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Frequently Asked Questions

from Snow Sport University (SSU)

Are there special Covid-19 prevention protocols that I should be aware of when taking lessons? Yes. Smugglers’ Notch has implemented the Vermont Ski Resort Covid-19 Winter Operations Guidance from the Vermont ACCD. Specifics include the following protocol — All SSU participants and instructors must wear cloth face coverings indoors at all times before, during, and after the lesson.

Will participants be able to ride the chairlift with each other or instructors? Yes. We will be loading our lifts with two people per chair. Instructors will be required to wear a face mask when riding the chair with others. An instructor or an adult will ride with 3 and 4 year olds at all times.

Will Group Lessons be available in the 2021-22 season? Yes. SSU will offer Group Lessons for ages 5 to adult. All Group Lessons will require advance reservations (2-hour lessons are available at 10:00 am or 1:00 pm).

Will Private Lessons be available in the 2021-22 season? Yes. SSU will offer several types of Private Lessons, including, Individual Lessons, Semi-Private Lessons, and Family Private Lessons.

Will Children’s Camps be offered this season? Yes. ALL CHILDREN MUST BE PICKED UP AT 11:30 AM FOR LUNCH WITH THEIR FAMILY AND THEN RETURN AT 1:00 PM FOR THE AFTERNOON SESSION! There will not be afternoon indoor entertainment due to crowding in the afternoons.

Will warming stations be available during my lesson? Yes. Warming stations are located in easily accessible locations on all three mountains.

Is indoor space available for me to get dressed for my lesson? No. We ask that you dress for your lesson in your accommodations or car prior to your lesson.

Can parents tag along and watch their children? Parents cannot tag along with lessons to watch their children. We understand that parents want to see their children learning and having fun. However, this can be disruptive to the class and can negatively affect the experience of the other children in the group. Instructors can usually let parents know some of the key locations that they can watch from a distance without their children knowing. If they need to be with their child in the lesson then we recommend a semi-private lesson.

What is the ratio for child to instructor in lessons/camps? The ratio varies from program to program. Group sizes generally range between 6-12 students to one instructor depending on the number of guests at the resort. Supervisors take great care in assigning instructors to group sizes that are appropriate for the best guest experience.

Are the groups larger during the holidays? Group sizes are larger during busier times of the season. If the group size is important to the guest their best option is to choose a 1:00 pm lesson or a private or semi-private lesson. We do not guarantee group sizes. We work hard to send out an appropriate number of guests in each lesson and it depends on several contributing factors: Instructor, age of students, and ability of the students.

What does a full day of camp entail? The advantage of the camp program is your child will progress more in their skills as a skier or rider. Kids learn better when they ski or ride with other kids. Instruction is mixed in with exploring the mountain and the terrain. Long lasting relationships with other kids develop more in the all-day program. The day starts with skiing and riding in the morning. ALL CHILDREN MUST BE PICKED UP AT 11:30 AM FOR LUNCH WITH THEIR FAMILY AND THEN RETURN AT 1:00 PM FOR THE AFTERNOON SESSION! Then out on the slopes for more skiing and riding in the afternoon. When the on-snow portion of the day is complete around 3:00 pm - 3:30 pm, instructors bring the class into the Meeting House.

Can I put both my kids in camp/lessons together? Ex: Can my 5 year old & 8 year old stay together? If siblings want to be together the older child needs to be in the younger child's group. We recommend that children go with their own age group to get the most out of their experience. Younger children cannot go with older groups. Our experience has proven that this does not work. Children need to learn at a pace that is appropriate for them socially and developmentally. Many times when siblings start their week together they end up moving into other groups anyway.

What do you do when it is "too cold" to ski? It is never too cold to ski or ride. At line-up we ensure that all of our customers are dressed properly. We may offer suggestions on additional gear that can make the guest more comfortable (i.e. neck warmers, hand and/or toe warmers, dressing in layers, etc.). On colder days we take more breaks. We have several buildings at the base and some summits of mountains for groups to go in. Some locations offer hot chocolate breaks as well.

Are helmets required? Helmets are not required but are recommended. There are several advantages to wearing a helmet. Helmets can decrease the severity of a head injury. They keep your head and body warmer than a hat. There are a lot of cool helmets and covers for kids that make wearing a helmet more fun. A high percentage of our customers wear helmets.

What happens if my child doesn't like it or gets cold? On colder days we try to take extra breaks. If parents dress their children properly they do not get as cold. However, some children just are not ready for the on-mountain experience. If this is the case then we will either guide them to a different experience, Mom/Dad and Me Private or Private lesson. IF they absolutely don't like it we will give them their money back and hope that we can try again next year.

How are the kids divided into the different groups? The children are divided by age and ability level. We do our best to group 3 and 4 year olds together, 5 and 6 year olds together. In the 7-15 year old age groups it depends on the number of students at each level. We try to group younger ages together and older ages together. Most importantly we want them to be matched by skills, experience, emotionally, and developmentally.

Where do I take my "never-ever" skiers and riders to start? Our beginner learning terrain is in the greeting area behind the Meeting House. The greeting area is the best place to start a "never-ever" student because there is plenty of wide open space. As they progress you can move to Sir Henry's Learning Hill.

How do guests request an instructor? Priority is given to private lesson requests.

Appropriate clothing? Dress in layers. Stay away from cotton whenever possible. Use polypropylene type clothing and fleece. Polypro wicks moisture away from your skin so you don't get cold. We recommend ski or snowboard socks. Do not wear cotton socks. Cotton absorbs moisture and then makes you cold.

Dress in layers
A number of lighter layers allow you to adjust your clothing as the temperature changes. Multiple thinner layers will be much more comfortable than a jacket that looks like a blimp.

  • Wear a base layer of long underwear or tights. Synthetic or wool is best. Avoid cotton if at all possible. Synthetics and wool wick moisture away from you and retain their ability to trap heat even if they happen to get wet.
  • Next a warm shirt, turtleneck, sweater or fleece.
  • Water and wind resistant pants are the best bet, and you will be very glad you have them. Snow or ski pants are ideal. Avoid sweat pants, they get wet very quickly! Be sure your pants are wide enough at the bottom of the legs to fit over large boots. Don't try to put your pant legs into your boots, it will cut off the circulation to your feet.
  • A jacket or shell with a high collar, once again water and wind resistant is best.
  • One pair of synthetic or wool socks is best — trust us on this one. Too many socks will cut off your circulation and make your feet colder. Cotton will get wet quickly from perspiration. Avoid socks with big, thick seams if possible.
  • Eye protection Either sunglasses or goggles. 100% UVA and UVB please. Dark sunglasses without 100% UV protection are actually worse than no sunglasses at all. Why? Because your eyes open up to compensate for the lower visible light levels allowing more UV in than normal.
  • Gloves or mittens Gloves allow more freedom of movement, but mittens are warmer because your fingers can share the heat - either way waterproof is best. Avoid knit and cotton gloves, they get wet very quickly. Be very careful with kids gloves - if they look fuzzy, cold hands will follow.
  • Warm hat or helmet that covers your ears The old saying "If your feet are cold, put on a hat" is true!
  • Sunscreen and lip balm, SPF 15 or greater. Even on cloudy days it is very easy to get too much sun when on the snow. Snow reflects nearly the entire spectrum of light (that's why it looks white), therefore you get cooked from above and below.
  • Be sure to bring extra clothes to change into for the ride home.
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