Cincinnati Family Magazine

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June 17, 2024

Snuggle Up to Smugglers Notch

For years, Smugglers’ Notch has been America’s best family ski resort.  We left knowing why!

Skimming through fresh powder … following our 7-year-old son as he skied down a mountain for the first time … watching our bundled-up 11-month-old daughter opening her mouth to catch her first snowflakes … sipping hot coffee drinks at the base lodge … sliding our aching bones into a steaming hot tub … relaxing before the fire in our comfortable condo …

These are just a few of the many wonderful memories my family and I have of our mid-January vacation at Smuggers’ Notch Family Ski Resort in Jeffersonville, Vt.

For years, Smugglers’ Notch has been voted America’s best family ski resort, and we left knowing why!  We all agreed that this was our best vacation ever.

A True Family Vacation

Smugglers’ Notch has mastered the art of providing a perfectly integrated family vacation. From Treasures Child Care Center for tiny pre-skiers (6 weeks and older) to the Teen Alley (a teens-only recreation center), activities abound throughout the day for children of every age.  Smugglers’ also knows how to take care of parents. The beauty of the resort is not only that families can enjoy a lot of time together skiing, swimming and skating, but parents can carve out time to be alone while the kids have fun elsewhere.

Here’s how we enjoyed a typical day:  At 8:30 a.m. on our first day we dropped our daughter in the bright and cheery Treasures Child Care. Conveniently adjacent is the rental shop, where we were fitted quickly and expertly with skis, boots, and poles –all high quality and in superb condition.
We then took our son to Snow Sport University for his group lesson. Like virtually every Smugglers’ employee we met, our son’s instructor was friendly and cheerful, so we had no qualms about skiing off on our own while he began his first day in Adventure Rangers Ski Camp (6 -12 years old).
My wife and I spent the morning on well-groomed slopes as we eased ourselves back into skiing for the first time in six years. The trails on the three Smugglers’ Notch mountains are perfectly designed to accommodate a range of abilities.

At lunch we peeked into the eating area reserved for the group lessons to spy on our son, who seemed perfectly happy sipping hot chocolate with his instructor before resuming his lesson. Ski camp includes lunch, on-snow instruction and indoor entertainment such as movies or games.  We picked up our son at 3 p.m., collected our daughter and headed home to plan the rest of the day.

If we hadn’t been picking up the kids, we could have skied to the doorstep of our brand-new condo, featuring a large whirlpool tub in the master bath, cable TV in every room (including the master bath), two bedrooms, a large family room with a gas fire and a well-appointed kitchen.  Nothing beats the special brand of exhilarating fatigue that comes from a full day of skiing –unless it’s stretching your muscles afterwards in an indoor pool or dissolving into a hot tub, which is pure heaven.  We did both that night.

Beyond Skiing

A seamless array of activities available day and night makes for maximum flexibility.  The Fun Zone houses Winston the Wonder Whale, a huge inflatable attraction you can crawl through.  Race down a giant double-lane slide, or tackle the Team Challenge, a 45-foot obstacle course designed to leave a middle-aged father panting in a vat of balls while his son scrambles nimbly over the last wall to victory.  You can also play mini-miniature golf, shoot baskets or try to bash an oversized volleyball (easily six feet in diameter) over the net.  We did everything and had a great time!

Those whose need for speed is not sated by a day of skiing can go night tubing, skating, snowmobiling or snowboarding, cross country and much more including the sauna and Tub Club and sleigh rides.

A family package offers the best value for your vacation dollar.  Packages may include lift tickets, ski rentals, childcare, lodging and ski lessons for one flat rate.  Ski vacations are never inexpensive, of course, but at Smugglers’ Notch every dollar is well spent.  We can’t wait to go back!

If You Go…

For more information about family ski packages at Smuggler’s Notch, call
800-451-8752 or visit

Husband and father of two, Mark Wollaeger is an English professor at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN.

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