Rutland Herald - Online
October 30, 2009

Another national list has been released and another Vermont location has been honored by taking the top spot.

This time it is the Jackson Gore Inn at Okemo Mountain Resort that snagged the No. 1 spot in "Parents" magazine.

I almost missed the press release from Okemo a couple weeks back because of the onslaught of "hole-in-one" announcements and other things. Finally, as I weeded out old e-mail, I saw the subject line and took a closer look.

The publication chose the top 10 Best Snow Resorts for Families.

Another Vermont property — the Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe — came in at No. 7 on the list, and another resort in our neck of the woods — Mount Washington Resort in Bretton Woods, N.H. — is fourth on the list.

When I was a single guy, I never cared much about what an area offered outside of my reason for heading there.

If I was going skiing, I really only cared that there was snow and how much a lift ticket was going to cost. Whether the place I was staying had amenities just didn't matter. As long as there was a mattress to rest my weary bones, I was happy.

Now married and with kids, planning a family getaway requires a month and all those things that never mattered are at the top of the list.

"Parents" magazine knows that there are millions of families just like mine and keeping the kids happy on any type of adventure — whether for a day or a week — will go a long ways toward keeping the parents happy as well.

Ski areas and surrounding resorts have also figured this out in the last decade or two and the list of options available to families is always expanding.

There were more than 100 contenders trying to make the list.

The magazine's survey reached out to tourism boards in places "where snow is plentiful, to research inns, lodges and resorts that not only welcome families with open arms, but cater to their needs."

"Parents" narrowed the list of candidates by evaluating what family-friendly activities an area offered as well as those opportunities that are available at nearby ski areas.

Some of the amenities the magazine looked for were quality ski lessons for young children, standard room size, child-care services, kids' clubs or supervised play areas, and price.

"At 'Parents' we know that a winter vacation is a real treat, but tight budgets and the challenge of finding a kid-friendly destination can make planning a trip tricky," said Dana Points, editor-in-chief of "Parents" magazine, in a release. "The 10 affordable resorts on our list have thought of absolutely everything families could want while on vacation. Whether you're interested in skiing or s'more-making, an ice rink or a heated pool, there is something for everyone at Parents' top picks."

My only concern with this list of 10 resorts is the price.

On its Web site, "Parents" says all of the resorts offer accommodations "costing less than $250 per night for a room that sleeps two adults and two small kids or $400 for an all-inclusive."

Now, I know I picked the wrong career. Journalists' pay is somewhere between "little" and "not very much."

But how many families are looking for a vacation that comes with a $250-per-night price tag?

Maybe next time, "Parents" magazine will look at the top 10 best snow resorts for families that regular people can afford.

But that's just me.

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