A Family Ski & Ride Weekend at Stratton Mountain Resort

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Some of my favorite childhood winter memories took place on ski slopes alongside my brother and friends. In hand-me-down CB Sports jackets, with a few dollars for the lodge, and a tin of Dermatone in my pocket – skiing elevated my winter playground in so many ways.

I want my kids to have similar adventuring experiences (except with helmets on their heads!), especially during the colder months – because winter is for so much more than hunkering down.

Nicole at Momtrends has a pretty cool commitment to sharing her family’s love of skiing and unplugged-togetherness on the slopes with as many families as possible. She got my crew hooked last year – and we all couldn’t wait to experience Vermont’s Stratton Mountain Resort, at Momtrends’ fourth annual Family Ski & Ride Weekend to kick off our 2020 season.

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The Trip
Located a bit over four hours from NYC, our drive to Stratton was hassle-free. Enticing scenic views and farm animal sightings gave us respite from city life. There are also a few nice spots along the way to pick up Vermont’s finest local goodies like maple syrup, cheese, and more.

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Skiing and Riding FUN
With 99 trails between an Upper Mountain, Lower Mountain, Sun Bowl, and Learning Area – I was super pumped to get the kids in riding lessons, click my boots into skiis, and find my path to fun. Highlights included taking the gondola to the summit (hello, breathtaking views), and getting lots of runs (mostly on the Upper Mountian) with friends while the kids were having a blast at camp. The immaculately groomed trails and ample terrain offer something for all levels and abilities. And, as much as I adore being with my children on the slopes and sharing in this incredible hobby together, I also love the gift of time that Stratton Mountain Sports School provides. While my kiddos learned from pro riding instructors, it was exhilarating to reconnect with that familiar feeling of pure joy set on skiis. Every parent needs time for their own fun too.

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The Lessons
Stratton Mountain Sports School offers ski and riding lessons from age three all the way up to adults. With a range of private lessons, group lessons, and full and half-day programs – we opted for the full-day camp for the kids’ first day back on snowboards. I’m convinced that this is the way to go! The day includes lunch, hot cocoa breaks as needed (and, according to my son, a special mitten dryer!). I returned to my excited kiddos in the late afternoon and could not believe how much they both accelerated in just one full day with Stratton’s expert, supportive, personalized coaching. They leveled-up in confidence and skills (while living their best lives!), which made our time together on the mountain all the more fun. In addition to showing mama their accomplishments, the kiddos were super excited to be able to handle going off on their own, along with other friends, after lessons. It’s remarkable what a shot of confidence can do.

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The Lodging and Stratton Village

We stayed on-site at Stratton’s Black Bear Lodge (a few minutes from the village). Greeted by a friendly staff, Black Bear Lodge offers a lot of helpful amenities. Like most, I want an early start on the slopes, and mornings require extra time to make sure that everyone is suited up, gear is in hand, and rentals are secured. The included breakfast was a time-saver with kids, and I so appreciated the endless Starbucks coffee and water in the lobby (note, there are no coffee makers or mini-fridges in the rooms). Stratton runs a super-efficient shuttle service with what felt like non-stopped transportation to and from the village and other areas. We actually never had to move our car all weekend. Stratton also has a charming village, with a steller rental service (we were in and out super-quick), lots of food and après-ski options, an outdoor fire pit, and more. The village shops will make you wish you left your gear at home (and absolutely need that new Patagonia, Burton, Spy or Volcom purchase!).

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The Tubing
Our fun continued well past the last chair of the day over at the Coca-Cola Tube Park located in Stratton’s Sun Bowl. With four lanes of snow tubing (and a cable lift service to get you to the top), a fire pit, and warming hut, everyone can be the undisputed champ of the tubing hill under the Sun Bowl’s cool night lights.

The Eats
Visit Mulligan’s for mountain views, American and Japanese cuisine options, solid selections of Vermont craft beer, and specialty cocktails (including CBD infused drinks). Some of the portions (like the tasty nacho appetizer), were more than enough to feed a small village. We found Mulligan’s to be super family-friendly with arcade games on the lower level.

Although I didn’t make it to Grizzly’s in the Main Base, I did notice the packed deck facing the terrain park. Grizzly’s looks like THE après spot to be.

During the day, we fueled up and took breaks at the Mid Mountain Lodge. My kids seemed to enjoy the Asian Bowls – while I just wanted to sit and guzzle water and coffee!

Stratton also hosted a wonderful dinner for us to sample the local flavors reflected in their restaurants – many of which we recognized the following night at Table 43.1 at Black Bear Lodge. It was all so well done and memorable.

I even had the chance to meet Stratton’s official photographer since 1968, Hubert Schriebl, and glace through his book of images that tell the story of Stratton through the decades (50 years, actually!). I may be secretly dreaming of becoming his apprentice and relocating to a beautiful VT timber frame home.

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Big thank you to Stratton for hosting my family and to the Momtrends team for injecting our first family ski and boarding trip of the season with so much excitement.

