My family spent winter break at the Okemo Mountain resort in Vermont, and we had such a great time. It was our first official ski vacation, and we enjoyed exploring the village of Ludlow. If you are planning a similar trip, here are some notes I’d like you to read.
We went on our winter break vacation with friends who stayed at the Jackson Gore Inn. We booked a few miles down the road at The Pointe Hotel. However, from mountain open to close, we were stationed in one of the base areas available at Okemo Mountain Lodge. Here are some of my observations.
There is plenty to do if you are looking for some family fun. Besides oversized hot tubs, family swimming pools, a fitness center, one retail shop after the next, and the entire town of Ludlow to explore, I wanted to point out three specific activities for your children to enjoy.
The Timber Ripper Mountain Coaster is open a few days a week (call ahead to make sure you can schedule a ride). The ticket price depends on whether you are a driver or a passenger, which I think stinks. But I’ve been told I need to learn to go with the flow. So, I’m flowing…
As a family of five, we spent well over $100 to enjoy a few minutes skyrocketing across the adventure zone. Was it worth the admission ticket? I guess it depends on who you ask. I’m cheap. I’m never not going to be cheap. I’m also super honest.
In the end, the whole family enjoyed the ride, and if you can swing it, I would incorporate this activity into your stay (at least just for your kids) because one vertical drop will make them question their entire lives.
If a roller coaster is too scary for your taste, then I would consider snow tubing. Again, this snow activity is only open a few days of the week at Okemo. Make sure you call ahead.
When booking, you get to schedule one hour of playtime. There is a magic carpet to help get the tubes back to the top of the mountain, but it’s mostly you doing the lugging. If you have multiple little children, keep this in mind. My husband and the boys ended up walking the tubes up the snow. It was quicker than the carpet.
Ice skating is another option, and it is indoors! So, if you want to take a break from the windy brisk weather, pack your skates or rent a pair at the counter and enjoy some time inside.
Okemo Resort Shuttles
There are two sides to the Okemo Resort Mountain that you will spend all of your time enjoying. As skiers, you can access both sides by using the ski lifts and ski trails. But my husband and I were not skiing and found navigating these two ski areas to be a bit complicated. We ended up just driving back and forth between the CLOCK TOWER and JACKSON GORE PEAK whenever we wanted to go to a different ski area, but please know that there are available Okemo resort shuttles. Head to the front desk to ask for scheduling.
We were impatient and just decided to drive whenever we wanted to transfer to a different location. But honestly, we always saw a shuttle somewhere. So, take advantage of this perk.
We put each of the kids in full-day lessons the first day we arrived, and I thought it was well worth the money. Our children are all just learning and still need to learn the ropes. Caleb got lunch included in his package, but my older two did not.
They were offered time off to get what they wanted from the cafeteria. This is all outlined on the website. Make sure you give your older kids money to grab their lunches when their break occurs.
These lessons book up. So, be sure to reserve as soon as you know you are heading to Okemo. If you have the Epic pass you can get a discount on the price.
The waffle cabin is easiest to order from when you are on the Jackson Gore side. I think you must be skiing to purchase one from the Clockside. So, keep that in mind if it is getting to the end of the day and you haven’t had your sugary fix. One you can walk to, and the other you must be mid-mountain.
More Greens On The Clockside
If you have beginner skiers in your family, you will want to spend more time over at the Clockside because there are so many more green trails on that side of the mountain. The Jackson Gore side does have a few greens and blues, but it is filled with harder trails.
My children had a better time with wider trailers and easier runs on the clock side. This is our first year skiing. So, we needed it.
If you’d like to save some money on your stay, consider purchasing the Epic Pass, as Okemo is part of this ski pass, and the savings can add up. Our friends purchased a three-day pass and were able to save 20% on their hotel stay, ski school lessons, and any food purchases (not made in restaurants).
Great Food Outside Okemo Mountain Ski Resort
There are two main restaurants at the base of Okemo. Of course, you also have two cafeteria-styled options to make things easier for people who are looking for grab-and-go food. But if you are looking for sit-down restaurants, you will have only one on each side. We LIVED at The Bull, and I mean LIVED there. We closed up shop alongside the waiters almost every day… lol. That’s ok; they were really kind about it.
As skiers, there are more choices because once you get off the lift, you will find a number of places that only people who are skiing can access. But like I said, my husband and I were not skiing, so we always had the kids come back down to eat.
Since we needed some variety, this allowed us to explore dining options outside of the summit lodge, and we found one great place after the next. You will find at least a dozen great spots within 5 miles. It’s worth driving around the neighboring mountain area and giving south-central Vermont a shot.
For breakfast, we went to Java Baba’s slow food cafe OFTEN. As a heads up, you need to order your food before arriving. There are quite a few places that are understaffed, and this restaurant requires you to order ahead via their online system. It was convenient in the end. We just used their website, pulled up, and grabbed our food once we arrived. Support local businesses when you can.
We also ate at Killarney, which is right at the foot of the Clock Tower base. A great Irish-themed menu with many drink options and an amazing bar around the back. The bar stays open until 11, which was a nice surprise. Most restaurants we reserved closed around 9.
Just get ready to be served the dessert menu the second you take the first bite of your dinner. They wanted to close… and close on time. LOL. It was awkward.
There are also a few great pizza places in town – Goodman’s American Pie has FUN seats inside that look like ski lifts (get your camera ready). The pizza is also incredible. Also, check out Off The Rails.
One establishment I want to point out that I regret not visiting is Main and Mountain. It looked SO FUN AT NIGHT! All fire pits lined up right outside. Please go there for a drink and let me know how it is.
If you are looking for a brewery, we hit up Outer Limits Brewing, and it was really a great spot. They had a nice menu – enough for a complete meal – and a ton of beer/cider options to enjoy. We were lucky enough to also catch some live music.
The Vermont Country Store
This is a bit of a drive, but I have to believe that you will pass it on your way in. The Vermont Country Store is a tourist trap if I ever saw one, but the little things make for a great vacation, right? Besides, I LOVE A GOOD TOURIST TRAP!
You can’t consider your ski holiday complete without snagging some natural maple syrup. I mean, how often do you find yourself in the green mountains of Vermont? Be honest. Put this store in Waze and get ready to drop $200 without even trying.
The Lobby Is Just For Okemo Guests
Be warned, if you want to sit down and enjoy the fireplace in the Okemo lobby, technically, you aren’t allowed to unless you are a proper guest of the resort. So, act as if. 🙂 That’s all I am saying.
We were able to sit in the area without a problem because I acted like a shadow. LOL. I even met two separate friends and chatted with each of them for over an hour without being questioned. However, people who came with piles and piles of ski equipment and took up too much space were asked to leave by management. Rookie mistake. Make no waves.
Final Conclusion – A Great Vacation And Worth The Trip
I haven’t been to many ski resorts, but I’m a snooty traveler, and I really liked the Jackson Gore base area. So, trust me. It was well done, and I wouldn’t mind booking there for real. The kids had a blast skiing. There was plenty to do after they took their skis off, and like I said, the town had plenty of food options.
As you drive through Southern Vermont, don’t forget to take in the spectacular scenery. The mountains and the creeks are just so stunning. I couldn’t help but just stare out the window as we drove around. It makes your heart slow down, if you know what I mean.
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