2012 Ironman Mont-Tremblant

The inaugural 2012 Ironman Mont-Tremblant in Quebec will be the second Ironman Triathlon in Canada.

Ironman Mont-Tremblant promises to be a stunning new venue and a welcome addition to the WTC Ironman family.

It sure has been a long time coming, but with the announcement of Ironman Mont-Tremblant finally there is a second sanctioned Ironman Triathlon in Canada.

It’s hard to believe that in a country this big that it took over 27 years to figure out that there plenty of demand for a second Ironman.


This is especially true when one considers that there are now 9 Ironman races in the Continental United States and one more in Hawaii with probably a few more U.S.-based races on the horizon over the next few years.


Ironman Coeur d’Alene
Ironman Arizona
Ironman Texas
Ironman St. George
Ironman Lake Placid
Ironman Louisville
Ironman New York
Ironman Wisconsin
Ironman Florida
Ironman Hawaii-World Championships

Although it was just under 2,900 who started Ironman Canada 2011, there were actually about 3,200 who entered.

It remains to be seen how Mont-Tremblant will effect the growth of Ironman Canada in Penticton, but my guess is that they will both sell out early every year.

Ironman Canada has basically grown unabated now for a few decades to the point where the swim and even early kilometers of the bike course are getting very crowded.

You simply have to draw the line somewhere or go to wave swim starts in Penticton and you just know that will never happen.

While taking part in the Ironman Expo in Penticton and doing signings for my Ironstruck books I talked with several athletes who had planned to take part in the Penticton Ironman in 2012, but instead signed up for Ironman Mont-Tremblant when it was announced. They were from Montreal so it was probably an easy decision.

Also, there were many Eastern Canadian triathletes who would take part in Ironman Lake Placid because it’s just simply too expensive or logistically difficult for many to make the trip from Ontario, Quebec, or the Maritime Provinces all the way to Penticton.

It was far easier to enter Lake Placid and drive across the U.S. border. Actually there will now be three Ironman races within relatively easy driving distance for Eastern Canadians. Ironman Lake Placid, Ironman New York, and now Ironman Mont-Tremblant.

The Lake at Mont-Tremblant

Something else I find very interesting is the timing of the two events. They will take place exactly one week apart in August 2012.

The fact that Ironman Mont-Tremblant sold out 2700 spots in just 10-days(and to athletes from 51 countries no less)proves that many triathletes have been waiting for a second race in Canada for a long time.


There are two things that I wondered right away as soon as I heard about this race. Where is the swim? Most likely the water will be Mountain run-off and does that mean a cold-water swim?

Also, being a ski resort one would expect that the area would be hilly and this may end up being a very challenging bike course.

There’s not a thing wrong with a challenging bike course but as it’s a resort the roads are likely well used and what sort of condition are they in for the 8 million dollars(or more) worth of fragile triathlon bikes that will descend on Mont-Tremblant next Summer?

Hopefully all will go well because the reputation of any Ironman Triathlon is often determined by the impression left on the triathlon world by the inaugural event.

The success and longevity of any Ironman race seems to depend on two main things. You need triathletes to love the race so much they return year after year and you need those same triathletes to tell other triathletes just how great the race is.

If a triathlete has a negative experience he will not return and is not likely to suggest to others that they enter the race. On the contrary he could actually tell them to avoid it all together.

This in a nutshell explains why Ironman Canada is so successful. Triathletes return year after year and tell other triathletes they just have to enter Ironman Canada. I was entered in Ironman Canada ten times myself over the years.

It is an amazing event that has showcased triathletes from all over the world for almost 3 decades.

It really looks like the Ironman Mont-Tremblant organizers have this figured out. As Race Director Dominique Piche`said in his own word about the venue….

“Everything is close by, and you’ll be able to look around 360 degrees and see the finish, the Ironman village, the transition zone, the bike in-bike out … all the elements so central to the Ironman racing experience.”

The swim will take place in Lake Tremblant but I have not yet found a chart on the average water temperatures for August and I will add them in as soon as I find out. There is pretty much little doubt that it will be a wetsuit swim.

It appears that it will be a one-loop swim.

As expected the bike course will take the triathletes through forest and mountain terrain.

It will be a two-loop bike course.

The bike course will be ready

At the recent Ironman Canada I talked with triathletes from Montreal who know the Mont-Tremblant area well and confirm that it will be a challenging bike course and that the roads need work.

Race organizers are already on top of that and the Quebec government is going to re-pave the majority of the bike course in time for the inaugural event in 2012.

As Dominique states……..

“That’s going to give us wider roads and bike paths on each side so when the athletes come to train and acclimate they are going to have that bike path to secure them.”

Better yet, the bike course will also be completely closed to 95 percent of traffic and they are closing highway 117 northbound, which will give participants 40 km of complete highway access.

The Canadian government is also paving other highway portions at the far end of where the course stops. “The beauty is, there are so many possibilities,” said Piché. “So we will wait to hear what our participants say and will make it the best course for what they want for Tremblant afterwards.”

The two-loop 26.2 run course goes through the old village of Mont-Tremblant, adding a European feel to the course. Athletes are also scheduled to run on the Le P’tit Train Du Nord, a former railway bed that is now the longest linear park in Canada.

The vibes I get from Ironman Mont-Tremblant is that this might well become one of the finest Ironman venues in the world if they are true to their word and prepare the course as promised.

The organizers obviously have the passion which is the main ingredient for success in just about any endeavor in this world.

Best of luck to all those who are involved with the creation of the inaugural Ironman Mont-Tremblant.

It will be an exciting time when August 19, 2012 roles around and this stunningly beautiful corner of Quebec will be front and center in the world of Ironman.

“If you have any thoughts or questions about the Mont-Tremblant Ironman course, post them in our comments.”

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