Family Skiing Fun In Vermont: A Guide To The Best Big And Small Ski Resorts

Two people ski down the slopes at Smugglers' Notch Mountain in Vermont.

If you’re looking for a fun family ski vacation in Vermont, here’s a guide to the best big and small ski resorts for families! With its picturesque snow-capped mountains and beautiful ski slopes, Vermont is ideal for a family ski trip. The fresh air, snow-capped mountains, and sense of adventure are all just so exhilarating, especially when you’re on the slopes! And with so many great ski resorts to choose from, you’re sure to find the perfect one for your family. From big resorts like Okemo to smaller options like Smugglers’ Notch, this article offers a comprehensive guide to the best ski resorts for families in Vermont, from the big and bustling ones to the smaller and more intimate locations. Read on to find out where you should plan your next winter getaway!

A Brief Introduction to Ski Resorts in Vermont

A family of four stands outside the chalet at Mount Snow in Vermont.
Photo Courtesy: Tara Hutchinson

Before diving into the best big and small ski resorts in Vermont, let’s talk briefly about why families love this state. ​​For a good reason, Vermont is one of the most popular skiing destinations in the United States! Families love skiing here because of the wide variety of resorts to choose from, the kid-friendly amenities, and the many apres-ski activities.

And no matter your family’s skiing abilities, there are so many excellent ski resorts in Vermont to choose from, both big and small. Bigger resorts like Killington and Stowe offer more facilities and variety of slopes, while smaller ones like Mad River Glen Cooperative boast a more intimate and rustic experience. In this guide, we’ll look at some of the best big and small ski resorts in Vermont, so you can easily plan your next family ski trip!

RELATED: 12 Of The Best Ski Resorts In America For Families Of All Ages

Southwestern Vermont

If you’re headed to the southwestern part of the state, here are the top big and small ski resorts for families! From Mount Snow Ski Resort to Pico Mountain Ski Resort, you’ll have plenty of options for skiing in southwestern Vermont with kids!

Best Big Ski Resorts in Southwestern Vermont for Families

Vermont is one of the best places in the country for a ski vacation, especially if you’re looking for big resorts with plenty of amenities and activities for families. In southwestern Vermont, destinations like Mount Snow, Okemo, and Killington are popular among New Yorkers and families from Boston. They offer great skiing and snowboarding conditions, various lodging options, and other activities to keep everyone entertained. Here’s a guide to the best big and small ski resorts in Vermont for families!

Mount Snow Ski Resort

An aerial view of Mount Snow Ski Resort covered in snow.
Photo Courtesy: Mount Snow Ski Resort

Mount Snow Ski Resort is one of the best ski resorts in Vermont for families! Located in the Green Mountains, this accessible getaway is great for a family weekend trip from New York City or Boston, with multiple hotels on-mountain. It’s also part of the Epic Pass Program, and a favorite for parents with beginner skiers.

There are 86 runs, 16% of which are for beginners. Then, there are 67% intermediate runs, 16% advanced runs, and 1% expert runs. Please note that because Mount Snow is super popular among Boston and NYC residents, it can get quite crowded during peak seasons. 

A trail map of all the runs at Mount Snow Ski Resort.
Photo Courtesy: Mount Snow Ski Resort

If you want to learn how to ski, the Mount Snow Ski School offers a great kids program for kids as young as five, including a first-time program. You could even book private skiing and snowboarding lessons for little ones starting at three years old! There are full-day or half-day options for each program. Plus, a full-day Skiing and Snowboarding Mountain Program for kids ages seven to fourteen.

Remember to visit The LaunchPad area around Mount Snow’s Discovery Center too, which has multiple “magic carpets” (conveyor belts) to take new skiers up the mountain! The Burton Riglet Terrain Park has easy slopes for kids as well. Adaptive skiing is also available. Plus, you can find ski rentals on-site. 

NOTE: Mount Snow offers FREE lift tickets for children under seven years old.

Kid-Friendly Activities for Non-Skiers

On Mount Snow, non-skiers can enjoy activities such as snow tubing, since there are eight lanes on its designated Tubing Hill. For more extensive family excursions, you could also book an outing, like a Mount Snow Snowmobile Tour. A great excursion for teens and older kids, a knowledgeable instructor will show you how to soar down trails and across frozen lakes.

Childcare is also available for kids between eighteen months and four years old, featuring a variety of playrooms. Mount Snow is undoubtedly one of the best family ski resorts to visit in winter in Vermont! 

Where to Stay on Mount Snow with Kids

If you need somewhere to stay on Mount Snow, we recommend staying at the Grand Summit Resort, located at the base of the mountain. It features convenient ski-in/ski-out access for families who can’t wait to hit the slopes, sizable rooms for large groups, and anything else you could possibly need during your Vermont family ski vacation, including a farm-to-table restaurant, an on-site convenience store, and access to a nearby rental shop.

