11 Best Vermont Ski Resorts For Families

by Robert Stanley | Updated On: July 18th, 2022
Family Ski Vacation

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Planning your next winter vacation? Struggling to pick a resort where you know everyone will be looked after and have fun, regardless of their age or ski ability? Well, we’ve got you covered with our list of the best Vermont ski resorts for families.

There’s family-orientated Stratton, Stowe with its fantastic adaptive ski program, Killington where ski school starts at two years old, and Okemo, which has its own roller coaster! From award-winning ski schools to excellent daycare to family-friendly restaurants and unique activities. These resorts have all the amenities you need for a perfect family ski vacation.

Our Top Picks

    11. Mount Snow

    Mount Snow
    Photo by Keri Long licensed under CC BY 2.0

    Last but not least, it’s the unimaginatively named but always popular Mount Snow. Located only a short drive from some of Vermont’s most populated areas, this resort gets busy, especially on weekends.

    But with 20 lifts and 600 acres of terrain across four mountain faces, it can handle a fair few skiers and snowboarders without feeling too busy. Plus, it has the best artificial snow-making system in the northeast, so no matter the crowds, you can rely on the snow.

    Family Skiing

    This is an excellent resort for families of intermediates since 42% of its 82 runs are aimed at them. And there are no less than 10 terrain parks to practice your skills in, including several with extra small features for learners.

    Fun for Kids

    If you’re not quite up to park standard yet, don’t worry, just book into the ski school for a half or full-day lesson. Kids can join group ski lessons from three years and up. In addition, Mount Snow is home to an adaptive ski and snowboard program that offers classes and courses for all abilities.

    This is a popular day trip resort, but you’ll find several excellent ski in ski out accommodation options if you want to stay over. Plus, there are some good budget-friendly choices connected to the resort by shuttle service.

    Off the Slopes

    Sixteen restaurants are on hand for hungry skiers and provide plenty of variety and family-friendly choices. But if you need more options, Wilmington is only a 15 minutes drive away.

    What We Love About Mount Snow:

    • 10 terrain parks with features for all abilities.
    • The adaptive ski program.
    • The snow-sure artificial snow-making system
    • Ski school from three years old.

    Mount Snow Stats

    Summit Elevation:3600 ft / 1097m
    Skiable terrain: 600acres
    Lifts:20
    Runs:86
    Parks:10

    10. Bolton Valley

    Bolton Valley
    Photo by 2nd Green Revolution licensed under CC BY 2.0

    If you fancy skiing for 13 hours in one day, Bolton Valley is the resort for you. Vermont’s only resort to offer consistent night skiing, BV’s lifts are open until 10 pm five nights a week.

    During the day, make the most of this resort’s three connected peaks and 71 runs evenly split across ski abilities. Or head out into 12,000 acres of untouched wilderness.

    Fun for Kids

    Skiers and snowboarders can take off-piste lessons or tours through the BV Backcountry Program, which strives to make backcountry riding as accessible as possible. As part of that accessibility, the resort is organized so that parents can drop their kids off for ski lessons (from four years old) in the same place as they head out to the wilderness, making life easier for everyone.

    Off the Slopes

    There is a 60-room hotel on the mountain, and guests who stay there get free access to the sports center, which features a pool, sauna, hot tub, and gym for adults and a skate and bike park and pool table for the kids. Non-guests can purchase a day pass for $25.

    You’ll find five dining outlets on the mountain, including ski in ski out waffle shack that always smells incredible.

    What We Love about Bolton Valley:

    • Night skiing five nights a week.
    • The skate and bike park in the sports center.
    • The huge backcountry ski area.
    • Free ski passes for five and under.

    Bolton Valley Stats

    Summit Elevation:3150 ft / 960m
    Skiable terrain: 300 acres
    Lift:6
    Runs:71
    Parks:3

    9. Mad River Glen

    Cheapest Ski Pass

    “Ski it if you can” is Mad River Glen’s ominous Slogan, but don’t let that put you off. This resort might have some of the most challenging terrain on the east coast, but it’s surprisingly family-friendly too.

