Yes, there's a lot of gear involved. But when it comes to family fun, you simply can't beat a destination ski trip. Maybe it's all the fresh air, maybe it's the physical exertion, I'm not sure what exactly creates the magic. What I can tell you is, some of my most treasured memories with my kids have happened on or near the slopes. If you haven't considered a family ski trip, let this be the year things change. Bunny slopes to black diamonds, local resorts to a cross-country trip to chase powder, we've put together a guide to make picking a ski destination for your family easy and fun. Don't worry, we've also got all the insider tips on how to pack all that gear, keep warm on the slopes, winter-proof your beauty routine and how to handles those first ski lessons. Enjoy!
Nicole Momtrends Media LLC Brooke Stewart
Founder & Publisher
5 32 CONTENTS
Deer Valley Resort 5 Solitude Resort 5 Keystone Resort 6 Crested Butte 6 Okemo Resort 7 BIg Sky Resort 7 Copper Mountain 9 Smugglers' Notch 9 Other favorites 11
Winter Skincare 20 Snowproof Hair 23 No More Hat Head 24
Stay Warm 14 Playtime 15 Jacket Trends 16 Slope Style 19 Chilly Chic 22 Head-to-Toe 24 Protection Gear That Grows 29 Kid Jackets 32
TIPS Ski School 101 8 Dear Parents... 12 Mountain Munchies 27 Real Moms Reveal 28 How to Pack 30
SKI RESORTS FOR FAMILIES
What makes a great family ski resort? A variety of trail types • Great ski school instructors • Childcare • Amazing hot chocolate with mountain-high whipped cream
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Deer Valley Resort UTAH
3,000 Vertical ft.
Just an hour’s drive from Salt Lake City, Deer Valley Resort is a ski family’s dream for a luxury getaway. The resort holds the honor as SKI Magazine’s #1 resort for last season in large part to their #1 ratings in Access, Service, Kid- Friendly Activities, Dining, Lodging & Grooming. The mountain has an exclusive feel – the resort limits the number of daily skiers so crowds aren’t an issue and as one of only three ski-only resorts in the U.S., there are no snowboarders cutting off your perfect run. Family amenities abound from ski school for ages 3+, on- mountain ski mascots, and resorts like the Montage which offer everything from a bowling alley and arcade to nightly s’mores around the fire. Photo: Deer Valley Resort 21 Lifts/12 High-Speed
$114/$72 Lift Ticket
Solitude Resort UTAH Solitude is the perfect resort for families new to skiing. It’s close to a major airport (just 40 min from Salt Lake City), has a high ratio of easy & intermediate trails, and, perhaps best of all, offers free, super close parking that lets you get your kids and gear to the mountain with ease. Instructors at Solitude’s Snowsports Academy emphasize learning through play and offer lessons in four snow- sports disciplines: alpine skiing, snowboarding, telemarking and Nordic skiing, as well as ski school lessons for both children (5-12) and adults (13+). And did we mention adult lift tickets are under $80?
Photo: Solitude Resort
2,047 Vertical ft.
8 Lifts/3 High-Speed
$77/$49 Lift Ticket
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Keystone Resort COLORADO The largest mountain in Summit County, Keystone Resort offers lots of winter fun for families with over 3,000 skiable acres and a variety of trails to keep every level of skier in your family happy. Just 90 minutes from Denver International Airport, Keystone is convenient to get to and boasts a number of unique amenities like night skiing most days of the week (8:30AM to 8PM!), a groomed tubing hill, and a 5-acre maintained outdoor skating rink. Best of all, stay two nights and kids 12 and under ski and ride free. No blackout dates.
Photo: Keystone Resort
20 Lifts/6 High-Speed
Crested Butte Resort COLORADO Looking for a small town feel with amazing powder and trails? Try Crested Butte which likes to consider itself one of Colorado’s few remaining “ski towns”. No traffic lights or chain stores, but you will find nearly 3,000 vertical feet of groomed runs to keep you busy. Fly into Gunnison for the easiest access or make the 4-hr drive from Denver or Colorado Springs. Crested Butte offers ski school from age 3 and up based both on age and ability – so whether your 6-year-old is new to the slopes or ready to change down that some advanced blues, he’ll find the perfect class. Non-skiers can enjoy the tube hill, zipline, dogsled lessons and dozens of other winter activities.
$82/$62 Lift Ticket
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3,128 Vertical ft.
Photo: Crested Butte Mountain Resort/Tom Stillo.
2,775 Vertical ft.
