The weather forecast had warned me, so I had taken a suitcase full of warm winter clothes to be able to go skiing on my visit to Montreal. I layered up, and when I walked the streets of Montreal, I mostly felt the cold on the skin of my face. After a traffic jam, the drive to the north turned out to be easy. Renting skis and poles was straightforward, and when I stepped out of the cabin on the Grand Manitou, the top of the Mont Tremblant skiing area, the sun was shining abundantly, but failed miserably at warming the air. One of the guides told me that they were busy producing snow on the south side of the area, so I was more or less forced to focus on the north side; where I had preferred to stay on the south side which somehow sounded a little less cold. The temperature at the top was reported to be -30C, and it indeed felt bitterly cold when I started skiing down in the shade.
One of the good things of this cold weekday: there were not many other crazy people around to go skiing, and I had most of the slopes to myself. Also, there were never any queues at the ski lifts, so I was either in the lift, or skiing down. At one moment, the cold air was biting at my face particularly hard; it seemed like hundreds of needles were being pushed into my skin. I decided to take out my last weapon against the bitter cold: my neoprene mask that I had been reluctant to use before. The rides up, in the unprotected, open ski lifts were no pleasure, but the snow was actually better than I had imagined, with only a few icy parts. I had skipped breakfast in the morning, and after a few hours of racing down the black runs, and with a face that felt half frozen, I felt I needed something warm inside. A cheesy soup was just what I needed, and kept me going for the rest of the day.
On the south side, clouds continued to emerge above the Mont Tremblant ski area - named after the Algonquins who called it the trembling mountain. The only thing that was trembling were my hands, I continued moving my arms on my way up trying to keep them as warm as possible. I went to the East Side with its forested trails, followed almost all runs down on the north side, except for the expert runs through the woods, which did not seem to be a good idea to try alone. The friendly staff who had to check me in before each run, at a certain moment warned me that the lift was to close within half an hour, so I managed to squeeze in another ride down the Devil's River and the Jay Anderson trails before I arrived just in time to catch the last ride up. For the last time, I enjoyed the views on all sides of the Mont Tremblant skiing area, before taking the only black trail going down on the South Side. I now had different views: frozen Lake Tremblant below, and the clouds billowing from the snow-making equipment just to the west of me. I had had a great day of skiing, despite the brutal cold. It was only now I realized I had a protective unguent against the cold - why did I not think of it before? It was only the next day that parts of the skin in my face started showing signs of burns - a souvenir of the cold slopes of Mont Tremblant.
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Mount Tremblant Skiing (Canada). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Mount Tremblant Skiing.
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