Stratton Mountain is a gem. It's a well-situated, perfectly staffed, pretty spot. The perfect place to get your family hooked on skiing without having to make the big investment of a trip to Colorado or Utah.
Just 5 hours north of NYC sits Stratton Mountain, tucked into the Green Mountains of Vermont, this is the closest I've been to skiing "out West" without having to get on a plane.
Top three reasons to ski at Stratton:
1.) Snow Quality: Fantastic snow-making ability and an expert grooming team
2.) Well-trained staff: From the shuttle drivers, to the ski school instructors to the lift operators expect attention to detail and a warm welcome.
3.) Convenience: There's a lot to be said for NOT having to get on a plane to ski.
Snow Report:If you're a West Coast ski snob, you might turn your nose up at the 3,875 feet elevation. But as a mom, I've seen little ones suffer from elevation sickness so I don't mind. Plus with a vertical drop of more than 2,003 feet know that serious skiers will have plenty to challenge them. All in Stratton has more than 670 acres to ski (ski fact, the longest trail is Mike's Way to Wanderer coming in at 3 miles). Bonus: There's a gondola which can help move loads of folks up the mountain on crowded weekends.
Does it snow? yes, the average annual snowfall is 180 inches--which is smaller than most resorts out West, but they can fire up a HUGE amount of man-made snow--enough to cover more than 450 acres!
Stratton Mountain Sports School:I advise all families to sign up for ski school when on holiday. Even the most experienced skier can learn a thing or two with a lesson or guided tour. For kids, lessons are essential. I cover a lot of the pluses of the Stratton Ski School in our Momtrends Ski Mom Video (see the bottom of this post). Lessons conveniently meet near the base lifts and are matched to your child's age and ability. Kids ages 3-13 are grouped in either Big Cub or Little Cub. The bigger kids head right out on the mountain for assessments. The younger kids, head inside to get their gear labeled. Ages 6 & under get a bit more indoor time--but still PLENTY of time on the snow.
For beginning boarders and skiers, Stratton has secluded areas off the main arteries. Your tentative tot doesn't have to worry about getting mowed down by an expert zooming down to the base. Our little ripper loved the beginner chair lifts. Let's face it, chair lifts can be terrifying for both kids and adults. Thanks to Stratton our girl had a 1st--first time loading on and off a lift all alone!
The mountain has a lot of terrain. For beginners stay left. The Sunrise Express lift is quiet and the perfect place to find some gently groomers for beginners.
More experienced skiers will head to the Gondola and right to the summit. We did laps from the Ursa lift at mid-mountain for hours on the fresh powder. There were spots with moguls for those who like to dive into the mess. But there were also some black groomers which kept me very entertained all day. Be warned: Since Stratton is home to racing school and team, expect to see plenty of racers screaming down the expert trails.
Lodging: Most families will want to rent a condo for a Stratton holiday. Ski condos are great since they give you space to spread out and the option of cooking in and putting tired tots to bed early. On our Stratton trip we stayed at the Black Bear Lodge. It's more of an inn or hotel with no in-room services. The very basic rooms had just enough space to stash our ski gear (in this spot it's fine to bring your skis inside, most condos require you to stash skis outdoors or in lockers). Find out more about all the lodging options here.
Mostly we enjoyed our stay at Black Bear. The kids loved the game room, and I liked having a spot to grab a glass of pinot grigio to take to the game room! The Black Bear has a shuttle that ran continuously to the base of the mountain. Our family never had to wait more than a few minutes to get to the base and the shuttle drivers were very helpful about loading all our gear into the van. Here's a look at the dining area.
Dining:Black Bear Lodge offers a hearty/bread-heavy continental breakfast with most bookings. We didn't venture out to try the on-mountain breakfasts.
The Fire Tower Restaurantaccommodated our large group (19 kids and 12 adults) with grace. Mr.Momtrends loved the cocktails, I liked the veggie potstickers. Skip the pricey rack of lamb.
On mountain we ate at Mountain Smoke at the Mid Mountain Lodge, in general eating up the mountain is smart as lines tend to be shorter. The limited menu was served by a very friendly staff. The chili was passable, and I would be remiss in mentioning there were no marshmallows for the hot chocolate.
Fitness:For some, skiing isn't enough and they may ask, "What else?" Most of you know I'm a bit of a fitness nut. I usually check out the gyms and fitness centers on all my trips. Stratton was no different. Black Bear lodge had a steam room and hot tub, but I wanted a workout. About a mile down the road is the Stratton Training and Fitness Center. This has a huge cardio room, lap pool, steam room, clean locker rooms and huge area for stretching and strength training. The fee was $15 for the day. Get more details about the Fitness Center here.Relax:If you worked up some knots in your shoulders or have super-sore quads from all the skiing, you'l want to make an appointment with Michael in the Day Spa. I only had time for a quick 20-minute shoulder and neck massage--but he worked wonders. The spa team works on world-class athletes, so it's little surprise that he knew what he was doing. Get more details on the spa here.
For more ski coverage and favorite resorts visit:
This is not a sponsored post, accommodations were made by the resort to cover our expenses for lodging and lift tickets.