From Dance Teams to Senior Class Trips to music tours, I just never get bored doing student travel. This week I had a great time at Smuggler’s Notch with a group of High School seniors. These trips always have a unique dynamic since the kids are all focused on creating lasting memories as part of the culmination of all their years as classmates. It’s hard to think of a better winter wonderland to create those memories than Smuggler’s Notch in VT!
I have had lots of group ski trips there over the years, and the kids I was with this week certainly had as good a time as I can remember! The great thing about an all inclusive resort like Smuggs, is that once all the hard work of planning and fundraising is done, the kids know they can just come and have FUN! And boy did these kids embrace that idea with gusto. I met them at the Ben and Jerry’s factory in Waterbury VT, where we took the tour, sampled ice cream and channeled inner peace! It is never too cold for ice cream - especially in VT! Then we jumped on the buses and went ‘round the mountain to the resort. The kids were so excited when they saw their condos - with great living spaces and cozy sleeping quarters. The teachers and chaperones got everyone settled and we took care of all rentals and lift tickets before walking over to the restaurant for dinner. As soon as dinner was over, the kids fanned out in groups to explore the teen activities available at Smuggs. This became a nightly ritual of them hanging out a dance party or in the yurt playing video games or at a comedy show - whatever they wanted to experience.
Next morning we hit the slopes. Some of the kids were experienced skiers and snowboarders and got right to it, others signed up for various levels of instruction. All over the slopes there were smiling faces and laughter as people whizzed by me or learned how to snow plow to control their speed! Lots and lots of photos and short videos being taken of friends in action on the slopes in VT. Some of the kids who just didn’t want to ski or snowboard were busy instead ice skating or taking to the snowshoe trails. Others split their time between all the daytime activities offered at Smuggs. The instructors and staff are so friendly that by the second day the kids all felt as if they were old friends.
At night some of us took advantage of the snow tubing that is set up once the slopes close for the day. It may not have the thrill factor of careening down the Madonna 1 run, but it sure is a lot of fun and you need a lot less equipment! We all gathered to watch the staff do their Lantern-lit Ski Parade. They each carry “lanterns” or flares and ski down the slope by the main lodge - it is a beautiful, peaceful and graceful event. The kids were trying to guess which skier was their instructor from their form. Some of them got it right, and it was a lot of fun to watch them and sip our hot chocolate out in the beautiful crisp VT air.
By the last morning at breakfast everyone was getting excited to share their adventure with the friends and family back home. I think it is always a sign of a great senior class trip when kids tell me they can’t wait to come back with their family. I lost count of how many of them said that this time. But they are right, Smuggler’s Notch is a great place to go with friends or family, and these kids had a great time!