Vermont continues to be one of our favorite family ski destinations year after year. Just a few hours from home we find easy access to big mountains, expansive snowboard terrain parks, and a wide range of great off slope activities, lodging and restaurants that appeal to our teens as well as mom and dad. Families taking a ski vacation with teens and tweens need to be honest about each family member’s skiing abilities and interests. Some teens may want to ski hard all day while others are pretty rusty and might benefit from a private lesson or all day camp. Mom might want a spa and dad might want to ski a half day before taking a turn on a snowmobile tour.
For teens and tweens with little ski or snowboard experience, a private lesson will get them on the slopes quickly
For a multi-day ski vacation, unless your family plans to ski together every day, the major options for making sure the teens and tweens have a buddy at the mountain are to bring a friend or seek out resorts with teen and tween-specific ski school and mountain camp offerings.
Three of our favorite Vermont ski resorts that have lots to offer teens, tween and their parents, regardless of each individual’s level of skiing or snowboarding ability, are:
Smugglers’ Notch: Join the Notch Squad
With two mountains and Ski Schools options for younger and older teens, Smugglers’ Notch gets our vote for one of Vermont best destinations for families with skiers of all ages and abilities. During our visit, the Notch Squad program for ages 11-15 really filled the bill offering small group snowboard lessons at several levels of expertise. The instructors were friendly and upbeat and were able to quickly connect with our teen. We understand that this winter Smuggs will be revamping some of its programs for older teens so be sure to ask what is available when you call to book a vacation.
The Notch Squad on the move
Smuggs is a destination resort where most visitors stay for a weekend or longer. If you are looking for things to do off the mountain – either with or without the teens – snowmobile rides, ice skating and the Arbor Trek zip line tours are great fun. Smuggs has a wide range of condo lodging options including some that are large enough for extended families or two families traveling together.
Stowe Mountain Resort: Explore Stoked Teen Camp
Stowe, Vermont is a classic alpine town with four seasons of dining and outdoor activities that are fun for mom, dad and the teens and tweens. Multiple mountains mean that skiers of any level can find the perfect trail at the Stowe Mountain Resort. Green trail skiers will enjoy the 2.5 mile Toll Road trail from the top of Mount Mansfield while more advance skiers and boarders will never run out of options. Off the mountain there are many great restaurants, stores and activities such as Dog Sled rides. The Mountain Road is lined with a wide range of hotels, motels, condos and bed and breakfasts.
The full day Stoked Teen Camp for blue/black skiers and riders, aged 13-17 years, is grouped by skill level. It is offered during major vacation periods. For families where 24×7 togetherness gets to be a little much on a ski vacation, the Stoked Teen Camp allows the teens the run of the mountain with built in supervision, lessons and the opportunity to hang with kids their own age. More traditional ski school options are available for tweens and younger teens up to age 14.
Killington: Chill in the SnowZone
With over 140 trails, Killington is synonomous with skiing in Vermont. Trails include “Outer Limits” a double black diamond mogul trail that is the steepest mogul run in all of New England. It also has the longest trail in the east in the 6.2-mile “Juggernaut” and boasts five snowboard and alpine parks.
For older teens, ages 13-18, the SnowZone program offers ski and snowboard lessons designed especially for teens of all ability levels, with a promise that there will be no more than 5 teens in a group. The half day and full day lesson programs include a lesson-only, lift ticket and rental equipment including a snow sports helmet is additional. A smiliar program for tweens and younger teens is available via the SuperStars program.
Killington is known for being one of the first Vermont mountains to open and one of the last to close. Discounted single day tickets for non-peak times are on sale until October 11th and the mountain expects to be open by Thanksgiving, if not before. Off slope the fun continues with sleigh rides, tubing, snowmobile rides and a great spa.
Our Top Tip
Our top tip for a successful family ski vacation with teens and tweens is to make some up front assessments about priorities and skill level, then look for a resort with a wide range of on and off slope options including teen-specific ski and snowboard schools if you are not bringing a friend of similar ability to keep yout teen company on the slopes.
Looking for more family ski and snowboard ideas? Check out all the great family travel blog ski links on the Mother of All Trips Back to Ski page.