Families looking for a more affordable vacation on Mount Snow may prefer smaller accommodations with a no-frills ambiance. Try The Mountaineer Inn or Gray Ghost Inn, two family-run hotels with a bed-and-breakfast feel! Or, you could rent a home or condo from Vrbo in West Dover.

Here are the Best Vermont Hotels for Families!

Stratton Mountain Resort

The ski runs at Stratton Mountain Resort highlighted due to fresh fallen snow.
Photo Courtesy: Stratton Mountain Resort

Stratton Mountain Resort is the perfect spot for both big and small families! Modeled after classic European ski resorts, it’s part of the Ikon Pass Program and features almost 100 paved trails, a walkable village, and amenities to entertain families. Plus, 65% of the trails here are for beginners, while 22% are intermediate and 13% are difficult. That means it’s perfect for all ages and abilities! 

Stratton Mountain is also renowned for its fantastic kids’ skiing program! Here, those as young as three years old can take private skiing or snowboarding lessons, guided by instructors at the Stratton Ski School. There are also morning or afternoon Big Cub” group lessons for children between four and twelve years old, divided by age rather than skill level. Finally, teens between thirteen and seventeen can learn how to ski or snowboard in small groups of four.

Terrain parks range from advanced to beginner. Kids will especially love the Progression Park! Though Stratton is somewhat expensive compared to other ski programs, many families find the extra attention worthwhile. Adaptive skiing is also available. That’s why it’s one of the best family ski resorts in Vermont! 

Kid-Friendly Activities for Non-Skiers

Non-skiers can take an exhilarating ride at the Coca-Cola Tube Park, located in Stratton’s Sun Bowl at the base of the Big Ben Terrain Park. There’s also an ice skating rink, The Mill House, centered in the middle of The Commons. Plus, there’s Stratton Village, which features family-friendly restaurants, shops, and more.

If your family has some more free time, you could also leave Stratton Mountain and head to the nearby town of Manchester, renowned for its multiple museums and historical significance. While you’re in town, be sure to check out the Northshire Bookstore! Or, take a glass-blowing lesson at Manchester Hot Glass, a ceramic store stuffed with handmade goodies! 

Where to Stay on Stratton Mountain with Kids

If you need somewhere to stay on Stratton Mountain, we recommend the Black Bear Lodge for a quaint stay, featuring rustic rooms with up to two king beds. Plus, a hot tub, sauna, and restaurant on-site. And kids under seventeen stay for free!

If you want something more upscale, consider booking a room at The Equinox Golf Resort & Spa. This historic hotel features an indoor swimming pool, a spa for parents, and access to kid-friendly activities such as ice skating. Vrbo is also a good option in Stratton.

Okemo Mountain Resort

A view of the orange lifts, as well as a fun run at Okemo Mountain Resort.
Photo Courtesy: Okemo Mountain Resort

Okemo Mountain Resort is the perfect place to take your family skiing in Vermont! As part of the Epic Pass Program, this kid-friendly mountain near Ludlow is consistently rated one of the best family mountains in Vermont.

With 667 skiable acres, there’s a huge variety of groomed trails for all abilities. It’s also a great mountain for first-timers too, as it offers a selection of beginner trails (around 32%). Okemo also has more intermediate (37%) and advanced options (23%) for those who want to sharpen their skills, including mogul skiing! 

A trail map of the runs at Okemo Mountain Resort.
Photo Courtesy: Okemo Mountain Resort

Okemo Ski School is ideal for adults and kids who want an introduction to the slopes, offering morning and afternoon group lessons for skiers as young as five years old. There’s also the option to enroll three-year-olds in private lessons. Kids ages seven to fourteen can enroll in the Mountain Explorers program for skiing and snowboarding. You can even use the Magic Carpet for free with an adult ticket purchase! 

NOTE: Okemo Mountain Resort offers FREE lift tickets for kids under four years old.

Kid-Friendly Activities for Non-Skiers

Between snow tubing, ice skating, or riding the alpine coaster, non-skiers have their pick from a ton of activities. Try snow tubing at the Okemo Snow Tubing Park, a four-lane area located off the Stargazer Carpet in the Jackson Gore courtyard. You can also go skating at the Okemo Ice House, located at Jackson Gore, with skate rentals on-site.

Adventurous kids will love a chance to ride the nearby Timber Ripper Mountain Coaster, which is open all year round to provide families with a trip down the mountain! Then, local tour companies such as Braeburn Siberians also offer dog-sledding for families to explore the winter landscape. You can play golf on a simulator at the Nordic Center, too. Or try snowshoeing for exercise and family fun! 

