First Ever Turns at Ascutney
was a little nervous. She'd looked at the mountain and couldn't quite figure out
where SHE was going to ski. The place seemed awfully big. Real big, if you were
only six and had never skied before.
Camille, on the other hand,
wasn't worried at all. She was more concerned about smearing the peanut butter
just right on her mini-bagel. And getting some hot chocolate. But, hey, what did
Camille know? She wasn't even three yet, and she wasn't going skiing. She was
only going to Ducklings. Day care. Shoot, she did that at home.
But, Hannah, she was qualified
to be a Mini-Olympian. And, Mini-Olympians went skiing.
You can vacation at much
larger resorts in Vermont than Ascutney. You can visit ski areas there that boast
many more runs, more vertical and more lifts. But, as we discovered - myself,
Hannah, Camille, and their parents Ken and Cathy - you're not likely to find any
Vermont resort that handles young kids much better than this large monadnock mountain.
(Okay - I'll tell you - a monadnock is a mountain that's not in a chain, but that
We reassured Hannah, of
course, her parents and I. But, we really didn't need to. By the time we'd passed
through the brief and amazingly organized line to register her for the weekend's
program, she'd already fallen under the charming spell of the Ascutney staff.
How good was that staff? Well, when we'd become
confused about where to get Hannah's equipment, we were provided a personal escort
to help us get the job done.
As to Camille, well, let's
just say that she walked into the day care center, immediately made a fast friend
named Tony, and never looked back.
Somewhere in mid-morning,
mom, dad and I skied the wrong way (accidentally on purpose?) and found ourselves
back at the base village area. As we rode the Village Triple back up, who did
we spot but Hannah herself, riding to the top of the beginners' Wonder Carpet.
Looking mighty intense, she was, as she moved to the beginners' slight hill and
pursued her mini downhill run. Looking pretty good, too.
After lunch, Cathy went
to check on Hannah, "just to see if she needed warmer clothes or anything." The
kid's only comment? She wanted to switch instructors to a guy - I think - named
Rick. Why Rick? Because he had candy.
We snuck over there at
mid-afternoon to peek at her progress and, whoa! - there she was, tree skiing.
Yep. By this time the group was using the beginner triple chair (later Hannah
just couldn't figure out why her parents thought it a big deal that she was already
riding a chairlift), and they were skiing down through a garden of life-sized
character cut-outs and between two small patches of trees. They whizzed along
effortlessly, looking for all the world like a line of ducklings.
that afternoon, as I walked from my condo to dinner in the main lodge, I passed
through behind the lodge. A diverse and loud crowd had gathered. Music was playing.
Kids were sliding down the small hill on inflatable tubes. Other kids were skating
where the snow had been cleared from the pond. Still others were roasting marshmallows
over open fires. There was a whole lot of laughing going on. Currier & Ives couldn't
have painted a more idyllic picture of winter fun.
I didn't see Hannah and
Camille there, though. Turns out they'd gone swimming at the Fitness Center. But,
the next morning I ran into Hannah and her dad at breakfast (Camille was still
sleeping). "How'd you like the skiing?" I asked her.
"Good," she said with purposeful
understatement. But her smile belayed her enthusiasm.
"Going out there again
"Yes!" she crowed with
Yeah - you can find bigger
hills than Ascutney in Vermont. But, I don't think the place takes a back seat
to anybody when it comes to handling families with young children.
For lodging info visit
our KidzTravel page
Archived articles relating to