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Fun in the Snow — Your Guide to family vacations on the ski slopes and beyond

snow-keystone-village-girls-by-Bob-Winsett Snow is falling in New England, the Rockies and Sierras; time to use our comprehensive guide to the top family ski resorts and introduce a loved one to snow sports this season.

Humans were never meant to hibernate in winter. There’s too much fun to be had in the snow, whether you want to ski, snowboard, snowshoe, cross-country ski, sled, build snowmen or snow forts or make snow angels.

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. Treat the family to affordable luxury with the Go Discover package at Omni Hotels & Resorts — stay two nights and get 30% off — or book a romantic getaway specially arranged by Cupid (the concierge).

Be sure to pick up CityPASS ticket booklets in advance so you can skip the lines at the top attractions, meanwhile saving up to half off on individual admission prices.

There’s no need to be cold while enjoying the snow. At all dozen Great Wolf Lodge indoor waterpark resorts, your family can enjoy Snowland through January 4, 2015 with family room rates starting at $199/night. Their winter festival means there are flakes falling in the lobby, special winter storytime and Santa visits, family dances and a North Pole University to keep them busy with apres-school work.

Teach the Whole Family to Enjoy Snow sports

Take the Bring a Friend Challenge, a new element of Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month (LSSM). It’s open to all current skiers and snowboarders including members of the industry. The Challenge offers incentives for current skiers and snowboarders who introduce newcomers to lessons from professional instructors this winter. The Challenge starts December 1, 2014 and ends February 28, 2015. Details are located at bringafriend.org You can win prizes and even a free trip to a snow resort.

January, of course is Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month 2015. Special Features offers a quick overview with all of the places where you can get discounted—or possibly even free lessons and rentals. You can also follow the deals on Twitter and Facebook.

Look for new opportunities to explore new mountains– like the Mountain Collective– a collaboration between the four top independent resorts: Alta, Aspen/Snowmass, Jackson Hole and Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows that offers 50% off on lift tickets and 25% on lodging. Similarly, Vail Resorts offers the Epic Pass at its ski areas in Colorado, the California Sierras and new this year in at Park City Mountain Resort in Utah.
You can snowshoe in national parks like Yellowstone and Grand Teton. See what I wrote about snowshoeing with kids and what I wrote about visiting Yellowstone in Winter.

Many snow sports resorts are pulling out all the stops for families this season with increased programming, free lift tickets and free flights.  Look for deals from companies like http://www.ski.com that can package lifts, lessons, lodging and air and can tell you where and when your kids can hit the slopes with free lift tickets. Here’s what I wrote about kids-free programs this season.

Check out companies like Black Tie Rentals that will deliver gear right to where you are staying and adjust it on the spot. (I loved the convenience at Aspen last year.)  Many locations offer a kids-rent-free package throughout the season for kids 12 and under. Ski Butlers has deals in Steamboat and Telluride where kids rent free if you do an adult rental for five or more days.

Keep the family connected wherever you travel this winter with a mobile hotspot rental from XCom Global. You can connect up to 10 devices at once for the low rate of $14.95 per day, less than many hotel WiFi fees, and you can take your hotspot with you anywhere you go.  Save even more if you’re traveling abroad by eliminating expensive roaming fees! Free standard shipping ($29.90 value – use coupon code: FREESHIP12)

Values at Resorts that Cater to Beginners

If everyone in your gang is a beginner, consider smaller mountains near where you live – Hunter Mountain in New York, for example, Crystal Mountain in Michigan, Brian Head Resort in Utah, Bolton Valley in Vermont and Mount Rose on the North Shore of Lake Tahoe. They will invariably be cheaper and less overwhelming for the kids — and you.

Check what snow sports resorts near your home are offering for families this season:

Several states also offer “passports” for kids of certain ages allowing them to ski free — once you have filled out the paperwork and paid a small processing fee — all season. They include:

  • Fourth graders in New York
  • Fifth graders in Vermont
  • Fourth and fifth graders in New Hampshire
  • Fifth, sixth and seventh graders in Maine
  • Fifth and sixth graders inUtah

If you’re a resident of Pennsylvania or a nearby state with young children, or you simply want to learn, the Pennsylvania Ski Association offers great deals to make your winter memorable! Fourth and fifth graders can ski for free with the 4th & 5th Grade Snowpass when accompanied by a paying adult. That’s a winter of free skiing at 19 ski areas.  And people of all ages can learn to Ski PA with the PSAA’s First-Time Ski or Snowboard Program for just $49.

