Champions at the Château

Published on January 22 2018

For a couple of days, my family and I transformed ourselves into athletes, hoping to make the official cut for the Pyong Chang Winter Olympics.

It’s never too late to make your dreams come true.

As of January 7 (and until May 31, 2018), Fairmont Le Château Montebello is offering a Go Canada package that provides a golden (sorry) opportunity to try out various winter sports, most of which I confess our family had never tried. Cross-country skiing, skating, curling—the only thing missing is skeleton.

We arrive at the legendary hotel late in the day and check into our room, where we find a lovely surprise: a complimentary robe neatly laid out for each member of the family. Henri has never looked so classy. Silver medal for attitude! First competition: the hundred-yard dash (to the swimming pool).

The next day turns out to be perfect for outdoor sports. After the deep freeze we’ve just come through, it’s at treat to venture out without fear of hypothermia. Big flakes of snow are falling gently, and the thermometer shows a balmy -2° C. Bliss. I really want to try curling. Unfortunately, that will have to wait for another time: a group has booked the ice for 3 consecutive days! It’s like watching the World Women’s Curling Championship. The competition for the 85th Sewell Trophy is underway, and it’s serious business.

Never mind, there are lots of other activities to try! We decide to start with cross-country skiing. It’s the kids’ first time on skis, and the parents’ first time in … can it really be 20 years? Two decades of no skiing—I was ashamed.

At first, it looks like this:

We haven’t even reached the trail, and Henri is ready to give up—and so am I.

But a true Olympian never quits! A true Olympian rises to the challenge! And that’s what Henri does.

A little while later, it looks like this:

Not bad, eh?

The softly falling snow, the silence of nature under its white blanket, the clear, crisp air, the kids not collapsing every few metres … It’s fabulous.

And, wonder of wonders, EVERYONE LOVES IT. We’re now ski shopping for the whole family!

But to get back to our dream of mounting the podium: We ditch the skis and grab some skates. Henri is in heaven: he’s all set for a sizzling hockey game.

The snow is really coming down, and the skating rink is buried. Undaunted, we track down a shovel. The gold medal goes to Dad, who clears the ice while Lou skates his heart out. Meanwhile, Henri checks out the other rink, for non-hockey skaters.

Not far from the rinks, there’s a lot of barking going on. Dogsledding may not be on the current list of official Olympic sports, but it was in 1932! We trade our skates for boots and climb aboard for a dog-powered ride through the snowy woods on the hotel property. It’s a blast!

It’s getting late. We take one more dip in the (almost Olympic-size) pool and, better yet, in one of the two hot tubs to warm up our athletic muscles.

We say a reluctant goodbye to the Château, which definitely ranks on the top step of our podium.

“It’s my favourite hotel in the whole wide world!” —Henri

Everybody wins in the end!

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