2nd best snow in New England, hardcore terrain, very family-oriented
Slow lifts, not much nightlife
Like I said, it is worth driving past Stowe to get to Smuggs. It's hard to do, being as Stowe is also great (and its town dominates Smuggs'). But for skiing, there might not be a better place in New England.
First, their snow is the 2nd best in New England (behind Jay, of course). You wouldn't know it by comparing their website with Stowe's, but Smuggs doesn't inflate their snowfall totals like Stowe does (and Stowe takes their snowfall from the top of Mansfield, which isn't lift-accessible).
Second, their terrain is sick. Morse Mountain is clearly for beginners and families, but once you make the trek over to Madonna and Sterling, you will be rewarded with some of the best steeps, trees, and groomers around. And the best thing about these trails is due to the worst thing about the resort....its slow lifts. There are no high-speed lifts at Smuggs. It can result in really long liftlines. But what it does for the skiing is that it keeps the trails uncrowded. Which lets you explore trails without worrying so much about the downhill skiers. You can really feel like you are alone on the resort. Which is a great thing.
Third and not least, their family programs are tremendous. Dedicated, happy, and most importantly, patient, ski-instructors get kids on their skis and making turns in a fun and laid-back environment. It's so important that kids enjoy the mountain. I think that the love of skiing will only develop from fun and comfortable time spent on the hill. Smuggs provides this.