An Insider's Guide to the Best Family-Friendly Winter Activities at Smugglers' Notch Resort

Kids will be all smiles when they see how much fun Smuggs has to offer on and off the trails.
Kids will be all smiles when they see how much fun Smuggs has to offer on and off the trails. Gretchen Stern
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Smugglers' Notch Resort, lovingly referred to as Smuggs by locals, has 1,000 acres of terrain for skiers and riders of all levels, an entire village for visitors to explore, a FunZone, teen center, pool, ice skating rink, and plethora of après ski activities. There is no doubt that this is the place you want to bring your family for some downhill fun this winter. To add to that, Smuggs was just voted the number one Kid Friendly Resort in the East by Ski Magazine readers, which practically dares you to bring your entire family and find one person among your crew that is bored.

When it comes to satisfying every member of the family, Smuggs gets it right. Not only are there a ton of options for the youngsters in the family, but Smuggs makes sure that parents can get some alone-time on the trails as well. And when everyone’s had enough of skiing and riding, there are countless options for family entertainment off the slopes.

Everyone is guaranteed to improve their skills during a lesson at Smuggs.
Everyone is guaranteed to improve their skills during a lesson at Smuggs. Brandon Atkinson

If you’ve got newbies tagging along, sign them up for lessons at the Snow Sport University. The ski and snowboard school will get kids two-and-a-half and up out on the snow. And, they are so certain they can teach anyone the basics that they guarantee a refund if every member of your family does not have fun and improve their technique after a day of lessons. Tiny beginners will be giddy with excitement at meeting Rockin’ Ron the Friendly Pirate, exploring Sir Henry’s Learning Hill, or even testing out the Burton Riglet Park. Morse Mountain is a playground for new skiers, especially kiddos, which helps ensure that a day of “learning” feels much more like play. For somewhat experienced skiers and riders, a lesson might entail testing out new terrain on Sterling or even popping into some intermediate glades for a little instruction on gliding through trees.

The littlest members of the family can spend their day in the exemplary Treasures Child Care Center. Sure, most mountains have childcare centers, but few are as nice as Treasures. Years ago Smuggs spent heaps of money renovating the space after realizing that investing in a safe, comfortable center for the kiddos meant contented parents could more thoroughly enjoy their time on the trails. So, they installed a center with age-specific playrooms, a private nursing room, one-way mirrors in each room to allow parents to check in on their children, radiant floor heating, and even heated snowmelt outdoor walkways. Worried about your little one while you’re out on the slopes? Just call Treasures and check in–you might even be lucky enough to have your child’s caregiver shoot you a text of your kiddo happily playing.

Once you’re all reunited, your biggest struggle will be choosing which tantalizing après treat comes first. Do you all grab pizzas at Rigga-Bello’s Pizzeria? Or do you choose from one of the other family-friendly dining delights at your fingertips? Once everyone’s fully satiated, you will still have lots of decisions to make together–ice cream at the Ben and Jerry's scoop shop, tubing on the lighted Sir Henry’s Hill, skating at the outdoor rink, or full-fledged bliss at the FunZone?

Kids can't help but have fun with all the awesome activities at Smugglers' Notch.
Kids can't help but have fun with all the awesome activities at Smugglers' Notch. Courtesy of Smugglers' Notch

The FunZone boasts bouncy houses, giant slides, and inflatable mazes. Plus teens and adults alike can enjoy ping pong, mini golf, shuffleboard, and arcade games galore. For a little après ski relaxation, take everyone to the pool and enjoy a dip in the hot tub. And who could say no to hot chocolate by the bonfire at night? Get the entire family on board for a cozy outdoor warm-up. Enjoy torchlight fireworks on Thursday nights throughout the season.

Of if you’re itching for an adult night out, contact the day care center for information on babysitters, and once the kiddos are settled and happy, go enjoy some of the bars and live music either at the mountain or in town via the shuttle.

Have some non-skiers in the group who refuse to give it a go? Send them over to the Nordic Ski and Snowshoe adventure for quieter outdoor exploration. Or better yet, sign up for the Vermont Winter Experience program and spend your day snowshoeing and cross country skiing as well as pottery painting and tasting herbal tea. It's a well-rounded adventure at your own pace.

If you can dream it, Smuggs has probably already done it. And when your family makes a trip for the weekend, you all get to try it. Prepare to be wowed, wooed, and whining for your next trip back to Smuggs.


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