Where to Stay on Okemo Mountain with Kids

Okemo provides families with multiple accommodation options. Many of our contributors enjoy staying at the famous Jackson Gore Inn, which spans three massive buildings at the base of the mountain. With huge indoor and outdoor pools, nightly babysitting available, and ski-in/ski-out options, it’s no wonder the Jackson Gore Inn is one of the best family ski resorts in Vermont. Families also love the Mountain Lodge at Okemo.

Keep in mind most hotels on Okemo are considered luxury properties. For something budget-friendly, try staying off-mountain at The Pointe at Castle Hill. Finally, the town of Ludlow has budget and high-end rental options in Vrbo and Airbnb.

Killington Ski Resort

The mountain at Killington Ski Resort, covered in snow, perfect for skiing.
Photo Courtesy: Killington Ski Resort

Looking to plan a family ski trip to Vermont? Killington Ski Resort is one of the best in the state! Just two hours from Burlington, it’s the largest ski resort in Vermont, with 155 trails and 22 lifts spread across six mountains, offering plenty of terrain for all skill levels. It’s also part of the Ikon Pass Program, providing everything from beginner to expert trails. However, it’s better suited for intermediate skiers, with around 17% beginner terrain, 40% intermediate, and 43% expert. 

Photo Courtesy: Killington Ski Resort

At the Killington Ski School, kids as young as four years old can enroll in the full-day Ministars program to get a hang of the slopes. There are also group lessons for kids between the ages of 7 and 15 based on skill level and age group. Once they’ve gotten the hang of it, little ones can show off their skills at Woodward Mountain Park, which features learning zones, large freestyle zones, and everything in between.

Kid-Friendly Activities for Non-Skiers

If you’re looking for a break from the slopes, take the whole family on a horse-drawn sleigh ride or go dog sledding at nearby ​​Billings Farm and Museum! This is a great way to see the beautiful Vermont scenery and get in some quality time together. You can spend the day cross-country skiing, ice skating, or snowshoeing in the Killington area – all of which are great ways to explore the stunning winter landscape.

Where to Stay on Killington Peak with Kids

If you’re looking for somewhere to stay, Killington Grand Resort Hotel is perfect for families who want a big resort’s amenities, including an indoor pool, hot tubs, and a kids’ game room. Birch Ridge Inn is a cozy option for those looking for a more intimate setting, while the Summit Lodge & Resort offers ski-in/ski-out access and stunning mountain views. The Mountain Inn at Killington is less than a mile from the slopes, is pretty affordable, and even features an indoor heated pool!

Best Small Ski Resorts in Southwestern Vermont for Families

Families traveling from New York City who want a small and intimate ski experience should consider staying at the best small ski resorts in southwestern Vermont for families! Though they’re a bit smaller than other ski resorts in Vermont, they offer families fewer crowds and more affordable lodging options (or the chance to take a day trip!) Keep reading to discover the best big and small ski resorts in Vermont for families!

Pico Mountain Ski Resort

A view of the ski slope covered in snow at Pico Mountain Ski Resort.
Photo Courtesy: Pico Mountain Ski Resort

Looking for a great ski resort that’s perfect for beginners? Then check out Pico Mountain Ski Resort in Vermont! With its gentle slopes and beautiful scenery, Pico Mountain is ideal for families looking to enjoy a day of skiing together. It’s part of the Ikon Pass Program. And because it’s smaller than some other ski resorts in Vermont, it’s less crowded, so that you can enjoy a more leisurely experience. Here, you’ll find 18% beginner terrain, 46% intermediate terrain, and 36% expert runs.

At the Pico Mountain Ski School, kids between 4 and 6 can enroll in group classes with the Trekkers Program. Meanwhile, the Mountaineers Program is better for kids between ages 7 and 15. There’s also a multi-week Learn To Ski program for kids between 7 and 18. Private lessons are also available for kids 2 and older. Plus, there’s also a good “Bunny Hill” chair, and some great beginner runs off the base quad. 

Kid-Friendly Activities for Non-Skiers

When you’re not on the slopes, Pico Mountain offers families a chance to try winter activities such as snowshoeing, snowmobiling, sleigh rides, and more. There’s even indoor rock climbing nearby! 

Where to Stay on Pico Mountain with Kids

Lodging on Pico Mountain tends to be very limited. As such, we recommend staying in the town of Killington and renting a cabin or a condo via Vrbo with your family.

