Bring in 2013 with FOCUS! Join us from Dec 28, 2012 to Jan. 2, 2013 in Vermont. Students in grades 9-12 from all FOCUS areas are invited. 

Ski and ride some of the premier slopes on the East Coast at our new Winter House Party in Stowe, Vermont. With 116 trails, 13 lifts and high-speed gondolas, and 330 inches of average annual snowfall, there's something out there for every skier and snowboarder. We will stay just minutes from the mountain at Round Hearth Lodge. After a long day of skiing or riding, take advantage of the hot tubs, game room, our annual New Year's Eve party, and of course, plenty of hot chocolate by the central fireplace. During the week students will have an opportunity to explore the Christian faith during relevant talks and discussions.


What is the Program Fee?

The Program Fee for Stowe is $850 (and $800 for first-time students*). 

Snowboard and ski rentals are an additional $100, and helmet rentals are $35 for the week. A 90-minute group lesson is also available for $40. 

*The first-time students discount is for student who are attending a FOCUS National Program for the first-time. 

What does the program fee include?


All packages include:

      • Travel to and from program by bus from all FOCUS regions (except Raleigh), or airport pickup at Burlington International Airport (BVT) 

      • Daily travel to and from ski slopes

      • 4-day lift ticket

      • Afternoon and evening programs

      • Meals and lodging for the duration of the program, beginning with dinner on the night of arrival and breakfast the day of departure


                How do I get there?

                FOCUS organized bus transportation is available from: Richmond, Washington DC, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York City, Greenwich, and Boston at no additional charge. The bus from Richmond typically leaves very early in the morning – it will take over 12 hours to reach Round Hearth Lodge in Stowe, Vermont. Students’ trip time is shorter as we head further north. While it is a long ride for many, the bus has become an important and fun part of the Winter House Party experience. On the trip up and back from the program, the bus will stop for meals at service stations that have some variety of dining options. There are usually several fast food options as well as a convenience store. We recommend that students coming from furthest away bring some snacks and drinks for the ride to the program – last year several moms sent baked goods to share!


                While we recommend the bus, we will be able to pick up students from Burlington International Airport (BVT), Vermont. Flights must arrive on December 28th before 6 p.m. and depart on January 2nd after 11 a.m. For parents who choose to drive their student, driving directions to Round Hearth are available upon request.

                What happens at the program?

                FOCUS is dedicated to making a student’s time with us unforgettable! Being one of the best ski resorts on the East Coast, Stowe offers excellent skiing and snowboarding for all levels. We will be traveling just minutes to the mountain for four days of fun on the slopes. Students and leaders both come to the program with wide variety of experience. Whether you are just learning on the "bunny slope" or an expert on the blacks, there will be someone to join you on the runs. The bus returns to Roundhearth in the late afternoon and students have an opportunity to rest, to wash up, or to enjoy the Games Room. Round Hearth has three outdoor hot tubs to soothe sore muscles after a long day on the mountain. If you've never sat in a hot tub outdoors in the snow, this is your chance - it's an amazing experience! After a delicious dinner, the whole program comes together for an evening meeting that includes a wide variety of elements starting with a fun game or icebreaker, music & singing (both familiar and new songs), a personal story from a leader, and a brief time of teaching.  The evening ends with “coffee house” (a snack and hang out time), and then to cabins to get ready for the next day. There are some special activities including a New Year's Party with a Ben and Jerry's ice cream bar plus much more that shouldn't be missed!

                What are the facilities like? Where do students stay?


                With a multi purpose room, Billards Parlor, Game Room, and "yesteryears" ring toss, there is lots to do and enjoy. Delicious food is served family-style with additional evening snacks. Students are housed in bunk rooms in either the girls wing or the boys wing, usually with 6 students and 2 leaders. Linens, blankets and pillows are provided but students need to bring a towel.

                What is the program leadership and supervision? What about safety?

                At Round Hearth the leadership team is made up of full-time FOCUS staff and volunteer leaders. Our staff work in FOCUS areas and schools with students throughout the year. Our volunteer leaders are college students and professionals; most were involved with FOCUS as middle and high school students, and enjoy the opportunity to come back and give their time as a program leader. Every FOCUS program has a ratio of at least 1 leader for every 3 students. These small leader-student ratios are an important part of the community fostered at FOCUS programs. Safety of the students is a top priority. All leaders undergo thorough national and local background checks. Safety guidelines and emergency procedures are reviewed by the leadership team at the beginning of every program. A dedicated staff at every program is in charge of keeping track of and dispensing students' medications, reviewing any injuries, and following up on feelings of sickness. Injuries on the slopes are handled by a medical care team at the mountain. Other severe injury or illness is treated at the local medical clinic or hospital. If a student does fall ill or is injured, the parent will be immediately contacted and kept up to date about the situation.


                What is the food like? What if I have specific food allergies?

                During the program, all meals are provided by the kitchen at Round Hearth. A hot breakfast and hearty dinner are served each day at the property. When we go to Stowe to ski, the kitchen sends a packed lunch consisting of sandwiches, fruit, dessert, snacks and drinks. Some students may want to purchase additional snacks or a meal at the mountain. In the evenings an additional snack is provided during free time. An unlimited supply of hot chocolate and tea is available at Round Hearth around the clock. We are able to accommodate students with specific food allergies and dietary restrictions. (We must have this information prior to the start of the program so that the kitchen can prepare accordingly.)

                What should I bring?

                Linens are provided by Round Hearth, but not towels. Please also pack warm clothes for skiing or sledding, a bathing suit if you want to swim in the hot tub, and comfortable clothes for spending time when not at the mountain. We suggest a couple of sweaters or sweatshirts, jeans, and other casual attire. Also, students should have a pair of boots with them. They may also want to bring sports equipment, musical instruments, or favorite board games. Students may want to bring a bit of cash for spending money for snacks at the slope.


                What should I not bring?


                Students should not bring alcohol, illegal drugs, or drug paraphernalia. We also ask that students do not bring computers, DVD's, personal televisions, video cameras, iPod speakers, or PSP's. If anyone is found with such items, they will be confiscated for the remainder of the program, or (in the case of alcohol or illegal drugs) may result in the student being sent home early. Please note that FOCUS is not responsible for lost or stolen items during a program.




                Registration will open in September

                To check out what Stowe Mountain looks like, click here.