Seasoned parents know that traveling with older kids can be easier than with toddlers. However, anyone who has ever traveled with teens knows it has its own set of challenges. Teenagers are usually glued to their electronics and always seem to be bored despite having plenty of things to do. The key to a successful ski trip with teens means staying at a hotel that has plenty of activities, aside from just skiing and riding, to keep them occupied and entertained.
In addition to a Teen Center, Smugglers’ Notch offers an impressive lineup of programs that will keep your kid’s attitude in check and eye-rolling at bay. Rather than asking for the wi-fi password they will be begging you to sign them up for one of these activities instead.
After the lifts stop turning, pile into the 12-passenger Cat Trax Express for a thrilling ride up Madonna Mountain. It departs several evenings each week from the Madonna and Sterling base lodge. As you bounce along in the heated cabin, your guide shares tales and the history of Smugglers’ Notch. At the summit, you will be able to get out and admire the magnificent 360-degree view. On a clear day you can see as far as Mount Washington, Mont Royal, Jay Peak, Burke and more. This unique excursion will leave your teen feeling like she is the queen of the world!
Traveler Tip: In addition to your camera, bring a pair of binoculars.
Thrill seekers report for duty! Airboarding is a high-tech twist on traditional sledding. Similar to riding a boogie board in the ocean, except it takes place on the ski slopes. Airboards are inflatable, raft-like sleds with handles and grooves on the bottom that help you carve out turns. Riders get a running start, flop onto their bellies and fly down the mountain head first. Competitive teens can even race each other in the airboard slalom on Monday nights.
Traveler Tip: This activity is only available Monday through Friday from 2:00-4:00. Guests must take a short instructional clinic before heading out on their own and wear a helmet.
Do you have a teen who wants to learn to snowboard or ride the rails? The gentle slope of the entry-level terrain park on Sir Henry’s Hill is the perfect spot for them to practice their first tricks. They’ll love the laid back vibe and you’ll love that there are coaches available to help them out. This is a great way for teens to get an introduction to the world of freestyle so they can eventually take on the bigger terrain parks with confidence.
Traveler Tip: Students receive 1 & 1/2 hours of instruction and then have and hour of open time to practice.
Think about fueling your teens’ adrenaline. Burning off excess energy helps keeps boredom at bay. The new improved version of the Fun Zone is bigger and better than ever! Your teens will likely head straight for the Go Zone where they can tackle the Ninja Warrior styled obstacle course or race each other to the top of a see-through climbing wall. There can also team up to battle it out in the mountain-themed laser tag arena.
Things teens will love about the Fun Zone 2.0:
- 2,000 square-foot Arcade
- Giant Inflatable Obstacle Course
- Mountain Rally Slot Car Race Track
- 30-foot Transparent Climbing Tower
- Leap of Faith Platform Jump
- 3,500 square foot Laser Tag Arena
- Laser Maze
- Smuggs Warrior Course
There are several indoor pools and hot tubs available for guest use at Smuggs. If you are staying in the North Hill Community, you will have access to the Aquatic Center that has a lap pool, two hot tubs and splash playground. The Kestrels and Eagles homes also have their own large covered outdoor hot tubs. All guests with a SmuggsPass are welcome to use the Courtside Indoor Pool and hot tubs.
Note: Remember to bring towels to any of the pools you visit.
More Fun for Teens
Hopefully, with so much to do at Smugglers’ Notch, your teens will be pleasantly surprised and embrace the family vacation. They may be so content, they will even let you take a few runs with them! No promises though that the minute you take off down the trail, they won’t be posting selfies on Snapchat.
Other fun for teens at Smugglers’ Notch include:
- Arbortrek Canopy Tours
- Back Country and Night Snowshoe Tours
- Ping-pong and Dodgeball Tournaments
- Snowmobile Evening Tours (18+ to drive)
- Teen Dance Parties
- Off-site Dog Sledding and Ice Fishing (15+)
Photo Credit: Some of the photos were provided by Smugglers Notch Resort.
Dana Freeman is the Founder and Editor of FindandGoSeek
— a hyperlocal destination for families to discover what to see and do in their community. While she is always looking for insider tips on Family Fun in Vermont, she also writes a travel blog providing hotel and destination reviews in Vermont and beyond. Freeman has appeared on Huffington Post Live, is a correspondent for the Forbes Travel Guide.
Dana moved to Vermont over a decade ago and put her two kids into ski programs before they entered Kindergarten. She lives outside of Burlington, Vermont with her husband, two teenagers and their chocolate lab. Follow her adventures on Instagram.