Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Ski and Snow Sports Warm Up Winter Family Vacations

The snow-packed season ahead means it’s time to introduce the kids and family snow-haters to the great outdoors at North America’s finest ski and snowboard resorts.
Zipline at Big Sky Mountain Resort, Montana
We dare you to lay out your school calendars next to some resort calendars, and you’ll see how easy it is to book a warm, value-full winter mountain vacation.

Plan the Right Mountain Vacation for Lodging & Activity Savings
Are you looking for snow without the rigors of alpine skiing? Sundance Bear Lodge in Mancos, Colorado along the San Juan Skyway is just one of the many options for the snowsports-averse traveler. Instead, consider it a winter reunion destination for visiting nearby Mesa Verde National Park and the Ute Tribal Park. Be sure to book the colorful, historicDurango Silverton train. Skiers in your group can visit Telluride, Purgatory, or Wolf Creek Pass.

Traveling with a mix of snowsports abilities? Avid skiers may like ski in/ski out accommodations alongside the slopes, but this more expensive lodging isn’t necessary with beginners. To save money and guarantee the comforts of home -- such as a kitchen, dining area, laundry, separate bedrooms, ski storage and usually a fireplace – rent a condo or private vacation home. Wyndham Vacation Rentals has properties ranging from luxurious mountain houses to ski-in/ski-out and other condos, making vacations to ski towns such as Vail, Aspen, Breckenridge, Steamboat Springs, Beaver Creek, Park City and Sun Valley affordable.

Of course, some families want to mix their snowsports with urban sightseeing for a two-in-one vacation that really appeals to multigenerational groups. It’s easy to start in San Francisco and drive to Lake Tahoe; tour Seattle before skiing at Whistler - Blackcomb; head to Maine and New Hampshire via Boston – all fun cities for all ages.
Girls enjoy hot chocolate at Keystone Resort, Colorado. Photo: Bob Winsett

Ski & Ride Discounts, Tour Packages & Special Services
If you’re avid skiers, you’ve probably got a season pass to your local mountain, or one like Vail’s Epic Pass that allows you to ski at Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, Arapahoe Basin and Eldora in Colorado; Canyons in Park City, Utah; Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood at Lake Tahoe; Afton Alps in Minnesota; Mt. Brighton in Michigan and, for five free days each, at the renowned European resorts of Verbier, Switzerland; Arlberg, Austria and Les 3 Vallées, France.

Perhaps you want to sample some of the world-class resorts represented by the Mountain Collective. This option has become affordable thanks to the classy collaboration packed with discounts at four top independent resorts: Alta in Utah, Aspen/Snowmass in Colorado, Jackson Hole Wyoming and Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows in California.

If you know what type of experience you want but aren’t sure where to find it, turn to the experts at who keep up with the latest developments and deals at dozens of destination resorts. If you prefer to travel with your own gear (and expert families usually carry boots but often leave behind skis which can be rented), consider United Airlines, which transports equipment free f charge to its major hubs. You can also pre-order rental equipment online with services like Black Tie Rentals so it’s delivered right to your accommodation and adjusted to fit on the spot.

The Whole Family Can Learn to Ski or Snowboard Free
January is the time to learn: Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month (LSSM) encourages everyone to develop a love of snowsports with reduced price and even free lessons, lift tickets, and rental gear.  LSSM Special Features offers a quick overview of all of the resorts that participate, and you can also follow their deals on Twitter and Facebook.

The family that learns together, has fun together!
The Bring a Friend Challenge is open to all current skiers and snowboarders (including members of the industry) and offers incentives for snowsports lovers who introduce newcomers to lessons from professional instructors this winter; you can win prizes and even a free trip. Several states have programs that introduce snowsports to grade school children free of charge to support that next generation of resident snowsports fans. See Free Learn To Ski Passes And Statewide Programs for more information about these and how to find one near you.

Don’t let a family member with special needs miss out on an unforgettable winter vacation. There are many adaptive programs around the country for those with physical and mental challenges. Some of the best known include National Sports Center for the Disabled in Winter Park and the Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center in Colorado; the National Ability Center in Park City, Utah, Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports and White Mountain Adaptive Ski School at Loon Mountain, New Hampshire.

There are lots of opportunities for moms and grandmas to learn with friends or just hone their skills at women’s ski clinics around the country. To read more about the top family ski and snow resorts, read the full story at Family Travel Forum.


  1. Our family loves Brighton, Utah. Brighton ski resort is perfect for families and has great lodging options too. Plus it's close to Salt Lake City. We always stay at and will continue to go back there every year.

  2. Yes Brighton ski resort is awesome and it is a perfect family vacation and has a good lodging also.