    Fun for Kids

    The same woman has run the Cricket Club childcare center for 45 years, and she offers a warm, homely environment for kids six weeks to six years old. Alternatively, kids can join group ski lessons from four years old, have private lessons from three, and start telemark lessons from six years old.

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    Family Skiing

    A small resort, it only has 120 acres of skiable terrain, and much of that is aimed at expert skiers. But there are eight beginner-friendly green runs and dedicated novice areas on the mountain. And, like Bromley, all runs lead back to the same base camp area allowing family groups to meet up again easily.

    Off the Slopes

    But the thing that makes Mad River different is its ethos. This resort has a small-town community spirit. It is co-op run, anti-commercial, and refuses to bow to ski industry pressure. It’s one of the last resorts in the US to rely almost entirely on natural snowfall rather than artificial snow, and the team is working hard to protect the mountain, as is, for future generations.

    The downside? No snowboarders allowed! Mad River Glen is one of only three resorts in the US that does not allow snowboarders, a decision we don’t love but some skiers might appreciate.

    What We Love About Mad River Glen:

    • The Single Chair is known as ‘America’s favorite ski lift’.
    • All runs lead back to base camp.
    • The co-op runs a small-town community vibe.
    • Free passes for under 6s

    Mad River Glen Stats

    Summit Elevation:3637 ft / 1108m
    Skiable terrain: 120 acres
    Lift:5
    Runs:45
    Parks:

    8. Bromley Mountain

    bromley-mountain
    Photo by Jesse Cottingham licensed under CC BY 2.0

    Bromley Mountain is a small resort, especially compared with its neighbors, Okemo and Stratton, but it’s also cheaper. It’s a family and budget-friendly resort, and it’s perfect for beginners who might feel intimidated by larger, more extreme resorts. Plus, it’s south-facing, so it’s generally warmer and sunnier than other resorts in the area.

    This resort has 47 runs evenly split across ski levels, but the best part is that all the runs return to the same location – the base lodge. So families with skiers of different abilities can split up without any concern about finding each other again.

    Fun for Kids

    The ski school offers private or group lessons for kids three years and up, and you can enroll them in season-long ski lessons and daycare programs.

    Family Skiing

    For absolute beginners, Bromley offers ​​a First Timer package. This includes everything you need for your first-ever ski or snowboard experience, equipment, lesson, and lift pass. And The Bart Adaptive Sports Center offers adaptive ski experiences for adults and kids in Bromley.

    Off the Slopes

    The small resort offers some slope-side condo accommodation and five dining options, including a bar. If you need more choice, the town of Manchester is close by and contains a whole host of extra options and activities.

    What We Love About Bromley Mountain:

    • That south-facing exposure.
    • The way all runs lead back to base camp!
    • The season-long ski school programs
    • The tie-in with the Bart Adaptive Sports Center to provide winter sports access for everyone.

    Bromley Mountain Stats

    Summit Elevation:3280 ft / 1000m
    Skiable terrain: 178 acres
    Lift:9
    Runs:47
    Parks:1

    7. Smugglers’ Notch

    Much as we love the name of this resort, it’s not even the best thing about it! Smugglers’ Notch is a brilliant ski resort that goes out of its way to focus on inclusivity and family-friendly fun.

    The 1000 acres of ski terrain is spread across three mountain peaks and features 78 trails with something for everyone. And we mean everyone. This resort is home to the only triple black diamond ski run on the east coast!

    Fun for Kids

    At the other end of the scale, one of its six terrain parks is dedicated solely to three to five-year-olds! The Burton Treehouse Riglet Park contains features designed to get tiny tots used to snowboarding over box rails and a mini halfpipe. Adorable.

    Smugglers’ Notch is also home to an award-winning ski and snowboard school that takes kids from 2.5 years old.

