Sometimes winter throws us a curveball. We’ve seen crazy storms in December, cold snaps in April, rain in January, and even rainbows in March. Varying weather can stifle a family’s ski season if they let it. Our advice – don’t let it!
Mama Adrienne’s family visited Okemo Mountain Resort for a weekend ski getaway in January of 2016 and experienced skiing in the rain firsthand. It wasn’t a day of light drizzle either, there were some real downpours. Full disclosure, they knew before heading out to Vermont that they were in for some serious rain during the weekend stay, but they didn’t let it deter them. Day one (of two) included flurries and fog, but overall, conditions were great. The next morning brought a patter of rain against THE condo windows and a flow of cars below checking out early.
Their family, however, were determined to stay and ski that day. With a half-day lesson booked with Okemo’s Snow Stars program for the 5-year-old, it would be a rare opportunity for some one-on-one ski time with the older sibling. Okemo staff were handing out very stylish ponchos (picture Disney World in the rain but surrounded by snow), so the family donned cover-ups and headed out to the lifts.
Overall they experienced a damp but fun day on the mountain. Everything was soaked by the days end, but happy memories were made. They were glad they stayed and enjoyed the nearly empty slopes and soft snow. It also toughened the kids’ skin a bit and was an adventure for all.
Don’t let a rainy ski day dampen your spirits because there are some true benefits to skiing in the rain.
- Liftlines are nearly non-existent. Some lifts started to close due to decreased visitors, but for those that remain open, you can usually ski right on without any wait.
- Rain and warmer temperatures make snow soft, allowing easier turns and overall fun conditions on the mountain.
- Group ski lessons often turn into semi-private or private ski lessons without the extra cost.
- That high-tech wicking ski jacket you bought can be truly tested.
- The sound of rain on your GoPro video is actually pretty soothing when you play it back by the warmth of a fire.
And if you decide that you’ve had enough rain for one day…
Try the indoor resort activities you never seem to have time to do because you’re too busy skiing. Whether it’s a family game room, arcade, or waterpark, Vermont resorts offer an abundance of distractions off-slope.
Check out there great alternative activities at resorts:
- Ice skating at Okemo’s Ice House pavilion.
- Jay Peak’s Pumphouse waterpark.
- Smugglers’ Notch FunZone 2.0
- The Spruce Peak Toy & Candy Co. at Stowe with regularly scheduled kids activities.
- Bolton Valley’s indoor Skate and Bike Park
- And, of course, don’t forget swimming! Many hotels and resorts have access to a fitness center pool.
Also, some Vermont mountains offer an “opt-out” option on certain days when the conditions are less than optimal. You can usually ski for about an hour and get a refund or credit for another day if you decide not to stay. Policies vary by the mountain, so call ahead.
After about a half dozen runs in the rain, Adrienne’s family needed a dry, warm break. An early lunch at Okemo’s Roundhouse cafeteria allowed them to watch the youngest’s very small group lesson as they rode up and down the magic carpet. So how did the 5-year-old handle the rain? He did what most kids would do at the end of a wet lesson; he took his heavy ski boots and started stomping in the puddles. Lesson? Skiing in the rain can be fun for all ages if you embrace it and just go along for the ride.
Note: This story was updated in January 2023 with fresh links and content.
Adrienne Veglia Mazeau is the mom of two school age children, and loves taking them on adventures with her attractively geeky archaeologist husband. She writes about balancing a demanding full time career and family travel both close to her home in Upstate New York and beyond.
Although currently on a hiatus from blogging, her writing strives to inspire others balancing family and demanding careers to carve out time to travel together. Adrienne began skiing at age 12, but lost touch with one of her favorite pastimes when her career and family demanded much of her time. Now many years later, she is back on the slopes again and teaching her children to embrace winter and develop a love of skiing.