The Colorado 2014/2015 School of Shred Pass provides 4 free days of skiing or riding for 5th and 6th graders at each of the state’s top-ranked resorts: Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and Arapahoe Basin for all Colorado fifth and sixth grade students who register. Lessons and rentals are provided from January 5-31, 2015 as part of “Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month.”

Check with your state to see what they are offering for your grade schoolers.

The Canadian Ski Council’s SnowPass allows 4th and 5th graders living in Canada to ski and ride three times at each participating ski area all across Canada for less than CDN$30 — the pass processing fee valid for two years.

There are also many adaptive programs around the country for those with physical and mental challenges including the National Sports Center for the Disabled in Winter Park, CO; the Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center also in Colorado; the National Ability Center in Park City, Utah, and Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports.

There are lots of opportunities for moms and grandmas to hone their skills at women’s clinics around the country.  Here’s what I wrote about my experience at The Canyons in Utah.

Eileen’s Favorite Family Ski and Snow Resorts:

I’ve written extensively about many of the top ski areas in North America (just search my columns and travel diaries for more information). Here are resorts and lodges in alphabetical order that are good bets for families this winter:

ALTA SKI AREA in Utah’s Little Cottonwood Canyon is adjacent to the chic Snowbird (you can purchase a combined ticket) but its retro style, lack of commercial development, and ban on snowboarding transport families back to the days before ski areas were all about glitz. Stay in an old-fashioned lodge that will entertain your kids after ski school and feed them early so you can enjoy a gourmet meal after hitting some of the best expert terrain in Utah. Lift ticket prices are less than at other major ski resorts, too, and the three base area tow ropes (Grizzly tow, Transfer tow and Alta Lodge tow) are free all day, every day.

APPALACHIAN MOUNTAIN CLUB in New England offers snow-loving families a different kind of winter outdoor adventure, cross country skiing, and snow-shoeing. You can even plan a winter cross-country skiing adventure; AMC offers self-guided and guided tours on its 80+ mile network of lodge-served, groomed, back-country ski trails in the 100-mile wilderness region of Maine. Guests can ski from lodge-to-lodge and enjoy home-cooked meals, private cabins, and gear shuttling between adventures. Custom adventures are available at both AMC’s Joe Dodge Lodge and Highland Lodge in the White Mountains and families can pick the activity, time and skill level at and a guide for the family. For information on backcountry skiing from lodge-to-lodge can be found here.
ASPEN: I love Aspen for its history (this was a bona fide mining town after all), its quaint downtown, restaurants, nightlife and the fact that, although this is a celebrity playground, you and your family can enjoy yourselves amidst the glitz and glamour without a Hollywood star’s budget. You have your choice of four mountains — Aspen, Buttermilk, Aspen Highlands and Snowmass which is family-central (see separate listing about Snowmass below). Aspen Mountain, with its famous black-diamond terrain, promises a variety of glades, bumps and steeps. Here’s what I wrote about first tracks on Aspen Mountain.  With 360º views of the Maroon Bells and plenty of expert terrain as well as groomed cruisers, Aspen Highlands has been the locals’ favorite for over 50 years. Hike the 12,392 feet to the summit of Highland Bowl for the ultimate inbounds backcountry rush. Buttermilk built its 50-year legacy on wide-open and gently rolling trails that cater to beginners and families. The 22-foot superpipe in the legendary terrain park does not disappoint.

BEAVER CREEK Colorado is a great resort for mixing luxury and winter activities. Well-heeled families love this Vail resort because it is smaller than Vail and more laid back while offering first-class service and a terrific ski school, not to mention the free fresh-baked cookies offered at 3 pm every day at the bottom of lift #6 (a great way to end the ski day!) Moms looking for some special “me” time can look forward to the Women’s Social Ski Tour, a complimentary two-hour women’s tours led by a dynamic female ski school instructor Tuesdays-Fridays.

BIG SKY RESORT, Montana The Big Sky Resort continues to grow from last year’s integration with the nearby Moonlight Basin Resort. Adding additional skiable acres through glading projects over the summer, Big Sky Report offers the biggest ski terrain in the United States — you can now access 5,804 skiable acres and endless ways to navigate 4,350 feet of vertical drop. At 11,166 feet it’s easy to see Lone Peak’s appeal to every age and level of skier and boarder.  Another plus: You are only an hour from Yellowstone National Park.