15 Lifts/4 High-Speed
$103/$57 Lift Ticket
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Okemo Resort VERMONT Within easy driving distance of much of the East Coast, Okemo is a great resort for a weekend family getaway. While experts might bemoan the lack of challenging runs, Okemo offers a wide selection of trails for beginners and intermediates. Kids 6 and under ski free, and Okemo offers private lessons for kids as young as 2. Older children have a range of programs to choose from including group lessons, specialty classes and drop-in sessions. Families will love the abundance of lodging options from ski-in/ski-out accommodations on the slope to valley condos with shuttle service. Photo: Okemo Mountain Resort
2,200 Vertical ft.
19 Lifts/5 High-Speed
$82/$62 Lift Ticket
Big Sky Resort MONTANA Big just isn’t a part of the name – with over 5,800 skiable acres and 4,350 feet of vertical drop, Big Sky Resort is designated as America's Biggest Skiing®. The resort offers 300 named runs on 4 connected mountains, the longest of which is a whopping 6-mile ride. We promise you won’t get bored. In addition to full and half- day programs, Big Sky’s ski school provides the unique option of letting kids come for shorter activity sessions during the day from 45 minute to 2 hours, giving parents the ability to ski with (or without) their kids at almost any time throughout the day.
Photo: Glenniss Indreland
4,350 Vertical ft.
22 Lifts/6 High-Speed
$103/$53 Lift Ticket
Ski School 101 Enrolling the kids in ski school for the first time? Here's what you need to know.
CHOOSE Check the resort website or give them a call to choose the best class based on your child's age, experience and abilities. Consider a private lesson if it's your child's very first time for the individual attention.
ASK Ask about the student:teacher ratio - for younger kids, aim for 1:4. Also make sure their Instructors are certified through Professional Ski Instructors of America – American Association of Snowboard Instructors (PSIA-AASI).
KNOW Be sure to know your child's height, weight and shoe size for rentals. Also be sure to ask how you'll be contacted if there's an emergency - often your cell or a resort pager.
4 BRING Most lessons include equipment rentals, but your child should come prepared with winter clothes, gloves, goggles and a hat or helmet. Throw in a pair of hand warmers & and snack too.
Thanks to Kevin Jordan & Heidi Ettlinger, certified ski instructors & members of the Learn to Ski & Snowboard Month Leadership Team
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Copper Mountain COLORADO Just 75 miles from Denver, families flock to Copper Mountain for the snow, ski lessons, and stellar amenities. The ski school offers several different types of lessons for kids and adults of all levels, starting at age 3 and up. You’ll also love the pedestrian-friendly village that makes it easy for families to get around to restaurants, shops and all the activities. Snow not great or looking for a break? Head to Woodward Barn, a 19,400 square foot indoor playground with Skatelite jumps into foam pits, skate bowls and mini ramps, spring floor, tumble trak, spotting belts, Olympic fly-bed trampolines, and a Super Tramp. Your kids will flip – literally.
Tripp Fay, Copper Mountain Resort
2,601 Vertical ft.
23 Lifts/6 High-Speed
$92/$55 Lift Ticket
Smugglers' Notch VERMONT Smugglers' is a destination resort in northern Vermont, just under an hour northeast of Burlington. Made up of 3 interconnected peaks – Madonna, Sterling & Morse – Smugglers’ offers over 1,000 acres of trails, terrain parks and race courses. Voted #1 Resort in the Eastern U.S. by SKI Magazine readers and as one one of the top resorts for Kid-Friendly Activities in the Eastern U.S. and Canada, parents can choose ski lessons for kids as young as 2.5 or opt for childcare for kids as young as 6-weeks! Plus Smugglers' guarantees that each member of the family will have fun, learn to ski or snowboard, or improve their technique regardless of current ability level, or the entire lesson portion of your vacation package will be refunded. 2,610 Vertical ft.
Photo: Smugglers' Notch Vermont
8 Lifts/0 High-Speed
$70/$52 Lift Ticket
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FAVORITE SKI RESORTS
Click to read our Momtrends' travel reviews and learn more about these other favorite family-friendly ski resorts.
Squaw Valley Alpine Meadow Just an hour from Reno, Squaw Valley offers skiing families miles of terrain and gorgeous views of Lake Tahoe and the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
Aspen Snowmass This sizable resort combines excellent service with a huge expanse of interesting terrain making it a top destination for families from around the world.
Canyons Resort Whether you are looking for awesome snow adventures or unexpected après experiences, Canyons is Utah’s largest single ski and snowboard resort and the perfect getaway for your family.
