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When it comes to teaching kids, mascots can make a difference

Posted by Heather Burke  February 3, 2010 08:28 AM

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mascotstop.jpgBefore I had kids, I looked at high-speed lifts and trail counts to determine which mountains were "must ski.” After teaching my two kids to ski, with the help of some ski camp instructors, I now recognize mascots can make a big difference in determining where to go.


It was love at first sight for my daughter when she spotted Blueberry Bear at Sugarloaf. Amos the Moose is the more famous Maine mascot (and my son’s preference for photo ops). But Blueberry, the oversized Bear with the big blue bow, gave my shy girl reason to go skiing – to overcome her fear of going to an all day, all new ski camp.


In Vermont, Smugglers’ furry friends, including the Big Cheese Mogul Mouse, who makes kids giggle and want to go to camp, as well as kids’ night out in the evening. The furry cast of characters has also helped earn the Vermont resort top billing as “the best family ski resort in New England.” Smuggs’ band of bear and mice turn ski programs into a fun, friendly environment, instead of a frightening place full of strange faces.


It took the ski industry a few decades to recognize what Walt Disney saw in Mickey Mouse from the start. Resort employees come and go, mascots stay - in the minds and hearts of little skiers. Mountain mascots breathe life and loyalty into otherwise boring base lodges and scary ski schools. Kids adore these cuddly characters (except for the occasional timid Timmy that finds a six-foot mouse terrifying). Little Suzie will remember Billy Bob Bear and want to go visit him at Smuggs’ next ski vacation.


When planning your family ski getaway, don’t under estimate the power of a powder pig or a penguin. Mascots can make a family ski vacation a little more magical.


Heather Burke is our family ski guru, for more of Heather’s ski trips and tips go to: Photos by Greg Burke

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Eric Wilbur is a lifelong recreational skier who spends most of his winter and spring in the mountains of New England. He does not ski in jeans. You can read more of Eric's work here.

Heather Burke is an award winning ski journalist with over a decade of ski news coverage. As a former ski instructor and a ski parent, she knows the ski biz from the inside out. She and her family visit New England ski resorts, as well as the West and Canada, to report on the latest trends and their best family finds. Her husband Greg takes all the accompanying photos, and their work can be seen at and


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