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Family Ski Vacation at Mount Snow, Vermont

Families rule at Mount Snow

By Michele McIntyre, GoGirlfriend contributor

I slid effortlessly into a cozy blue climate-controlled pod that whisks me to a summit elevation of 3,600 feet in just over 7 minutes. Way too short, if you ask me. It's the Bluebird Express, North America's only 6-passenger bubble chairlift. I'm at Mount Snow in West Dover, Vermont to explore the lodging, dining and après ski options for families. And the skiing, of course.

Grand Summit, Mount Snow, VermontOur family is attempting to stay active despite the harsh winter. With below average temps, harsh wind chills and what seems like constant snow and ice, skiing is the perfect healthy winter family activity. But back to the chairlift that I'm absolutely fixated on.

Favorite mountain face

Do you usually avoid the teen set and the snowboard crowd? Me too. Here's a Mount Snow insider secret: Carinthia, an entire mountain face dedicated to terrain park features, has plenty of great skiing and none of the crowds of the main faces. Even if you're not into features, you should go. Carinthia has some of the best snowmaking and grooming on the mountain, lively music blasting from speakers and a mesmerizing show as skiers and boarders slice their way back and forth across the expertly carved half pipe.

Favorite trail

Carinthia Park, Mount Snow VermontFrom the Carinthia base lodge, take the Heavy Metal double chair to Prospector. Yes, it's a terrain park but there’s plenty of space for those of us who don't get an adrenaline rush from flying through the air. It's the most unique terrain park trail we've ever seen made up entirely of natural features (rocks, trees and logs). 

Where to stay

Grand Summit Resort HotelThere’s a roaring fire in the bustling lobby at the slopeside Grand Summit Resort Hotel. We also appreciated not having to scramble for parking spaces each morning when we were ready to ski. You get on the slopes much faster when your lodging is ski in/ski out. You just can't put a price on this level of convenience. It was a 5-minute walk to the main base area with its many dining outlets, several chairlifts and the ski and snowboard school. And when the lifts closed we were close to everywhere we wanted to be.

Our studio suite has a smart layout with an extra sink and vanity area that’s separate from the main bathroom. We didn't cook in the compact kitchen, but appreciated the fridge to store our drinks and leftovers and the microwave to warm said leftovers and make popcorn. A hearty breakfast at Harriman's Tavern is included and it offers everything you’ll need to tank up for your ski day.

Where to eat

Harriman's Dining RoomHow does a Vermont Maple Mudslide Martini sound?  I ordered this indigenous cocktail after perusing the menu Harriman's Farm to Table. It's smooth, rich and fantastic. Vermont maple is the star on Harriman's menu this season. Its sweetness is woven into my cocktail, the vinaigrette on salads and in the crème brûlée. Harriman's is a prime example of how chefs honor ingredients that come out of their own backyard. There are traditional fine dining selections (fish, duck, lamb, beef, pork), but we're drawn to the less traditional selections. The Vermont Cheese Board featured a selection of local cheeses but it was the jams and honey that really amped up the flavor profile of the cheeses. Everything we sampled was utterly delicious. The service blended accomplished and casual – it’s by far the finest dining experience at Mount Snow.

Don’t miss the famous sugar waffles from the Waffle Cabin that never fail to get me to abandon a healthy eating program.

Learning to ski?

Being with a ski instructor has one terrific benefit beyond the obvious: no waiting in lift lines. It's like having an on-mountain E-Z Pass. Herb, our instructor for the day, has been guiding skiers to excellence since 1992 – we're in good hands. He doubles as our mountain guide as we work our way across multiple mountain faces. But the best part of the lesson for me is that I get to learn alongside my 11 year-old son. Herb somehow manages to take skiers of two differing abilities and instruct us both simultaneously – and it hardly feels like work. His teaching style is informal, showing us a good time while dishing out pointers along the way. He even manages to teach my normally lesson-shy husband, who joins us for the second half of the four-hour lesson, a few new techniques.

When the lifts close

Grand Summit Resort lobbyWe head up to our room to change out of our ski boots. We crank open the window to get some fresh air and that's when we hear it: an orchestra of sounds. It's a symphony of music and laughter and screams of delight from children. We peer out the window to see what we're missing. It's après ski for families – a festive, partying atmosphere for the youngest crowd. Families are gathered at the tubing hill roasting marshmallows and speeding down the hill. We join them and have a blast too!

Sneak in some pampering

NatureSpa At the Summit Resort and Spa, VermontHead to Naturespa at the Grand Summit Hotel. My treatment of choice is the 80-minute lavender sugar body polish followed by a relaxing full body massage with neroli body butter. My therapist, Sarah, is a passionate herbalist, gifted massage therapist and an absolute nurturer. I sink into the warmest treatment table ever under soft, pillowy blankets, making me feel safe and cocooned. Afterwards my skin is smooth and my muscles are eternally grateful for Sarah's expert attention. 

If you’d like to learn more about Mount Snow, visit them online at MountSnow.com, Facebook or Twitter and read what other travelers have to say about them on TripAdvisor.com.

Got a favorite ski resort? Tell us in the comments! Find us on Twitter or Facebook and let's start talking!

About Michele McIntyre

Michele McIntyre ~ @cnyspagirlMichele McIntyre is a freelance writer who covers spas, travel, fitness, wellness and healthy living/eating. She is happiest when lying face up on the treatment table, writing about her spa and travel experiences or testing new products to share with her readers. She lives near Syracuse, NY with her husband and son. Michele is a regular travel contributor to LivingBetterat50+ and has written for Today’s Central New York Woman Magazine and online at Tripology, TripAtlas, and Splash Magazines Worldwide. When she isn’t writing about or visiting spas, Michele loves traveling, hiking, skiing, camping, yoga and reading. If any of these pursuits can be combined with a visit to the spa, even better! Catch up with Michele online on Twitter or LinkedIn.

To comply with the long list of regulating bodies, possibly even Geneva Conventions and in the interest of transparency, Michele’s trip was sponsored. Commentary and perspectives are those of Michele McIntyre.

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