The first question I ask before booking a vacation is “what is there to do?” I want a vacation with fun activities, places to go, shows to see, and plenty of options. I want activities from sunrise to sunset. Why? Because my kids like to keep busy and I love to watch them enjoy life and everything there is. I love new experiences and love to have fun.
My husband and I have both been skiing since we were kids and we used to go every year since we started dating. However, the last time we went skiing was before I was pregnant for the first time, 9 years ago! We have been hoping to get back on the slopes and take the kids with us. I was so excited to have this opportunity to visit Smugglers' Notch, get back on the slopes, and give my kids the chance to learn something new that we love.
Smugglers' Notch Resort is located in the heart of Vermont, and there is plenty to do on and off the slopes for everyone from toddlers to grandparents. Voted America's #1 winter destination for families, there is no shortage of family fun!
The author received a hosted stay for this article. All thoughts and opinions expressed are their own.
From the minute we arrived at Smugglers' Notch Resort there were activities on the daily schedule to enjoy. We started our trip with a winter carnival that was complete with games, prizes, popcorn, and an ice sculptor who even carved the kids names into the ice.
Later we went to the character dance party and saw fireworks up on the mountain. Whether it was day or night, there were plenty of activities on the daily schedule for everyone's style.
If the warm indoors are more your thing, you can swim in the pool, relax in the hot tubs, and enjoy aqua aerobics or yoga.
Ready for some fun? Head over to Smugglers' FunZone 2.0 for 26,000 square feet of family fun. This two-story indoor playground has it all – Smuggs' Warrior course, rock wall, arcade games, laser tag, bounce houses, mini golf, ping-pong, and so much more!
My kids were so excited the second they stepped inside! They were eager to try everything – my daughter even took the Leap of Faith jump! We played for hours bouncing around the arcade from game to game, teaching them how to play foosball and shuffleboard, and playing in the Littles' Loft. It was the perfect place for my 3-year-old to have fun with his Grandma during the day and for us to warm up and have some late night fun as a family after a long day on the slopes.
If you love the cold and the outdoors, other activities include daytime tubing, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, and nighttime glow tubing where we got to race down the mountain illuminated by LED lights. My kids really loved riding up Sir Henry's Hill with their tubes and then zooming back down the mountain under the glowing lights.
If you want to ski or snowboard, Smugglers' offers 3 mountains with 78 trails, 8 lifts, and 1,000 acres of trails for all ability levels.
My husband and I were so happy to get back on the slopes after 9 years, and it really was like getting back on a bike. We started on the easier trails and worked our way up to the harder ones. The views from the top were amazing, we loved how long the trails were, and we really got to enjoy the ride down.
The best part for me was that we got to share our love of skiing with our kids for the first time. I was unsure of how they would do and how they would like the sport, but it turns out they loved it!
Snow Sport University
Smugglers' Notch Resorts' award-winning Snow Sport University was the perfect place for them to learn how to ski. I was amazed that the Smuggs qualified SSU instructors were able to teach them the skills to navigate their skis down the mountain.
Smuggs' all day SSU Ski Camp allowed my kids to learn the skills needed while having fun, and my husband and I were able to explore the bigger mountains on our own. When we passed by for sneak peeks throughout the day, we saw them learning how to hop on the "magic carpet" to ride up to the top of the hill, keep their skis together, stop and keep control, how to get up when they fell down, and focus on looking across the mountain rather than down. Later we saw them following their instructors back and forth across the mountain, learning how to get on and off the chair lift, and doing it all on their own.
We couldn't believe that after one day they had gained so many skills and were killing it on the mountain. I don't know what magic their instructors use, but it was truly incredible to see the progression of such young kids in just one day. My kids definitely have more to learn and skills to work on, but they are on their way and can't wait to go skiing again!
Food and Entertainment
After a full day of activities at Smugglers' Notch Resort, we weren't done. We all met back up to grab dinner and enjoy some night entertainment.
I love how Smuggs has so many food options right there at the resort. From the Morse Mountain Grille to pizza, coffee, ice cream, and more, there were plenty of places to grab a bite to eat and warm up before heading to the next activity. There are options for any time of the day and you can even enjoy The Friendly Pirate Breakfast and sing along with Smuggs' favorite pirate Rockin' Ron.
After dinner we always enjoyed some fun kids' activities – bingo, family games, friendly pirate show, and our personal favorite, the science show.
Who doesn't love science? There were water cup swinging, fire, and explosions – but it's not magic – it's science! The science show taught them so much while having fun. They were laughing so hard, and I was crying with laughter just from watching them.
The kids also enjoyed singing along with Rockin' Ron the Friendly Pirate and meeting Smuggs' mascots Billy Bob Bear and Mogul Mouse.
Smugglers' Notch Resort offers families a wide variety of mountainside lodging options.
Homes range from studios to 5 bedrooms and have fully equipped kitchens as well as dining rooms, living rooms, and fire places to warm up by after a cold day. Our weekend home even had a small washer and dryer, and a dishwasher – talk about every detail that matters – Smuggs even included detergent and dish soap for our convenience.
I love how spacious the condo was – we didn't need to squeeze into a tiny room and be on top of each other. The condo felt like a real home, we put our clothes in the drawers, our snacks in the kitchen, and relaxed by the fireplace in the living room.
My kids' favorite part of the house was the fact that their bedroom had 4 beds – enough for all 3 of them, and a tv – something they don't have at home. My favorite parts were definitely the porch and fireplaces – I miss those warm fireplaces.
The best part of the trip? My kids smiles – and they were endless! As a mom I want my kids to experience everything, figure out what they enjoy, and then enjoy it with them. I’m so happy I got the opportunity to let them experience something I grew up loving and see them love it just as much as I do.
Smugglers' Notch will always be a special place for us – the place our kids learned to ski for the first time and the place we got to step away and enjoy each other as a family with endless fun activities. In years to come we can talk about "the first time we came here" and enjoy all those same activities in a new way.
The kids started asking when we could come back before we event left. I can’t wait to come back to Smugglers' Notch again and get another skier up on the slopes with us – and you can too. Don't wait to book your stay at Smugglers' Notch Resort – where there's TONS of activities for family fun!
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