Magic Mountain Ski Area

A trail map of the ski runs at Magic Mountain Ski Area.
Photo Courtesy: Magic Mountain Ski Area

Any list of big and small ski resorts in Vermont for families should include a mention of the Magic Mountain Ski Area! Located right outside the Green Mountain National Forest near Londonderry, this unique ski area is a haven for advanced skiers who want to challenge themselves on its epic expert trails and off-piste glades. The resort even boasts a 1,500-foot vertical drop, one of the biggest in Vermont! Choose between 30% beginner, 30% intermediate, and 40% expert trails. Plus, they offer the only night terrain park in southern Vermont! Available on Fridays and Saturdays from 4-7pm, plus holidays, this awesome experience can keep the kids entertained while you watch all the action from the Black Line Tavern where apres happens (with dinner for the kids afterward!). 

Magic Mountain Ski School also offers ski and snowboarding group lessons for kids ages 5+, divided by skill levels. There are private lessons for all ages and a first-timer bundle that includes lessons and a lift ticket. The Nelson Family Learning Area is the perfect place for beginners to practice since the Sunkids conveyor lift takes you to the easiest trails!

Kid-Friendly Activities for Non-Skiers

Various events are scheduled for non-skiers throughout the week, including Apres-ski celebrations. 

Where to Stay on Magic Mountain with Kids

Families who want somewhere to stay near Magic Mountain can consider renting on Vrbo. Or, stay at Black Bear Lodge, near Stratton Mountain. Then, The Upper Pass Lodge at Magic’s doorstep features some big family rooms.

Bromley Mountain Ski Resort

The intimate ski runs at Bromley Mountain Ski Resort, covered in snow.
Photo Courtesy: Bromley Mountain Ski Resort

If you’re looking for a guide to the best big and small ski resorts in Vermont, don’t skip over Bromley Mountain Ski Resort! Located near Peru, this Vermont ski destination is great for visitors of all ages, especially if you’re staying in nearby Manchester. Though it’s a small mountain, it faces the sun, so it isn’t as cold, plus it’s cheaper than other options nearby. Families will find 33% beginner, 40% intermediate, and 27% expert trails, making it great for all skill levels. 

At the Bromley Mountain Ski School, private ski or snowboarding lessons are available for kids as young as three years old too. Snowsports School also offers family lessons, allowing guests to build a group of up to six skiers. There are full and half-day experiences. Then, Bart J. Ruggiere Adaptive Sports Center also allows people with disabilities to enjoy outdoor sports, with a particular focus on snow sports. Easy trails for beginners include the Star Carpet in the beginner’s area next to the Kids’ Cabin. All runs end in the same place, so don’t be afraid to split up! 

NOTE: Bromley Mountain offers FREE lift tickets for kids five and under!

Kid-Friendly Activities for Non-Skiers

At Bromley, there’s plenty of entertainment after a long day on the slopes! First, you could take a snowmobiling tour with Alpine Tours on Stratton Mountain, where you’ll cruise through the winter landscape in style. There are also a ton of cross-country ski centers in the Bromley Area, the closest being Wild Wings right in Peru.

Vermont’s nearby town of Manchester also offers families a quaint ambiance with endless fun activities. Go shopping at Manchester Designer Outlets. Alternatively, treat yourself to a sleigh ride at a nearby location such as Taylor Farm or Horses for Hire. There’s also ice skating at Riley Rink in Manchester’s Hunter Park, which offers public skating hours on various days throughout the week. 

Where to Stay on Bromley Mountain with Kids

The stately front entrance of the Photo Courtesy: The Equinox Golf Resort & Spa.
Photo Courtesy: The Equinox Golf Resort & Spa

While Bromley doesn’t have as many ski-in/ski-out options as other resorts nearby, there are still plenty of family-friendly options. For slopeside lodging, consider the Inn at Bromley.

In nearby Manchester, families can consider staying at the Equinox Golf Resort & Spa. Families also love the Woodstock Inn & Resort. Finally, you can also rent a home or condo in Manchester (15 minutes away from Bromley Mountain) or Winhall using Vrbo.

Central Vermont

From Sugarbush Mountain to Smugglers’ Notch, you’ll have a variety of fun places to ski in central Vermont with kids! Whether you are looking for a big ski resort, or something a little more intimate, make one of these ski resorts in central Vermont your next winter getaway with your family.

Here is the Ultimate Ski Trip Packing List For Families This Winter.

Best Big Ski Resorts in Central Vermont for Families

Are you looking for a great skiing experience in the heart of Vermont? Then you’ll want to check out some of the best big and small ski resorts the state has to offer in Central Vermont. From Sugarbush to Stowe, keep reading to learn more! 

Sugarbush Mountain

​​Looking for a great place to take the family skiing this winter? Look no further than Sugarbush Mountain in central Vermont! Located near Warren, this resort overlooks Vermont’s Mad River Valley and is usually less crowded than some other resorts in the state. It’s also part of the Ikon Pass Program, offering a low-key experience further from NYC and Boston.