BRECKENRIDGE SKI RESORT is in the middle of a historic Colorado town and has been a family-adored destination for over 50 years. With over 200 restaurants, shops and more, Breckenridge is often dubbed the perfect mountain town. Check out One Ski Hill Place, a newer Rock Resort complete with its own bowling alley. Here’s what I wrote about our visit there.

BROMLEY MOUNTAIN RESORT is the only ski area in Vermont that faces totally south which means it could be warmer. Families love this mountain because it is more intimate with varied terrain including four terrain parks (one just for kids) and plenty of off-the-slopes action including outlet shopping, ice skating, sleigh riding, snowmobiling and cross-country skiing!

BOLTON VALLEY RESORT Offers the most extensive night skiing and riding in Vermont until 8pm Wednesday – Saturday and until 10pm every Friday. When tweens and teens rule. You can also give your kids a lesson in being green—the wind turbine near the top of Vista quad produces an eighth of the resort’s energy needs. You’ll run into a lot of locals from Burlington here, giving the resort a laid back and neighborly feel. Because everything is within walking distance-lodging, lifts, pool- it is an easy place to navigate with kids. Bolton’s three terrain parks, the 300 acres of trails and glades are divided almost equally for novice, intermediate and advanced skiers and riders. Bolton has a ski and ride school on site and they are experts at teaching kids how to ski and snowboard; and they should be, every year they teach 2000 kids in their After School Program, not to mention the countless others on weekends. Powder Passes are great for families that enjoy skiing but don’t need the commitment of full season passes. For just $199 for adults and $149 for youth/college/seniors, you’ll get five lift tickets that you can use any day during the 2014-15 season — with no blackout dates. Here’s what I wrote about Bolton Valley and how snow sports can change kids’ lives.

BOYNEBoyne Highlands Resort and Boyne Mountain Resort are Michigan’s two largest ski areas with a combined 850 skiable acres and 115 trails, the 2015-15 winter season brings on-hill renovations’ like expanded lift hours on the Interconnect and North Face chairlifts, added lanes to the Tubing Park and lighting on the NASTAR course. There’s an indoor water park the kids are sure to love and a winter zipline at Boyne Highlands.

COPPER MOUNTAIN in Colorado. Copper’s terrain is an easily navigable, pedestrian-friendly, true mountain village lies in the heart of this affordable, accessible Colorado resort. Located just 75 miles west of Denver, Copper Mountain is a year-round mountain getaway offering a low-key, genuine feeling that is inclusive and comfortable for all. 2,465 acres of naturally divided terrain awaits guests of all skill levels at this quintessential Colorado destination.

CRESTED BUTTE MOUNTAIN RESORT in Colorado combines a friendly, picturesque small town (just a few blocks long!), plenty of steeps and deeps and a tubing hill, complete with new Magic Carpet conveyor lift to transport guests up the hill. This mountain has long been one of my family’s favorites. We think the fact that CB is harder to reach than some other resorts adds to the appeal. There’s plenty to do at CB including: bungee trampolines a climbing wall, and a zip-line that you can ski to, as well as the Coke Zero Gravity BagJump, where you can jump from 20 or 30 feet into a big bag of air for an adrenaline-inducing experience. Families love the Camp CB and beginner learning area.  This year save big on a Crested Butte vacation with the exciting Grandest Christmas Package; spend  $999 for the whole family with 4 nights of lodging and 3 days of skiing for up to a family of 4 (2 adults, 2 children 17 years and younger) on stays from December 13th to the 27th. There will also be a Kids Free Deal November 26- December 18, 2-14. Also take advantage of CB’s special 4th night and 4th day free option: purchase three nights of lodging and three days of lift tickets between January 1 and March 8, 2015 and receive a fourth night of lodging and fourth day of skiing free. And also note that kids 12 and under ski and stay free when you book lodging and lift tickets from March 19 to April 5, 2015.

HEAVENLY RESORT in California overlooks Lake Tahoe and spans California and Nevada, and 65% of its trails are beginner and intermediate terrain–perfect for up-and-coming rippers. Three designated beginner areas feature snowmaking systems upgraded for the 2014-15 season to guarantee a high quality snow surface for learners, and kids-only learning zones like the Enchanted Forest at the California Base and the Bear Cave at the top of the Gondola feature designated skills and play areas.

