Family Ski & Snowboard Travel Guide

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from the Editors Dear Ski Moms (and Dads), We know how hard it is to get the tribe to the mountain - between us we have eight little skiers and snowboarders, three ski racers and at least two tons of gear. We believe in being ski families because we love the time we share on the hill, the wipe out stories we share over dinner and the life skills our kids don’t even know they are learning. Skiing and boarding teaches perseverance, conquering your fears and a love of the outdoors. One of us started skiing almost as soon as she could walk, others picked up the sport as adults. We understand all the challenges involved in planning a great family ski vacation: choosing the right resort, packing the proper gear and of course, looking good while doing it. This guide is for you Ski Mama. It’s packed full of all the inspiration and information you need to have the best season ever. Now go hit the slopes!

Nicole Feliciano Momtrends

Andrea Fellman Savvy Sassy Moms

Nicole, Andrea and Kim-Marie

Kim-Marie Evans Luxury Travel Mom



Ski WhiteFish 3 Smugglers’ Notch 3 Ski Utah 4 East Coast 6 West Coast 7 California 8 Colorado 9 sonnenalp 11 hermitage club 36

kid style - on the mountain 15 kid style - off the mountain 16 winter beauty tips 17 no sick days 19 mom style - on the slopes 27 mom style - off the slopes 28





keeping kids’ feet warm 4 snow play date 10 what to pack printable 12 on the go 13 put a lid on it 14 healthy snacks 29 cool mountain must haves 35

Sarah Schlepper 18 Jonny Moseley 33 Krista Parry 34

printable packing list 12 family travel blogger tips 20 Tales from the slopes 22 What kind of skier are you? 23 group vs. private lessons 30 racing team 31 Cross country skiing 32

white chicken chili 24 Post-ski cocktail 25 hot cocoa bar 26

Smugglers’ Notch 78 Trails

8 Lifts

$52 - $76 Lift Ticket

311 2,610 Lift Acres Vertical Feet Served Smugglers is a destination resort in northern Vermont, located just under an hour northeast of Burlington. Three interconnected peaks - Morse, Madonna and Sterling - offer 78 trails and 1,000 acres of all terrain access for all abilities of skiers and snowboarders. Known for its award-winning children's programs and plentiful family activities from airboard sledding to a zip line canopy tour, Smugglers' was recently voted #1 Kid Friendly Resort in the Eastern U.S. and Canada by readers of Ski Magazine. Comfortable condominium lodging, ski and snowboard instructional sessions for all ages, a cheery slopeside nursery for kids as young as 6 weeks, and a resort village with daytime and evening activities, shopping and varied dining choices support diverse family vacation needs. New for winter 2015-2016: An on-snow ski and snowboarding learning playground for kids ages 3-6, daytime tubing, and additional family activities such as snow art and puppet making. Smugglers' guarantees that each member of the family will have fun, learn to ski or snowboard or improve their technique, or the entire program portion of their vacation package will be refunded. Plan your vacation at

WHITEFISH mountain resort 105 Trails

14 Lifts

$37 - $73 Lift Ticket

3,000 Lift Acres Served

2 T-Bars 1 Carpet

2,353 Vertical Feet

Brian Schott/Whitefish Mountain Resort

Whitefish is home to families, and the mountain is their winter playground. Growing up on the slopes is not just for locals - it’s for everyone who comes in the winter to connect with their family. Kids leave the Ski & Ride School wanting to go back for more—that’s because Whitefish Mountain Resort’s ski and snowboard instructors love what they do and their passion is contagious. Family-friendly facilities and terrain, coupled with Whitefish’s casual atmosphere make families feel at home. In the ski industry, rarely does great service and great value go hand-inhand… and then there’s Whitefish. Plan your vacation at


5th and 6th Grade Passports

Fifth graders ski or ride three times free at each of Utah’s 14 resorts. Sixth graders ski or ride one time free at each of Utah’s 14 resorts. $35 administrative fee. $45 after January 31, 2016. Passports also include discounts on ski and snowboard equipment rentals, buddy passes for accompanying family members and lots of other cool stuff. Register and more information here: And here’s a great video resource:

Keeping Kids’ Feet Warm Boot Gloves

Heat Holder Socks

Heated Boot Insoles

Hot Hands Toe Warmers


SkiUtah Deer Valley Resort 101 Trails

21 Lifts

2,026 Lift Acres Served

3,000 Vertical Feet

Leave the crowds behind. Deer Valley Resort limits ticket sales daily for an unforgettable family ski experience. We love seeing three generations of family out on the gorgeously groomed slopes. This posh location has plenty to offer on and off the trails. And it must be mentioned, there is no snowboarding allowed.

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Solitude mountain resort 66 Trails

8 Lifts

1,200 2,074 Lift Acres Vertical Feet Served We think Solitude is a wonderful place to introduce your family to skiing. Look for high-quality instruction at this cozy spot. Don’t let the intimate size fool you, there’s tons of expert terrain too. The 2015-16 ski season is the first ski season Solitude Mountain Resort will be operated by Deer Valley Resorts.

park city 300+ Trails

41 Lifts

7,300 3,200 Lift Acres Vertical Feet Served Park City is now the largest resort in the United States. But not everything is oversized. Park City boasts an almost unheard of student/instructor ratio. Their Signature 5 program guarantees that no class will have more than five children in it. Plus après ski fun in Park City’s downtown is hard to beat.

