The key to taming Tremblant: battery-powered everything
I have never, ever, felt cold like I have at the top of Quebec's Mont Tremblant. And now, I have a secret weapon to beat it.
I've been carving down Tremblant for going on 25 years, and have seen Eastern Canada's largest ski hill go from independently-owned mess to Intrawest-owned mega-resort.
But it has always lived up to it's name, which translates to "trembling mountain." I recall one particular pre-Intrawest occasion when, stuck on the north side's decrepid Duncan chair, I genuinely considered jumping from the disabled lift. I'm not sure if the windchill hit triple digits, but the two T-shirts, three sweatshirts, sweater, Ronnie James Dio tank top, fleece and ski jacket I was wearing might as well have been made of cheesecloth. I sat there for what seemed like hours, 20 feet above the slopes, until the lift started inching -- literally -- up the hill. A half-hour later I reached the summit, only to see staff using a winch to get everyone to the top.
This year's Christmas visit delivered another meteorological shock. Dec. 26 was one of the finest days I've spent at Tremblant: minus 2, cloudless, windless, perfect. The next day, 45 centimetres of snow fell on Montreal (a record), with the ski hill only getting a light dusting. What we did get was thick cloud and plenty of wind: 80 km/h gusts at the top; one particularly strong one actually blew my young cousin over a snow fence. Which was kind of cool.
Did I cower in the face of these subzero winds? No! After all, my most susceptible body parts -- no, not those! My hands -- were being pampered by a pair of Kombi Radiator Gloves (pictured at left).