My family was fortunate to be able to visit Smugglers’ Notch Resort in Vermont this past weekend.  It was clear from when we first arrived that Smuggs is a family-friendly resort.  The accommodations are all condo-living, so it’s easy for families to feel at home, away from home, with a fully stocked kitchen, living room and multiple bathrooms.  Our condo even had equipment lockers on the main level, so you could store your ski equipment in a convenient location to just grab it and go the next morning.

Smugglers’ Notch offers different packages that include accommodations, lift tickets and lessons.  My children, ages 4, 5, and 8 had never skied, so we enrolled them in ski camp. Snow Sport University was amazing!  The children were grouped by age and ability.  Their instructors were so patient with them and always had a smile on their face.  (Something I noticed about all Smuggs employees.  Everyone, from the shuttle van driver to the ski lift attendant, had a smile or friendly comment consistently.)  We dropped the kids off at 9am with all their ski gear.  They were given vests to wear to identify their group and a Flaik GPS, so we could track their mileage, speed and location throughout the day.  They skied for 1 ½ hours in the morning and then came in for an hour break for lunch/playtime.  Lunch was included each day in the camp package and they had great kid-friendly/healthy options. They were even able to accommodate my oldest son that has food allergies.  After lunch they went back out for another 1 ½ hours. of skiing.  Sir Henry’s is the learning hill for beginners.  When the children are ready to move beyond, there are endless green beginner trails for them to practice on with their instructors.  My husband and I enjoyed spying on the kids from the chair lift. We could easily see them in their bright orange helmets as they rode up the magic carpet conveyor to the top of the hill and skied down.  The family-friendly vacation was most evident while my husband and I enjoyed uninterrupted conversations on the chair lift and had quiet lunches together.  The kids were thoroughly entertained in their ski camp and we all enjoyed our vacation.  There aren’t many vacations that allow parents time to reconnect while the kids are also enjoying themselves!

Now, I’m sure many of you are thinking, “Great, but what do I do if I’m not a skier?”  Don’t fear, Smuggs has something for everyone!  For the parents or grandparents who don’t ski, you’re not stuck in a lodge reading a book while the rest of the family is out enjoying themselves.  There are other winter activities, such as ice-skating, snowshoeing or cross-country skiing, as well as winter walks and snow mobiling.  There are even offerings such as art classes or massage and yoga for those who just don’t enjoy the winter cold.  My family enjoyed snow tubing one night followed by a bonfire with hot chocolate!  There are multiple indoor pools and hot tubs at the resort, as well as an indoor play gym for families with an inflatable slide, bouncy house, ping pong, mini golf and arcade.  Like I said, something for everyone!

Although my children were old enough for ski camp, I was able to take a tour of Treasures- the childcare center for babies 6 weeks to age 3.  This state-of-the-art facility has a wonderful staff of adults caring for the youngest vacationers.  Parents can leave their children hourly or for partial or full days.  It’s located at the base of the mountain; so many parents simply skied right up to the door to check on their little ones.  They have an outdoor playground for kids to play in the snow and even teach the 2 ½ -3 year olds how to ski on a teeny tiny hill.  The children were engaged in their activities when I visited and were happy to be there.  It is definitely true that when you have happy kids you have happy parents.  Everyone in the family is able to enjoy their vacation at Smugglers’ Notch because they have thought of everything a family would need!

The one thing that stuck out the most while I was skiing this weekend was how peaceful it was.  I grew up skiing at local places like Camelback or Jack Frost in the Poconos. The weekends at these places were always crazy- long lift lines, overcrowded slopes and packed cafeterias.  You were always looking over your shoulder for out of control skiers who might plow into you.  I’ve heard the same about some other Vermont ski resorts that pack in the people without concern for safety.  There were many times this weekend that the only sounds I heard were the swoosh of my skis on powder-fresh snow.  The only obstacle I came across was a ski instructor looking like a mama duck with all her little ducklings following behind her while teaching a kids camp lesson!

Although most of us here in New Jersey wish the snow would stop for the season, there are places like Vermont that look forward to spring snowfall.  Think about a trip to Smugglers’ Notch this March when the kids are off from school.  Their SuperSaver Value weeks coincide with most spring breaks, so take advantage of the cheaper rates and treat your family to a vacation that has something for everyone!  Check out www.smuggs.com for all the details.

*we were invited to visit the resort to facilitate a review, all opinions are our own.

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