Fall is a great time to spend some time in the mountains and get excited about what’s coming. I was lucky on an October visit to check out Stratton Mountain Resort’s new gondola. The lovely new cars offer floor to ceiling views, carpeted flip-down seats, and external racks for skis and snowboards.
I enjoyed the smooth and quick ride and only wished once I got to the top that I could ski down. Happily there’s not too long to wait.
What other improvements has Stratton made for the 2014-15 season?
There is little that’s more important to fun ski vacations than snow, and Stratton is making sure that families will enjoy plenty of that. In addition to investing in the new gondola, the resort has 350 new energy-efficient snow guns to improve their snowmaking capability. In fact they are so confident about their snow that they offer a guarantee: Ski or ride any day for an hour and if you aren’t satisfied they will replace your lift ticket with one for a different day.
Last year Stratton introduced a lesson program just for the younger set. Called the Mini Cub program it starts with kids as young as 3 and offers a low student-to-teacher ratio as well as indoor activities designed just for younger kids. The goal is to start kids off on the right foot by gently encouraging them to love skiing and riding.
Plan your Stratton Stay Now
A new addition to her dining recommendations for this winter includes Village Pie, which will serve wood-fired pizzas for eat in and take out. Parents can hang out and sample local craft microbrews at the new 802 Bar and Lounge next door while kids chow down. Another great new après-ski option is Green Apron on the Stratton Golf Course, which will offer kid-friendly activities in the pro shop while parents enjoy a beverage. Or hang out at the Sun Bowl base area, where an ice castle, tubing, dog sledding, and of course drinks and snacks will make for a great end to your day.
If you’re looking for a bit of off-slope relaxation while you visit I recommend an aromatherapy Swedish massage at the Stratton Village Day Spa (ask for Frank, whose great hands took care of the many knots in my shoulders). Or try yoga by the fire in the lovely Living Room at Great Bear Lodge or a swim in the indoor saltwater pool at the Fitness Center.
Want to get a jump on your ski season? The resort is open Thanksgiving weekend and hosts a 5K run/walk, family activities in the village including a Ski Movie Night in the base lodge, and restaurants serving Thanksgiving dinner. Best of all, if Mother Nature cooperates, Stratton’s increased snowmaking capability means there will be skiing and riding as well.
Mara Gorman may live at sea level now, but she’s a native New Englander and mountain aficionado who grew up skiing in Vermont. She spends as many days each winter as she can chasing her two teen boys through glades and across mogul fields and regularly journeys far and wide to get on the slopes. Mara blogs about her family’s many travel adventures at The Mother of all Trips. She is also the author of The Family Traveler’s Handbook and an award-winning freelance writer whose work has appeared in various USA Today print publications as well as on websites such as BBC Travel. When there’s no snow, Mara and her family can be found hiking, biking and eating around the United States and Europe.