Smuggler’s Notch in Jeffersonville, Vermont was one of the first family-friendly ski resorts in the area, and what it does best is the all-day Snow Sport University for kids as well as lessons. Many of the families staying at Smuggs were there for a week or more, and in that time got to know the ski instructors well, or returned from last year eager to discuss their child’s progress on the “Alpine Progress Card,” which indicated my three children’s ability levels. Walking around the main area of the resort is fun in its own right: There’s a small general store, Ben and Jerry’s, a restaurant, and even a fire pit to warm up after hitting the slopes. Smuggs is open all-year long, so if you have other winter plans, consider coming in the summer and hiking!
My kids (ages 8, 6, and 3) had a blast one afternoon after Snow Sport University ended at the Fun Zone. This 26,000 square foot indoor playground located at Smuggs is open December-April, and boasts such entertainment such as laser tag, an arcade, a 30-foot climbing wall and a ninja warrior course. My kids loved the climbing wall!
The Ninja Warrior course looks just like the one on TV!
Snow Sport University
Smuggs’ Ski School is divided by age group, but after much begging (on their part) my sons were allowed to remain together, while my 3 year-old daughter was paired up with a lovely woman instructor who immediately put her at ease. In the gear building, experts did the work for us: they measured three sets of ski boots, skis, and helmets, which made things much easier for my husband and I! For $169 per day, my children got excellent, kind coaches, top instruction, lunch, lift tickets, and even an hour of entertainment (a singer or a movie) at the end of the day.
What’s cuter than follow-the-leader?
For the Non-Skiers
I was 8 months pregnant during this trip, and my goal for our vacation was to get my family up on the mountain and to learn how to ski well. While they were happily busy (hubby included) I drove over to the Courtside Pool, open 11-8 daily. Be sure to bring your own towel from your room, as they do not provide. Although I was too late for the lap swimming hour, the pool was quiet and I had no trouble swimming my 20 laps anyway (it gets crowded after dinner with families).
I had a 50-minute prenatal massage at the Mountain Massage Center. While priced a little steep for me at $85, it was worth every penny. I could easily see vacationers coming off the mountain and enjoying a Swedish massage. A little tip is to call for the free shuttle, which runs anywhere and everywhere on the grounds of the resort as it snows often and frequently in Jeffersonville, and trudging through the snow or driving after a relaxing massage is no fun
For the Foodies
The Broken Yolk is located in the back of an old inn, and only 5 minutes from Smuggs. We ate breakfast here two days in a row, mainly because their French toast was amazing! The wait for food is long, even without any other patrons, but well worth the wait. Because the food took so long the first day we left more time the second, in order to make it to ski school by 9am. It opens at 7, and this time worked best for us in order to get all our kid’s ski gear.
158 Main is a charming throwback to a bygone era when small towns would gather in the local restaurant to eat wholesome, fresh food and catch up on the latest news. Their BLT and French onion soup are both recommendable, and their lunch combo deals can’t be beat.
Dinner: Brewster River Pub
The Brewster River Pub is a five-minute drive into town from Smugglers. It has around 25 beers on tap and has a special table for kids which includes chalkboard surfaces for drawing. They host a free nightly raffle, which include a chance at winning ski equipment. They have a smoker out back, so anything off the menu such as smoked chicken wings or the St. Louis style ribs will be delish.
Check out the awesome local beer selection!
Morse Mountain Grille
For easy dining in the resort itself, you can ski right off the mountain and glide on over to Morse Mountain Grille. We saw plenty of people still wearing their ski boots.
The Little Smuggs menu is great for kids, and if you sit in the pub there’s a clear view of skiers coming off the slopes. Breakfast is served not until 8, which could cause problems if your kids are starting ski school at 8:45, but it worked great for us come lunchtime.
Smuggs has several different types of rooms, and we stayed in the Owls condos which included a dining room table and full kitchen, plus three bedrooms. The space could have easily fit two families, and the “kid’s room” had four twin-sized beds, ideal for cousins or small children bunking together. My eight year-old loved the double shower in the master suite, and asked why we don’t have one in our house!
It really helps to have a working kitchen when travelling with small children. We kept bottled water in the fridge, and heated up leftover pizza in the oven.
Smugglers makes for a great destination for kids learning how to ski for the first time, or improving on your skills from year to year. I felt completely comfortable with the instructors taking my kids all day for camp, and my husband and I loved having time to ourselves knowing our children were having the time of their lives as well as learning a new life skill.
Smugglers Notch Resort