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Ski East


Sunday River

135 Trails

15 Lifts

870 Lift Acres Served

2,340 Vertical Feet

One of Maine's largest and most visited ski resorts, Sunday River gets some of the earliest snow coverage out East. Pick up some speed — they have the second largest vertical drop in Maine and the sixth largest in New England. Sunday River also offers military rates for US military personnel (active and retired) and one immediate family member.

cranmore mountain resort 56 Trails

7 Lifts

170 Lift Acres Served

1,200 Vertical Feet

Cranmore Mountain is located in the heart of North Conway Village and is home to New Hampshire's #1 Tubing Park. This family favorite also attracts those who love speed. Plus, they are really good at making snow when Mother Nature isn’t cooperating - check out the Snowmageddon Blog from the snow makers.

Stowe Mountain Resort 116 Trails

13 Lifts

435 Lift Acres Served

2,360 Vertical Feet

There’s a European feel to the village that makes this a favorite for creating picture-perfect moments. We love the focus on quality snow experiences AND culture. The Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center at Stowe Mountain in Vermont hosts a wide spectrum of events; theater, music, dance, comedy, film, lectures and multimedia presentations.

Okemo 121 Trails

20 Lifts

667 Lift Acres Served

2,200 Vertical Feet

This family-owned mountain has variety! Rolling greens are plentiful, giving beginners the chance to embrace the joy of skiing. Experts love the long, satisfying runs off Northstar Express Quad. Fun Fact: Okemo's Jackson Gore area can't begin snowmaking or open until 12:01 a.m. on Dec. 1 because there is a black bear migration corridor on the mountain.

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97 Trails

Stratton mountain 11 Lifts

670 Lift Acres Served

2,003 Vertical Feet

Located in Vermont, Stratton Mountain is just 5 hours north of NYC. It’s a well-situated, expertly staffed, pretty spot — the perfect place to get your family hooked on skiing without having to make the big investment of a trip to Colorado or Utah. Bonus: Stratton has childcare for ages 6 weeks and up.

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Ski Out


SUN Valley Resort 80 Trails

18 Lifts

2,154 Lift Acres Served

3,400 Vertical Feet

Sun Valley, located in Idaho, is known for having no lift lines and for making it easy for families to get on the slopes. There’s a 26,000-square-foot family center with everything from lessons to rentals to lockers. Plus, there’s always a chance of a bluebird day. 80% of the time the sun is shining on Bald Mountain.

big sky resort 300+ Trails

34 Lifts

5,800 Lift Acres Served

4,350 Vertical Feet

Head to Montana for wide open spaces. Big Sky boasts “The Biggest Skiing in America” - with 5,800 seamless skiable acres with 4,350 feet of vertical drop and about 2 acres per skier, that’s more than a football field of room per skier. Don’t miss the onmountain zip-lining and après ski cocoa at Carabiner Lounge.

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Big White Resort 118 Trails

15 Lifts

7,355 Lift Acres Served

2,550 Vertical Feet

Big White is Canada's largest totally ski in - ski out resort. They call the snow champagne powder—we call it heaven. Track your kids with the Flaik system as you enjoy your runs. Don’t miss the famous Gunbarrel Coffee.

Read The savvy sassy moms Review

whistler backcomb 200+ Trails

37 Lifts

8,171 Lift Acres Served

5,280 Vertical Feet

With the most skiable terrain in North America and the second highest vertical drop, this family friendly Canadian resort has slopes for every skier from the hot dogger to the bunny slopers. Fun Fact: Peak 2 Gondola moving between Whistler and Blackcomb mountains holds the records for the highest and longest unsupported cable car span in the world.


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Ski California mountain high

59 Trails

14 Lifts

290 Lift Acres Served

1,600 Vertical Feet

Mountain High is traditionally the first resort to open for Southern California skiing and snowboarding each season. Conveniently located in the San Gabriel mountains, just 15 minutes off I-15 with no mountain driving this is a favorite for California natives.

northstar california 100 Trails

20 Lifts

3,170 Lift Acres Served

2,280 Vertical Feet

Northstar is Lake Tahoe’s spot for relaxed California luxury and style. Catch the "tōst" - the 2 p.m. daily on-mountain complimentary champagne toast when guests 21 and over are invited to raise their flutes and sip bubbles each day on East Ridge run.

sugar bowl resort 103 Trails

13 Lifts

1,650 Lift Acres Served

1,500 Vertical Feet

Sugar Bowl averages 500 feet of snow annually, the most snow in Tahoe! Don’t miss the Crowleys to Ridge Run (Mt. Lincoln) over 3 miles long – the longest groomer on the hill. Kids love the The Switching Yard terrain park off Mt Judah Express.

squaw valley alpine meadows 270 Trails

42 Lifts

6,000 Lift Acres Served

2,850 Vertical Feet

Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows is over 70% beginner and intermediate terrain with gorgeous views of Lake Tahoe and the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The resort was founded in 1949 and hosted the 1960 Olympic Winter Games—the capable ski school is the perfect spot to train your future Olympians.

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mammoth mountain ski area

150 Trails

25 Lifts

3,500 Lift Acres Served

3,100 Vertical Feet

Located in the Sierra Nevada mountain range, Mammoth Mountain is the first resort open in California for the 2015/2016 season! A bustling resort with great dining options for foodies and plenty of terrain variety to keep everyone happy.