Though it’s a bit more old-school (no gondolas) and the beginner terrain is limited, it’s still an affordable option. Be sure to check mid-week for the best deals! In terms of skiing, you’ll find 20% beginner terrain, 45% intermediate terrain, and 35% advanced terrain. With freestyle, advanced, and beginner trails, there are plenty of terrains to choose from, too. Kids will enjoy green runs like Snowflake, Crackerjack, or Sugar Run, located toward the bottom of the mountain.

Sugarbush Ski & Ride School offers private ski and ride lessons for kids three and older, where they’ll receive personalized attention based on their skill level. Subject to availability, depending on the season, there are group lessons for teens over thirteen and adults trying skiing for the first time. Plus, after the fourth lesson you take at Sugarbush, you’ll also get discounted season passes! Finally, adaptive skiing is available for people with disabilities. 

Kid-Friendly Activities for Non-Skiers

Since it’s a smaller mountain, Sugarbush doesn’t have as many activities to keep kids entertained off the slopes as other family ski resorts in Vermont. Sugarbush Health & Recreation Center features a gym, sauna, and indoor pool. You could also rent a pair of snowshoes and take a self-guided or guided tour through the woods, where you may even encounter various local wildlife.

Sugarbush Mountain Resort also offers families a series of Cabin Cat Adventures, where you’ll get a glimpse of the mountain like never before. Or, enjoy amazing local food at restaurants such as Allyn’s Lodge, Skinny Pancake, or Castlerock Pub. 

Where to Stay on Sugarbush Mountain with Kids

There are multiple lodging options to house larger groups, such as Vrbo. However, many prefer to book the Clay Brook at Sugarbush Resort. This family-friendly hotel offers amenities like an indoor saltwater pool, a year-round daycare option, and a fun game room for children. Staying at Sugarbush Resort also puts you near the Mad River Valley, where you could easily spend an afternoon exploring. No wonder Sugarbush is one of the best family ski resorts in Vermont.

Stowe Mountain Resort

Spruce Resort nestled amongst snow and ski runs in the winter in Stowe.
Photo Courtesy: Stowe Mountain Resort

Families looking for an upscale experience at one of the best luxury ski resorts in Vermont will appreciate visiting Stowe Mountain Resort. Part of the Epic Pass Program, it’s one of the most upscale ski resorts on the East Coast.

It comprises 111 trails across two mountains: Mount Mansfield and Spruce Peak, both of which are recommended for families who have more advanced skiing experience. Mostly because the trails are steeper than usual here, with many accessible ones on Mount Mansfield categorized as mid-level blue runs (about 60% intermediate trails). Though there are a few beginner trails on Spruce Peak for kids skiing for the first time, they’re usually pretty crowded (around 29% intermediate trails). There are also some expert trails (around 11%).

An instructor leads a few young skiers down a slope during ski school at Stowe Resort.
Photo Courtesy: Stowe Resort

Kids between three and four years old can take private skiing lessons at the Stowe Ski School. There are also morning and afternoon classes for five to six-year-olds and then kids seven to twelve years old.

Finally, a daycare for little ones who don’t ski means everyone can enjoy their stay! 

NOTE: Stowe offers FREE lift tickets for kids four and under.

Kid-Friendly Activities for Non-Skiers

Non-skiers can enjoy anything from ice climbing and a sleigh ride to snowshoeing. Everything is also really accessible and easy to reach without driving, either by foot or a short ride on the gondola that travels between mountains. You can also reach The Village at Spruce Peak, which is relatively large and lavish compared to other ski villages nearby.

Here, you’ll find apres-ski restaurants, shopping boutiques, and kid-friendly activities. Look for the Ice Skating Rink located steps away from the Spruce Camp Base Lodge, which is free and open to the public. And don’t forget to visit the Adventure Center! Spruce Peak also hosts rotating weekly activities like board game nights or arts & crafts. 

Where to Stay in Stowe with Kids

The lodge and ski runs on a sunny day at The Lodge at Spruce Peak in Vermont.
Photo Courtesy: The Lodge at Spruce Peak

If you need somewhere to stay, consider The Lodge at Spruce Peak, the only ski-in, ski-out option. This luxury, Alpine-style hotel also showcases rooms ranging from cozy mountain cabins to sweeping Penthouse suites. Also, staying here gives kids access to all the mountain’s activities. You can also rent condos in The Lodge at Spruce Peak using Vrbo.

If you’re looking for a more rustic feel, you can also consider staying at the upscale Topnotch Resort, a little further from the mountain. Families also enjoy the Trapp Family Lodge, about a twenty-minute drive from Stowe. Plenty of hotel and home rental options are available in and around the Stowe Mountain Resort.

