Welcome to Mt. Tremblant, Canada!
Ski Apres Party Bar and Nightlife Guide
The feisty bartenders at Le Shack help to make the ski apres rock.
When it comes to playing and skiing, few mountains reach the peaks found at Mont Tremblant, Canada.
Located 90 minutes from Montreal, it is an East Coast avalanche of entertainment, a sensation at the slopes, Mykonos with a mountain.
In a word, this place is wild.
It is also beautiful – wide mountains and a lake framing a cozy European-style village. It is owned by Intrawest, which is famous for creating the quaint feel in places like Whistler. Shops, restaurants and bars – we'll get to the bars later – comprise the pedestrian Village and friendly locals staff them, giving the place a "I want to come back here again" atmosphere similar to that of the Greek Islands.
Go to a business just once and they remember you as if you grew up together. This also means the coconut telegraph is in full force – do something noteworthy and a day later the whole town knows about it.
Tremblant's freewheeling character makes it a popular destination for people from all over the East Coast. College students from the States arrive by the busloads, as do people from Toronto and other Canadian cities. Not surprisingly, it's a second weekend home for people from Montreal.
People jump up on a bar and dance at Caribu; this place is FUN!
French is definitely spoken here, but a well-placed bonjour, merci or au revoir will suffice for those not versed in the language. While there are definitely a lot of partiers here, Tremblant also has its share of mild-mannered guests; many Eastern Canadians have cottages and kids seemingly out-of-control on snowboards with parents following more patiently behind are a common site on the slopes.
The weather can be a challenge – Tremblant is known for being bitter cold in January and February. Fortunately, the village can be walked in a couple of minutes and some restaurants and bars are practically right next to one another. It's not a cheap trip – a pitcher of beer will set you back $20 (CDN). Of course, it's good Canadian beer. The dress code is relaxed, the drinking age in some places is as low as 18 – which accounts for the American college student invasion – and drink 'em if you got 'em is 3 a.m.
While Tremblant is primarily a winter destination, it also has high points in other seasons. The International Blues Festival, for example, is Canada's largest blues concert (July).
Getting To Mont Tremblant, Village Orientation and Accommodations
Trembant's quaint village is beautiful but get familiar with it upon arrival.
Tremblant is 120 km from Montreal. A shuttle bus ($49 each way) runs 3 times during the week and four times on weekends from the airport. Limos seating up to 10 cost from $210-385.
The best places to stay are the hotels and resorts around the perimeter of the Village. Known as Mountain Base, location is the key here – it's only a 3-4 minute walk to anywhere in the Village. The next-closest place is Mountain Slopeside, Lake Front is adjacent to the Village and the Golf Properties is a bit farther away. Condos, cottages, inns and lodges are all available.
Many of the buildings look the same, so be sure and do a complete walk-about to get acquainted with the Village. This can come in handy after an evening experiencing the intense nightlife. Once, e heavily-libated newcomer was found wandering around lost at 4 in the morning by the local police, who rescued him and returned him to his room. This became a source of local coconut telegraph humor for the duration of his visit (and possibly for some time thereafter).
The ski apres bars are adjacent to the gondola, most of the shops are down the street of steps and the two nightclubs are at the base of the steps. A General Store provides basics – including beer – and there is a bank with ATM access.
Tremblant has a variety of runs, all of which wind up in the Village.
Resort base: 265 meters/870 feet
Summit Elevation:Ê915 meters/3,001 feet
Skiable Terrain: 610 acres
Number of Lifts/Trails: 12/92
Longest Run: 6 km/3.75 miles
Vertical Drop: 649 meters/2,131 feet
Tremblant has a good range of runs and ski/snowboard options. Blue runs mix with blacks to challenge just about every level and snowboard jumps and rails are abundant in areas called Gravite. Navigating is easy and traverse time is pleasantly almost nonexistent.
There are two parts of the mountain, the South (or Sud) side which looks down into the village, and the North (Nord) side. A gondola runs from town to the top and provides instant access to both sides. The Sud side faces the village and has long runs to the bottom. The Versant Soleil runs – one blue and several blacks – seem never to end. The Nord side has the tougher terrain with some challenging blacks.
