Take a look at skiing forty or fifty years ago. What was the appeal to the ski vacation back then? Exhilaration, scenery, and connection to nature all might come to mind, but not necessarily accessibility. Bringing the whole family never really became part of the equation until a few decades ago. Now, thanks to developments in equipment, teaching methodology, and grooming machinery among many other things, the idea of the family ski vacation has never been so appealing. With this increase in appeal and accessibility came crowds, and with those crowds, the shape of the typical ski resort took on some big changes. These changes tend to detract from that ideal, sought-after experience.
It’s important to remember our beloved sport’s roots when choosing a vacation destination. When we take the time to slow down and reflect on these “old fashioned” characteristics, we can find so much value.
- Trail diversity: This refers not only to the variety of terrain a mountain has to offer, but also the degree to which each trail differs from the others. Trail diversity helps build well-rounded skiers and riders. A good rule of thumb is the more diverse the trail selection, the more fun there is to be had!
- Uphill capacity: The higher the number of people who can access the mountain at once, the better, right? Not exactly. The real value lies in how these people can spread out over the terrain. How accessible is the mountain from the top of each lift? Some mountains can be spread way out, requiring the skier or rider to have to traverse and ride multiple lifts to access certain hard-to-reach places. Others are laid out in more of a reverse funnel style. This helps maximize time on-hill and makes that first day in unknown territory that much more productive.
- The more, the merrier. Trails that have been widened to accommodate more people, while fun for ripping fast powder turns before it’s all gone, tend to lose their snow sooner due to wind scouring. Narrower trails tend to hold more snow longer, which leads to happier skiers and riders!
- Woods: Also known as powder stashes, glades hold snow even longer than open trails! Gladed terrain gives skiers and riders the chance to diversify the shape and size of their turns, but more importantly, puts a strong emphasis on the importance of slowing down. Northern Vermont has old, beautiful woods. Glades are your ticket to interacting with that natural beauty.
- Fun for everyone: The family dynamic is a tough one. Usually, there’s a pretty wide spread of abilities and interests throughout the squad. Make sure everyone is happy, and you, too, will be happy. This, again, emphasizes the importance of terrain diversity.
- Après-ski: While après-ski usually puts focus on the party scene, for families it means something else. Keep the kids busy enough with off-hill activities to tire them out.
With 1,000 acres of mountain terrain at Smugglers’ Notch Vermont, you’ll find something for everyone. Three inter-connected mountains offer terrain to meet the likes of all types of skiers and riders. Open slopes provide great fun in the powder, while trails that remain narrow and winding keep each route unique from the next, and hold that powder for run after run. Natural features like mounds and ledges remain on the sides to keep things interesting, and with an open woods policy, there’s always a fun new stash waiting to be discovered.
Kids at Smugglers’, as well as adults, are treated to the best ski and snowboard programs in the East. With on-hill activities focused on fun, learning has never been so appealing, especially for the #1 Kid Friendly Resort in the Eastern U.S. and Canada as voted by the readers of SKI Magazine! Snow features sculpted specifically for beginners ease the fears often faced on first days. Games incorporated into lessons and all day camps keep things fun and fresh. Beginners and early intermediates are even treated to their own mountain of welcoming terrain, free from the adrenaline-fueled experts many aim to become. And the best part—it doesn’t stop with skiing and snowboarding! Groups stop by a trailside tipi for warm apple cider breaks, greeted by Father Winter—an expert in Vermont’s natural history. Here, they are introduced to artifacts and specimens which tell the tale of the Green Mountains and the smugglers of Smugglers’ Notch. Guests are given a sense of connection to the mountain experience they have come so far to be part of. All of these elements are what make Smugglers’ Notch Vermont the number one resort for family fun!