For more information on staying in Stowe with your family, read Your Family’s Guide To Skiing In Stowe With Kids!

Best Small Ski Resorts in Central Vermont for Families

If your family still wants to ski in Central Vermont but doesn’t want the crowds of a bigger resort, consider staying at a smaller ski resort. This way, you can enjoy a more intimate mountain experience with your kids! Here are some options for the best small ski resorts in Central Vermont for families.

Smugglers’ Notch

A parent and two kids race down an alpine trail at Smugglers' Notch Resort.
Photo Courtesy: Pat Kelley

Smugglers’ Notch is one of the most family-friendly ski resorts in Vermont! Nestled in the Green Mountains, this kid-friendly destination is excellent for beginners, multi-generational vacations, and non-skiers alike. Since it’s more of an indie mountain, it’s easier to find deals on your vacation, and it tends to be less crowded than some other resorts in Vermont.

Plus, it’s easy to take the shuttle around and avoid driving. Here, skiers will find 18% beginner, 52% intermediate, and 30% expert terrain.

A trail map at Smugglers’ Notch.
Photo Courtesy: Smugglers’ Notch

Snow Sport University is known for its patient instructors, several of which have training for non-neurotypical kids. Skiing and snowboarding private lessons are available for children as young as two and a half years old, with a dedicated mini slope and carpet at Treasures Nursery. Little ones three and older can enroll in a half or full-day group program. There’s also the Night School for snowboarders over the age of seven. Children will show off their skills at the Cookie Race, where they’ll compete to the sounds of cheering crowds. Finally, there’s also a great adaptive skiing program!

Plus, anyone under five years old also receives free lift tickets! 

NOTE: Smugglers’ Notch offers FREE lift tickets for kids ages five and under!

Kid-Friendly Activities for Non-Skiers

Smugglers’ Notch offers non-skiers activities like indoor climbing walls, snow tubing, and more. Take a dip in the heated pool or the hot tub, enjoy live evening entertainment, or get a massage at the spa! The whole family will enjoy ice skating at the Smugglers’ Notch ice skating rink, included with the price of a SmuggsPass or Club Smugglers’ Package.

Plus, the Smugglers’ Notch Tubing Hill is open day and night, where children under twelve need to be accompanied by a parent. End your day by the bonfire snuggling up with a hot chocolate next to hotel mascots Mogul Mouse or Billy Bob Bear. 

Where to Stay On Smugglers’ Notch with Kids

Smugglers’ Notch Resort is the best hotel for families on Smugglers’ Notch! Suites range from one bedroom to five, plus fully-equipped kitchens, fireplaces, and laundry facilities. Families can even warm up after a long day skiing by dipping in the indoor heated pool. Teens will love hanging out and playing video games in the Teen Alley, while all ages will enjoy the FunZone 2.0. It features an arcade, a bouncy house, and so much more! With so much to offer, Smugglers’ Notch is definitely one of the best ski resorts in Vermont for beginners. 

Mad River Glen Cooperative

An aerial view of the buildings and some of the slopes at Mad River Glen Cooperative in Vermont.
Photo Courtesy: Photos By Kintz

Families who want to venture off the beaten path or beat the crowds at some bigger ski resorts in Vermont will love the Mad River Glen Cooperative. This cooperative ski area is located in the town of Fayston in Vermont’s Mad River Valley, and it’s known for its family-friendly atmosphere.

Plus, there’s a variety of skiing terrain, making it a popular destination for both beginner and experienced skiers. Here, you’ll find 30% beginner, 37% intermediate, and 33% expert terrain. 

A trail map of the runs at Mad River Glen Cooperative.
Photo Courtesy: Mad River Glen Cooperative

Plus, this unique resort is owned and operated by its shareholders (aka the people who use it!), which means it’s geared specifically towards providing a fantastic experience for families. Each member has a say in how the resort is run, and profits are reinvested back into the resort. This structure allows more focus on creating an excellent experience for guests rather than making a profit.

When kids want to learn how to ski, there are Kids’ Daily Lessons for little ones between the ages of 4 and 12. This includes Rockin’ Robins lessons for first-timers (4 to 12 years old), as well as Chipmunks (4 to 6 years old) and Panthers (7 to 12 years old) who are “mountain ready.” There are also private lessons for kids between 6 and 12.

Kid-Friendly Activities for Non-Skiers

For non-skiers, the Mad River Glen Cooperative holds many different activities throughout the winter. This includes weekly rotating events, like live music. Families can also explore the landscape with an expert naturalist during a guided snowshoe hike every Saturday and Sunday morning. 