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Ski Colorado 94 Trails


21 Lifts

3,332 Lift Acres Served

4,406 Vertical Feet

This sizeable resort tries to combine excellent service with a huge expanse of terrain making it a top destination for families from around the world. The wide range of ski-school instructors speak a number of languages and are trained to help newbies and advanced kids get the most out of the experience. Don’t miss the Ice Age Discovery center in Snowmass Village Mall.

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keystone resort 131 Trails

20 Lifts

3,148 3,128 Lift Acres Served Vertical Feet

Keystone offers the longest ski day in Colorado with their night skiing operations that provide up to 11.5 hours of skiing and riding availability. With all the support and amenities at Rock Resorts and Keystone, you can get down to the business of having fun in the snow with your family. They sweat the details so you don’t have to.

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143 Trails

winter park resort 25 Lifts

3,081 Lift Acres Served

3,060 Vertical Feet

At 76 years, Winter Park Resort, the state's longest continually operated ski area, is still owned by the City of Denver like it was when it was created in 1940. Winter Park’s terrain is spread out over seven distinct territories: Winter Park, Mary Jane, Parsenn Bowl, Terrain Park, Vasquez Ridge, Eagle Wind and The Cirque. Each provides its own experience and skiers love the variety.

steamboat resort 165 Trails

18 Lifts

2,965 Lift Acres Served

3,668 Vertical Feet

Steamboat has produced more winter Olympians, 88 and counting, than any other town in North America. Gondola Square is well-planned and the perfect place for family fun. Be sure to make time to head into the nearby authentic western town. We love the dining options there and the down-to-earth feel.


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Ski Colorado loveland ski area 94 Trails

10 Lifts

1,800 Lift Acres Served

2,210 Vertical Feet

There’s a reason ski teams love to train here - it’s a true skier’s mountain. Spend a day here carving turns alongside of world-class racers on the expertly mapped out terrain. We love the thought that went into planning Loveland - there’s a separate ski area just for beginners. Plan ahead: The 3-Class Pass rewards children learning to ski or ride with a free season pass after they complete three lesson packages.

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copper mountain resort 140+ Trails

23 Lifts

2,465 Lift Acres Served

2,601 Vertical Feet

Copper is blessed with “Naturally Divided Terrain.” The hardest trails are in the west side and the runs get gradually easier as you head east. This means beginners are safe from getting mowed down and experts can get unlimited thrills. For off-mountain fun be sure to visit Woodward, an indoor park full of trampolines, skate ramps and more to keep your kids “flipping” happy.

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crested butte mountain Resort 121 Trails

16 Lifts

2,775 Lift Acres Served

3,062 Vertical Feet

In 1874, surveyor F.V. Hayden journeyed into the valley and found three crests that he named Teocalli, Gothic Mountain and Crested Butte Mountain— thank goodness he did, because Crested Butte has become a skier’s paradise. CB isn’t just for extreme skiers. It is very much for families, too. We love the luxe accommodations close to the mountain, great instruction and nearby town full of charm and strong coffee.

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Make a Snow Playdate with the Kids

Igloo Kit

snow shoes

keltY pack

L.L. Bean tube


Featured Resort:

Sonnenalp Hotel

Looking to create some family magic? For decades families have entrusted their precious vacation time to Sonnenalp. Full of European charm, the Sonnenalp Hotel in Vail has 112 luxury suites and six fabulous dining options that range from casual to apres-elegant (Don’t miss fondue at the Swiss Chalet Restaurant or a hearty Sonnenalp breakfast at Ludwig’s on the terrace.) Our favorite room for a family is the Castle Peak Suite. This bedroom suite is perfect for a family on a ski vacation, as it has plenty of room for everyone to spread out and relax. From the hotel, the slopes are only a short 10-minute walk along the heated streets of Vail Village. The slopeside ski concierge makes it easy for families to get on the mountain without transporting ski gear through the village. Once the ski day is done, parents can relax with a spa appointment while the kids head to the Sonnenalp’s Kid’s Club. Supervised activities include movie nights, guided art projects like “Cupcakes and Canvas” and trips to Adventure Ridge on Vail Mountain for tubing. The best part? Kid’s Club activities are complimentary for Sonnenalp guests. Don’t miss: From December 21-January 1, Sonnenalp is hosting “12 Days of Christmas”: Daily holiday-themed activities for children and adults, such as cookie decorating, s’mores, visits with Santa, evenings of Christmas Jazz Music and special family dinners. For more information visit

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s n io t p o g in in d ly * Kid-Friend * Kids club to the slopes * Proximity eary parents * Spa for w tain family entertainment * Off-moun tub * Pool & hot ki school * Quality s age * Gear stor

click to download & print 12

The ideal road trip companion, the Yakima SkyBox series is the perfect solution to haul your crew and keep their wet, snowy gear out of the back seat. The best-selling cargo box series is available in a variety of sizes to fit winter gear, camping gear, sports gear and more!

Ice Cleats

Ski Bag


th e


Battery-Operated Vest


Packing Cubes


Always wear a helmet specifically designed for skiing or snowboarding - they are designed specifically for mountain impact. Additionally they provide much needed warmth. Head injuries cause 60% of deaths in snow sports, so put a lid on it. Don’t buy a “helmet to grow into.” A helmet should fit snugly but not so tight that it’s uncomfortable. Ensure that the chin strap is tightened properly to keep the helmet from flying off in a fall. Many helmets and goggles fit well together, if you plan to buy a POC helmet, consider POC goggles for ease of fit. Be a great model and wear a helmet yourself. If you are new to the sport you can rent a helmet before buying. Keep a cute hat in your boot bag to switch into après ski. It will keep you warm and hide the dreaded helmet hair.


kid style on the mountain


kid style

off the mountain Remember to pack some lightweight items for when your kids are o the slopes! These kids picks are great for all those o the slope activities like ice skating, snow tubing, sledding and sipping hot cocoa fireside!


