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Stratton for Beginer/Intermediate Mid-Week Family Trip?

mitchapalooza

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I'm planning a trip to New England the last week of Janaury M-F (4 nights, 3 days skiing) with my family and looking for advice. I'm a solid intermediate skier that will venture onto the blacks at times but not look good doing it, my wife is a solid beginer that may venture onto the blues at times, and my kids have never been before. I have a 4 1/2 year old that will be in beginer lessons and 2 1/2- year old twins that will just do full day child care. I've never skied New England (mostly just Snowshoe, WV) but I get the impression that many advanced skiers look down at Stratton for not being challenging enough. However, for our skill level I think that may be a good thing?

My main goal for this trip is to make it enjoyable for my wife and kids and create a trip that will make everyone want to go again. I'm considering it an investment into furture trips while also trying to have a little fun myself. We're driving up from Virginia so proximity is a big factor (less time in the car with the little ones the better). Also, kids programs/facilites and convenience getting them there is HUGE for us. I also really want the ability to ride the lift with my wife, take seperate trails down (greens for her blues/blacks for me), then meet at the same lift without getting totally separated. I also want to be able to have breakfast and lunch slopeside with my wife during the day without losing a ton of mountain time. We plan to stay in a condo and eat dinners in with the kids. I think the fact that we'll be skiing mid-week will liekly aleviate a lot of the crowds that time of year as well?

I've narrowed it down to Stratton as what looks like the best fit for what we want for the best value; their mid-week prices are so much more affordable than weeknds (lodging, for example, more than doubles on wekends and holidays). Anyone been to Stratton with young kids that can offer any feedback? Any advice would be welcomed and greatly appreciated.

I also considered Killington, Okemo, Smuggs and Sugarbush. Smuggs seemed like the obvious family choice at first but it's about 1 1/2 hour further each way and those slow lifts scare me away. Okemo lodging was just too expensive compared to the others. Killington and Sugarbush both seem like great moutains but they also seem too spread out for needs on this trip. In a few years when the whole family is able to ski together at similar levels they may make more sense?
 

jaytrem

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Sounds like you did plenty of research and thought everything out. Stratton is a fine choice in my opinion. They do and excellent job of snowmaking and grooming. I've never been there with kids, but I can't imagaine they wouldn't have a great time.
 

ScottySkis

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In normal year stratton is good for what you are in need of. Killington has a lot of beginning and expect trails. Sugarbush has a lot of everything and gets K and SB get more natural snow then Stratton, also when I was a kid my dad took me to Okemo and I loved the children programs.
 

Euler

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I live in southern VT and have been to all of these resorts. I'd give an equal reccomendation to Okemo and Stratton, and a definite no to Killington. Killington is too spread out to be a pleasant family experience in my opinion.
 

x10003q

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Another vote to confirm your choice of Stratton. I ski Stratton and have been there at least once a year midweek for a number of years. You and your family will love the place. The ski school is excellent. I have put my now 6 year old in the all day ski school and she can pretty much ski almost anywhere at Stratton. The grooming and snowmaking are excellent. Don't cook on Thursday night - head down to the Red Fox for $5 burger night.
 

bigbog

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Another nice aspect to Stratton is that Green Mtn Orthotic Lab(GMOL)'s outside door is just a walkway up from the snow...~60sec from some lift(name?) and you're into the shop = no wait to relay bootfitting results. Good bootfitters/footbed guys & wom[a-e]n.... Greg Hoffman was there for years but his proteges have picked up where he left off. Good skiers thus the shop(and other shops nearby in the village) stocks some goodchoices for high-Int on down..in addition to quality rentals/demos. Excellent skishop(HEAD dealer and others) down on rte #4 a mile+ back east of the access road... Another shop(Peak Performance) is ~100' from GMOL. Nice pub(good food) opposite the GMOL/ski clothing shop...~60' along with others further along the village walkway. There's a nice coffee shop a few steps away, that I believe opens early.

$.01
 
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thetrailboss

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I think Stratton is a good match for you based on what you said and distance concerns. The only other one I'd consider would be Sunday River, but that is much further for you.

You would be near Manchester, VT so the Mrs. can go shopping. Stratton is a good sized place and you'd have a good time checking out the areas. They also have a lot of food, shops, and lodging right at the mountain. It also will be a bit warmer than places up north.

Smuggs: an older place and great expert and never-ever stuff. More out of the way and secluded. That may be good, but may not. They do some great programs at Smuggs. But it might a be a bit too far north, too old school, and too cold for this trip.
 

Big Game

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I would suggest Okemo based on what you said. I know each mountain pretty well, I have the mid week pass.

Okemo has more beginner trails and long cruisers. And is really quite large. I think you would have more fun there. Okemo has very little steep anywhere. Stratton you can actually find it and less travel trails. Okemo has new woods I haven't tried. Stratton has great woods. all over.

Stratton more adventurous. Okemo safer bet.
 

ERJ-145CA

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I recommend Bromley. All the trails funnel down to the same base area and it has good green and blue cruisers plus some really good blacks on the east side. The high speed quad will take you up to the summit and you can go right and your wife can go left and meet at the bottom. It's also a really good value, I think cheaper than Stratton. I take the family there every year in March for a few days, my son learned to ski there in the day care program and my daughter skiied for the first time there last year.

Now my son is 9 and I put him in the mountain club where he skis with an instructor for the most of the day going wherever he wants. It's supposed to be with a group but in early March on weekdays it's usually just him and the instructor. It ends at 2:30 so then I have a couple hours to ski with him afterwards before the lifts stop running. It's also got a laid back, old school vibe. Bromley is highly recommended by me.
 

mitchapalooza

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And welcome to the boards. Please let us know how your trip goes.

Thanks! I really appreciate the advice I've received here. I'm going to look into a couple of the others mentioned in this thread before I pull the trigger but it sounds like Stratton will fit us perfectly for this trip. That said, I just looked at the prices in February for curiosity and they more than double than late January, even for mid-week, so I'd likely look elsewhere for better value if I were going later in the season.
 

bdfreetuna

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Stratton is one of the easiest mountains in VT... trust me you will be able to ski their blacks just fine and won't be intimidated by their "double blacks" unless they are glades.

Having been to both Stratton and Okemo for the first time in the last month, I thought Okemo was overall a nicer place to ski and nicer setting as well.

Smuggs may seem like the obvious choice because they are rated #1 for Families, but what that doesn't tell you is that Madonna Mountain has some of the most challenging marked terrain in New England. To me Smuggler's Notch is a powder day trip.

Another mountain you may enjoy is Bolton Valley, for a variety of really nice terrain which mostly isn't too challenging. But they do also have some really fun tougher trails that you might enjoy a challenge on. Just a really fun and scenic place to ski, and probably a lot less money than Stratton.
 

thetrailboss

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Thanks! I really appreciate the advice I've received here. I'm going to look into a couple of the others mentioned in this thread before I pull the trigger but it sounds like Stratton will fit us perfectly for this trip. That said, I just looked at the prices in February for curiosity and they more than double than late January, even for mid-week, so I'd likely look elsewhere for better value if I were going later in the season.

I think they figure that February will be a bit warmer, they will have better conditions, and there are at least two weeks of school vacation to increase demand.
 
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