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Saturday 31 Mar 2007
Mont-Tremblant, Canada

Bon jooooooooooooouuuuuurr ya cheese eatin surrender monkeys!

This was the first real 'adventure' trip I've taken on my trip to Canada so far (up until now I've been working for the guys back home and occasionally going snowboarding on odd days). Time has been passing alarmingly quickly! 3 months have already passed!!

It took a shocked look from some girls I was chatting to on St Paddy's night when I told them this, to make me realise that I really needed to get out and explore this land before it was too late.

So around the 20th March, I booked a trip to Mt Tremblant in Québec to catch the end of the snowboarding season in style.

VIA rail have a great dealio at the mo whereby it's only 60 CAD$ each way from Toronto to Montréal, so I grabbed two of them tickets and then organised a bus trip on Galland (the Quebec greyhound equivalent) from Montreal to the resort.

The train was great.. took 5 hours, but that flew. Had a HUGE croissant with ham and ementhal plus a beer in anticipation of the fine French cuisine awaiting me.

Upon arriving in Montréal, the first thing I noticed was how friendly and laisse-faire the locals seem! Finding your way around the metro in Montreal ain't too easy because the signs are fairly bad, but people everywhere were willing to open doors for me and my snowboard, and point me in the right direction with a smile. I got to work on my French too.. and luckily so, because as soon as I left Montreal on the bus, it was rare to find people that spoke English as fluently as French.

I was in Montreal for literally only an hour, as I sped out on the bus westward to the slopes, but I got a hint of the cultural vibe of the city as we passed all the old buildings; apartments with their outside staircases (to provide more room inside the building), and the sidewalk cafés. It reminded me a lot of Edingburgh crossed with Paris for some strange reason?!

Within hours we were surrounded by snow-covered mountains and deep evergreen forests (the resort area is only around 200km west of Montreal) and I eventually got dropped off at the really nice HI hostel which is only a 10 minute bus drive from the bottom of the slopes!

With a room from only 23 dollars per night and a full (unofficially all you can eat!) breakfast in the morn for only 5 dollars, I was set. Also a regular bus outside the front door handled the trips to and from the slopes. Nice!

Over the following 4 days I got in some of the best damn snowboarding I've ever had.. and also the most fun I've had in Canada so far!

Here follows the original blog I posted from the hostel during mid-stay...

Gonna make this brief cuz I'm shattered!

Have been snowboarding at the stunningly beautiful Mont Tremblant resort for the past two days.

Tomorrow will be my last day boarding...

Here are a few tidbits of info which I will expand on later...

- The runs are so long.. at 890m high, it takes 9 minutes to get a fast gondola to the top and then 25 minutes to snake your way down to the bottom!

- My boarding skillz have gone "totally awesome" and I can now carve down the hills with the best of em (of the entry level guys mind.. I'm not gonna be goin through the pipe any time soon)

- Cory, a boarder in my room in the hostel, told me the most important thing in boarding is to lean on the FRONT foot.. not the back foot.. i.e. your going downhill at 60kph strapped to an oversized dinner tray.. you're natural tendency is to lean back.. but oh no, you must lean forward INTO the wind.

Not only does this give you better control (as I've found out hence my 3133+ skillz) but also makes the adrenaline rush incredible. It's really the best time I've had in Canada so far!

- Montreal City.. for the brief hour that I was there I got a sample of some of the friendliest, down to earth, people I have met in Canada (now I know why people think Torontarians are "rude".. compared to Montrealeans they are.. but I thought TOs were incredibly polite when I first arrived Wink)

- Great food, great culture, great vibe, beautiful little French-style alpine architecture everywhere.
Joie de vivre.
To put it mildly: the French sure know how to colonise a country! (I remember the great baguettes I used to get in Vietnam too!)



OK well I guess that really sums it up and I don't need to rewrite anything Cheesy

Looking forward to a more in depth look at Montréal in the near future.

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