We decided to switch it up this year and spend New Year’s Eve in Vermont, skiing, sipping hot chocolate and eating s’mores. We drove up to Okemo on December 30th and checked into the lodge at Jackson Gore. It has pretty basic accommodations, but really easy access to the mountain and a bunch of fun stuff at the base, which is very important for a family ski vacation.
Okemo also promised fireworks at Jackson Gore on New Year’s Eve. I was thinking it was going to be some rinky dink show, but NOPE. They put on quite a display! It was about a half hour show and the fireworks were really pretty against the mountain backdrop and the snow. The best thing was that they happened at 9pm, ended by 9:30pm and then we got to walk right inside, take the elevator up to our room, get in bed and watch the ball drop on TV.
I think we may have found our new family New Year’s Eve tradition!
On New Year’s Day, the crowds at the mountain thinned out considerably and we spent the next four days skiing.
The other awesome thing about Okemo last week was that there was an ice storm the day we arrived. This meant that all the tree branches on the entire mountain were lined with ice, making it look like a scene out of Frozen.
Yes, I sung “Into the Unknown” the whole way down. Wouldn’t you? Best part was then I caught up to Harlow and heard that she was singing it too.
Okemo got more snow over the next few days, so the snow stuck to the ice and the entire mountain was blanketed in white. Mazzy proclaimed it a “winter wonderland,” which was very accurate. When I was younger, I remember seeing winter wonderland scenes like this at ski resorts all the time, but in the last ten years, snow covered trees has been a way rarer sight. Especially since we typically ski in March. It was beautiful.
Mazzy and Harlow both went to ski school the first day and then the second day, only Harlow went so that we could ski with Mazzy. She has gotten really good and although she still can’t tackle the tougher terrain like Mike and I, she is just as fast as us on blue and green trails. It was fun to ski with her at our regular pace. By the end of the day, we went took her on a few black diamonds too.
Harlow improved immensely after two days of ski school and for the last three days, we all skied together as a family. I said last year how amazing it was to finally be able to do this, but as the kids improve, it just gets better and better.
Harlow did awesome. She’s not as fast as Mazzy, but she has her turns down, can keep her skis parallel, knows how to stop and can ski all the greens and blues in complete control. She’s noticeably cautious, which helps me trust her.
Mazzy was the same, until a couple of years ago when she started getting a taste for tree skiing. She loves veering off the path and taking as many jumps and tiny detours through the trees as possible. I get it. I like to take them too.
Harlow could not stop talking about the smell of the Waffle Cabin, which sits underneath the lift so that the smell wafts up with you. We ended our day with a waffle the third day and they were so delicious, I think we will be ending every ski day with a waffle from now on.
Pro tip! Hot waffles taste even more delicious while standing in the freezing cold.
After waffles, we did our absolute favorite apres ski activity— going in the hot tub. Jackson Gore also has a large heated pool and the kids spent well over an hour swimming and floating in it. Mazzy decided that she likes a hot pool on a cold day better than a cold pool on a hot day and I think I agree.
For dinner, we went to Harry’s Cafe, which was as picture perfect as the snow covered mountain.
In New York, I wouldn’t really trust a restaurant that serves both Italian food and pad thai, but they seemed to know what they were doing. The food was great. My favorite part is that all the menus have a different cover drawn by a kid. While you are waiting for your meal, they give your kids paper and crayons to make menu covers too. And at the end of the meal, they put your drawings in an actual menu and show you the result. Genius!
Another night, we went to Downtown Grocery, which had great service and truly spectacular food. They also have “drinks for the kitchen” listed as a $6 menu item. If you purchase it, they ring a bell and the entire kitchen cheers. Of course, we bought a round and the kids thought it was the best. Every restaurant should have that on the menu!
On the last day, after we finished skiing, we went on the alpine coaster (one of our favorite things to do) and tubing. Tubing was on a particularly fast hill (you had to go up a steep hill at the end to stop) and a ton of fun.
You can click here to see a video of Mazzy filming herself going down. It’s quite hilarious.
At the end of the trip, Mazzy told me that she prefers winter vacations to beach resorts which I think solidifies us as a ski family. There is great joy watching Mazzy and Harlow grow to love the same sport I grew up loving as a kid.
Especially since it’s one of the few sports we can do together for years to come.
I got a ton of ski questions on Instagram from parents interested in teaching their kids. I’m going to answer all those questions in a separate post. If you have a question you want answered, ask it below!
You can follow my family in real time on @mommyshorts instagram.