Two days into the new year, 150 students and friends piled into charter buses and departed for a five-day Canadian ski adventure. Over 15 hours later, they arrived at their destination – the famed ski resort Mont Tremblant.
Located in the French-Canadian province of Quebec, Tremblant has long been a vacation spot for the ski or snowboard enthusiast. Named the top ski resort in Eastern North America by Ski Magazine, Tremblant has become a popular ski trip destination for Metropolitan area colleges.
With great ski conditions and quality accommodations at reasonable prices, the resort caters to a college crowd. This year’s trip took place during the resort’s College Week, Jan. 2-7.
The trip is an annual event that the College’s Ski and Snow Club organizes. In its third year, the ski trip has grown in popularity. Last year, about 60 students attended. This year, word of mouth about the resort’s many attractions more than doubled that attendance.
The typical day in Tremblant began a little earlier than your average college vacation. The slopes opened each day at 8:30 a.m. and closed at 3:30 p.m., and most students took advantage of the morning’s fresh snow. After the slopes closed, Tremblant’s shopping village, which featured multiple ski shops, cafes and restaurants, was the place to be.
At night, students took advantage of the bar and club scene at places like Octobar and Caribou. The drinking age in Canada is only 18, so younger students were able to get into the bars and clubs if they wanted.
“Tremblant was a really great time,” Matt Ledyard, junior engineering major, said. “The bus ride was a little treacherous, but once we got up there, nothing was sweeter than the ice cold Canadian beer and the pristine Quebec snow.”
Like the rest of Quebec, the native language of the Mont Tremblant locals is French. Because of its popularity as a tourist destination though, the employees of the resort’s many hotels and restaurants can switch between French and English with ease.
The French atmosphere added an interesting element to the trip. “It was cool being immersed in a culture that spoke French,” Ledyard said. “It really made the whole trip seem a bit more exotic.”
Though the village and nightlife were exciting and new, the main draw of the trip was the chance to ski and board some of North America’s greatest trails. With many difficult trails and temperatures in the low teens, the slopes were not for the weak of heart. However, the students on the trip with minimal ski experience still found trails that suited their skill level.
For many students, the best part of the trip was the opportunity to strengthen old friendships and develop new ones. “It was a great opportunity to meet new people and become closer with existing friends,” Ledyard said.
Junior psychology major Marisa Margarucci agreed. “There’s something about being stuck on a bus for 15 hours that makes you really bond with people,” she said. “I was on the trip last year and it took just as long to get up there. But both trips have proved to be some of the best times of my college years.”
Despite the long commute and below freezing temperatures, students are already looking forward to next winter. “I can’t wait until next year’s trip,” Ledyard said, “I would really recommend it to everybody.”
– For more information on Mont Tremblant, visit the official website at tremblant.com or check out the Ski and Snow Club’s Web site at tcnj.edu/~snow.