    The adaptive ski program makes skiing and snowboarding accessible to all abilities – including non-neurotypical kids. In addition, SNAP integrates with the kids’ program to get skiers with special needs to socialize with their peers as they learn.

    Off the Slopes

    Off the snow, you can enjoy family fun at the Funzone, a ​​26,000 square-foot indoor playground featuring laser tag, an inflatable zone, soft play, arcade games, and more. Or make a splash in the heated indoor pool, fly through the air on the zipline, go ice skating, snowshoeing, or take a whole family snowmobile tour of the mountain.

    Drop the kids into childcare from 6 weeks old or book a babysitter to look after your kids in the comfort of your vacation accommodation.

    What We Love About Smugglers’ Notch:

    • A dedicated kids’ terrain park for three to five-year-olds.
    • The SNAP adaptive ski program.
    • The award-winning ski school which takes kids from 2.5 years old
    • Childcare in your own accommodation. 

    Smugglers’ Notch Stats

    Summit Elevation:3640 ft / 1109m
    Skiable terrain:1000 acres
    Lifts:8
    Runs:78
    Parks:6

    6. Jay Peak

    Jay Peak
    Photo by ihamr licensed under CC BY 2.0

    Just 5 miles from the Canadian border sits a resort with some of the best snow in Vermont. Jay Peak is Vermont’s most northern resort and offers some of the best conditions and one of the longest seasons.

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    It receives more natural snow than any other east coast resort and can top that up with artificial snow to 80% coverage. Ski here from mid-November into mid-May.

    Fun for Kids

    Jay Peak also offers Chickadee all-girls camps where 7-12-year-old girls can learn to ride together in a supportive and empowering environment.

    Family Skiing

    If you can tear yourself away from the slopes, you’ll find plenty to entertain the whole family, including an indoor water park, a full-size ice rink, and an arcade.

    Then, if you want to enjoy any grown-up activities drop kids from six weeks old into the fully licensed childcare center, which runs late to allow adults to enjoy nights out.

    Off the Slopes

    The northern location means some icy trails and plenty of steep black diamond runs, but thoughtfully planning lets less advanced skiers enjoy dedicated beginner glades and tree run areas. Beginners can enjoy full or half-day lessons, and kids can start from four years old.

    It’s an excellent resort for families with a range of skills, and the Vennedag program allows groups of friends or families to head out for a day together. Groups can be made up of different skill levels, ages, riders, and skiers and an expert guide accompanies you.

    What We Love About Jay Peak:

    • Excellent snow coverage.
    • The Chickadee girls’ camps.
    • The Vennedag friend group ski days.
    • Late-night childcare.

    Jay Peak Stats

    Summit Elevation:3,968 feet / 1,209 meters
    Skiable terrain:385 acres
    Lifts:9
    Runs:78
    Parks:4

    5. Sugarbush

    sugarbush

    Sugarbush is a ski resort in Vermont for families who don’t like crowds. Quieter than most of the resorts on our list, it’s a wonderful place to unwind and take in the beautiful Mad River Valley scenery. But don’t relax too much because there’s far too much to do in Sugarbush!

    Fun for Kids

    Kids can take ski lessons from three years old, while the Mountaineers program for 10 – 17-year-olds teaches kids how to explore the mountains safely. They’ll learn to plan routes, read the conditions, build shelters, and can sleep overnight in a mountain lodge!

    Family Skiing

    There’s cross-country skiing, ice skating, ice fishing, horse-drawn sleigh rides, and a rock-climbing wall on offer for families who love to keep busy. And conveniently located accommodation offers pools, saunas, and games rooms for those who’d rather chill indoors after a long day of skiing.

    What We Love About Sugarbush:

    • So many activities for mountain lovers!
    • Childcare from 6 weeks old.
    • The Ski Mountaineers program for true adventurers.
    • The peace and quiet compared to other Vermont resorts.

