What if you could remove the biggest obstacles in your family’s ski experience? What if we told you there is a special place in Vermont that meets that dream experience? The Hermitage Club at Haystack Mountain.

What if you could remove the biggest obstacles in your family’s ski experience? The hassle of parking and schlepping gear and children. The lines. Crowds. Tracked out slopes. Simply finding space to move, rest, and play. What would that experience look like? And what would you pay for it? What if we told you there is a special place in Vermont that meets that dream experience?

“Welcome to the Hermitage Club at Haystack!” a friendly attendant said to me while helping us unload our family of four’s skis, poles, and gear bags. We pulled up to the impressive timber frame lodge at The Hermitage Club in my husband’s work truck, feeling slightly out of place as clean, fancy SUVs moved through valet.

I admittedly was a little nervous about entering the private, membership-only Club with my kids’ hand-me-down gear and our general lack of fanciness. With a $100K buy-in to The Hermitage Club, this experience comes at a cost. That said, my family’s Hermitage experience that weekend could only be described as priceless. Stress-free and magical, it was far more welcoming than I could have imagined.


The Hermitage Lodge
The Hermitage Lodge showing off at night.

The Lodge

Our experience started by entering the impressive 90,000-square-foot lodge. It features four floors of fun and is the largest timber frame lodge east of the Mississippi. We were brought to our guest lockers in a posh locker room with lots of space to spread out. Members have access to full-sized lockers that will also fit a family’s skis, boots, and gear.

The locker space was clutch for a family with small kids. We were in and out of the base lodge often with our 3- and 6-year-olds. Having a dry, secure space to stash gear while we took breaks, ate, and played inside, was fabulous. After stashing our stuff, it was easy to find a comfy place to lounge, either on couches by the massive 360-degree fireplace, or one of many cozy nooks along the second-story mezzanine.

Hermitage Club Experience lodge interior
Cozy, yet spacious, the Lodge has room for everyone.

Hermitage Club Eats

We gathered by large slope-side windows near the bar for lunch on Saturday. For a Club that boasts an average of only 500 skiers per day, there were a ton of options. For lunch, we had a plethora of stations to visit from freshly made pizza to a deluxe taco bar, and all the expected stuff in between: burgers, chicken fingers, etc. Grab’n’go snacks and a coffee and juice bar were also available on the second floor.

Taco bowl at the Hermitage Club
Why yes, there is both shrimp and pork in that taco bowl.

A mid-mountain cabin was our destination for hot chocolate. A cozy lodge with gorgeous views, the menu included French onion soup and special drinks for both kids and adults. It was a perfect destination for an afternoon pick-me-up.

For dinner, and vast buffet rolled out with everything from salad to dessert for a flat price. We enjoyed pasta, chicken, and steak with our parents-only après beverages.

Hermitage Club mid-mountain lodge
The perfect place to stop for hot chocolate after skiing your first black diamond!

Après Fun

After wrapping up for the day, the base area Lodge is where you want to be for family fun.  The lower-level fun zone opens in the afternoon giving kids a post-ski outlet to make new friends, play games, and even go bowling or climbing, or watch a movie in the mini-theatre. We stuck around for Ice Age, one of our kids’ favorite flicks.

Climbing wall at The Hermitage Club
Did we mention the climbing wall? So many options for play!

Upstairs, happy hour is in full effect with appetizers and special drinks on tap for the adults. Live music is a regular perk, along with over a dozen winter and summer events. We were lucky to enjoy a set while relaxing by the fire. Our kids made easy friends with other families and played in the open spaces of the Lodge.


The Mountain

Heated bubble chair! Need I say more? Kidding. Haystack Mountain at The Hermitage is way more than just a comfy lift ride. Our first foray onto the hill was actually on the lower mountain below the Lodge. From the locker rooms we only needed to take a few steps to sliding doors that brought you to the top of the beginner area. Our youngest needed some laps on the magic carpet area before we rode any lifts. We found that area just beyond the doors.

The Hermitage Club at Haystack trail map

The Mountain is such that the beginner learning area (separate from the rest of the mountain) progresses from top to bottom, instead of from the bottom up, like many mountains. Once we had a few warm-up runs on the carpet, we were able to ski beyond it to a network of green trails that led to the Stags Leap quad lift. This quad then brought us above the Lodge, right to the Barnstormer Six, a luxurious ride to the top.

Here is where we split as a family. Our youngest wasn’t ready to ski from the top, so he and I continued back to the beginner areas to hone his skills. The friendly angles of the beginner area were perfect for learning to snow plow and turn for this 3-year-old. Friendly ski instructors even gave us tips as we passed group and private lessons underway throughout the day.

family skiing at the Hermitage Club
I call this one photo of me with the kids “Proof of mom.”

After lunch, I got to explore the upper mountain with my older son. With 1400 vertical feet, the mountain offers a nice array of terrain from easy to double black diamonds. While we didn’t have enough snow yet in the trees, I also eyed up some well-manicured glades with beautiful spacing and pitch.

What blew me away though, was the condition of the trails. The Club boasts 85% snowmaking coverage and it showed. At 1pm we could still find untouched groomer track and rarely saw more than 2 people on the trail with us at any time. As a skiing mom, my biggest safety concern on the mountain is usually other people, and on any given Saturday you can see me skiing behind my kids to protect them from possible collisions. At Haystack, that concern never even crossed my mind.

Wide open trail at Haystack Mountain
Solo on the slopes. Where is everyone?

The Lifestyle

“I could get used to this,” I said to my husband while we were preparing to leave Saturday evening, which meant organizing our locker for the morning. As he went to retrieve the truck just yards from the Lodge, I pried our kids away from the fun. We had only just decided to come back in the morning, as snow was expected to fall all night presenting us with a possible powder day. While we hadn’t planned to do it all again on Sunday, we were hooked.

Sunday morning greeted us with nearly a foot of snow and flakes still falling. Fresh from our stay at The Hermitage Inn down the road (You can ski to it and take a lift from it when conditions allow.), we headed right to our lockers to gather the gear that we left overnight. We were out the door in minutes.

With a day’s experience under our belts, we hit our groove on Sunday. We filled the day with making memories together. Our younger son had embraced skiing in a way we hadn’t seen yet and enjoyed frolicking in the snow and chasing after the mountain mascot, Hunter the dog.  Our older son skied his first black diamond with aplomb, and for the first time ever, on an empty trail with fresh snow, I found him on my tail chasing me down the slopes. These are moments forever ingrained into my memory.

boy and dog at the base of Haystack Mountain in Vermont
Cuteness overload.

And this is where I saw the true value of The Hermitage Club. The amenities are many from the spa to the breath-taking Lodge, valet parking, and mid-mountain cocktails, but the ease of the experience and vibe of the mountain are what gave way to our special weekend. That stress-free state allowed us to revel in our family moments and enjoy each minute. With the busy-ness and stress of everyday life, that’s something I value more than anything.

So, if you have the funds to consider an option like The Hermitage Club at Haystack Mountain, it could be the perfect destination for your family to make a lifetime of these special memories.

The Details

If you want to check out the Hermitage Club experience yourself, contact the ever-friendly Lars Pedersen, Sr. Manager of Member Experience, at to schedule a visit or answer questions. Applications are currently being accepted.

A family membership initiation fee is $100,000 and annual dues are $18,500. Dependents are included until their 25th birthday, with junior membership and guest policy options after that. Annual dues include 15 complimentary guest passes for skiing and riding. The spa, lap pool, and fitness center access are all included with membership.

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