Learning to ski or snowboard at an early age is the perfect way to help young children instill a love for winter. Exploring the slopes helps kids build self-confidence, meet new friends and develop a lifelong affinity for the outdoors.
Located just outside the picturesque New England town of Manchester, Vermont’s Bromley Mountain provides great skiing for families of all abilities with unpretentious grace. Bromley prides itself as Vermont’s Sun Mountain, and rightfully so, as it’s southern exposure provides just about every trail with full on rays all day long. Bromley is the mountain you go to to learn to ski and ride. It’s not a resort and there aren’t the extras that you’ll find at other mountains in Vermont. But what you will find is a quality mountain with 46 trails, 7 lifts plus a T-bar, and completely geared for families. We visited over a weekend in February and the longest lift line took us about five minutes. The mountain was by no means empty but the focus was really on families during our visit. Plus, there are so many different trails to take down the mountain, it’s tough finding enough runs in a day to try them all out!
Sitting in one of the many Adirondack chairs by the fire pit I overheard so many parents, who clearly knew each other from regular weekend visits, chatting away. They were all asking about the kids and enjoying another great weekend together that it really made Bromley have more of a community feeling. Even our condo, which was located in the Bromley Village was owned by a family of skiers who regularly visit. The condo had that lived in feeling, and although not a luxury condo, I loved it for its hominess. Plus the kids loved the double set of bunk beds in their room. Bromley also offers lots of great lift ticket deals depending on the time of season, so check their site regularly.
Lessons for the Entire Family
Now with a great mountain, comes great lessons! As I’ve previously written, this is the season my husband and I are introducing our three and six year-olds to skiing and getting back our ski legs after a long hiatus. My husband and I took a group lesson and ended up being split off into a group of our own. Our instructor, Topher, was top notch and within our brief 90 minute lesson really helped us tweak areas that improved our skiing for the rest of the weekend. While riding on one of the lifts we talked about his background and his comment on skiing really left an impact. His belief was that “skiing is truly the last family sport”. As a proud mama with two young newbie skiers, this really hit home. Our kids are still learning the basics so our trips this season haven’t turned into one where we’re all skiing together yet, but it has been a great chance for my husband and I to connect while the kids have been in lessons. I’m truly looking forward to the day the four of us are taking a quad lift together! Note for parents getting back into skiing – a lesson is worth every penny! Your kids are likely getting them so why shouldn’t you!
Onto the kids lessons!
Kids as young as six weeks old can be dropped off at the Bromley Mountain Kids Center which is a fully certified child care center. We enrolled our three year old in the Mighty Moose program which is geared for kids age three to six who may not be ready for full day lessons yet, but combines shorter 90 minute lessons with breaks and lunch at the Bromley Mountain Kids Center. For parents that opt to not have their kids take lessons, the Kids Center offers an assortment of activities, crafts, and lots of toys to keep kids entertained all day. The Kids Center has a very warm and cozy feeling and the kids can roam around in their socks.
What I liked about the Mighty Moose program was that the Kids Center provided all of the ski gear right there with personalized labels pre-made and waiting in your child’s cubby. From a parent’s perspective this was super convenient and we avoided having to wait at the rental shop for his skis. Plus, kids enrolled in the Mighty Moose program ski at their very own hill complete with their own magic carpet lift. This program combines the comforts of a great child care center with top notch lessons.
For kids five and up, Bromley offers the KidsRule ski and ride programs. From 9:45 to 2:45 kids take part in group lessons, grouped by age and ability, at the learning zone. Bromley has just redesigned their learning zone for beginners and uses terrain based learning in all of the programs. The learning zone is easily spotted by its brightly colored park with specially built terrain features to get everyone, children and adults, skiing and ride while having more fun. Again, Bromley really has families in mind as kids enrolled in KidsRule can rent ski rentals right at the drop off point in the main lodge. As a parent who is still renting skis herself, I found this really helpful to have the kids’ gear in their ski school areas.
Post Lesson Fun at Bromley
PLUS, the fun doesn’t stop when the lessons end because from 3:00 to 5:00PM Bromley’s Riglet Park takes over the learning zone so kids can get extra practice with the care and guidance of staffed professionals. This isn’t a substitute for child care but for kids who are comfortable skiing and riding on their own, this is a great way to extend their day on the mountain. But wait, there’s more! The Wild Boar Tavern features live bands most weekends and the KidsRule base area (where the kids meet in the morning and for lunch) becomes a kid friendly lounge filled with games, movies and everything to keep your tween happy!
Dining Near and Close
Bromley isn’t a large scale resort so you won’t find a lot of dining options but we really enjoyed the food at the Wild Boar Tavern in the main lodge. Its bright atmosphere, full bar, and great menu of higher quality sandwiches, soups and salads hit the spot for lunch. There’s also a cafeteria that tended to be a bit crowded with college race teams on the day we visited. For dinner, head to Manchester, a ten minute ride down the road where you’ll find an assortment of high end and family friendly restaurants.
Tip: If visiting Bromley on a weekend, make sure to call ahead to make a reservation in Manchester as it’s a popular little New England town and tables can be hard to come by without a little planning. We got lucky at Gringo Jack’s, a Tex Mex inspired restaurant that boasts homemade chips and famed salsas (both for sale). Our enchiladas and BBQ were delicious and after a long day, our tired kids left stuffed.
If you are just introducing your family to skiing and snowboarding, or seasoned pros, Bromley Mountain offers a diverse number of trails, short lift lines, and lots of sunshine! The elements of a great family ski trip!