    Off the Slopes

    Two mountains, 500 acres of skiable terrain, 16 lifts, and four terrain parks await you. Beginners can make the most of 24 easy trails, while advanced skiers can access the incredible 2000 acres of Slide Brook basin backcountry area.

    Plus, this is the only resort on the east coast where you can go cat skiing. Ride a Snowcat out into untouched backcountry and spend your day riding deep fresh powder alongside an expert guide.

    If the whole family isn’t up for backcountry skiing, how about just a snowcat tour of the mountain instead? A guided snowshoe trek at sunrise or a ride in a snow groomer at sunset?

    Sugarbush Stats

    Summit Elevation:4083 ft /1245 m
    Skiable terrain:500 acres
    Lifts:16
    Runs: 111
    Parks:4

    4. Stowe

    A slightly smaller resort now, but no less impressive, Stowe Resort sits at the peak of Mount Mansfield, Vermont’s highest mountain. But why enjoy one mountain when you can have two?

    Spruce Peak is connected by a gondola for easy access to more terrain and Spruce Peak Village too. There you’ll find great shops, markets, dining options, and activities, including an ice rink and the Spruce Peak Performing arts center.

    Fun for Kids

    Stowe is a great resort for those progressing up from total beginners. This resort’s 116 runs are split 55% intermediate, 16% beginner, and 29% expert.

    But don’t let that put you off if you’re a beginner, you don’t need many runs when you’re starting, and Stowes ski and snowboarding schools will make sure you get off to a good start. Kids can take lessons from three years old, and the adaptive ski school program provides private lessons for skiers with special requirements or disabilities.

    Family Skiing

    Or check out Stowe’s world-class cross-country ski area with 45 km of groomed trails plus 30 km of the backcountry. It’s open to everyone from experienced nordic skiers to complete beginners. Gear can be rented for children as young as three and pull-along sleds for younger ones.

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    This actually might be necessary because one downside to this resort is that childcare doesn’t start until two years old! They’re already skiing in Killington by then!

    What We Love About Stowe:

    • Snowshoeing and cross country skiing for the whole family.
    • The Spruce Peak Village, with its many entertainments.
    • Ski school from three years old.
    • The full range of adaptive ski lessons makes skiing available for everyone.

    Stowe Stats

    Summit Elevation:1104 m / 3625 ft
    Skiable terrain:485 acres
    Lifts:12
    Runs:116
    Parks:2

    3. Okemo

    okemo

    Okemo is a crowd favorite and regularly rates as one of the best Vermont ski resorts for families. The resort is family-owned and operated, and focuses on providing a wonderful experience for all ages.

    Fun for Kids

    Kids can start lessons from three years old, skiing or snowboarding, and the ski area offers terrain for all abilities. For those who don’t fancy downhill, there’s an extensive network of cross country and snowshoe trails.

    Family Skiing

    There are some excellent after-ski activities too. The whole family can tour the mountains aboard a snowcat, go ice skating, snow tubing, or ride on the resort’s roller coaster, the Timber Ripper!

    Off the Slopes

    A wide range of accommodation options includes budget hotel rooms, four-bedroom suites, and lodges a stone’s throw from the piste or terrain park. You should find something for every style here.

    What We Love About Okemo:

    • The Timber Ripper roller coaster
    • The snow tubing park
    • The focus on family-friendly fun
    • The network of snowshoeing trails

    Okemo Stats

    Summit Elevation:3344 ft / 1019 m
    Skiable terrain:632 acres
    Lifts:20
    Runs:120
    Parks:6

    2. Killington

    Largest Resort

    Killington
    Photo by Geoff Alexander licensed under CC BY 2.0

    Nicknamed “The Beast In The East,” Killington might sound scary, but it’s actually an excellent family-friendly ski resort. And its massive ski area gives great value for money.

    Killington is the east coast’s largest ski resort and covers no less than six mountains. It offers over 150 trails spanning everything from wide-open cruisy trails to narrow tree runs to mogul fields and cliff drops.