Where to Stay Near Mad River Glen Cooperative with Kids

Looking for somewhere to stay near the Mad River Glen Cooperative with kids? While there aren’t any ski-in/ski-out hotels here, multiple kid-friendly options exist in the surrounding Mad River Valley. This includes the Mad River Lodge, the Mad River Barn, and Hyde Away Inn. 

Bolton Valley Resort

The resort buildings covered in snow at Bolton Valley Resort.

Bolton Valley Resort is the perfect place for your next skiing adventure! Located only 30 minutes from major cities like Burlington, Stowe, and Montpelier, it’s a much cheaper option than other nearby resorts.

Plus, the resort has a wide variety of terrain, from beginner-friendly green slopes to more challenging black diamond runs, so everyone in the family can find something to enjoy. Choose from 50% beginner terrain, 33% intermediate terrain, and 17% expert terrain.

A ski trail map for Bolton Valley Resort.
Photo Courtesy: Bolton Valley Resort

Kids between 4 and 6 can enroll in group lessons specifically for young kids. Meanwhile, there are separate lessons for kids between 7 and 12. Kids thirteen and up can enroll in adult group lessons, and there are also private lessons for all ages. Since a lot of the terrain here is beginner, you can’t really go wrong with anywhere on the mountain. However, a lot of families like the beginner trails near Wilderness Peak. 

Kid-Friendly Activities for Non-Skiers

Off the slopes, families who still want to explore the terrain at Bolton can head to the Bolton Valley Nordic Ski Center. There are opportunities for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, winter fat tire biking, and more here. Plus, the resort has its own tubing hill! There’s also an indoor bike and skate park for kids who would rather play indoors. Plus, a Sports Center to relax after a long day of skiing, featuring a pool, hot tub, sauna, etc. 

Where to Stay Near Bolton Valley Resort with Kids

If you need somewhere to stay near Bolton Valley with kids, you could consider lodging directly at the resort. There are ski-in/ski-out options, and you can also take advantage of all the on-site amenities. Or, other hotels are further away near Stowe, like the Topnotch Resort

Northern Vermont

Families looking to hit the slopes in northern Vermont have several great options. Families love skiing in this part of the state, from Jay Peak to Cochran’s Ski Area.

Discover the Ultimate Guide To Ski Gear For Kids!

Best Big Ski Resort in Northern Vermont for Families

If you’re visiting northwestern Vermont with your family, you’re in luck! The large ski resort here is one of the best in the state, offering everything from gentle slopes and beginner-friendly terrain to more challenging runs for experienced skiers.

Jay Peak

A red and white gondola rests on the grounds of Jay Peak in Vermont.
Photo Courtesy: Tara Hutchinson

Advanced skiers looking for a thrill will love Jay Peak! Located in northern Vermont, it’s one of the furthest ski resorts from major cities like NYC or Boston, around 5 miles away from the Canadian border.

Popular for its beautiful open glades, the abundance of snow, and off-mountain activities, the trails here can be icy, steep, and not ideal for beginners. There are only 20% beginner trails, in contrast to 41% intermediate and 39% expert. 

Jay Peak’s Ski & Ride School offers lessons for kids between the ages of 4 and 12, and the chance to enroll in group lessons. And, kids of all ages have the opportunity to enroll in private lessons. Parents who live in Vermont may prefer an 8-week ski program instead. Jay Peak also offers families the option to book a Vennedag, or a group session with skiers of mixed ages and skills. Children who are comfortable riding on blue terrain can even take a memorable First Tram excursion, where they’ll be brought up the mountain in the early morning hours to hit the slopes!

Two JayCare locations on-mountain look after little ones who don’t want to ski for half or full days. 

NOTE: Jay Peak offers discounted lift rates for toddlers.

Kid-Friendly Activities for Non-Skiers

Off the slopes, families can visit Pump House Indoor Waterpark, which includes a kids’ play area and a ton of jumbo slides. Families can also visit the Clips & Reel Recreation Center during the winter, where you can book private sessions in the arcade, climbing center, or even a state-of-the-art movie theater!

Then, the Ice Haus Indoor Arena showcases a full-fledged NHL-sized ice rink to skate or play ice hockey. Or, try snowshoeing at The Nordic Center, which features twelve well-groomed trails. Older kids or teens can even go fat tire biking through the winter landscape! Countless activities plus delicious on-mountain dining makes Jay Peak one of the best family ski resorts in Vermont! 

Where to Stay on Jay Peak with Kids

Families can stay directly at the Jay Peak Resort to enjoy delicious on-site dining, panoramic views, and amenities for all ages. Choose from different accommodations ranging from regular hotel suites to one, two, or three-bedroom cabin lodges, ski-in, ski-out rooms, and slopeside condominiums for larger groups. Of course, kids will also have access to all the hotel amenities, ranging from an indoor water park to an indoor arcade.

