2001 Number 1 Resort in the East: Tremblant, Que., Can.

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Tremblant stands tall for the fourth consecutive year as the No. 1 resort in the East. That's impressive. Reader responses show that this Quebec resort is offering what skiers want. Let's start with value for their dollar. Despite high-end rooms and restaurants, skiers receive a huge bang for each buck because of a strong exchange rate. Next, Tremblant's lift system, a cold and creaky joke a few years ago, has evolved into a fast and sophisticated operation. Heated gondolas whisk you to the new Versant Soleil area, one of the largest East Coast expansions in several seasons. No ski expressways here, Versant Soleil's narrow, winding trails (try Ryan-Haut) follow the mountain's dips and curves. And if Mother Nature isn't cooperating, the resort is "always making snow and grooming." But Tremblant really pleases guests in its mountain village. "Everything is here, there's no need to use a car," one reader applauds. Clearly, that's what a ski village based on the European model is supposed to be about. Tremblant's No. 1 ranking for Lodging is well-deserved, from the charm of the slopeside Chateau Mont Tremblant to the new "manoir" style Westin. Dining, from French formal to Quebecois microbrew, delights skiers. So does the service, which has radically improved. What hasn't changed is the weather, which "can be cold and icy." And there are rumblings that Tremblant's success is too much-that it's becoming "more crowded by the minute and over-marketed." But most skiers love the terrain and the fact that it "feels like Europe"-but is close to home. -Everett Potter

WHAT'S NEW The Westin Resort Tremblant is the first five-star property at Tremblant, with 126 luxury suites and such niceties as an outdoor saltwater pool and a sushi restaurant.

A GOOD DEAL First-Snow Package: three nights' lodging, three days' skiing, starts at $84 per person, opening to Dec. 21. Call (800) 567-6760.

MEDALS Gold Value, Lifts, Service, On-Mountain Food, Lodging, Dining, Après-Ski, Off-Hill Activities; Silver Terrain, Challenge, Family Programs.

HIGH/LOW RANK Lodging (1), Dining (5), Service (5); Challenge (59), Snow (66), Weather (69).

DON'T MISS A table on the terrace for lunch at Poulet Grille, a new bistro, at the new Centre des Congres.

READER REMARKS (+) Service with a capital 'S.'" "The food is to die for." (-) "A little too EuroDisney. Poor grooming."