    Fun for Kids

    This is the place to come if you want to get your kids into skiing from an early age. Ski school starts at two years old! And if you want a few kid-free hours, childcare is available from 12 weeks to 12 years old.

    Family Skiing

    And when you’re all together, there’s no end of options to keep the family entertained, from snowmobiling to dogsledding to sleigh rides. And if you head out into the surrounding area, you can even find museums and shopping centers to visit.

    Off the Slopes

    These runs are evenly split across ability levels, and the six-mile-long trail that is the longest run on the east coast – belongs to the beginners. All that plus six terrain parks and a 500-foot superpipe.

    If that’s not enough, a Killington ski pass also gets you access to its sister resort Pico Mountain, which you can access via a free shuttle service. Sounds good? We think so!

    What We Love About Killington:

    • Ski school starts at 2 years old!
    • The vast ski area and varied terrain.
    • The two-for-one resort deal with sister resort Pico Mountain.
    • Free passes for kids six and under and seniors over 80.

    Killington Stats

    Summit Elevation:4241 ft / 1292 m
    Skiable terrain:1509 acres
    Lifts:21
    Runs:155
    Parks:6

    1. Stratton

    Most Beginner Ski Runs

    Stratton
    Photo by Jon Buckley licensed under CC BY 2.0

    Located on the highest mountain in Southern Vermont, Stratton has excellent snow, rapid lifts, a great variation of runs, and a high percentage of beginner trails. Plus, beautiful surroundings and a fantastic collection of non-ski activities.

    Fun for Kids

    The high-quality, resort-run childcare accepts kids from six weeks old, and they can begin private ski and snowboard lessons in three years. Groups are kept small – only three per instructor – to maximize individual attention. 

    Family Skiing

    Older kids can join group lessons with their peers or tear it up in one of five terrain parks. Start in the Progression Park, designed to get beginners to grips with the snow park features and move up from there.

    Off the Slopes

    Adults will love the slope-side, European-style village with its range of accommodation styles, spas, fitness center, shops, bars, and family-friendly restaurants. And the proximity to Manchester – only 20 minutes away – means a change of scene or a whole host of other amenities is on hand if necessary.

    What We Love About Stratton:

    • Kids as young as three can take private or small group ski or snowboarding lessons.
    • The European-style alpine village.
    • The tube park, ice rink, and other kid-friendly activities.
    • Snow parks for all levels, from beginners up to extreme athletes.

    Stratton Stats

    Summit Elevation:3875 ft / 1181 metres
    Skiable terrain: 670+acres
    Lifts:11
    Runs:99
    Parks:5

    Why Choose Vermont for Skiing

    So as you can see Vermont is not short of family-friendly ski resorts! There are resorts where your kids can start snowboarding at two years old, resorts with enough activities to keep them on the go all day long, and resorts where you can pop them into fully licensed childcare and get out skiing on your own. Perfect.

    Our pick for the best Vermont ski resort for families is Stratton with its pretty European village, small ski school classes, and abundance of apres-ski activities. But what do you think? I hope this has given you the inspiration to plan your next family ski vacation!


    How Did We Order This List?

    To help rank our top selection of ski resorts for this list we compared the following ranking factors:

    👨‍👩‍👦 Ranking Factor📈 Power to affect Rank
    Amount of Beginner Trails (Mi) 4x
    Amount of Skiing Area (Mi) 3x
    Cost of two adult tickets + child ticket1x
    How many magic carpet lifts1x

    We gave each factor its own weighting depending on how important we feel it is for family fun across all ages. For example, a resort with more beginner trails is higher ranked than a resort with a lower-priced family ticket – with all else being equal. That’s because while cost is a factor, it’s not a primary one. We may also use our editorial judgment to remove or add resorts that we believe should make the list.

    When taking all of this into account, it gives us our awesome list above. We hope it was helpful in planning your next family ski vacation.


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    Best Ski Resorts for Families In Vermont

    See also: Best Ski Resorts for Families in the USA

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