomed terrain on the north side-I passed on it!The visibility on the upper north side finally improved by 1pm, leading me to try the Lowell-Thomas lift once again after lunch, followed by the black diamond trails off the Duncan express (Superieur and Jasey Jay Sanderson), which boasted some amazing snow conditions and views! Lines were usually less than 3 minutes for the singles line, and maybe 5-10 depending on the time for the regular lines. By 2pm, I headed to the main (south) base to take another warm up break and have a snack. To my surprise, the sunny skies on the north side were replaced with clouds on the south side! I then boarded the gondola as it’s line was finally quiet. Though visibility was still poor, there were some patches that allowed for views. By 3pm, conditions had deteriorated significantly on every side, leading me to stay on the upper south side for my last few laps, in almost total whiteout. The wind had picked up, leading to what felt like being blown uphill by a frigid and penetrating wind in some places!
At 3:30, I made last lift on the TGV, and decided to take the long green run, Nansen haut and bas, to the bottom. While the upper portion was windy and cloudy, the lower portion avoided the snowmaking clouds, and was a pleasant run with amazing visibility and no wind. I was also able to ski the open glades off the sides of the trail, where I enjoyed some nice powder stashes.
I even tried out the Tam-Tam area, Mont Tremblant’s section for beginner glades, before reaching the bottom and heading home.All in all, it was a cold, windy, poor-viz, slightly crowded day, though the awesome snow and many open runs did make up for the day’s downsides. I boarded the bus at 4:30 for the long journey back home, eager to return again in the next month!