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Family trip: Smuggs, Stowe or?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Trying to muddle through planning a Vermont trip. Any input on Smuggs or Stowe would be appreciated. Places to stay, best package deals etc. We have two ski aged kids, 4 and 6.
post #2 of 8
Smuggs sells itself as a family destination. They seem to have a lot of different programs for kids, both on and off the slopes. I don't have any kids, so I can't pass along any personal experience. As for the skiing, they've got some really good terrain. There's a good variety, from really, really easy greens to some wild steeps and glades. The downside is the lift system. They still have a number of old, slow lifts, some of which are prone to closure due to wind. Weekend lines can get long. As for lodging and dining, the resort itself has several condo developments and some restaurants. Outside the resort, there are some inns and B&Bs in Jeffersonville and Cambridge.

Stowe is one of my favorite places in the East. There's great terrain both on Mt. Mansfield and Spruce Peak. Spruce now has some upgraded lifts, and they're currently constructing a base village. Most of the trails on Spruce are solid blues, with a separate beginner area. Over on Mt. Mansfield, there are 3 distinct areas -- the main mountain, the gondola area, and the Toll House area. The Toll House area is pretty much beginners only -- it's nearly flat. The Gondola serves mostly intermediate cruisers, with some <> and <><> thrown in as well. The main part of the mountain is serviced by a Quad, a Triple, and a Double. This is the home of the famous "Front Four" trails -- Goat, Starr, National, and Liftline. There's good cruising here too.
As for lodging and dining, you've got a wide variety, starting about a mile south of the village, and running up the mountain road almost to the ski area. It all depends on your price range.

Keep in mind that Rt108 from Stowe to Smuggs is CLOSED from November until mid-April or so. This considerably lengthens the drive between the 2 places as compared to summer.
post #3 of 8
We went to Smuggs for our first family ski vacation 9 years ago. Our kids were 7 and 16. We signed up for the week long ski programs which were fun for both disparate ages. My husband and I took group lessons each morning and skied on our own in the afternoon. The kids were busy all day long.
They really cater to kids. Break times have snack and hot chocolate and at the end of the day, smaller kids adjourn to a big club-like indoor play area until pick up time. You meet your kids outside where "Mogul Mouse" and other costumed creatures come around; there is an outdoor fire and again, hot chocolate.
The atmosphere was very kid-friendly. There is a facility for apres-ski swimming and communal hot tub. The hot tub was over-used and quite dirty.(this was presidents week)
One night, my kids dragged me outside for tubing. We had a great time.
The drive was over six and half hours, so next year we went to Okemo to try something closer. Not quite as much fun, but still had a good time.
post #4 of 8
We've never skied at Stowe (although we have visited numerous times during off seasons) so I have nothing to share regarding that resort.

As for Smuggs, after 10+ annual trips and 3 kids later, it's still our favorite place to go as a family. This resort attributes to much of the love to this sport and the advanced abilities that the kids have achieved.

Although cannot be compared in size and production, I call Smuggs Disney-on-snow, particularly for first comers. Between the effective week-long ski camps (progressive and catered to level very appropriately), the magic shows, the science shows, the weekly "production", the indoor dome full of games, the skating rink, the pools (note in plurals), the hot tubs, the infamous weekly cookie race (an exciting must for young skiers), nightly tubing, the dance/karaoke/bingo, the comedy show (adult) and many other events/activities, there are just limitless number of things to do. Also, Smuggs has some of the best accommodation anywhere with many ski on/off units.
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks so far! Chanwmr, do you get the all inclusive packages or go the ala carte method? The all inclusives are pretty expensive. Have you stayed at anyone place, ski in/out that you really liked?
post #6 of 8
Can you share the time frame you're going? If you're flexible with your plan to avoid the selected few peak weeks, it's somewhat reasonable (still not cheap though). I assume that you have been on web site.

And, there are other options... One of which is taking their sales pitch on the timeshare in exchange for a discount. Not too bad an option for about 1-2 hours spent/wasted -- especially if you compare what you have to put up with at Smuggs to the same out of other destinations such as Florida IMHO. Just a word of warning though, you may end up buying. Not because of the pressure but because of the appeal of the place and your interests based on your family situation.

We've stayed at just about half of the buildings throughout the years. They are all at least better than average (2+ stars), but most are much better than others -- with some being right on the slopes and others up to a few hundred steps away. If you go during the shoulder season (like we sometimes do), it's likely to have less than enough snow coverage for the slopeside experience. If you are there for the week and are doing the pitch thing, they will put you up to the better units.

PM me with more Qs if you want to hear more.
post #7 of 8
If you have any specific questions about Stowe, ask away. The options are practically limitless so no recommendations from me without more info.
post #8 of 8
Originally Posted by epic View Post
If you have any specific questions about Stowe, ask away. The options are practically limitless so no recommendations from me without more info.
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