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Zipline through the woods at Smugglers' Notch

Smugglers' Notch, Vermont


Ski Magazine rates Smugglers' Notch (a.k.a. "Smuggs") the best family resort in the U.S. because there's something for everyone beyond the skiing and riding, all located with purposeful convenience in a tiny village.

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Of 78 trails on three peaks (Morse for beginners, Madonna the highest at 1,109 metres, and Sterling at 926), 69 per cent are green or blue cruiser runs. Tree-skiing glades off Madonna inspire Western-style whoops, and there are some decent steeps too.


Skiing/boarding lessons are available. For boarders, Burton Learn to Rides offer softer flex and rounded edge bevel for easier turning. Progressive daycare includes radiant floor heat in playrooms, and activities such as dance and dress-up that are free of rigid scheduling.


At the Teen Alley Club (13 and older) and Outer Limits at the Yurt (16 to 19), eens will find music, videos, pool, Xbox 360, Wii, karaoke, board games, dodgeball tourneys, a Saturday-night dance party and, yes, no parents!


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A new zipline in the woods includes 1,220 metres of cable over eight sections, suspension bridges and rappelling. The village lacks a proper pub atmosphere so head one kilometre to Brewski, a classic American pub with beaten-up wood floors, pot-belly stove, $2 beers, nostalgic metal signs tacked to the walls and a deck. On the hill, the Top of the Notch package includes a gourmet dinner up top and snowshoeing. Village dining is limited, but there's plenty nearby, including the cozy log cabin Three Mountain Lodge.


$64 for adults, $48 youth and seniors, free under 5.


Three different ski-and-stay packages start at $79 a youth and $109 for adults, ranging to $109 and $139 for all-day lesson packages. Includes lodging in spacious condos (ski-in, ski-out; situated in two walking-distance areas), tubing, ice skating, indoor swimming, hot tub and zipline.


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An hour's drive from the Quebec border, Smugglers' Notch dwarfs both Ontario's hills and Holiday Valley in Ellicottville, N.Y., and presents a plethora of outdoor options.

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