Pros: Snow quality, terrain, base village, skiier density
Cons: Lifts, terrain park
320 inches average snowfall from Tony Crocker
Exposure is mainly west and north
Tiered stay and ski package options range from stay and ski only to lesson plans for all family members.
Flaik GPS technology available to track all on mountain stats i.e. vertical, miles and trails skied.
Burton Learn to Ride program returns for a second season
Indoor pools, hot tubs, indoor funzone family center, zipline canopy tours, evening entertainment, teen center, tubing, snowmobile tours, dog sledding, winter walking, arts & crafts classes, massage, yoga & wellness, video arcade, shopping.
Snow Sport University - Award-winning children's ski and snowboard programs for all ages. Adult lesson programs. Women's Programs.
Treasures Child Care Center - Vacation child care for for children 6 weeks to 3 years old.
GOOD, BETTER, BEST
Good: No need to go to Waterbury to enjoy Vermont's famous Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream.
Better: A family resort with real expert skiing including glades.
Best: Consistently rank #1 family ski resort. Enjoy an abundance of family activities and events around the resort.
|Snow making percent||62%|
|Lifts-Surface Lifts-Magic carpet|
|Lifts-Surface Lifts-Rope tow|
|Lifts-Surface Lifts-T bar|
|Lifts-Surface Lifts-J bar|
|Lifts-Chair Lifts-High speed quad|
|Lifts-Chair Lifts-Five person|
|Lifts-Chair Lifts-Six person|
|Lifts-Chair Lifts-Eight person|
|Lifts-Total number of lifts||8|
|Lifts-Total lift capacity|
|General-Annual skier visits|
|General-Back country access|
|General-Total area in bounds||1000 acres|
|General-Snow making coverage|
Pros: Snow quality, terrain, base village, skiier density
Cons: Lifts, terrain park
Pros: friendly, low-key
Cons: slower lifts
This is one of those family resorts. A great place to have your kids learn to ski and their terrain is often overlooked imo. If you like Burke or Bolton, give them a try.
Pros: terrain, snow
Cons: slow lifts (not always a con as the trails stay uncrowded)
I was at Smugglers on 2/5 with my 11 year old skier and 15 year old boarder. The area got hit earlier in the week with 1.5 feet of the good stuff. I hadn't been there since 92 and forgot how intense some of the terrain is and how sweet the glades are. Smuggs markets itself as a family resort but trails like Freefall and glades like Shakedown will keep expert skiers very happy, especially with beautiful soft snow. Never mind the unnamed, unmarked and out of bounds stuff that the locals may or may not be willing to show you. We caught a perfect weather day as well with temps in the low twenties, not a cloud in the sky and absolutely zero wind. People complain of the lack of high speed multi-capacity lifts but I will take the slower lifts to have uncrowded trails all day long. Besides, if you are skiing hard, a break between runs is not a terrible thing. One other very important fact about smuggler notch is the price of the lift tickets. I had a discounted ticket and with the youth ticket prices all three of us skied all day for less than $150 dollars. That is on a Saturday. So the bottom line is this: Smuggs has a great mountain base community for families, terrain to keep the hardcore adventurers very happy, and you will not have to remortgage your house in order to afford skiing at this northern Vermont resort.
Pros: You never have to leave the resort
Our family has been going to Smuggler's Notch for 5 years now. We always travel through Stowe to eat at the Whip restaurant at Green Mountain Inn (which I highly recommend). When we get to Smuggs we always stay at North Hill - Eagles, Owls, Tamaracks, etc. These are the luxurious condos with great views of all 3 mountains. Our daughters learned to ski at Smuggs. The ski instructors are phenomenal - very enthusiastic, energetic, knowledgable and always challenging the kids to do more - which they are very thankful for. My wife also learned how to ski at Smuggs. The whole family is going down Madonna with no problem. Smuggs has 3 different mountains - Morse, Sterling and Madonna. Morse is great to learn how to ski on, then you can step up to Sterling and finally Madonna. The chair lifts are slightly on the slow side but Smuggs explains that it keeps the slopes less crowded so that's a good thing. There are many activities for the family and kids. There are plenty of indoor heated pools, ice skating, a funzone for the kids and a teen hangout. There are several restaurants that have fairly extensive menus. Lunch at Morse Grill is always fun in between ski lessons and afternoon skiing. The service is excellent and we can always find something different to eat. Each unit comes with a full kitchen, so breakfast and sometimes dinner can be eaten inside. Snow shoeing is also available daily. Overall I would highly recommend Smuggs to any family. The kids will have so much fun that they won't be clamoring for their friends to be there and it can always be just a family vacation that everyone looks forward to.