Other options include Tram Haus Lodge, Sun & Ski Inn And Suites, and Hotel Jay & Conference Center

Best Small Ski Resorts in Northern Vermont for Families

Skiing in northern Vermont with your family? If you want a smaller resort and a more intimate experience, consider the following options. 

Cochran’s Ski Area

A man skis down a run at Cochran’s Ski Area.
Photo Courtesy: Cochran’s Ski Area

Cochran’s Ski Area is undoubtedly one of the best places for a cozy and low-key day of skiing with your family. Located in Richmond in northwestern Vermont, it’s not exactly a ski resort, but rather a small hill with a little over a mile of terrain and only two ski lifts. While it’s smaller than most and may not be great if you want a lavish ski vacation, it’s affordable and easy for a quick day trip to hit the slopes. Here, 30% of the terrain is easy, while 35% is intermediate, and 35% is for experts. 

For little ones who want to learn how to ski, Cochran’s Ski Area offers 1-hour group lessons for kids ages 6 and up. There are also private lessons for all ages, based on appointment and availability. 

Where to Stay Near Cochran’s Ski Area with Kids

Need somewhere to stay near Cochran’s Ski Area with your kids? In nearby Williston, you’ll find the Home2 Suites by Hilton Williston, which features suites with separate living room areas and a convenient location just off the highway. Vrbo is a great option to find accommodation when you ski in Cochran with your family.

READ NEXT: 12 Ways To Plan A Family Ski Trip On A Budget

Burke Mountain Resort

The gondola and resort building at Burke Mountain Resort.
Photo Courtesy: Burke Mountain Resort

If you’re looking for a great family ski vacation in Vermont, Burke Mountain Resort is the perfect place. Located on Burke Mountain in northeastern Vermont, this mid-size resort features Vermont-style skiing across 270 acres, most of which are great for intermediate skiers.

Families can discover 48% intermediate runs, plus 8% beginner runs and 12% expert runs. Families will find most of the beginner terrain on the “Lower Mountain,” accessible by a detachable quad. There’s also a Bunny Slope and a magic carpet for little ones to take advantage of. No wonder this is one of the best mid-size ski resorts in Vermont for families! 

The trail map for ski runs at Burke Mountain Resort.
Photo Courtesy: Burke Mountain Resort

Burke Mountain Ski School offers private lessons for kids ages 3 and up, as well as group lessons and learn-to-ski packages for kids 13 and up. Adaptive skiing lessons are also available for kids three and up. If you’re staying for an extended time, kids between 6 and 12 can also enroll in the Snow Pro Camp.

Kid-Friendly Activities for Non-Skiers

Looking for things to do off the slopes at Burke Mountain? You’re in luck! This Vermont ski resort offers a variety of winter activities for the whole family to enjoy. Cross-country skiing is a great way to get out and explore the Vermont countryside. There are many scenic trails, and you can even go on guided tours.

Fat tire biking is another great option, and there are several bike trails that wind through the state’s forests and mountains. Then, snowmobiling is a popular activity on Burke Mountain, and there are many rental companies that can help you get started. Or, enjoy ice climbing, ice fishing, and so much more!

Where to Stay on Burke Mountain with Kids

Families looking for places to stay on Burke Mountain have their fair share of options! For a slopeside option, check out Burke Mountain Hotel & Conference Center, which offers studio, one, two, and three-bedroom options. The Wildflower also has a lovely hillside location overlooking the mountain.

Vermont Hotel and Vrbo Interactive Map

Regardless of which Vermont ski resort is calling your family this winter, use this interactive map to find the best place to stay. Family-friendly hotels and Vrbo rentals await you and your kids from Manchester to Stowe! Click through the map to find the best option for your family.

Happy Travels!

We hope you liked this guide to Family Skiing Fun in Vermont: A Guide to the Best Big and Small Ski Resorts! Whether you’re an advanced skier or a beginner looking to experience Vermont in the winter, this winter wonderland will welcome you with open arms. Have a wonderful time in Vermont with your kids! 

*Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some of the attractions, accommodations, or things to do on this list may be closed. Please ensure availability before making your decision. 

*This post may contain affiliate links that may earn us a small commission, at no additional cost to you. Affiliate links in no way inform the hotels, sights, products, or other recommendations included in our articles. All opinions and recommendations expressed here are compiled from submissions submitted by the generous members of our Families Who Love To Travel community.


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The Families Love Travel Team has a zest for life and an even bigger passion for globetrotting! Comprised of real-life travel professionals, we work hard behind the scenes to provide dynamic solutions for adventuring with children. Our enthusiastic team understands the challenges that often accompany traveling with kids and is committed to making Families Love Travel an inclusive space to convey these experiences.