Gather together eight to ten of your really good friends, male and female. You know, the ones you text on a daily basis, the ones you drink with, the one’s with whom you watch rom-coms on your couch – the one’s you consider to be family. Now, put them all together in a couple hotel rooms beside a ski hill for a weekend.
Watch some excel, flying down the slopes on the board ‘they haven’t used in three years’, watch others test their limits on the bunny hill, accumulating fantastic bruises and minor street-cred as they go. Nap – all of you, together – for a few hours, tucked into two queen-sized beds. Make a lot of Kraft Dinner, watch some hockey, and create a few drinking games. Hit up the hot tub. Drink rye, schnapps, vodka, gin and Alberta’s Best. Stumble over to whatever resort party is being held that night – the one with the masses of students too shy to get their groove on to the pop songs blaring from the DJ booth. Proceed to get your groove on, for hours. Smoke cigarettes outside in the minus 30 degree wind, run back to the hotel room to shotgun beers, try to sneak into the hot tub. Wake up in a bed with five people. Snuggle in a hungover fashion all morning long. Have a couple random guys in your hotel seriously ask if you and your friends are part of some ‘amateur dance troupe’ (in our dreams!) Rinse and repeat.
This was my unforgettable experience last weekend at the Mont St-Anne Mountain and Ski Resort, just east of Quebec City; this winter, I highly suggest you give it a go. While Mont-Tremblant is unquestionably hoppin’ at this time of year, Mont St-Anne – Tremblant’s smaller, younger sister – is arguably the next best thing. The main hotel, Chateau Mont St-Anne, is literally seated at the base of the mountain, and contains a variety of rooms and multi-person condos. All accommodations contain a small kitchen (stovetop and fridge + cooking ware) and a small balcony (on which you can keep your alcohol cold, amirite?) Grab a few packs of Mr. Noodles, processed cheese and KD, and you’re ready to roll.
For non-winter-sport-enthusiasts (aka me, before this trip happened), this is a fantastic opportunity to give skiing or snowboarding a real shot. Honestly, the views from the top of the mountain – which can be accessed via gondola, chairlift and T-bar – are just too spectacular to miss. The slopes are surprisingly low traffic, and the bunny hills are not at all intimidating (apart from the toddlers on skis outstripping me on the first run); if you don’t have anyone to teach you, preliminary ski or snowboard lessons can be acquired for a reasonable price. Of course, the hotel lobby features pool tables, a dozen leather sofas and a huge indoor fire pit – if you need a break from the slopes, grab a book and just chill. The hotel is also residence to a Nordic spa, swimming pool, sauna, outdoor Jacuzzi and gym facilities.
In addition, on many winter weekends, a few busloads of university students from Montreal may be joining you at the resort. Don’t cringe! This means huge, DJ-ed parties on both Friday and Saturday nights, and hundreds of people ready to party with you, right on the Mont St-Anne premise. This is essentially one huge, weekend-long snow party that you don’t want to miss for another consecutive winter! And I still have the bruises the prove it.
For more information about ski hill day rates and rentals, click here.
For more information about the hotel, click here.
~ Tyler Yank