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.
If your family is planning a visit to one of Vermont’s largest ski areas, there are a few things you should know before choosing your lodging that will make your trip more enjoyable. First, Stratton is big. Like really big. It has 97 trails with two separate base lodge areas. There are a lot of on and off mountain activities to enjoy around the resort, so having an idea of what you’d like to do while you are there will make a difference in where you will want to stay.
The Main Base Lodge is located adjacent to the Village shops and restaurants. At this lodge you will find guest services, day care, and ski and snowboard rentals. Dinning options within the lodge include Cobb’s Deli (cafeteria style dinning) and Grizzly pub. If you are planning to put your kids in ski or snowboard lessons, the Ski School is also located here. Most lessons have an 8:45am check-in, so you might want to keep that in mind if you will be heading to the mountain early every morning.
In case you forgot something or just want to browse, the Village Square has several restaurants and shops, even a yoga studio and day spa. You will find anything from Burton to the Mountain Sweet Shop. The Market Deli is a good place to grab milk, juice and other necessities for your condo. We loved their specialty breakfast sandwiches and lunch items. Not to worry if your lodging is not located near them, they do deliver.
The Sun Bowl Lodge is home to the Tubing Park and the Nordic Center. You can also rent ski and snowboard equipment here. Although Stratton has several terrain parks and a mini pipe, the large intermediate level progression park (Big Ben) is on this side of the mountain. Just an FYI, anyone wanting to access the parks is required to have a Safety Education Session (SES) Pass.
Stratton has a variety of lodging options to fit everyone’s budget. Throughout the resort you can choose from hotels, condos or inn style rooms. It is probably best to decide whether you want to be slope-side, in the heart of The Village or just adjacent to it. Our family stayed in the North Long Trail House, the most affordable condos on The Commons that are located directly across the street from the Village. Like all of the condos in The Commons, they have heated underground parking and ski lockers. Here guests will enjoy use of a heated outdoor pool, hot tub, and sauna. These units do not have a washer/dryer unit in them, rather the laundry facilities are located in the hallway and are shared. Our two bedroom unit had a well-equipped kitchen, dining space for 4 (plus kitchen bar), living room and 2 full bathrooms. There is a staffed concierge desk located within the building and free coffee and muffins in the morning. Of The Commons condos, I think the Long Trail House is the most accessible to the Village and the Main Base Lodge. I found myself easily walking back and forth to our condo several times a day.
Also on The Commons, you will find Hearthstone, Rising Bear, and Founders. These larger condos are considered distinctive properties. They are very well appointed and have upscale amenities like granite counter tops, flat screen TVs in every bedroom, and washer and dryers. Although it is only a 10-minute walk to the Main Lodge, these condos do have shuttle service. In the center of it all, you will find the Mill House. They pour a mean cup of hot cocoa (and some pretty strong coffee too). Grab a quick pastry, salads or a sandwich and eat them in front of the wood stove. Families will also enjoy use of the ice skating rink and fire pits.
If you really want to be in the center of things and less than 5 minutes from the slopes you can opt to stay right in the Village Square. There are three bedroom condominiums located above the shops. The Village Watch and Mountain Watch offer families a choice of 2-3 bedroom units that have wood burning fireplaces and are just adjacent to the Village. Or you can choose the upscale Landmark which offers two to four bedroom condos and are located directly across from the Main Base Lodge. You just can’t get any closer to the mountain.
5 Tips to for First Time Visitors
- The Hub is an excellent source of information for all things Stratton. Stop in to see them when you arrive. They are located in the center of the Village and can help you with restaurant reservations, snowshoe, tours, tubing tickets, directions and more.
- There is a free bag check in the Main Lodge that is open daily from 8:00 – 5:00pm. Leave your bags. It is hassle free.
- There are no skate rentals at the Mill House. If you are planning to skate on the rink there make sure to bring your own.
- If you are planning a trip with several families and would to have your condos located next to each other, try to book no later than October. You can also take advantage of their early booking discount which is available August – October.
- There are daily free-on-the-hill guided tours at 9:00 and 10:00am. Intermediate to advanced skiers and riders can meet a guide at the info desk at the main lodge.