JACKSON HOLE, Wyoming not only offers the chance to ski and ride but to explore an authentic Cowboy town and Yellowstone National Park in winter when the crowds are gone. If it is your first time to the mountain, you can take a complimentary Mountain Host tour. This will help you get to know the mountain on groomed terrain with friendly hosts. There is a special Beginner Center where pros guarantee that you’ll be able to ski after your first beginner class, and you can repeat the First Day Learn to Turn class as often as you like. And you can take a guided snowshoe tour at the base of the Tetons.

KEYSTONE RESORT An easy hour drive from downtown Denver, with three mountains where families can snag an inexpensive condo. Keystone is a Vail Resort, which means that its ski and snowboard school is first rate. Your kids will love the huge snow fort, the Kidtopia Festival daily programming throughout the season, Disco tubing and more. Look for a variety of free night deals, even during peak times as well as discounts on a second person’s lessons. Here’s what I wrote about Keystone’s ice fort.

LAKE PLACID, NY Home to the Winter Olympics in both 1932 and 1980, the region has a long history as a snowsports mecca. Today, the steeps of Whiteface Mountain, nearly 5,000 feet tall in the heart of the Adirondacks attract alpine skiers and riders. But we love this town for its variety of outdoor recreational activities. There’s great hiking, cross-country ski centers, dogsledding, snowmobiling on mountain bike trails, and ice skating on area lakes or the indoor arena. You can join the ice fishermen and even compete in popular fishing derbies throughout the winter.

MAMMOTH MOUNTAIN California. Some people come to Mammoth for the 150 trails, others for its 3,100 feet of vertical. At the highest ski resort in California with a peak elevation of 11,053 feet, there’s plenty of snow, sun (300 days a year), three learning centers for kids, special clinics and the chance to sled and tube, snowmobile, go for a dog sled ride or snow shoe. There’s even a snow play area at Woolly’s Adventure Summit Tube Park where families with young kids can build a snowman and enjoy the snow play area.

MT BACHELOR in Bend, Oregon is the largest ski resort in the Cascade Range, offering 3,683 acres and 360 degrees of lift-accessible terrain. The mountain also boasts two tubing lifts and two beginner carpets, five terrain parks, 56k of groomed and tracked cross country trails, snowshoeing, tubing, sled dog rides and more. Kids, 12 and under, can ski free if an adult in their family purchases a multi-day ticket!

MOUNT SNOW RESORT is Vermont¹s closest major mountain resort to the Northeast¹s metropolitan areas.  The mountain is easy to navigate with all four mountain faces originating off one peak, making it easy for families to stay together. It¹s powerful snowmaking system has undergone an unprecedented upgrade for the 2014/2015 season with the installation of 645 new state-of-the art, low energy snow guns.  It is the largest single snow gun upgrade in the resort¹s 60 year history and improves a snowmaking system already anchored by 253 high-output fan guns – the most in North America.

NORTHSTAR CALIFORNIA RESORT, located between the historic town of Truckee, California and Lake Tahoe, is a short drive from the Reno/Tahoe International Airport and is easily accessible from San Francisco or Sacramento. The most family friendly resort in the Tahoe region, Northstar has 3,170 acres of skiing and riding featuring seven award winning progressive terrain parks and the RiperooRiglet Park for snowboarders 3-6 years old.

OKEMO located in Southern Vermont with easy access from Boston, New York and other East Coast points. Okemo offers free use of its carpet lifts all season long and Northstar Quad chair with a new six-passenger high-speed lift with a retractable dome and heated seats … the first lift of its kind in North America! No more cold chairlift rides … unless you want to ride one of Okemo’s other 18 lifts. Children 6 & under ski or ride free ((Ask for a free lift ticket at the ticket window. Child must be present at ticket window).  Okemo also has plenty of other options for fun in the snow right at the mountain—(DELTED A SKATING) tubing, skating, swimming, an alpine coaster and even a giant snow mound where kids like to play king of the mountain.

