Okay, hopefully the snow won’t be here too much longer, but I realized that I never passed along our ski getaway report, so here it is.
We spent two nights at Jiminy Peak in Hancock, Massachusetts, and it was such a good time that I’ve been telling everyone I know that they should go, and not just because it’s so close, an hour door-to-door from our house near Schenectady.
What we love even more are the deals for staying at the Country Inn. Downhill skiing is expensive, so when you can find something reasonable, it’s cause for celebration. Check out their website, and you’ll see that a full day of skiing (8 hours) costs $59 for an adult and $44 for kids 12 and under. That’s a painful $206 for my family of four to ski all day. Except that the going rate for a midweek stay at the Country Inn is generally $199/night and lodging includes two adult lift tickets plus free skiing midweek for kids under 12. Yippee!
Each suite has a separate bedroom and a living room with a pull-out sofa and a kitchenette. I kept discovering helpful details, like when I unearthed some much-needed dish washing soap from the pantry, or when I opened up the sofa bed to discover that it was already made with sheets and a blanket, so my kids could collapse immediately. With a little preparation, we’d packed everything we needed to skip buying food at the lodge and restaurant entirely. Excellent, because I’m cheap. Even better, if you book a few rooms with friends, you can have an ongoing potluck party. If your kids vary in their enthusiasm for skiing, a group makes life much easier. When J lost steam, there were always a few adults taking a break who could provide snacks and turn the tv to cartoons as necessary. Large groups, say ten suites or more, can negotiate for a lower group rate.
We checked in promptly at 4 pm on a Sunday, dropped our bags, and ran outside (okay, more like ka-thumped in our ski boots) to take advantage of the night skiing. After a few runs, J was tired of skiing for the night, but she and I loved taking a ride on the Mountain Coaster that’s available on the weekends. At $7 each, this was an extra cost, but it was absolutely worth it for us. We squealed with joy all the way down, and it was the perfect way to end our evening outside on a high note after she’d gotten discouraged on the slopes.
Most of the kids in our group spent a full day (9:30 am to 3:30 pm) in ski school. The cost is $102 and includes lessons, lift tickets (if they weren’t already included in lodging), and lunch. Our only complaint was that the person who took our reservations didn’t ask for the girls’ lunch order and assigned them chicken nuggets. We realized the mistake at drop-off and attempted to correct it, but they ended up with the nuggets, anyway. This was particularly comic when my 8-year-old recounted that another child had received nuggets and also didn’t want them because “she’d seen the video, too.” I realized that the Jamie Oliver video that I’d shown them had made a bigger impression than I’d thought! Apparently the other little girl was wily enough to finagle a macaroni and cheese, but my kids were stuck. However, they enjoyed ski school so much that they were ready and willing to go back the next day (we skied together instead) and they both “graduated” to the next level, which means my big girl will be a pole-wielding Fox next time (levels are designated by woodland creatures from chipmunks to coyotes).
Meanwhile, we adults took advantage of the kid-free time to ski as quickly and as much as we could for the day. We liked the variety of trails and the conditions as well as the nonexistent lift lines that midweek offered. And with hours running from 9 am to 10 pm and the convenient access to our rooms (we could pretty much ski to the doorstep of the Country Inn), it was easy to take quick breaks for lunch and dinner and head back out again and again.
The inn has an inviting lobby that’s frequently stocked with free cocoa and cookies. Last year we happened to visit during a late-January rainstorm, and the kids enjoyed playing games in the balcony while the grown-ups listened in from below and drank wine by the fire. We felt like we had the run of the place, so it was a bit disappointing that with great snow conditions, the lobby became a bit of a mob scene. Still, the staff were friendly and helpful. We didn’t participate, but on the weekends, they have late-afternoon activities for the kids. Perfect timing to keep them entertained between ski school and dinnertime.
Also entertaining? The hot tubs and pool. Along with an indoor hot tub, the 0utdoor hot tub and heated pool beckoned many of us to hightail it through the cold to enjoy the water. Soaking in the hot tub surrounded by snow was perfect after a long day of skiing. The pool was bearably warm, but not my cup of tepid tea. The kids, however, had a blast. Any parent knows that a hotel pool is golden, and the novelty of frolicking in the steam outside in February was thrilling for all of them, even if many of the adults supervising them preferred to chitchat in their coats.
We thought Jiminy Peak was an excellent and convenient getaway, and we’ll be going again next year.