In full disclosure we were invited to join Momtrends on a media weekend to ski at Pico Mountain with kids. They provided lift tickets and lodging and dinner for us. All opinions are our own.
It’s almost shocking to look back at how quickly kids grow and change. When I look at the photo of the first time we had both kids in skis only 4 years ago, it feels like a decade has passed. Those were the years when we weren’t ruled by high school homework, soccer schedules, and aging family member commitments, which these days keep us from skiing as much as we’d like. Our efforts to ski locally have been hampered by bad weather and not great mountain conditions and that stretch of time needed to get to New England just wasn’t happening. But I looked at that photo and thought, in four years we will have one away at college … we can’t let a year go by without getting to the slopes.
When Momtrends extended a last minute invite to take the place of another blogging family at their Pico Mountain weekend, my thoughts were “Well that would be great except hockey, soccer, the dog …” yet 5 hours later the four of us were in the car on the way to Vermont. Sometimes you just have to push through, right? We’re so glad we did, because our kids experienced some of their best skiing conditions and my husband got the return to the Killington area he’s been wanting. We love to encourage our Jersey Family Fun readers to get out and enjoy every season as a family and can recommend a trip to Pico Mountain with kids. You’ll get a small mountain experience with more than enough trails and acreage to enjoy.
Get to know Pico Mountain Ski Resort:
- Pico Mountain opened in 1937 and is one of the oldest ski resorts in Vermont.
- Pico Mountain offers 58 trails, 7 lifts and 18 miles of skiing.
- Pico Mountain is operated by Killington Mountain Resort.
- From greens to double black diamonds to terrain parks, Pico has something for every level of skier.
10 Tips for Skiing at Pico Mountain with Kids
When is the best time to ski at Pico Mountain with kids?
Well, the winter, of course! The Pico Mountain ski season begins in December and usually ends in April. They’ve improved their snowmaking ability in recent years to keep the ski season there as long as possible. Our early February trip brought very cold temperatures and a snowstorm, but the slope conditions were amazing. That’s the trade off!
Keep in mind, Pico Mountain is only open for skiing Thursday through Monday and closes by 4 pm. Night skiing is not available at Pico Mountain, yet it’s so close to Killington so if you’re looking for a full week ski trip you can easily ski at both resorts and stay in one location.
How much does it cost to ski at Pico Mountain?
Prices vary. Like all ski mountains, lift ticket prices are dependent on peak or non peak times, skier age, and half or full day.
- Military and other discounts are available.
- Kid lift tickets start at $59/half day
- Got a 5th grader? Save more with the 5th grade passport for Vermont ski resorts (details here).
And how great is this? – Pico is so confident about their conditions that they offer a snow guarantee! Check their website for more details.
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Pico Mountain Ski Trails
Pico Mountain has 58 total trails and our early February trip saw 56 of those opened. We preferred the Golden Express Quad Chair for our family. This express chair seats 4 and is easy to use, and services a mix of green and blue trails. Our beginner skier liked that this chair offered a good mix of green and blue trails which allowed her to practice her technique while also challenging her on the steeper sections. For the more advanced skier, there are two mid-mountain lifts that take you to Pico’s selection of black diamond trails.
How do I buy lift tickets to ski at Pico Mountain?
The best option is to buy Pico Mountain lift tickets online, but they’re also available at ticket windows on the mountain. The more days of lift tickets you buy the more you will save! Add on rentals when buying your lift ticket online and save even more. Check out details online at Pico Mountain Lift Tickets.
Does Pico Mountain offer ski lessons for kids?
Yes! Pico offers two ski lesson programs for kids. Trekkers ski lessons are for ages 4-6 and Mountaineers covers ages 7-15 for ski or snowboard. Both programs offer half or full day (with lunch!) and ski students get a discounted rate for rentals.
My son took a half day (about 2 hours) ski lesson, mostly so that his sister could get dedicated mountain time with their dad. We always think he’s beyond the need for lessons but his first comment to me was, “That was a GREAT lesson.” His group had about 6 students and they focused on the essentials of stopping, turning and mastering the chair lift.
Adults can get ski lessons at Pico Mountain too, regardless of their level.
What equipment can I rent?
Pico offers rentals on both ski and snowboard equipment for all sizes. If you’re buying your lift tickets online you can add on rental cost and save!
Your rental includes a helmet but not goggles.
- Ski packages include skis, boots, poles and a helmet.
- Snowboard packages include snowboard, boots, bindings and a helmet.
Note – goggles are not included and when it’s really cold they’re essential. There is a store on property but I recommend buying a pair in advance. Make sure you have snow pants, mittens, neck warmer and LOTS of layers!
Our ski rental process was easy, with a stop for boots, then helmet, then skis and poles. There was more than enough staff to keep the line moving and we were checked then double checked to be sure everything fit.
