Here are my final thoughts on helping you plan your Ironman Mont Tremblant trip:
Transportation: If you get a rental car or drive, it is easy to get around. If not, there are public buses that run regularly. If you are planning to fly into Montreal and are on a budget, you may want to consider Ottawa. It is only 30 minutes further, but often has better fares and cheaper rental cars. The mountain shuttles from the airport can be expensive and the price of groceries on the mountain is super high. What you save by not renting a car, you may end up paying for in many other ways.
Accomodations: If you are looking for a full relax, no cooking, more couples place to stay, book a room at the Hotel Quintessence. It is in a great location, smaller, with good food and beautiful rooms – you can even have an ice bath ready after the race.
The Ermitage Du Lac Tremblant was also very nice and convenient. If you are more budget conscience, book a room with a kitchenette or go for an apartment or house. Make sure you like the location as some on the mountain have 80 steps to get there; not great for athletes. There really is not a bad choice if you stay on the mountain, around the lake on the beachside, or in the old village; it is all within walking distance. Here are some housing links for rentals off the mountain: Owner Direct Vacation Rentals, VRBO, and HomeAway. On the mountain, try Tremblant.
My family has had a home in Mont Tremblant for many years. On race day, we walked over at 5 AM to T1, then walked back over to the beach for the swim start. After the race, it was great walking back home along the run course, slowly of course, and cheering on the remaining runners.
Food: Eating in the area can get expensive, especially on the mountain with the added taxes. I have a few hints. As with many Ironman races, we have our basics shipped to the location, especially race day nutrition. Unless we are driving, do not have to pay luggage fees, or have room, we find shipping to be easiest. Even for international races or to Kona, it is cheaper than us buying on-site and hoping they have what we need. If you use Tribike Transport, you get to ship a duffle, so you can put a lot of your racing nutrition in that also.
If we are going for a week or more or there are more than the two of us, I ship my pantry, which includes, rice, pasta, canned tomatoes, pancake mix, and anything else I need for my planned time and menus. It takes a little more time upfront, but well worth it to me. We do not cook every meal, but packing a picnic, lounging around having breakfast, and having clean carb load meals are more pleasant to me.
Once we arrive and unpack, we head to the IGA on the northbound side of the 117. We find it has the best organic fruits and veggies, a nice fish section, and some organic dairy. We also love to visit the Farmers’ Market on Saturdays in the Old Village. In the summer, they have so many wonderful veggies and melons. The fish guy is great and one farmer has house made goat cheese and salamis. When I have the kids on race day, I pack a full variety with hard boiled eggs, yogurt, fruit, veggies, bars and more…it is heavy, but gets light very quickly!
Eating Out: When we do eat out, it is at the following places:
- In the Old Village: La Sandwicherie – in the bike shop – great homemade soups; Ital Deli – book your carb load here if you are not cooking; Patrick Bermand – clean wonderful food; La Petite Cachee – the waitress Mary runs run aid station 11 – food is great and pizzas yummy. We also like to meet friends for drinks downstairs.
- On the mountain: We only eat at Creperie Catherine. I love a bowl of French Onion Soup and a berry Crepe.
- In Mont Tremblant, which used to be St Joviite: SeB L’Artisan for a dining experience; Mille Pâtés for eat in or take out – great homemade pasta and they carry Gluten Free pastas and sauces; Mountain Yard for lunch and wonderful baked goods; and Jacobson’s for sandwiches and premade foods.
Activities: This is a great venue for kids, with lots to do within walking distance, even on race day. But, if you do need a break, the Mountain has a day camp – just sign up early. The kids’ passes or family passes are worth every penny. There’s the luge, zip lines, gondola to the top (pack a picnic), rope course, and more. Make sure you walk up to the waterfalls, too. My kids love hiking down the stream.
The lake has boat rentals, kayaks, paddle boats, and splashing around. There is a restaurant there that’s good for lunch, too. For the more adventurous or those looking to get off the mountain, the adventure store at the top offers all types of tours. Finally, for yourself, there are the spas! Ahhhh the spas! Scandinave Spa is really the place for a day pass.
Swim: T1 is a hike with kids to the beach. I love starting at T1, but be prepared. The swim start is at the beach and the roads are closed, making it crowded, but easy to get to swim-out. This year they added an overpass that everyone had to go over, which took longer than I like…
Once the swim starts, head over to the overpass to cross over to swim-out. Great viewing was by the stand at the beach and you can walk/ run to see your athlete in T1. Just stay on the mountain side of the chute and cut behind the little church, up in front of the Ermitage Du Lac Hotel, where Tribike Transport is, and cut down the village to T1 and yell for your athlete.
Bike: Once out of T1, you have some time to have breakfast once you reach your spot for bike viewing. I know a lot of people went to the traffic circle to watch, but we stayed behind T1 where the 90km mark was where they loop around to go back out. They have to slow down to make the turn (known as a hot corner) and you see them coming and going. I also like this, because you can watch the pros come in.
Once your athlete heads out for loop 2, you have another break. But don’t take too long, because the best viewing for the bike-in is by getting a picnic table along T1. Just make sure you stay past where the T in the red carpet is, because bike catchers stay there. You can get a cheer in and then run through the expo to the other side to the run-out and give another cheer. You can also cheer the pros in at this point.
Run: We changed what we did this year. We found a place to chill in the shade on the lake side opposite the little church’s side yard. Then, when it was time, went to the street to look for our athletes. Once they passed, we crossed to the other side near the overpass and waited for them to come out of the village.
At this point, you need to find where you want to be for the finish. If you like to just watch, find a place in the stands, but stay on the lake side of the finish. It was impossible to move anywhere on the other side. I like to be behind the finish so that after he crosses I can see him. Once I get a kiss over the fence, he walks through the athlete finishers’ area and I walk around by T1 to bike out/in and find a place on the fence to wait for him to come out.
If you have an early finisher, make sure you come back out to enjoy the feeling of midnight at an Ironman! The energy is just the best. Au revoir Mont Tremblant. Until next year……