Back to Ski: Smugglers Notch Resort for teens and advanced skiers

We covered Smugglers’ Notch amenities for young kids and babies last winter, but Vermont-based Smuggs has older kids, teens, and advanced skiers covered as well. In fact, this combination makes Smuggs an excellent resort pick for multigenerational family travel, so bring Grandma and Grandpa along, too. If you have expert skiers and older kids or teens in your midst, here’s what you need to know about Smugglers Notch Resort for teens:

smuggs for teens

Two-hour lessons appeal to older kids:  

My kids—all of whom are expert skiers—balk at all-day lesson programs. They long to explore the mountain on their own, but we insist they continue to work on their skills. At Smuggs, advanced skiers can opt for two-hour lessons (ages 6-17), giving kids plenty of time for free skiing. Tip: book the afternoon session instead of morning for a less crowded lesson. You may even luck out with a private experience! 

Mountain configuration is teen-friendly:

Smuggs is comprised of three interconnected mountains. Morse Mountain is where all the action is: you’ll find the childcare and ski school at its base, along with the entire Village Center, and a network of trails primarily for beginners, with a sprinkling of blues for intermediate levels. Madonna and Sterling mountains are further afield, and offer a solid helping of intermediate runs, plus the resort’s black diamond, double-black diamond, and even triple-black diamond runs. To get there, skiers need to ride the chairlift up Morse Mountain, ski the access trail, then catch the double chairlifts at Madonna and Sterling. What this means for parents of teens: to get back down the mountain, runs funnel back down to Morse, ensuring there’s only one place your kids will end up. It’s easy to plan meeting places for tweens and teens, and if you have kids in advanced ski school while you’re hitting the slopes solo, you can meet them at the Madonna/Sterling base lodge.

smuggs adult lessons

Adult lessons are not just for beginners:

Practice what you preach to your kids, and take a lesson yourself! If you’re an expert skier, consider your time to be a lesson on Smuggs as well as a lesson on ski form. Madonna and Sterling mountains are chock full of secret stashes, hike-only terrain, backcountry tree runs, and hidden powder pockets. Newbies to the mountain cannot hope to find many of them on their own, and ski instructors act as mountain guides, showing you where all the fun stuff is. (Tip: be a hero and show your kids the best tree runs after your lesson.)

No need to sweat about snow conditions:

Families can plan their entire ski vacation carefully, but no one has control over the weather. Smuggs takes care of this worry as well with advanced—and ever-increasing—snowmaking abilities. With 150 new snowmaking guns last season and another 100 in place for this winter, families can book late or early in the season with confidence, taking advantage of school holidays and long weekends. (Though the resort’s traditional 300 inches from Mother Nature per year certainly help!)

Don’t forget about cross-country terrain:

Included in the vacation packages, the resort’s Nordic terrain includes 30 km of cross-country trails and 24 km of snowshoe terrain.  Lessons are available if you’re new to the sports, and ice skating is on-site as well (we find our kids prefer skating while we enjoy the tranquility of the trails). Rent equipment at the center or bring your own.

Teen clubs:

Teens and tweens are usually forgotten when it comes to kids’ clubs (most end at age 12), but Smuggs offers not one, but two! Kids ages 13-15 have their own space at Teen Alley, and 16-17-year-olds have access to Outer Limits. Both clubs are open for après ski fun without parents, and programming includes organized games, video game tournaments, movie nights, and dance jams. How teens have the energy for all this after a day of skiing, I’ll never know, but they do!

Photo credit: Smuggler’s Notch