WINTER Beauty TIPS It’s hard to look cute when your hair has been jammed under a helmet all day and your skin is red and sore from wind burn. Here are a few tips to help you look your best on the slopes, and most importantly, après ski.

Hair : During the day the easiest style is a side braid - it keeps your hair from flying everywhere and looks cute when you hop off the slopes for a little adult cocoa. At night apply a deep hydrating mask. All the cold weather followed by overly hot lodges will dry out your locks. Also, don’t forget to stay hydrated. We like Oribe. Or for a less expensive drugstore version, try Loreal’s leave-in oil. It’s perfect to smooth hair just before you braid.

Face: Everyone loves coming home from a vacation with a tan, but no one looks good in a goggle tan. In addition to damaging your skin, there is really no amount of make up that can keep you from looking like a raccoon. Anthelios creams are the best for protecting you from all of the rays and providing much needed moisture. Dermatone has been used by the US Ski Team for decades - it prevents sunburn and frost bite. It’s a must-have item when skiing super cold temps. Pack a tin in your children’s boot bag and remind them to reapply at lunch to prevent frost bite on those super chilly days. We don’t recommend a lot of make up on the slopes (it can slide off under sweaty goggles), but a few basics will keep you looking bright and fresh, even if you were up with the baby all night. A foundation that stays is a must have - we love this Bobbi Brown stick that can hide all manner of sins from under eye circles to pesky pimples. Tuck it in your ski bag for après ski touch ups. Chances are you will be plenty rosy from exercise and the fresh air. If not, fake it with this brilliant cream from Nars. Just lightly apply to cheeks and voila, you look like a perky ski bunny.

Lips: Of course Vaseline is a must for keeping lips protected and hydrated, but everyone looks better with a little color. The Clinique Chubby Sticks are the perfect “tuck in your pocket” beauty booster. They don’t melt or freeze, they are easy to apply while riding the lift, and they give you just that little boost of color. Try the Baby Tints with extra moisture.

Body: There’s nothing like the combination of sweaty wool socks and over heated ski houses to give a girl elephant legs. Pack a jar of this miracle cure body lotion to keep the dry, itchy skin at bay.

Hands: No one’s hands do more hard duty than a ski moms. She laces everyone’s boots, wipes everyone’s noses and usually carries at least a few sets of gear besides her own. Treat them right with Neutrogena’s original hand formula.


Sarah Schlepper

OLYMPIC SKIER, SLALOM AND GIANT SLALOM FOUR-TIME OLYMPIAN AND MOTHER OF TWO. Sarah has four podium finishes in World Cup races, has won many American championships and has participated in four Olympic Winter Games. Retiring from the US Ski Team in 2012, Sarah and Federico had their second child. A recently naturalized Mexican she will return to the World Cup again, this time under the Mexican flag.

What are your must-have items for the mountain when skiing with kids? Helmet, mittens, goggles, daily checklist pass, neckie (for sun or fleece for snow), hand warmers are nice on cold days. Treats keep them out there longer. Skis, boots, poles. Keep it safe and simple!! A company I have worked with in the past called Kinderlift makes these amazing vests for kids with a strap on the back that can make it possible for the kids to carry their own skis in the strap and the strap also functions for the lift attendants to help the kids get on the lift.

Favorite way to have fun with the kids during the winter besides skiing? Drinking hot chocolate, snowboarding, hockey, ice skating, snowshoeing, building snowmen, and dressing warm. It’s always tough to get outside, putting on all the layers, but once you are out, there is no better way to spend your day. Nature and snow always win!

Which mountain do you consider home? Vail Mountain. I grew up with Vail in my backyard and my father has a ski shop right in the village, Buzz's Boards. Lasse, my 7 year old boy, already knows the mountain by heart and can ski anywhere. Vail's Backbowls are breathtaking.

Tips for parents trying to teach kids to ski? Choose the right day. Kids will hate skiing if you force them to ski when they really don't want to. Find a friend for your kid to learn with. It's always more fun with another kid. Look for adventures out on the mountain. Ski School is always a good place to start. I put Lasse in ski school in Austria and he learned very good technique. While I teach my kids I use a harness, where you hook your child up to a belt and you can help steer them with straps skiing behind.

Which skiing accomplishment are you most proud of? A very difficult question. I am proud of the longevity of my career and that I am able to pass on my passion to the younger generations. I still continue to strive for top speeds and compete with the World’s Best while at the same time I am able to pass on my experience through coaching and mentorship.


No Sick Days Who has time for sick days?! Thanks to DayQuil Severe, ski moms like us can power through the day and enjoy time outdoors with the kids even when we’ve got a cold. We know you can’t take a sick day, especially on vacation. That’s why we have DayQuil Severe and NyQuil Severe on our packing lists. Want more inspiration on what to pack for your ski holiday? We’ve put together three ideas for your next snow-filled trip: Daytime fun, on-mountain necessities and Après ski style. DayQuil/NyQuil Severe relieves your worst cold & flu symptoms so you can go back to doing the things you love and can’t miss, like sipping cocoa, sledding and building snowmen.