The top is flat and a chalet welcomes cold, hungry and thirsty mountaineers. At the end of the day, it's possible to ski all the way to the base and back into town. In fact, some people ski right to the bar.
Ski Apres – Nightlife and Bars
Why not start with shots at Le Shack, Tremblant's ski apres party spot!?
This is what happens when you start with shots at Le Shack.
The place rocks.
From the ski apres to the all-energy clubs, Mt. Tremblant is a pin-the-hair-back party. There's great music, people dancing on bars and a general craziness that leaves one wondering if they were somehow transported to Mykonos in July. About the only difference is that instead of hanging out on the beach the next day, everyone somehow finds the energy to hit the hill.
It all starts about 3 or 4 at Le Shack. It's a nice place, a couple of live trees growing inside a clean, open room. But during Apres, it's not the trees that dominate. It's the people, five and six deep at the front, some jumping on the top of the bar at regular intervals swinging to the likes of Duran Duran. They are hungry like a wolf, all right.
Some go straight from the slopes in their ski gear while others jaunt back to their room for a quick wardrobe turnaround. By 5, Le Shack is Le Crazy.
One of the funniest sights is the families and high school students who are expecting to sit down for a quiet dinner, only to get smacked by the sensory overload of the buzzed bar goers. They stand frozen by the door with a stunned look on their face. By 7, the pace has slowed to about a third of its peak as people head for the Jacuzzi and dinner. Some opt to plop down at a table for their food refill. The drinking age in Le Shack is 21, so the crowd is primarily mid-20s to 40-ish.
There's a quieter scene next door at Le Forge, a really cool restaurant/bar with brick walls and a castle-like staircase leading to the washrooms. This is more of an older crowd, which likes the tamer atmosphere. A good warmup for Le Shack is Ya'ooo Pizza ; the half-priced beers from 3-5 are popular with locals.
Once the Jacuzzis are done, then it's time to begin the downhill run for the Caribou and Café d'ƒpoque (often referred to as "Le Puck"). Which one to pick is up to the individual, though since d'ƒpoque drinking age is 18 and it's 21 at Caribou, the former gets the youngest crowd. Both have cover charges on Thursdays, Friday and Saturdays ranging from $5-10.
You don't have to get up (on the bar) to get down at Caribou, but feel free.
Caribou is a Tremblant tradition, a double-black diamond two-level bar with a DJ spinning 80s and Euro dance tunes from an old gondola. The place is jumping and so are the people. The energy level is amazing, especially by the long bar in the back. There's even a designated bar-dancing spot and it's constantly crowded.
Caribou's bartenders provide service with a smile.
The wood floors and rustic atmosphere invite a lack of inhibition. The large dance floor is full and people move about as if carving down a run. Three other bars are on the main floor, so getting a drink is pretty easy. Downstairs is a kind of lounge area where people go to catch their breath. The place is pumping until right up until closing.
Cafe d'Epoque is another of Tremblant's fun nightclubs.
Cafe d'Epoque can best be described as a sweaty dance bar. About half the size of Caribou, its dance floor is small and hot. So hot, inn fact, steam rolls out of the door as if rising out of a Jacuzzi. People jam onto the dance floor and find a bit of elbow room on an elevated space or on the bar. The wild ones climb up a vertical ladder to small cage over the bar. There's not a dry body to be found.
Around the corner is a side bar with tables and is far less intense. Downstairs is a bar and pool table that is considerably cooler than the mayhem happening right above it.
PubClub.com met the beautiful Annmarie works at Ya'ooo Pizza.
We have to admit that during our visit, much of our eating time was spent at Ya'ooo Pizza, so we didn't sample a lot of other restaurants. But we can tell you that the pizza at Ya'ooo is pretty good and the gorgeous French Canadian girl behind the counter is named Annmarie. It's sandwiched between Caribou and Cafe depoque and is open until 3 in the morning, so one can guess what it's like at closing time.
La Diable is a microbrewery with good food next to the General Store. It's also a pretty good bar call at night and is open until 3. The Chicken Grill behind the General Store gets high marks and also has a bar. For breakfast, Crêperie Catherine is always crowded.
And there's always Le Shack and Le Forge for the restaurant/bar atmosphere.