GETTING THERE: Air Canada flies nonstop from Reagan National and Dulles to Montreal, about 90 minutes from Tremblant; round-trip fare sometimes drops to $235 during a sale, but is usually around $400. Round-trip shuttle bus transfers from the airport to the resort are about $83 but they run only several times a day. My three-day car rental cost about $150, including gas.
PACKAGE DEALS: Another option is to fly to Newark (fare usually starts at about $140 round trip), then buy a package into Mont-Tremblant International Airport, about 30 minutes from the resort. A three-night package that includes round-trip nonstop air on Voyageur Airlines from Newark to Mont Tremblant, lodging at the resort, breakfasts, lift tickets and transfers starts at $599 per person. Info: 877-425-7919, www.mtia.ca.
SKIING: A daily adult lift ticket costs about $38 through Dec. 22, $50 Dec. 23-Jan. 2 and $48 Jan. 3-April 17. A rental package, including skis or snowboard, boots and poles for skis, starts at about $27 per day. A 90-minute group lesson starts at about $43. The resort also offers a learn to ski and ride package, with 90-minute lesson, equipment and lift ticket, starting at about $59.
WHEN TO GO: Weather is usually most temperate in March, when the average high is 35 and the low is 21, but arctic cold fronts can blow in at any time during the season, which usually runs from late November to early April. Average high temperature in January is 23. Rain can be a problem in early and late seasons. The resort gets about 150 inches of natural snow a year, but it also has 850 snowblowers. It's less expensive to go before the holidays or from Jan. 3 to Feb. 15.
STAYING THERE: It's most convenient to stay at the base of the mountain. The Fairmont and the Westin are two more expensive choices, while La Tour des Voyageurs, where I stayed, is one of the cheapest offerings. Tremblant (888-738-1777, www.tremblant.ca) offers ski and stay packages and frequent special deals, such as kids stay and ski free; price out the components separately to make sure you're getting the best deal. For example, a four-night hotel/ski package for two at the Westin was recently priced at $1,585 on the resort's Web site, but by separately pricing the hotel through www.westin.com, I saved nearly $200. There are also many reasonably priced inns and bed-and-breakfasts in the surrounding villages; an extensive listing is available at www.mt-tremblant.com.
WHERE TO EAT: Within the compact pedestrian village, Creperie Catherine (819-681-4888) offers crepes filled with meats, cheeses, veggies and desserts; typical price is about $20 for dinner. For more upscale offerings in the village, try Restaurant U (819-681-4141), a Japanese restaurant at the Westin, or La Grappe a Vin (819-681-4727), which offers French food. The nearby village of St.-Jovite also has many well-regarded restaurants, including L'Escalope (597 Rue Ouimet, 819-425-3354) and La Verre Bouteille (888 Rue Ouimet, 819-425-8776).
WHAT TO DO: Other winter activities include cross- country skiing, snowshoeing, tubing, sleigh-riding, ice climbing, horseback riding and snowmobiling. Details: 819-681-4848, www.tremblantactivities.com. The Aquaclub La Source (819-681-5668), at the base of the mountain, has indoor pools, spas, etc. Just outside Tremblant, Le Scandinave (819-425-5524, www.scandinave.com) has outdoor hot springs and spa services. For the first time this season, a nightclub made entirely of ice, N'Ice Club, will be built at Tremblant and is scheduled to operate Dec. 23 to March 19.
INFO: Tremblant Resort, 888-738-1777, www.tremblant.ca. For area information, try Tourism Mont Tremblant (www.tourismemonttremblant.com) or Laurentians Tourism (800-561-6673, www.laurentides.com). For inside info, www.tremblant-insider.com has the local scoop on myriad topics, from restaurants to the best places to park; its chat forum contains valuable info on everything from "honest ski reports" to a threatened labor strike that may occur later this month.
-- Carol Sottili