This is a guest post from Kim-Marie Evans, a mother of four who blogs about her travel adventures (and mis-adventures) on her new blog The Luxury Travel Mom. She is also a regular contributor on Traveling Mom.
Kim-Marie and I share a passion for fabulous accommodations. There aren’t many of us who cover luxury family travel — I’m excited there is now another great resource with new perspective (see my recent post listing the growing number of bloggers writing about family vacations today). You can follow Kim-Marie on Twitter on @LuxuryTravelMom.
Stowe, the self-proclaimed “Ski Capital of the East” is a fabulous destination for families who love to ski or want to learn to ski. In my opinion it’s the closest thing you’ll find to west coast skiing on the east coast. Stowe boasts the highest vertical elevation in the state of Vermont. Skiing at Stowe offers the chance to ski two mountains, Spruce Peak and Mt. Mansfield. The services offered are comparable to those you find in some of the tonier ski resorts out west, complimentary lockers, overnight ski storage, a high speed gondola and several restaurants to choose from while skiing. Being surrounded by the 200-year-old town of Stowe adds to the “real ski” atmosphere.
How to get there:
You can fly, but then what would you do with all those car seats and skis? The vast majority of Stowe skiers drive from nearby towns. It’s 205 miles from Boston and 325 miles from New York. There are however many airlines that fly in to the Burlington airport and most hotels offer a complimentary shuttle service.
Where to stay:
There are a wide variety of accommodations that cater to families. Stoweflake Resort offers townhouses with complete kitchens and daily maid service. Add a world-class spa and it’s a favorite for both skiers and après skiers. The Trapp Family Lodge also offers villa accommodations in an adorable Austrian setting and is still managed by a real von Trapp (the son of Georg and Maria). The folks at www.gostowe.com are super helpful and would be happy to run through the many other hotels and resorts that are available.
Everything else you really need to know:
Ski School: It’s the best around. There’s no gondola for the bunny mountain a la Vail. But your kids will really learn how to ski, and once you can ski Vermont, you can ski anything. Only Jean Claude Killy or other such nut should teach their own child to ski, trust me, they won’t whine for the ski instructor and you’ll get to enjoy your day. Sign em up, drop em off and go. Reservations are recommended, however it’s a large mountain and the school has great capacity, I’ve never been turned away. Register online and if you get to the mountain before 4:00pm sign your forms, buy your tickets and avoid one more line in the morning.
The gear: It’s all about the gear. Invest in a few essentials; a good helmet, a gator (it’s always cold), an extra pair of gloves (they will get lost) hand warmers (all the kids get them, do you want to be the mean mommy?) and a boot bag for each child.We pack our helmets, gloves and boots in the bag and each child carries their own. No gear gets lost and mom and dad don’t end up looking like sherpas. At the beautiful new Spruce Peak Base finished last year there are ample free lockers (no need to bring a lock, they are coded) you can store your gear there, ski school is outside the door and you are golden. We bring our own skis, however the rentals are easy and convenient.
Making it easy: Store your skis overnight for $5/pair and save Dad (it’s always Dad doing the carrying) the task of hauling everyone’s skis out at the end of the day. If you have a 4-6 year old in ski school they can leave their skis there for the next day.
Après’ Ski: It takes on a whole new meaning when skiing with children. The best part of every day skiing for our kids is the S’mores Pit. Around 3:00pm each day the folks at Stowe Mountain put out a cart full of graham crackers, chocolate and marshmallows. What better way to end a hard day of skiing than with the chocolaty goodness of a s’more? And my kids like them too.
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