Experience mountain views, mild weather and family-friendly activities in this lakeside French Canadian village, which will host this year’s Ironman 70.3 World Championship.
Go: In the winter months, Mont-Tremblant (Tremblant.ca) functions as a quaint ski village, but its summers are beautiful and mild. June through August, the air temperature is usually in the low 70s during the day and low 50s at night. The town is a 90-minute drive from Montreal-Trudeau International Airport.
Stay: The village of Tremblant is made up of dozens of hotels, condos and restaurants all connected by cobblestone walkways. It also serves as race central during Ironman week, so staying at one of the local hotels such as La Tour des Voyageurs will keep you at the center of the action—you may have a courtyard-facing room so you can even watch the finish line from your balcony. For a quieter experience, stay at the luxurious lakeside Quintessence Resort Hotel (Hotelquintessence.com), which pulls out all the stops for athletes—they will even prepare an ice bath for you based on your predicted finish time. Once you arrive, park the car and leave it—you can fill several days with activities within walking distance.
Dine: The charming, family-owned Creperie Catherine (Creperiecatherine.ca) makes delicious crepes for breakfast, lunch, dinner or dessert, while Microbrasserie La Diable (Microladiable.com) serves great microbrews as well as burgers, barbecue ribs and European sausage. For fine dining, the Restaurant Patrick Bermand (Patrickbermand.com) specializes in fresh seafood and choice meats. A trip to French Canada wouldn’t be complete without sampling the local specialty, poutine—French fries smothered in gravy and cheese curds.
Panoramic Mountain Views
It’s practically a requirement to take a short gondola ride up to the Laurentian Mountains’ highest peak. The gondola picks you up from the village, and the top features 360-degree views of the surrounding mountains and lakes, as well as several easy hiking trails.
Plan An Outdoor Adventure
Within a half-hour drive of the village is the Parc National du Mont-Tremblant (Parcsquebec.com/tremblant). A popular activity is the Via Ferrata du Diable, which is a sort of cross between hiking and climbing that will have you transversely climbing across cliffs and bridges while more than 650 feet in the air (safely harnessed). The heart-pumping experience offers incredible views of the surrounding natural environment. The area also offers kayaking, hiking and cycling routes—there’s something for every lover of the outdoors.
Shopping In St. Jovite
Although tiny St. Jovite, located about 15 minutes from the Tremblant Resort, has now technically been incorporated into the city of Mont-Tremblant, the town has maintained its charm and low-key feel. Spend a few mellow hours browsing its boutiques and antique shops, all located on the main street of Rue de Saint-Jovite, and stop at Antipasto (Restaurantantipasto.com) for a delicious Italian meal—the restaurant has a maple-wood-burning pizza oven and is housed in the former Saint-Jovite train station.
Mont-Tremblant will be hosting three Ironman-branded triathlons in 2014: Ironman 70.3 Mont-Tremblant on June 22, Ironman North American Championship Mont-Tremblant on Aug. 17, and the now-rotating Ironman 70.3 World Championship on Sept. 7. The swim starts in Tremblant Lake, which generally features wetsuit-legal temperatures. The bike course runs through the local forests and mountains. The run course takes advantage of the Le P’tit Train du Nord, a former railway bed still covered in crushed gravel, and finishes in the heart of the village. The full Ironman was recently voted “Best Large Triathlon Race” in Triathlon Business International’s Triathletes Choice Best Events of 2013. From its overwhelming welcome from the locals, the easily navigable and family-friendly resort location and the scenic course, it’s easy to see why.