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Summer Fun for Families at Vermont Ski Resorts


Okemo Resort
  • Okemo Resort

1. Okemo Mountain Resort

Okemo is home to the Timber Ripper, a mountain coaster that sends riders zooming downhill in sled-like cars — solo or with a partner. Each car is mounted on tubular rails and equipped with hand brakes so riders can control their speed while descending 375 vertical feet into the Jackson Gore base area. The resort’s Adventure Zone includes the Coleman Brook Mining Company — where kids can pan for gems and minerals using screen trays — as well as scenic chairlift rides, a bungee trampoline, a maple-sugaring-themed disc golf course, mini golf, a climbing wall, and an indoor pool and fitness center. Especially daring visitors can leap from a 30-foot-high platform on to the AMP Energy Big Air Bag, a 30-by-50-foot inflated cushion typically used for freestyle athlete training. $$$ [location-2]

2. Smugglers’ Notch Resort

Smuggs’ waterpark village boasts three wet “playgrounds” and two reservoirs spread across the resort’s three interconnected mountains. A Daycation ticket and free, on-call shuttle give access to every location. In the ankle-deep Little Smugglers’ Lagoon, tiny tots can slosh under a gentle waterfall, explore a faux cave and float on colorful rafts. Nearby, kids up to 48 inches tall can ride the Turtle Mini-Waterslide into a shallow pool. Rum Runners’ Hideaway, a six-acre reservoir in a scenic mountain setting, offers a floating trampoline and paddleboat and canoe rentals. There’s more swimming at Bootleggers’ Basin, in addition to the Zoom Flume inflatable waterslide. Dry the kids off and check out mini golf, a zip line canopy tour and a treetop obstacle course. New this year is the 26,000-square-foot indoor FunZone 2.0, featuring an inflatable slide, obstacle course, climbing wall, arcade and laser tag. $$$ [location-1]

3. Stowe Mountain Resort

Stowe Mountain Resort
  • Stowe Mountain Resort
Stowe Rocks, part of the sprawling new $25 million Adventure Center, is a paradise for rock climbers. The Elephant Head Tower, named for a nearby outdoor climbing cliff at Smugglers’ Notch, is the centerpiece of the indoor climbing facility, which boasts nearly 50 routes on 20-odd top-rope stations. Auto-belays — devices that take up the slack, eliminating the need for a climbing partner — allow the Adventure Center to accommodate slews of wall scalers. The smallest among them can head to the KidZone climbing area, for children 13 and under. It’s home to a 12-foot climbing wall with hand- and toe-holds in the shape of airplanes, trains, letters and numbers. Outside, a zip line and ropes course allow adrenaline junkies to get some air time. $$$

4. Sugarbush Resort

Sugarbush Resort
  • Sugarbush Resort
An 800-foot zip line affords visitors a high-flying ride and great views. They can also get their wiggles out on a bungee trampoline — a small square tramp with ropes and pulleys hooked to a harness that allows jumpers to get up to 25 feet of air and do tricks. For a more serene experience, the Super Bravo Express chairlift runs continuously throughout the day and brings riders to the top of the mountain and back down again. $$$ [location-3]

5. Killington Resort

Killington Beast Mountain Coaster
  • Killington Beast Mountain Coaster
Thrill seekers will gravitate toward the Beast Mountain Coaster, a 4,800-foot-long alpine slide that winds through the woods. There’s also a bungee trampoline, Skye Ropes Course and 600-foot-long Soaring Eagle, which sends riders gliding through the air at 30 miles per hour. Less adventurous visitors might try panning for gold at Roaring Brook Mining, zig-zagging through the 5,000 square-foot Amaze’n Maze looking for checkpoints, or fishing at Snowshed Pond. Kayak and paddleboard rentals are available for ages 14 and up. $$$ [location-4]

6. Jay Peak Resort

The Pump House water park at Jay Peak
  • The Pump House water park at Jay Peak
The Pump House water park at Jay Peak delights kids and adults alike — even on cool, rainy days. That’s because it’s indoors. Visitors can chill out in the Lazy River, boogie board in the Double Barrel Flowrider wave machine or swim in one of the pools, followed by a hot-tub warm-up. Three waterslides invite riders to zip down on inflated rafts; kids must be 42 inches to ride with an adult or 48 inches to ride alone. The most extreme “slide” — La Chute — is actually a 60-foot free-fall through which riders travel at about 45 miles per hour. Adults and teens who weigh at least 88 pounds can try it. Wait to eat until afterward. $$$ [location-5]

This article was originally published in Seven Days' monthly parenting magazine, Kids VT.