Click here for a coupon code:

Family Ski Trip Success

Tips from Travel Bloggers

Must Haves:

Winter travel involves some gear-heavy packing. Our family’s must have products for winter travel include our Transpack ski bags. Each family member packs and carries his/her own ski gear (boots, gloves, helmets, goggles) in these fabulous backpacks that spread the load of the gear, and keep everything nicely sorted and in its place during and after ski season. No more “Where are my gloves?!” We also swear by New Zealand's Icebreaker merino wool thermals to keep everyone toasty. They are on the pricey side, but will last for years.

Ski School Tip:

Claudia Laroye The Travelling Mom

When signing up for ski school lessons, think about including the ski rentals. Ski resorts often bundle equipment rentals and lessons, making their packages quite economical. Often, the rentals can be used for the day, post lessons, if your kids want to continue practicing. If you’re thinking of investing in equipment beyond the lessons, buy used gear and clothing at consignment stores, ski swaps, or borrow equipment from friends with older kids. Skiing and boarding aren’t cheap sports, but they can be done on a budget, especially for growing children who don’t need the latest and greatest ski gear. Chances are they'll only outgrow it in a year’s time anyway, so buy wisely and purchase pre-loved ski equipment.

Trip Planning Tips: The best time of year to book a ski vacation and take advantage of early-season lodging deals is October and November. Typically, families will ski more economically in the early season (from Thanksgiving to holiday season). However, planning a ski vacation includes an element of risk…will there be snow? What will the weather be like? For the best “guarantee” of good snow, I recommend booking a February or March trip. Ideally, this coincides with spring break for the kids. However, expect to pay more during this peak time.

Tips for Getting Started: Start out slow. Plan for perhaps half a day on the snow, with the other half devoted to family fun - try tubing or ice skating. Allow young kids to take frequent lodge breaks for hot cocoa, and try not to think about the cost of the lift tickets in terms of “laps”. If you do, you’re likely to feel stressed over the price. Instead, focus on helping your kids have fun; if they look back on their time and want to go again, the day has been a success. If possible, have at least two adults along for the ski day. Helping young kids ski is tiring!

Amy Whitley Pit Stops for Kids

Definitely save money by skiing at smaller, local resorts before taking a “big” family ski trip to a destination resort. If this isn’t possible, look for lift ticket deals that allow you to skip a day or pick two out of three ski days, so you have flexibility to skip a day if the weather is terrible or if everyone is tired. Always plan for a down day at big resorts, allowing kids to simply play.


Must Have items

Helmets are of course a must – make sure you have someone in the ski shop help you fit them properly. Even if you purchase no other serious gear, buy these and take the time to find helmets that not only fit well but are comfortable and warm. Your family will be wearing these every time you ski so it’s worth it. I love Darn Tough socks – they are super cute, keep your feet dry and warm, and never seem to wear out. Balaclavas are important too, on cold days they keep your neck, face, and head warm. One tip is to have a spare for everyone in your family that you keep in the ski bag and pull out for use after lunch. Snow and condensation can make this critical item wet and uncomfortable, so it’s nice to be able to switch to a dry one. I also recommend buying boot straps for everyone in your family. These loop onto your ski boots and make carrying them over your shoulders a snap. Hand warmers are a great idea for cold days – order them by the case online and you’ll save a bundle.

Sanity Saving TIps

Mara Gorman Mother of all Trips

Ski area lunches are just murderously expensive. Lots of resorts have great food these days, but it will always cost you a bundle. Since I’m on vacation too and don’t always want to make lunch I’ve developed a compromise strategy of bringing lots of supplemental snacks (fruit, chips, pretzels, peanut butter crackers, you name it) and then purchasing just two or three entrees for four people. That way we get to try some of the yummy soups and sandwiches without busting our budget – and I feel like we can go out for dinner. Having an appropriate vehicle is really a must if you’re going to be driving – it’s so stressful to feel unsafe. At the very least you want to have front wheel drive and an emergency supply kit that includes a shovel, booster cables, and flares. I highly recommend snow tires if you’ll be making regular ski trips. Before we bought a heavier duty wagon we would rent a car for our ski trips.

Ski School

We took private lessons once as a family in the terrain park. I was the oldest person doing a box slide and I’m pretty sure the kids in the park were not impressed. I didn’t care - we had a blast! It’s never too late to try something new and lessons make sure you have the best chance of success, which equals more fun and less pain. My youngest is handicapped, and because of the extreme cold and altitudes I never thought she’d enjoy skiing. Once we connected with the National Ability Center in Park City and they showed our family that we could get on the mountain together, everything changed. She loved it! I remember that day vividly; swooshing down the mountain with my whole family together was pure bliss.

Sanity Saving Tips

Our family rule is if you are starting to feel tired, it’s time for a break. That way we stop while we’re still having fun, and decrease our risk of injuries. I always have snacks in my pocket. Sometimes they’re for hunger, sometimes they’re for bribery. We use large Rubbermaid bins for road trip storage. They keep things organized, dry, and easier to find. We also tuck several large Ziplock bags in and use them for everything from wet clothes, to garbage, to containing toys and electronics. Altitude sickness can ruin a ski vacation - good hydration and rest is key for prevention - but sometimes it is tough to remember when you are traveling all day. A headache can indicate the onset of altitude sickness, so when that happens I take Motrin right away, drink a lot more water and have a little caffeine for a quick boost. If the headache progresses to nausea, contact your doctor. It’s a good idea to talk to your doctor about altitude sickness before you travel so you are prepared.


