The best resort for: families: Smugglers notch, USA


The whole point of a family skiing holiday is that something has to go wrong somewhere. Consider the 100 items of essential kit you need between you; the fact that the baggage allowance to the Alps doesn't cover the weight of it all; and that dad can't hold all eight suitcases plus buggy, skis and car seat.

The whole point of a family skiing holiday is that something has to go wrong somewhere. Consider the 100 items of essential kit you need between you; the fact that the baggage allowance to the Alps doesn't cover the weight of it all; and that dad can't hold all eight suitcases plus buggy, skis and car seat.

Once you're in the resort, you need to catch the packed ski bus to the rental shop, another to book lessons, and another to buy tickets. Then the French childcare professional will reduce your three-year-old to tears by shouting at him for not knowing French/how to ski yet. In the evening, you'll pay a fortune to be served a soggy pizza in a smoke-filled café because it's the only thing you can afford.

And your insurance won't cover any of it...

There are three choices. Firstly, don't do it. Secondly, go with a specialist family skiing tour operator. Thirdly, as the Village People once advised us all, "Go West". New England gets slated by "real skiers" for not being tough enough, but who needs tough? What families need is a big aeroplane (which, thanks to competition across the Atlantic, costs little more than flying to the Alps), a big baggage allowance, and a big, cheap rental car to dump it all in when you reach Boston. Three hours' less flight time and jetlag than the Rockies is good, too. The Best in the West is Smugglers Notch, Vermont. It's compact, comfortable, affordable, friendly, and its entire ethos, 24 hours a day, is to make life easy for families. This not only includes a vast range of exceptionally good childcare, from six weeks to 17 years old, but, more importantly and what all other good childcare ski resorts miss, it's designed to make families actually want to be together and share the holiday – and possibly even have fun.

For details, call 0800 169 8219

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