Again, since Pico Mountain is small, the rentals are just steps from the chair lift! You’ll be skiing in no time.
Where can I store my stuff?
There are storage lockers in the rentals building and unlocked cubbies in the lodge. If you’re staying on property your room is a short walk away. We kept our shoes in the condo as often as we could. Plenty of skiers keep their stuff in the lodge under tables. Daily lockers are not available.
Where can I eat at Pico Mountain?
On the mountain there are four food options
- The Waffle Cabin
- The Pico Food Court
- Slopeside Loft & Pizzeria
- Last Run Lounge.
The Food Court is upstairs in the lodge and gets crowded, and the Lounge is table service with a more refined menu. If you’re staying in the condos it’s so easy to head back and make a meal in the full size kitchen. We made a stop at a grocery store a few miles before the mountain and breakfast and lunch each day was quickly taken care of.
For dinners there are SO many options among the diverse restaurants of Killington! Momtrends treated us to a family friendly meal at the Wobbly Barn Steakhouse, but we must have passed a dozen restaurants on the way. Pizza, Italian, Mexican, Sushi and more can be found on the way to Killington Mountain, about a 10 minute drive from Pico Mountain. 15 minutes away is the charming city of Rutland, offering a downtown New England feel and an escape from the ski slopes.
What is parking like at Pico Mountain?
Parking is easy! Maybe you’ve been to those mountains where you have to walk such a distance to get from your car to the lifts, or take a shuttle bus through the parking lot or even from an off site lot. Not at Pico Mountain! I watched skiers park just a few yards from a lift! There’s no fee to park in any of the lots at Pico Mountain.
What is there to do at Pico Mountain besides skiing?
Pico Mountain is really focused on the skiing and it shows. It was some of the best skiing my kids had experienced!
When the lifts stop you can head to the Pico Fitness Center for the lap pool. Day passes are available for $10 children, $15 adults, or if you’re staying in a condo owned by Killington, your entrance fee is waived. No hot tub for that apres ski dip. It really is a fitness center (think, exercising adults not splashing kids) so if you have little ones you might be best off hanging in your room.
A full in-room kitchen allows for any night to be a family movie night. Pop some popcorn and settle in for a movie in front of the fireplace!
Families can also dine and enjoy the music at the Last Run Lounge on Fridays and Saturdays.
Finally, don’t miss the display of memorabilia from the Vermont Ski and Snowboard Museum in the lodge.
Where can I stay at Pico Mountain with kids?
You can stay right at the mountain! The Pico Mountain Resort Hotel & Condominiums is operated by Killington Mountain Resort with some units privately owned.
Accommodations are located a short walk to the chair lifts! Parking is nearby and at no charge.
Our two bedroom two bathroom condo was the perfect size for our family of four. Ski vacations require a lot of gear and you need a place to keep that gear! The Pico Mountain condos offers:
- One, two or three bedroom options.
- Outdoor equipment locker for securely storing gear.
- Kitchen with full size appliances, essential cooking utensils, coffee and filters, garbage bags, dishwashing soap and dish towels.
- Cable TV and DVD player, and multiple televisions.
- Fireplace – ours was wood burning but some have gas.
- Iron and ironing board.
- Washer, dryer and laundry detergent (either in-room or centrally located).
- Bed linens and pillows.
- Bath toiletries, hair dryer, and linens.
- Thermostat controlled heat (units are not air-conditioned).
Our room was exactly what we needed; we were able to make our meals, spread out to watch tv at night (there’s one in each bedroom!), drop our ski boots and cold weather gear all in the entryway and even dry the wet clothes. The woodburning fireplace took some skill so we didn’t get it going as much as we’d like but the room stayed warm regardless. There’s even a balcony for the warmer months.
If you prefer a more full service hotel there are plenty of those in the area too, motels also! Since parking is free and plentiful at Pico Mountain staying off site still allows you a quick access to the slopes.
Did you book your trip yet? Book a ski vacation to Pico Mountain with the kids by visiting their site, at PicoMountain.com. Don’t miss out on ski season and remember, the ski season is much longer in Vermont than in New Jersey so there’s still time!
For more photos see our Facebook album here.
Looking for more ideas on places to ski with kids? Visit these blog posts.
- 3 Ways For Your Kids To Ski For Less
- Ski Gore Mountain With Kids
- Learning to Ski At Smuggler’s Notch Resort
- G.E.T. Your Kids Skiing with Jiminy Peak Ski Lessons
- Learning to Ski At Windham Mountain Resort
- Ski, Splash and Tube in One Day at Camelback Mountain Resort
- Ski Okemo Mountain Resort with Lessons & Trails for All
- Learning to Ski At King Pine at Purity Spring Resort
- Learning to Ski At Greek Peak Mountain Resort
Click over to learn more about the Best Places for Kids to Learn to Ski.