Karin Sheets

Special Needs Travel Mom

Best Accommodations We always prefer rental homes or condos on the mountain, no matter the budget. We love to have access to a hot tub and/or pool as well. Ski in/Ski out is always helpful when you have to lug the kids and all of their stuff around, but sometimes being close to ski school is the better option if the kids will be taking classes every day. Shuttles are essential when the whole family doesn’t want to stick together all day long. If mom wants to hit the spa, dad wants to hit the slopes and the kids want to hang out on the tube run, you don’t want to have to worry about driving from place to place. We also like to be able to walk or shuttle to restaurants. Good food is a big factor when we pick a ski destination. We like options and a variety so we aren’t stuck eating frozen burgers and chicken fingers for every meal.

Ski School 101 My oldest started skiing at about two and a half or three years old. He wanted to snowboard but most mountains won’t let kids take snowboarding lessons until they are about 7 years old. Since my husband and I both snowboard, we knew we had to put our boys in lessons or they would never learn properly. All I know how to do is yell “pizza” and “French fries” as they zoom past me after lessons.

Karyn Means Walking on Travels

Know what you will need to bring for your kids before Ski school drop off. If it is all day, they may need indoor shoes as well as snow boots. Most mountains will have this information on their websites, but when in doubt you can call. Also be prepared for the fact that you may be handing your kid and their gear to an instructor at a drop off counter and not see them again until pick up. Parents aren’t usually encouraged to hover during lessons. Let your kids have this time with their friends and teacher. They can show you their skills later. Getting your kids in classes means you can have some alone time on the slopes, but your kids can also learn with their peers. There is nothing like peer pressure at this age. They just want to do what their friends are doing. The instructors also make sure the kids are having fun and want to continue to learn, instead of getting frustrated if mom and dad were pushing them too hard.

Tales from the Slopes: Our Best Bribery Tactics “I literally used to lead a VERY unwilling child into ski school at 4 by putting gummy bears in his mouth and then walking a few steps away. It’s a similar technique I used when training my puppy.” - Kim Marie Evans “I use the sticker method. Every successful day of skiing equals a trip to the ski shop to pick out a sticker for my daughter’s helmet. Her helmet is plastered and she's got some mad skills thanks to this technique.” - Nicole Feliciano “To get my kids to last a little bit longer on the slopes, I've been known to promise them extra scoops of ice cream, candy and money for purchasing apps. Don't judge - you do what you have to do!” - Andrea Fellman


What kind of skier or snowboarder are You? Downhill Bomber Mama You have never met a double black you didn’t like. You keep granola bars in your pocket because only the weak and the slow stop for lunch. You track your speeds and vertical feet skied on the SkiTracks app and have come dangerously close to having your ticket clipped. You choose your resort based on the steepness of incline and a NASTAR race track.

Green Acres Chill Mama You love to ski or board, when it’s above freezing and the sun is out. You prefer a nice rolling green hill followed by a steaming cup of cocoa and a few more runs before a cozy lunch. Your idea of the perfect winter vacation includes more than just time on the mountain - you want champagne in front of a Jacuzzi, too. You choose your resort based on ski valets and Michelin starred restaurants.

Fireside Hot Toddy Mama You want your kids to be great skiers, while you enjoy a good book fireside. You love getting the kids on the hill and then tucking away to a nice quiet leather sofa to enjoy all the ambience of a mountain resort, without the chill of the mountain. You’ve either been there done that, or you quite frankly you just don’t want to. You choose your resort based on lodge amenities, and cocktail menus.

Suzy Chapstick Lessons Mama You have always wanted to be Suzy Chapstick, but you never learned to ski. After you drop the kids at ski school, you head out with your instructor or class. Your muscles are sore, but your resolve is strong. You might fall at first, but you know you’re on your way to Downhill Bomber Mama status. You’ve got the gear, the guts and the ambition. You choose your resort based on the best adult lessons offered.


White Chicken Chili Nothing fills you up and satisfies like a great bowl of chili after a day on the slopes. Here’s a hearty chicken chili recipe the whole family will love from Jo-Lynne Shane. PREP TIME : 30 mins COOK TIME: 60 mins TOTAL TIME: 1 hour 30 mins Serves: 8

INGREDIENTS • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

2 lbs shredded chicken 1 lb Great Northern beans (or 3 cans) 1 T olive oil 2 med onions, chopped 4 cloves garlic, minced 2 tsp cumin 1-1/2 tsp oregano 2 tsp salt ½ tsp white pepper 8 cups chicken broth 2 4-oz cans chopped green chiles (mild) 3 cups shredded jack cheese (divided) salsa sour cream


2 3 4 5 6


Soak beans overnight in water using 3 to 1 ratio (3 parts water to one part beans). Or you can scrap that and use 3 cans of beans. Whatever works! Saute onions and garlic in olive oil. Stir in all spices. Add beans and broth. Simmer 60 minutes. Add chicken, chilies, and 1 cup cheese; stir to combine. Use stick blender if desired. (I like to add half the chicken, use the stick blender, and then add the rest of the chicken. So some is shredded fine, and there are still some nice chunks.) Serve with remaining cheese, salsa, and sour cream. This chili is best the next day.


Adult Hot Chocolate:

Kahlua Cocoa Ingredients: - 1 oz. of Kahlua coffee liquor - 5 oz. of hot cocoa - 1 tbsp of whipped cream - 1 tsp of sugar ** additional toppings of your choice w e p r e f e r r e d m i n i chocolate chips for a little extra something.** Instructions: Combine Kahlua and cocoa in a mug, and sweeten to taste. Top with whipped cream and chocolate chips. Serve and enjoy (responsibly)!


