At some point during your Tremblant vacation, you'll see a small knot of serious people strolling the village taking notes. These are rival ski executives making a pilgrimage (and shaking their heads about their own pitiful villages back home). What comes naturally to Tremblant, other resorts spend millions trying to duplicate: "Europe in North America!" a reader cheers. Human-scale, personable and quaint without being forced, Tremblant remains the Mona Lisa of ski area villages. It is a joy to walk to the lifts in the morning, stopping for coffee and pà¢tisseries at one of the many cafés (Au Grain de Café, for instance). Those looking for big-mountain skiing, however, should head west. But smart skiers look to Tremblant for what it can offer: elegant wooded runs that flow like streams down the mountainside. "Hidden trails, surprises-what great fun!" one reader says. Check out the tumbling Ryan Haut to Ryan Bas, then the glades found at Versant Soleil (try Bon Vieux Temps, Brasse-Camarade and Les Bouleaux). Accommodations, such as the St. Bernard and the Westin Resort Tremblant, continue to set the gold standard for the industry, earning Tremblant a No. 1 ranking in Lodging. Reader complaints read like a Chicago weather report: "Cold, rain, windy," but readers quickly kiss and make up, noting "Tremblant's not at fault." Crêperie Catherine may be the best spot this side of Chamonix for a casual but civilized ski lunch. Famously uncivilized is Le P'Tit Caribou, where clothing becomes increasingly optional as Tremblant's full-throttle nightlife extends into the hours when decent Americans are in bed. For the sixth year running, Tremblant has delivered the whole package to Eastern skiers-superior skiing, service and base village-maintaining its No. 1 status in the region. As one reader concludes: "a winter wonderland." -G.D.
WHAT'S NEW Ski school classes are limited to seven students, offering more personal attention and a faster learning curve.
A GOOD DEAL Stay two nights and get half off the third at participating Tremblant lodges (800-461-8711).
MEDALS GOLD Value, Lifts, Service, On-Mountain Food, Lodging, Dining, Après, Off-Hill Activities, Terrain Parks; SILVER Snow, Terrain, Challenge, Family Programs.
HIGH/LOW RANK Lodging (1), On-Mountain Food (3), Dining (3); Scenery (45), Snow (47), Weather (53).
DON'T MISS Taking a late lunch at the Refuge de Trappeur, a relaxed, no-frills cabin in a hardwood glade that will make you reconsider your pace of life.
READER REMARKS (+) "The best resort east of the Rockies." "Good value with the U.S. dollar." "Great, cozy village."
(-) "Lacks vertical; needs 500 more feet. No real double-black trails." "Extremely cold."