Steamboat Springs Resort Four hours from Denver, Steamboat offers a perfect combination of ski lessons, varied terrain, and a historic ski village to make it a favorite for families.
Breckenridge Mountain Resort Skiing Breckenridge can keep you busy for a week with its vast and varied terrain. A skiing paradise for all ages and ability levels.
Jackson Hole Resort Recently voted #1 ski resort by Forbes, Jackson Hole Resort promises to impress with its snowfall, tram (100 passengers up 4,139 ft. in 9 min!), trails and amenities, all in the shadow of the gorgeous Grand Tetons.
Stratton Mountain Ski Resort One of Vermont's largest ski areas, Stratton offers nearly 100 trails for winter family fun.
Mammoth Mountian Heading west? At 11,053 feet, Mammoth has the highest summit of any California resort, making for more snow, breathtaking views and a season that can last until July. Averaging 300 days of sunshine per year helps too.
DEAR PARENTS... WHAT YOUR SKI INSTRUCTOR WISHES YOU KNEW
FUEL UP. Make sure your kids eat a good breakfast. Kids expend a ton of energy in a lesson. If they eat a well-balanced breakfast, they are less likely to crash before lunch and get the most out of the lesson. GO EASY. Your 3-year-old might not need that full-day lesson. Instead, consider a ski/play program for 3-5 year olds. This compliments the structure of preschool with plenty of play & rest breaks built in to a program with a basic introduction to skiing.
RENT GEAR. When your child is just learning, rent gear instead of buying or borrowing. Renting lets kids and parents find the right size, fit & style of gear that works best for them.
LEAVE. But it’s okay check back in later. Many times, students do better when Mom and Dad are not around. Let your child have a group experience and make new friends. They can tell you all about their experience after the lesson.
BE ON-TIME. Be there at pick-up time. If the lesson is over at 3:00 pm, be there at 3:00 pm. No kid likes to be waiting around on Mom and Dad. Plus, they may want to ski with you.
REALITY CHECK. Kids need mountain miles to improve so have realistic expectations. They will get better being in a lesson, but they won’t be the next Lindsey Vonn or Bode Mille overnight!
Thanks to Kevin Jordan & Heidi Ettlinger, certified ski instructors & members of the Learn to Ski & Snowboard Month Leadership Team
LET'S SHOP WINTER GEAR
For family fun off the slopes, try one of these kidapproved winter toys.
FASHION TRENDS IN SKI WEAR Looking to grab the latest styles in snowgear? Check out these five trends from the latest Snowsports Industries America's show you'll be seeing all over the trails this ski season.
Bold and bright or muted and dusty, pink is pretty but anything but precious as you carve the mountain.
Bye bye boring black. Bold plaids and loud prints are taking over the slopes this season.
Earthy without blending in, golden rust is the new neutral of the season.
A carryover from previous seasons, colorblocking is still popular, especially contrasting zipper teeth.
From accessories to apparel, this vivid icy blue pairs well with winter.
Grabbing dinner in the village or drinks at the resort restaurant? Try one of these cozy chic aprĂŠs ski picks.
SKI SLOPE style
Goggles + Andi Ski Jacket Beanie + Pullover + Quadro Bibs
Bunny hill to black diamond, boys will look the part in the latest from Bogner. Try the Quadro ski pants with removable bibs or this serious ski jacket modeled after the German National Ski Team.
Pom Hat + Maddie Jacket Helmet + Fleece + Bekki Ski Pants Racing down the mountain or relaxing with some hot cocoa, Bogner's ski collection for girls offers colorful and comfy ways to stay warm this winter. You'll especially love the fun details like floral embroidery and the ability to mix-and-match the coordinated collection. Plus all the Bogner kid jackets offer the same functionality as the adult versions.
Winter Skincare Outside winter activities are great fun for the family, but cold weather is not skin-friendly. Keep your family's skin safe when enjoying the ski season with these tips from dermatologist Dr. Kavita Mariwalla. 1. Sunscreen is a must. Ski slopes are often at high altitude and all that white powder makes for a perfect reflector plate for UV rays to cause skin damage. Slather on SPF 30 or higher before hitting the slopes.
2. Heal & soothe at night. Runny noses and chapped cheeks and lips are a normal part of any winter season. Heal and soothe the skin by applying a thick moisturizer or coat of petroleum jelly to the areas at night. This will help seal in moisture and prevent irritation from getting worse.
