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Après Ski, for Kids?

As our kids become more connected - cell phones, IM, iPods, and YouTube – they really do expect to be entertained 24/7. A ski trip is no exception. When I was a kid, skiing was the weekend activity, period. Après ski consisted of my brothers and me entertaining ourselves in the parking lot snow bank while my parents went to the bar. Today’s next gen expects to ski, hit the parks, tube, hot tub and then “do something” in the evenings.

Whether or not this demand for on-demand distraction is healthy or not – I’m not going to cover. Perhaps Dr. Phil could help with that hot topic. Instead, let me point out that ski resorts are adding on adolescent amusement beyond last chair at 4pm. After all, it’s the facebook and youtube youth that are surfing the web, ultimately steering the family SUV to their choice of ski area. Resorts are counting on the kids to bring their wallets (kid code for parents) by amping these kid-geared events.

Loon Mountain in Lincoln offers Twilight Parties for 13-17 year olds on certain peak evenings. This après event starts at 4pm, teens can snow tube, snowshoe, ice skate or scale the indoor climbing wall without their parents (after mom & dad sign them up), then chow down at a pizza party.

Loon’s tubing hill is open every night - kids must be 48” and at least 8 years old to slide. Every Saturday, Loon’s Adventure Center is open for indoor rock wall climbing and outdoor ice skating. February vacation week, Loon illuminates their halfpipe for Fluorescent Nights, mom and dad can opt for libation in the lodge at Bunyan’s instead.

Sugarloaf has Ziplining in the afternoons, and Tubing for kids Monday, Wednesday and Saturday evenings. This silly sliding venue has a Moosecalator magic carpet to bring you back up between rides located by the Birches in front of the Sugarloaf Inn. Sugarloaf also hosts themed “kids nights out” each week to include Game Night and Movie Night in the Base Lodge. Carrabassett Valley Academy has an Anti Gravity Center with indoor skate park, trampolines and full fitness facility open to the public on certain evenings- this is where CVA athletes like Seth Wescott and Bode Miller train. Sugarloaf’s Outdoor Center is open Saturdays (and holiday weeks) in the evening with ice skating, cross country and snowshoeing if your youngster can’t get enough winter playtime on the slopes.

Sunday River’s White Cap Fun Center attracts teens in the twilight hours with a lit ice-skating rink with rentals skates available, and a toasty bonfire outside the lodge. Inside White Cap Lodge is an arcade to drop coins and hang out. Parents can seek refuge upstairs at Gringo Harry's, or grab a bite and a brew at the Shipyard Brewhaus. Sunday River's lift serviced tubing is located on South Ridge along with their Zipline adventure. Almost every Saturday night, and certain holidays, fireworks go off at 8:30pm. A free Mountain Explorer Shuttle takes kids and families to Bethel for free, with stops at the Bethel Movie Theatre and the Big Adventure Center.

Stowe has lots going on in the Spruce Peak Village, the Stowe Mountain Lodge has a heated outdoor pool the kids will love and next door is the Stowe Performing Arts Center which offers live concerts shows and movies. The Mansfield’s gondola-accessed hosts Summit Series dinners at The Cliff House, the family can ride the gondola at night to dinner at the mountaintop chalet.

Kids night out is Stratton’s plan for ages 6-13 on Saturday nights. The evening starts outside with snow tubing, snowshoeing, and ice skating. Then the group heads inside for make your own pizza (great way to handle fussy eaters), crafts, games, and a feature movie. This kid-fest goes from 5:30 till 9pm, giving parents some freedom.

For teens, Stratton has “The Wreck” – a cool club for the under 21 set to can hang out and play video games, Playstation, shoot some pool or air hockey. Teens at The Wreck also have access to a court for basketball, soccer, football and hockey, a climbing wall, and an indoor skate park with a mini-ramp. All parents have to do is sign a waiver, and pay – as usual. The Wreck is open weekends and peak holidays.

Smugglers’ Notch has enough après entertainment to make your kids scream. First there is the Fun Zone – a huge indoor playground with slides, climbing walls and bouncy games – kid heaven. For teens, every night brings a tempting theme from Snowboarding Night School, to Dodgeball, and Night Spiker DJ Dance parties. Smuggs has mastered the age milieu by providing designated teen hangs out, Teen Alley for 13-15 year olds, and Outer Limits for 16 and up.


So if your kids need more than a parking lot snow bank and a pillow to cap off their day on the slopes, these resorts keep cranking after the lifts stop.

More Family Ski Tips and our Family Ski Resort Guide
New England Ski Resorts | Canada | Rockies |Europe


All Stories by Heather Burke
All Photography by Greg Burke

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