Pros: Childrens ski school, Treasures Day Care plus great terrain and snow
Cons: Slow Lifts
Smugglers Notch is a great resort for a family vacation. It was out three year olds first time on skis and the instructors did an amazing job, by the end of the second day he was riding the chairlift. Our younger child was too young to ski but so she spend the day in Treasures Day Care. My only complaint about the day care is the price and the odd selection of food they serve. We stayed in a slopeside condo and were able to drop both kids off where they needed to go and ski right to the lifts.
They have terrain for every ability level with nice green runs on Morse Mountain. Madonna and Sterling mountains is what really sets Smugglers Notch apart, they offer a wide variety of challenging terrain and some of the best glades I have ever seen. During our stay we received almost 2 feet of new snow so we couldn't have asked for better conditions.
After a day of skiing there were still many choices of what to do, there are multiple restaurants if you don't feel like cooking. Also there are the indoor pool, huge indoor play area and tubing just in case the kids aren't tired enough after skiing all day. Smuggs also has a very easy to use shuttle system that will take you anywhere you need to go on property, all you need to do is pick up the phone and they will be there to pick you up in minutes.
This was our first trip to Smugglers Notch but it will certainly not be our last.
Pros: Small lift capacity, lots of tree skiing
Cons: Small lift capacity
I moved to Vermont in September and picked up skiing again after considerable time off. After scouting out a few resorts within a hour of Burlington (Smuggs, Stowe and Bolton) we decided that we would ski primarily ski Smuggs during the Winter of 2010-2011. The mountain stats at Smuggs are comparable to the largest in the East and the value of a lift ticket is second to none, especially since they offer the Bash badge (< $100) which allows you to get unrestricted $25 lift tickets. Many people will bash Smuggs because of its lack of high speed chair lifts and I agree that they can be a real negative, especially on cold days, but the benefit here is that once you get to the top the mountain is relatively quiet! I started the season quite rusty but Smuggs has been perfect for working my way up to advanced skiier status (7-8). Smuggs provides a good mix of wide open groomers (Chilcoot, Rumrunner), tree skiing (deer run glades, shakedown) and bumps (Upper FIS - See pic). Last weekend a friend of mine that is brand new to skiing visited and we spend a lot of the day at Morse Mountain. Morse contains mostly green terrain and has much more of a family environment. This was a perfect place for a beginner! Morse also has at least one blue and one easy black so you can work your way up before graduating to Stirling and Madonna Mountains. My wife and I have had a great season so far at Smuggs and highly recommend it to anybody (beginner-advanced) looking for a ski getaway.
Pros: Village Accessibility, Children's Programs/Activities, On Demand Shuttle Service, Condo Choices, Gladed Terrain
Cons: Older Style Slow Lifts
We tried Smugglers Notch for the first time when our daughter was 3. We loved it so much we bought a timeshare and have been back every year. This is a place where you truly don't need a car once you arrive. We take the shuttle from Burlington airport and never need a car for the week. The Village is all within walking distance from our condo and the on-demand shuttle service is prompt and reliable if you choose to go that route.
We love the variety of glades on Madonna and Sterling ... there are plenty of options for intermediate, advanced or expert skiers to try. This is one of the things that separates Smugglers' terrain from most of the other Vermont resorts. Doc Dempsey's Glades is one of my favorites for a fun challenge, but there are so many other good options. We keep ourselves interested and challenged for a full week there.
Our daughter is in the ski school all week, and loves the combination of skiing and fun activities. We have found that the instructors there have an amazing ability to mix fun and progress in a way that keeps the kids interested. Our daughter is 6 now, and I know if we keep going there she will end up running circles around her Dad! The Fun Zone indoor play area is a must for younger kids. Tubing, ice skating, shows, pizza and movie night, Cookie Races are just some of the activities that make the week a great family experience.
On the down side, lifts are older and slower, with no express quads at all. It takes some mental adjustment if you are used to larger express lifts. Considering this as a trade-off with everything else Smugglers offers, it is not much of a compromise!