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Mount Snow Vermont Resort: A Family Review

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The family and I headed down to Vermont’s Mount Snow on a Thursday, for a long weekend of skiing, first-time snowboarding and checking out all that the ski resort has to offer. We had an incredible adventure – as part of a media trip with Momtrends. Just four hours from NYC, Mount Snow is Vermont’s closest big mountain resort; check out why it’s such a great place for families:Mount-Snow-Ski-Resort-Family-travel

Mount Snow’s Ski & Snowboarding School Knows How To Get The Kids Dialed In:
My kids, ages 8 and 11 approached snowboarding for the very first time with confidence. I listened to comparisons of their skateboarding and surfing experiences – and honestly thought that snowboarding would be humbling. With solid expert instruction, the kiddos proved me wrong. Mount Snow’s Ski & Snowboarding school offers a variety of lesson options beginning at just three-years-old. We opted for the Mountain Riders full-day (snowboarding) camp for kids ages seven through fourteen, placed in small groups by age and level. I couldn’t believe that my children were up and going, and riding the chairlift at the end of their very first day. Rick, their instructor, knew just how to work with my daughter and son – and even pointed out to me how skateboarding helped them naturally nail their turns. After a full day of Mountain Riders camp, I rode the chairlift with the kiddos until closing, absorbing their excitement and cherishing the moment (and awesomeness!) of being together on the mountain. We arrived at the Discovery Center, early the next morning to enroll in another full day of camp – and stayed again until we found ourselves on Sunday’s last chairlift of the day. I think it’s so important for these sort of challenging “firsts” to be positive experiences – and our pro instructor dialed my kiddos right in. The kids progressed a “color” level each day of camp, while I was free to enjoy the slopes on my own before regrouping for many runs together in the late afternoon. The rental process was also a well-organized breeze. Fully immersing my beginners in Mount Snow’s snowboarding camp was hands-down the best decision – and a win-win for the whole family.

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Mount Snow Is the Place to Experience All-Day-Après:
I had high hopes of my husband catching the ski bug – and I certainly give him an “A” for effort. Let’s say that there were a lot of laughs the moment his boots clicked into bindings – but all worked out because Mount Snow manages to make those who prefer all-day-après still feel connected. Work-out at the Grand Summit Resort Hotel’s fitness club, and unwind in the sauna and steam room. Then grab a beer at The Bullwheel (or really good coffee in the Deli if you need it!) before meeting the kids for a coveted waffle after their lessons.

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Mount Snow’s Tubing Experience is Off-The-Hook:
Gone are the days of having to haul it back up the hill after the thrill of tubing down the mountain. Mount Snow’s “magic carpet” makes the way back-up super fun. With eight tubing lanes, the whole family will want in on the action – and the best part is that you don’t need any special skills to be the queen and king of the tubing hill.

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Mount Snow’s Grand Summit Resort Hotel Is The Place to Stay:
A family ski trip undeniably involves a lot of gear and the good-sort of exertion. Mount Snow’s Grand Summit Resort Hotel located at the base of the hill handles the transition from slopes to chill-mode as a family seamlessly. The hotel offers several room size options, dining options and an efficient system of checking your skis and snowboards at the hotel entrance – all within a short walking distance to the slopes. On my solo morning, I was able to click my skis on – and take off directly from the back entrance. We didn’t have to move our car the entire four days of our trip – and staying on site made family travel with kids a breeze. The indoor/outdoor pool and hot tub invoked a lot of “oohs and ahhs” while night-swimming (outside!) during a serious snowfall. Seafood all-around at Harriman’s Farm to Table was our most memorable meal – and the kids were thrilled to get in a bit of post-dinner arcade action. And although I intended to have time to indulge in the full-service Nature Spa, or take a yoga class – the mountains were calling!

Mount_Snow_Vermont_Ski_Resort-Family-ReviewMount Snow is the Perfect Ski Resort to Get Back Into Skiing:
I don’t know why I assumed I’d be back to beginner-status after a nearly 20-year break – but it’s thrilling to come to realize that skiing isn’t something you just forget. After overcoming a bit of fear, I enjoyed run after run without wanting to stop and take a break. My re-entry experience was nothing but positive because Mount Snow’s trails are so well maintained – boasting the most powerful snowmaking system in the Northeast. I didn’t come into contact with the sort of icy trails that scared the living daylights out of me in the past – thanks to the snow guns blasting. I spent most of my time catching the Bluebird Express (inside a super cool blue plexiglass bubble shield ) up to the top of the mountain while adventuring through fun green and blue trails on the way down. Every run felt like a different thrill, with new turns to discover on the way down. The stunning views (sometimes amidst a total whiteout) absolutely took my breath away.

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We drove away from the beautiful green mountains feeling exhilarated, excited and reconnected as a family. My kids are so pumped about snowboarding, and I’m thinking about all of the other metaphorical mountains in my life that I hope to revisit and conquer.

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Beginners – take advantage of the Peak Discovery ProgramFor just $139 you’ll get three days of lessons, rentals and lift tickets for seven mountains across the Northeast, including Mount Snow, Hunter Mountain, Attitash, Wildcat and more. Also, check out the Momtrends Ski Guide for the full scoop on hitting the slopes with your family.

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Many thanks to Mount Snow for hosting us and to momtrends for media trip inclusion. 

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