Nov 242010

     The Ski Vermont tourism site lists over 40 downhill and cross country ski destinations across the state.  Each offers something unique, but a few stand out as having something really special for families with teens and tweens.   Four in particular have caught our eye as we are making our winter ski plans – we thought we’d share what our research has uncovered:

Smugglers' Notch Snowboarding

Smugglers’ Notch Resort

      Smugglers’ Notch Resort  encompasses 3 mountains with 2,600 feet of vertical rise, 78 trails and 3 terrain parks, in a high energy self-contained four season resort setting.    On mountain condos allow teens and tweens to have a high degree of independence and the resort runs a wide range of teen-specific lesson and off mountain activities to ensure they will never get bored.   There are challenging all day on mountain programs offered for the 11 to 15 year old age group, and a less structured daily teen lesson/meet-ups for those 16 and older.  Evening teen programs in dedicated, parent free zones are available almost every night.  Adult entertainment is also available so mom and dad can have fun on their own while the teens are out having fun with their new friends.

     The mountain also runs a full set of programs for younger siblings as well as numerous off-slope activities such as winter walks, dog sleds, airboarding, tube sliding, indoor pools, a family fun zone and new this season a 4,000 foot long year round zipline canopy tour that is sure to excite just about any teen.  

Bolton Valley

     Bolton Valley, with 1,700 feet of vertical rise and 3 terrain parks is another self contained walkable ski in/ski out village setting that includes an Inn, condos and three restaurants.           

Big air at Bolton Valley

     The mountain has a range of ski and snowboard rental and lesson options.  For  anyone who wants to learn to navigate snowboard terrain features,  Bolton hosts the Burton Learn to Ride program in its specially designed Burton Progression Park.  The Park  is designed to take a newbie and introduce them to standard terrain park features in a progressive format. Starting on small features where basic skills can be taught and then progressing as you improve to the larger features.  

     The Bolton Valley Sports Center in the base village houses an indoor pool and arcade.   There are no teen-specific group lessons or off mountain activities but night skiing is available Wednesday through Saturday.

     Note: Bolton is also a good choice for families with disabled skiers as the mountain has a partnership with Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports which offers lessons for blind and disable skiers and snowboarders (reserve two weeks ahead). 


 Stratton Mountain

      The 2,000 foot vertical Stratton Mountain Ski Resort  is a hit with teens that want lots of terrain and freestyle challenges. It includes on mountain accomodations  and an economical Kids Stay and Ski Free package that is a good option for families looking for an affordable ski getaway. 

Powder at Stratton Mountain

     With the package, kids 17 and younger are invited to ski and stay free when two adults purchase a (2 night minimum) lift and lodging package in a family friendly condominium.  Kids can rent equipment free too when an adult purchases a rental.   

     Teens ages 13-18 that want an aggressive  ski challenge can join the PEAK program for several hours of intense all mountain skiing with similar aged thrill seekers.  Want to work on specialized skills?  The Allegro program emphasizes moguls while the Freeski program teaches teens how to ski the half pipe and other extreme features.  The Coca Cola Tubing Park offers another alternative with a warming hut and four lanes that stretch up to 750 feet.  The resort also has snowmobiling for the family, as well as a fleet of mini snowmobiles for children as young as six.

Okemo Mountain

     Okemo Mountain in Ludlow, VT has evolved from a community-run ski hill in the 1980s to a full fledged resort today.    The 2,200 vertical rise multi-mountain complex includes 6 terrain parks and a superpipe.  Slope side lodging is available in the recently completed Jackson Gore base area, the original Clock Tower base area and mid-mountain locations.  

     Group ski and snowboard lesson and mountain explorer programs are available for tweens and teens through age 14.  Teens 15 and up can join adult group lessons and private lessons are always available.  Young adults (ages 13-18) can get a discount off the adult priced lift tickets. 

     Off ice attractions include alpine coaster rides, ice skating, snow tubing, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, swimming, year-round indoor golf, and the two-level, 18,000 square-foot Spring House fitness and aquatic center.

Make Reservations Now!

     If you are planning to get away during school vacation times make your reservations now.  We’ve been doing some quick checking for Christmas week and things are filling fast.

Photos courtesy of the individual ski resorts

  One Response to “Best Vermont Ski Resorts for Families with Teens”

  1. I’ve wanted to go to Smuggler’s notch for a few years now. It looks and sounds wonderful! In Minnesota, it’s so tempting to always go west for winter fun, but I look forward to heading out east one day for skiing.

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