3. Minimize long hot showers. A hot shower after a long day of skiing feels great but it is not great for the skin. Dial down the temperature of the water and moisturize with an oil or cream (not a lotion) immediately after drying off. http://drmariwalla.com
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Prevent chapped lips with a balm that that locks in moisture & protects against the elements with SPF.
Now a mom of four boys, Picabo Street knows a bit about skiing. In her career, she has competed in three Olympics earning a Gold in the Super G and a Silver in Downhill among various other World Cup victories in alpine racing.
Must-haves for the mountain? I always make sure to bring sunscreen, water, sunglasses and some snacks!
Best parenting tip for skiing with kids? My favorite trick for my family is to take the time to teach my children to manage their own skiing experience. My Dad had a fun saying, which I adopted," Skis, boots, poles, hat(helmets), goggles, gloves, pass." I have seen my kids get more excited for skiing as they learn to prepare for it and manage their own stuff! I've also taught my children how to dress for the cold weather and they stay out much longer!!
When I'm not skiing... We love to go tubing, have snowball fights, sled, make snowmen, and when we get a chance...snowmobiling!!
Favorite way to relax after a day of skiing?
Our favorite thing to do after a long day skiing or in the snow is to curl up on the couch with a big cup of hot chocolate and a movie!!
Favorite skiing accomplishment? Of course I am extremely proud of my Olympic medals (They are what I dreamt of!) but my two discipline titles, which required entire seasons of competitiveness to win, are what I allow myself to feel most satisfied about!!
Top Family Ski Resort? Park City is the only resort I have skied with my boys and we LOVE it!
chilly chic favorites for mom
Accessories a braided headband
Snow-Proof Your Hairstyle Say so long to dry, lackluster winter locks & embrace what the humidity-free winter chill has to offer. Survive the winter with these expert tips & tricks for managing your mane. Wash less. Frequent washing and heat styling can draw moisture from your strands, so in the winter cut back to every other day, max. "To keep hair washing and heat styling to a minimum, you can always pull your hair back into a low ponytail or braid," says celebrity hairstylist Julien Farel.
a cashmere cap
a bold print hat
Hydrate more. “A dry scalp can augment the problem of hat hair so it is important to maintain a healthy, daily conditioning routine as temperatures cool,” says celebrity hairstylist George Gonzalez. Look for haircare products that work to intensely hydrate and deliver nourishing ingredients to the scalp. Add volume. “With the winter air humidity-free and the cold air helping to set your style in place, it’s time to get out those heat tools and put them to work,” says Jo Blackwell-Preston, owner of Dop Dop Salon. Prime hair with a thickening primer like L’Oréal Professionnel Densité and blow-dry hair in the opposite direction you want it to fall, letting it cool before flipping it over for more lift.
AVOIDING WINTER HAT HEAD style tips from the pros Beanies, caps and fur-lined hats - we love winter headwear. But what they do to our hairstyle? Not so much. Celebrity hair stylish George Gonzalez of George the Salon in Chicago, IL explains how to wear winter hats without sacrificing your (hair)style.
"Cotton or cashmere materials will also help to avoid that dreaded static after effect. If you still have fly-aways, make sure to carry travel size hairspray and a mini brush. A clean new toothbrush will also do the trick and save space in your bag. Simply mist the brush and conceal fly-aways and static. Short on time? Mist the palms of your hands and glide over your hair for a quick fix."
"If you decide to wear a more form fitting hat like a beanie, a simple trick can ensure you do not flatten your style. Simply section your hair the opposite way of your go to part. If you always go to the left, try a deep side part to the right. This way, when you flip your hair back and over after you take off your hat, it will have more volume."
"You can also use your hat wearing time to create heat free waves and curls. Try braiding your hair or even pin curl sets, then place your beret or fedora on and you just created a cute updo-like hat style. Once you undo and shake out, you will be left with waves without the time and effort of a curling iron."
e af ls i S tia Sk sen Es
A mom of two and avid skier, Kristen writes about ski resorts, gear and other outdoor adventures at BraveSkiMom.com
Must-haves for the mountain? Sunscreen, snacks and disposable hand warmers. Nothing ruins a ski day like being chilly and cold!
Advice for parents with snow-reluctant kids? My best advice is “go slow.” If your kids don’t want to try skiing just yet, try to find out what’s holding them back. Is it fear? Are they concerned about being away from you during lessons? Are their clothes appropriate and warm enough? For kids who are nervous or afraid, take baby steps. Try on ski gear in the house or backyard and let them play with it.