Favorite Winter Treat Cooler temperatures go hand-in-hand with hot chocolate and there is no better way to celebrate this special time of year with your little ones than with a fun hot chocolate bar that is just for them! A hot chocolate bar can be set up as a one-time event for a party or left up all seasons as a regular afternoon treat. Think out-of-the-box and get creative for ways to set up your display. Use a plaid scarf as your table cloth, mugs that are left over from another party, and a random assortment of crystal dishes for toppings. Having an assortment of toppings available makes it fun for kids to personalize their hot chocolate to their tastes. Offering some cookies will surely be a treat for them and will add an extra bit of sweetness to the whole experience.


ski mom style

on the slopes


ski mom style

off the slopes


HEALTHY KID SNACKS Winter travel takes a lot of preparation and organization of all that ski and snow gear but it's important to have plenty of healthy snacks ready for any delays. Whether you're in for a long road trip to the mountain, flying or sitting on the chairlift, it's always best to have a few snacks to keep the family fueled up and ready to go!


GROUP LESSONS VS. PRIVATE LESSONS Everyone knows lessons are essential to get kids loving the snow sports. Dan Healy, the Crested Butte Kids Programs Director (which includes the ski + ride school) weighs in on private versus group lessons.

What can you get out of a private that you can't get out of ski school?

We can bring your kids’ skills to the next level. Private lessons are designed to offer individually tailored instruction for adults, teens and kids. Our trained professional instructors have developed lifelong relationships with alpine skiers, telemark skiers, and snowboarders of all ages and abilities.

Where do you find your instructors?

We hire instructors from all over the country with various likes and backgrounds and a strong passion for skiing and snowboarding. The goal behind this is to have instructors on staff that will accommodate the interests, needs and goals for each of our guests. We have quite a diverse group of instructors and those who work in our kids’ ski + ride school also have a love for working with the little ones.

How do you pair your instructors with students?

We ask our guests what they want out of the private lesson and also what some of their other interests are that can relate to skiing and relate to the instructor that we assign to the private lesson. The beauty of being a smaller resort is that we can have more intimate knowledge and a relationship with our instructors and can better pair them with guests.

What sort of age range is ideal for private lessons? Is it just for adults?

We offer private lessons to all ages and abilities. Our highly trained instructors are able to teach private lessons from age 3 to seniors in skiing, snowboarding and telemark skiing. It is definitely not just for adults!!

Can a family organize a private lesson?

We can organize private family lessons when you go to make your reservation. However, it is helpful that the family all skis or rides in a similar level to get the most out of your lesson.

What can advanced and intermediate skiers get out of a private lesson?

Crested Butte is famous for some if its more challenging terrain. With a private lesson your instructor can take you and show you places and trails that would be hard to find on your own. This will give the skier or rider a more comfortable introduction to our higher level terrain and also the opportunity to learn a few more tips and tricks to ski or ride that much better. It is a common misperception that once you know how to ski, you don’t need a lesson, but there is always more to learn which will end up making you better on the slopes.

W HY J OIN A R ACE T EAM ? Mariel Meringolo, Head of School, Okemo Mountain School, shares why a ski racing program might be perfect for your family.

Why ski team?

Skiing is a lifelong sport that can be enjoyed for many years and ski racing is a great way to get a strong start. Not only do they improve their skiing tremendously, they also meet new friends and gain confidence and maturity. Ski racing requires a lot of equipment, so young athletes learn to manage, care for, and respect these items, which builds responsibility. They explore the mountain with their teammates and coaches, which promotes independence.

What’s the time commitment?

The season runs from early December through late March. The time commitment varies from age group to age group and program to program. Typically, training starts with twice a week (most often Saturday and Sunday). Race schedules and training become more time consuming as an athlete gets older.

What’s the atmosphere like?

Ski racing is an individual sport, but in many state or local leagues there are components of team competition as well. Additionally, good programs and coaches build a strong team dynamic with their athletes as the support system of a team helps to promote individual success. Ski racing can be a very mentally tough sport and having deep bonds with teammates helps an athlete succeed at the highest levels.

Is it all about speed?

Strong ski racing programs promote skill development over simply "fast" skiing at the younger age groups. The acquisition of strong skills builds a base of fundamentals that helps a ski racer be more successful as they get older.

How do I get started?

Once your child is mature enough to handle being away from you long enough for training, can ski the mountain confidently, and can ride the ski lift safely by themselves, you may want to consider putting them into an entry level program. For many children this is between about 7 and 9 years old.

How do I pick a team for my family?

First and foremost, is location and ease of access for you. If a program is too far away, your child won't wind up participating regularly. Many families travel to mountains several hours away each weekend, but have rentals or second homes in the area making them more accessible. Speak with someone from the program: Coaches or program directors should be willing to take the time to explain their program and how it would work for your child. You can also speak with families who are already involved in a program to see if they are happy with their experiences.


Cross Country Ski Tips Ski fun doesn’t just mean downhill. Why not try something new this winter and spend a day cross country skiing. It’s easy to get started and you’ll never have to wait in a lift line. Our friends at Lone Mountain Ranch in Montana shared these tips.

