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Tremblant has long been renowned as a paradise for winter sports enthusiasts. With its breathtaking slopes and a history deeply intertwined with ski racing, the destination stands proudly as a symbol of Canada’s passion for the sport. As we gear up to host the Women’s FIS World Cup in December, let us delve into the captivating history of ski races in Tremblant and explore the significance of this prestigious event for our community.

A Legendary Heritage


The roots of ski racing at Tremblant extend back to the early 1930s with the inception of the Kandahar race, named after Field Marshal Earl Roberts of Kandahar, an early patron of alpine ski racing. In 1931, the Kandahar Ski Club of Switzerland donated a cup to the Canadian Amateur Ski Association for a downhill/slalom championship. The Montreal Red Birds, inspired by the pioneering spirit of Herman “Jackrabbit” Smith-Johannsen, chose Mont Tremblant as the venue for this championship, even though the mountain lacked developed trails at the time. The inaugural race on March 13, 1932, was an epic battle against nature’s obstacles, including trees and cliff drops. A year later, the Kandahar became the first official trail at Mont Tremblant, setting the stage for decades of racing excellence.

Herman Smith-Johannsen (at the center), with Ernie McCulloch and Beauchemin


In 1934, the Mont-Tremblant Ski Club emerged as a cornerstone for the region’s ski racing culture. Initiated by parish priest Charles-Hector Deslauriers, the club aimed to promote skiing among the youth of the area. The club organized its first ski competition, with Herman Smith-Johannsen and Tom Wheeler as officials. This marked the beginning of a tradition that would help nurture young talent and foster a sense of competition in the region.


The Taschereau Cup, introduced in 1936, was a downhill race organized by the Saint-Jovite Ski Club. This race catered to intermediate and advanced skiers and took place on the newly established Taschereau trails on Mont Tremblant. Curé Deslauriers played a pivotal role in instilling a competitive spirit among the youth. The first race featured 111 candidates, including 17 girls. This event aimed to prepare young talent for the prestigious Kandahar/Quebec Cup, further solidifying Tremblant’s reputation as a training ground for future champions.


In 1953, the first Ryan Classic took place at Mont Tremblant, an annual giant slalom race commemorating Mary Ryan’s late husband Joseph Bondurant Ryan, founder of the Mont Tremblant Lodge. This event continued to celebrate excellence on the slopes.

The first winners of the 1953 race were Ernie McCulloch and Lucille Wheeler. Three years later, in 1956, Wheeler won the first Olympic medal in alpine skiing for a North American skier, a bronze medal in the downhill event.


Tremblant’s reputation as a world-class ski racing destination was further solidified when it hosted the Women’s World Cup in 1983. With just 17 days to prepare, Tremblant rose to the challenge, showcasing its commitment to the sport. This event saw Canadian and international athletes competing on the McCulloch and Beauvallon trails for the downhill races and on the Flying Mile for the giant slalom.

Ernie McCulloch and Lucille Wheeler, first winners of the Ryan Classic in 1953
Canadian Laurie Graham wins World Cup downhill in 1983


The spirit of competition intertwined with a philanthropic cause to create the 24h Tremblant event in 2001. In 1998, with the creation of Formula Charity by Jacques Villeneuve and Craig Pollock, the 24h de Villars event in Switzerland set the precedent for raising funds for sick children through skiing. This ethos of giving back blended seamlessly with the racing culture at Tremblant and the 24h Tremblant as it is known today is one of Canada’s largest fundraising events.


More recently, Tremblant hosted the Freestyle Ski World Cup mogul event in 2018, attracting the world’s best mogul skiers. Canadian athletes, including Justine Dufour-Lapointe and Mikaël Kingsbury, showcased their prowess on the slopes, adding to the mountain’s legacy of excellence in skiing.

The Economic and Cultural Impact

Welcoming the Women’s FIS World Cup not only enhances Tremblant’s reputation as a world-class skiing destination but also brings numerous benefits to the local economy. The event attracts visitors from far and wide, generating revenue for local businesses, restaurants, and accommodations.

Moreover, hosting this competition serves as a cultural milestone for Mont-Tremblant. It reinforces our commitment to celebrating winter sports and encourages aspiring young athletes to pursue their dreams. The event inspires a sense of unity and pride within the community, as residents come together to cheer on the competitors and showcase Tremblant’s spirit to the world.

Preserving the Legacy

From its humble beginnings with the Kandahar tradition to hosting international competitions and nurturing local talent, Tremblant’s history is a testament to the enduring spirit of competition, camaraderie, and the pursuit of excellence on the slopes. As enthusiasts and athletes continue to carve their paths through its trails, Mont Tremblant’s legacy as a premier ski racing destination will forever be etched into the tapestry of winter sports history.

As we eagerly await the World Cup’s arrival, Tremblant stands ready to offer a warm welcome to athletes and spectators, epitomizing the essence of what it means to be a premier winter sports destination.