Your winter beauty secret? I religiously wear natural sunscreens with zinc and titanium. Some of my favorites are Elta MD Skincare, ColoreScience (which makes a super handy sunscreen powder that you can brush on) and Neutrogena Pure and Free Baby Sunscreen
Favorite way to relax after a day of skiing? I’m all about hot tubs and warm water soothing my muscles. But more importantly, we’ve found the hot tub a great place for family time. No electronics - just stars!
Favorite Family Ski Resort? Snowmass, Colorado. I grew up skiing there as a child and it is one of the first places we skied together as a family of four. The mountain is perfect for families of all abilities with ski-in/ski-out lodging and fantastic programs for kids.
Best Thing about skiing together as a family? Without a doubt, the best thing, the very best thing, is time spent together, outdoors, enjoying nature and activity. Being in the fresh, cold air, in a beautiful place with the people you love is incredibly rewarding. Now that my kids are teenagers, it is really paying off. They don’t think twice about spending a day with us. They are incredibly good skiers and now they push me to become better!
Mountain Munchies Favorite Fuel For the Family
And afterwards.... Hot Cider Toddy 4 cups apple cider 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice 1/2 cup orange liqueur
1/2 cup brandy 8 cinnamon sticks, optional 8 orange slices, optional
Pour cider into a medium saucepan and set over medium-high. Bring to a simmer, covered, about 15 min. Remove from heat. Stir in juice, liqueur and brandy. Pour into 8 glasses and garnish with cinnamon sticks and orange slices
mountain must-haves What do YOU pack?
Backpack with a water tube, child's ski harness for my 5 y.o., hand warming packs. - Inga W, mom of 3
Lip balm, tissues, a pocket snack like a granola or protein bar. - Michele P., mom of 2
Lip balm like Blistex or Crabtree and Evelyn, Turtle Fur, perfect for covering mouth and nose, and a pocket snack like small bits of PB&J or granola bars. - Diana S. mom of 1 Lip balm like Dermatone Pommade with SPF, handkerchiefs like Bumblebee Linens, extra socks like Skier Mid Sock from Icebreaker. They are made of Merino woo l and are wonderfully warm & comfortable. - Michelle-Marie H, mom of 2
GROWS Kids grow like weeds which makes keeping them in winter gear a challenge. Fortunately, some companies like One Step Ahead make gear with extendable hems & sleeves to help winter wear to last a bit longer. Now if only they could come up with a solution for boots...
TOP TIPS FOR
PACKING FOR YOUR SKI TRIP Skiing & snowboarding take a lot of gear, especially when you’re packing for a family. Luckily, family ski vetern Kristen Lummis from BraveSkiMom.com shares her tips to make the entire process easier. A Bag For Everyone. This gem, the best advice ever, came from an experienced ski dad, who showed up at our door, juggling our son’s gear after a day of skiing. “You might think about getting him a bag that holds everything,” the dad gently suggested. We did, and that changed everything. Whether you’re skiing for a day or a week, having individual bags that hold boots, helmet, goggles, and the rest of your ski essentials will save your sanity. Keep the bags packed and ready to go. After a ski day, wash and replace all items in the bag. At the end of the ski season, do the same and store your gear for the summer – in the bags. Come winter, you’re ready to grab and go!
Multi-Tasking Clothes. Pack light with clothes that can do double-duty. My favorites are wool base layers in fun colors and styles. I like wool because it naturally fights bacteria and rarely gets smelly. Coordinate your ski layers with your street clothes. Pair a cute top with jeans and a sweater one night;; wear the same top skiing the next day. And since most ski towns are relaxed and casual, nobody needs anything more dressed up than jeans or a cute skirt to pair with boots. Pare down your baggage even more by booking a condo and doing laundry midweek.
Leave it All At Home. Depending upon how far you’re traveling and how often you ski, sometimes the best (and most stress-free) strategy is to rent skis, boots, poles and clothing.While most of us are familiar with rental and demo ski equipment, companies like GetOutfitted.com will rent you super- clean, brand-new, name brand (and stylish) outwear for your next trip. All you have to do is reserve the clothing you want and have it delivered to your lodging. At the end of your vacation, ship everything back in a pre-paid mailer. You can even rent Go-Pro cameras!
Make a List. Lists make packing easier, whether you’re taking a lot or a little. Build your own list, or use mine at braveskimom.com. Keep a master list for each person and when your kids are old enough to read, they can help pack themselves.
Once your little ones are off the slopes, keep them cozy & cute in one of these adorable beanies.
Published on Dec 5, 2014
Hitting the slopes this winter with your family? We've gathered all the best family-friendly resorts, packing tips, gear recommendations and...