We were off to a slow start our first morning in Smugglers’ Notch. We had arrived late the night before after a slippery drive up. We hadn’t had time to pick up ski rentals like we had planned. We had gone to bed late and were feeling pretty content to sit around our room, a gorgeous 3 bedroom in the Kestrels and sip coffee. Or atleast I was.
Jack, my 8-year-old, on the other hand, was anxious to get to Smugglers’ Notch Snow Sport University. Because learning to ski was why he was in Vermont. You see no one in my family or my husbands family knows how to ski. So when Jack said he wanted to learn how to ski, I knew we needed to go back to Smugglers’ Notch. We had visited two summers before and had loved the resort, especially their kids programs which really had a talent for keeping the kids active, entertained and having fun. Each day had been an adventure and I knew the Snow Sport University would be the same.
Learning to Ski At Smugglers’ Notch
As mountain newbies we didn’t know the first thing about sking but luckily the Smugglers’ Notch website has a complete list of everything you need for your time on the mountain. You can also rent all the equipment you need right down to snow pants and jackets. We headed to 3 Mountains equipment rentals to pick up skis. They explained how ski boots should fit and adjusted Jack’s skis based on his level of experience (none). Then we headed off to meet up with his Snow Sports University group.
Picking up our rental was fast but I would highly suggest picking your skis up the night before your lessons because it does take some time and lessons start early (approx 9:00).
Snow Sport University
When we arrived outside the meeting house where the beginner skiers meet, more experienced skiers meet further up the mountain. Kids are grouped not only by age but also by experience so no one is being held back or pushed ahead based on age. They are also fitted with a Flaik a wearable GPS app that alerts the instructor and the ski patrol in the event he gets separated from his instructor. Flaik also allows you to view all of your kids runs after their day of skiing. I could see how far he went and how much terrain he covered and how fast he went.
After getting to his instructor we realized we had forgotten to pick up Jack’s helmet. Which meant a quick trip back to 3 Mountains to pick up a helmet. Luckily the ski instructor went with us to pick up the helmet so that him and Jack could quickly hit the slopes.
With his helmet on the instructor told me I could go and I was relieved. It had been a long morning getting an excited a child dressed, picking up our rentals and carrying the equipment with an8-year-old who was just learning to walk in ski boots. I was half convinced that skiing would be a disaster especially as I walked away Jack asked him he could get Skittles and when he could ride the lift. I was happy to see Jack head off to Sir Henry’s Hill where the kids learn to ski and I was relieved that I wouldn’t have to be there to watch.
I headed back to our room to meet John and then we dropped Grace off at TREASURES, Smugglers’ Notch Resort’s child care facility. Grace had been to TREASURES on our last visit and she quickly fell back into her routine.
John and I decided to head over to Sir Henry’s Hill to see if we could spy on Jackson’s Snow Sport University experience. We made our way to the hill and watched groups of beginner skiers head down the hill but none of them looked like our beginner. We watched the kids ride the magic carpet up the hill and then glide down. I was impressed by how organized it was and how well the kids were doing, as someone who has never skied. And as I glanced at the hill searching for my son, I heard a voice behind me say, “Hey guys what are you doing here?” And there was Jack.
It turns out that it was a slow day after a holiday weekend and Jack was the only kid the instructor had that day. The instructor told us that they started with practicing on one ski and then moved to the hill and then Jack asked to ride the lift. So they headed up the hill and skied down and then
John and I went to explore some of Smuggs Winter Activities. Snow Sport University pick up is between 3:45 and 4 pm though you can pick the kids up early since they come in from skiing between 2:30 and 3:00 pm. We arrived at
I was so excited by how positive of an experience this had been and by how the instructor had taken my athletically challenged son and gotten him to ski. I was so proud of Jack for deciding he wanted to do something and then doing it. And I was amazed that for the first time in my life my son had done something I had never done before.
The team at Smugglers’ Notch Snow
That’s the thing I love most about childrens programs at Smugglers’ Notch, is that the kids have so much fun they want to go back. It doesn’t feel like a chore or that I’m dropping my kid somewhere they don’t want to be. When we picked both kids up after their programs we were all excited to see each other and share about our days. We weren’t exhausted and cranky or annoyed with each other instead we were happy that we all got to have the day we wanted.
We were invited to visit Smugglers’ Notch this winter, all thoughts and opinions are my own.