This exclusive enclave began as the dream of an eccentric Philadelphia scion named Joe Ryan. His vision: a ski area on the snowy flanks of Mont-Tremblant in the heart of Quebec’s Laurentians region. Ryan first opened his ski resort in 1939 — Mont-Tremblant will mark its 75th anniversary with a grand celebration in February 2014.

But the Tremblant of today is a much different place from what even Ryan envisioned. The French Alps-like Tremblant is a bustling village in both winter and summer. A nest of shops, restaurants, bars, spas and hotels lines the lower slopes of this gigantic mountain — most buildings are topped with candy-colored roofs and linked by pedestrian-friendly cobblestone streets.

The action is in the resort’s central square — Place St. Bernard — where buskers and bands entertain the masses. Tremblant’s nightlife is lively, especially after long days on the slopes. While the skiing is excellent, there are plenty of off-slope activities as well. Surrounding golf courses are some of Quebec’s best. There’s a casino, a slew of boutiques, a movie theater, some galleries and an aquatic center. For skating in winter and boating in summer, pretty Lac Tremblant lies just below the village.