Top ten ways to get the whole family started in cross country skiing: 1. Visit to a family-friendly xc ski center, like LMR, that offers many different kid-centric activities such as sledding, sleigh rides, and roasting marshmallows. 2. Start with a lesson or outing with instructors who are trained in teaching kids, and lasts no longer than 45 minutes. When the kids have fun, everyone has fun! 3. Make each outing an adventure with a fun destination or goal, such as going to the play cabin to roast marshmallows or conquering that downhill run. 4. Have snow country clothing including ski pants, jackets, warm socks, mittens, hat, etc. that fit well. 5. Have a backpack for each child that is theirs for their own extra mittens and water or thermos. 6. Use quality equipment that is sized for each person correctly, and is comfortable. 7. Start the day with a game on skis such as follow the leader, Simon Says, ball toss, and more. 8. Have snack time on the snow and in the sunshine when outside for more than 30 minutes. 9. Mix up xc skiing with some groomed trail and some off trail adventures in the deep snow during same outing. 10. Be aware of your time and energy level and finish your goal with energy left over. A promise of hot cocoa in the lodge never hurts either. For more nordic ski fun see our review of Lone Mountain Ranch.


Jonny Moseley olympic, world cup and x-game medal winning skier.. father of two. What are your must-have items for the mountain when skiing with kids?

Number one priority is keeping everyone fueled up. Obviously a carb blast is easy with some chocolate in the pocket but I try to keep some nuts and seeds on hand as well for staying power. I also keep at least one extra pair of kid googles and goggle wipes with me for the inevitable wipeout yard sale. Wet goggles for even half of a run to the lodge can ruin a day.

Favorite way to have fun with the kids during the winter besides skiing?

My kids love the SnoVentures Activity Zone at Squaw Valley with the mini snowmobile track and the tubing hill with a magic carpet. However, they also love when we hit the Village. I give them a roll of quarters for the arcade near the cookie shop while I take my wife to lunch. Family win-win.

Which mountain do you consider home? Why did you pick it?

Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows is my home mountain. My dad picked it originally because he loved the terrain and the kids’ programs. My brothers and I all went through the ski school, Mighty Mite program, race and freestyle teams. Now, all of our kids are doing the same. There is an authentic ski culture at Squaw Alpine that I really enjoy and it checks all the boxes for my family too.

Tips for parents trying to teach kids to ski?

I highly recommend a ski instructor/class. Remember every step is a big deal. The actual skiing part may take a bit to master but getting used to the boots, being out in the cold, and walking on snow are all important steps that must be seen as actual steps.

Which skiing accomplishment are you most proud of?

The Olympic Gold Medal in 1998. I am also proud that I introduced my kids to skiing and they love it. I feared the worst!

Favorite apres ski activity?

Eating nachos and having a beer after skiing is our favorite thing do! I do love post skiing yoga as well at Wanderlust Yoga Studio at Squaw.


photos: Hank DeVre

Krista Parry Founder of

What are your must haves for the mountain? My must-haves for the mountain are candy in my pocket to bribe my kids and hand warmers just in case one of our body parts get cold.

Best parenting tip for skiing with kids? I really don't think there is a better activity to do as a family than skiing! Where else do you get your kids undivided attention, while conquering new challenges together! But there is also not a greater place for meltdowns than the slopes! My number one tip is to MAKE IT FUN! If kids don't have fun, especially when they are first learning, they will not want to go back. You may not get to ski 20,000 vertical feet a day or even take five runs before lunch... but that's ok! The goal is to make sure your kids like it... and continue begging for more! My top three tips to make your kids beg for more: 1) Don't teach them yourself! We all know our kids do better with other people, even if we don't want to admit it. Let the pros do the hard work and then you can be the one who has fun with them! 2) Dress them appropriately. Let's face it - we are all miserable if we are not wearing the proper gear. This includes the right socks, warm mittens, and layered clothing. It's easy to take things off if you get too hot. Or you can follow Snowmama Kim-Marie's advice and get butt pads. :) 3) There's always next time. Never force your kids to do something they don't want to... it will make it miserable for you, them, and everyone else! Remember, there's always next time!

When I’m Not Skiing I’m… I'm thinking about skiing and chasing my two boys (three if you count my husband). I'm lucky that I have been able to combine my passion of skiing with my job. For the past 15 years, I've worked for Powdr, an active entertainment company that owns multiple ski resorts, Woodward action sports camps, and Human Movement Management, a company that creates and produces events. I also love helping moms get their mojo back for the slopes, which is the reason why I created in 2008! It's time for moms to get on the slopes with their kids.

Best skiing accomplishment? My best skiing accomplishment came last year... and it was more of my skiing accomplishment as a Snowmama. While sitting on the chairlift with my 5 year old, he asked me if he could ride the chairlift by himself... Of course, I wanted to say "No, you're not ready for that. It's too scary, what if you fall, etc, etc." But instead I said, “Of course you can... if you think you are really ready for it." I was really nervous as I watched him load the chairlift by himself... And I held back from screaming at him to lower the bar, sit way back in his seat, don't move. Instead, I watched with pride as my little guy grew up just a little bit in front of my eyes. It's not easy to have your kids spread their wings and fly but they'll never know how far they can fly if they don't spread their wings...

Favorite family ski resort? It's tough to choose just one as there are so many amazing ski resorts around the country. I love Snowbird in Utah for their challenging terrain, which makes my kids push themselves. I love Copper Mountain in Colorado for their wide, long-runs and AMAZING ski school. Plus, they have a Woodward facility for my kids to get their wiggles out before bed. I love Big Sky Resort in Montana because it's where I learned to ski. I now love taking my boys back there!


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