PARK CITY: Located in Utah, Park City is a short shuttle ride from Salt Lake City airport, which is home to three major kid-friendly resorts. Canyons Resort and Deer Valley Resort, is where the luxe Montage aims to cater to well-heeled families (no snowboarders at Deer Valley!) You’ll find plenty of bargains (especially at the Canyons), service and gourmet meals (especially at Deer Valley) and all of the terrain features your riders and free skiers could want (Park City Mountain Resort) which also offers night skiing and riding. You’ll also have fun exploring the historic mountain town chock full of shops and restaurants. The National Ability Center is designed to help all those in your family with special challenges. You can also have the chance to test your mettle on an Olympic bobsled run at the Utah Olympic Park. Here’s what I wrote about Park City Mountain Resort’s Ladies’ Club dedicated to getting moms back on the slopes.

SMUGGLERS’ NOTCH in Northern Vermont, not far from Burlington or Montreal, is known in New England for its top-notch children’s programs (including infant care) and off the slope activities including a zip line canopy tour. The resort’s Club Smugglers’ vacation packages include lift tickets, lodging, use of the indoor pool and hot tubs, unlimited use of cross country and snowshoe trails as well as the FunZone Family Entertainment Center, tubing and more.

SNOWMASS, by far the largest of the four mountains in Aspen, is family snow sports central, complete with its TreeHouse Kids Adventure Center  Check the Snowmass website for other deals, and also don’t miss the resident Golden Eagle at the nearby free Aspen Center for Environmental Studies. Take a guided snowshoe tour at Snowmass or Aspen Mountains.   Visit the Snowmass Ice Age Discovery Center that showcases the terrific find of prehistoric mastodons. Here’s what I wrote about the discovery.

SOLITUDE MOUNTAIN Located just 30 miles outside Salt Lake City, Solitude Mountain Resort boasts over 1,200 skiable acres including 65 trails, three bowls, and groomers for all ability levels. There’s also a Nordic Center with 20 kilometers of trails and an extra 10 kilometers designated for snowshoeing. Famously short lift lines and the relative quiet of the mountain make it an ideal spot for families looking to avoid the more crowded resorts in the area.

SQUAW VALLEY USA  in California has a mountaintop beginner area perfect for kids including the Belmont Terrain Park complete with kid-friendly jumps, mini cross-course and more. Kids 4 and under ski free and the resort recently added new mini snowmobiles and revamped snow tubing at the resort’s base area. At Squaw, you can hit the slopes until 8pm on weekends and holidays.

STEAMBOAT In Northern Colorado, Steamboat is recognized as a top family ski resort in North America thanks to its dedicated Kids’ Vacation Center with its western themed play area and well-trained children’s staff. The resort has long been an innovator for families with Kids Ski Free, Kids Fly Free and Kids Rent Free programs. Plus, with the ambiance of an authentic Western town known for breeding Olympians and its Old Town Hot Springs pool and slides, there’s just as much to do off the mountain as on. There are Five kids-only lifts and two special beginner-teaching areas with special Magic Carpet lifts. More advanced kids access the entire mountain, including kids-only terrain at Rough Rider Basin, complete with dedicated lift plus teepees, a frontier-style fort and the Beehive – a kids’ terrain park. Check out the special Billy Kidd Race Camps–Dec. 15-17, 22-24, Jan. 12-14, Feb.9-11 & March 2-4, 17-19, 2015 and the STARS Kids’ Adaptive Camp –March 2014 is a fun ski camp for youth (age 6-20) with physical disabilities, new skiers, beginner skiers who need private lessons, intermediate. Visit Steamboat Stars for more information.

STOWE is home to Vermont’s highest Peak, Mt. Mansfield and is known for it’s postcard-pretty New England town, its “Famous Front Four trails” double-blacks, some of the longest intermediate cruisers in the East, and a group of beginner trails in the Toll House area. Spruce Peak is geared toward beginner and intermediate skiers and riders. Lower Spruce – the area nearest the Spruce Base Are Complex – is a great place to learn.

STRATTON in Southern Vermont is a favorite for East Coast families. Special packages are available at select times throughout the season, such as: kids 17 and younger are invited to ski and stay free when two adults purchase a (2 night minimum) lift and lodging package. Kids can get free rentals too, when an adult purchases a rental. Kids love the tubing hill and that once they are eight, they can drive a mini snowmobile in the Sun Bowl Base Area.

SUGARBUSH, VT – There’s nothing prettier than winter to show off the privately owned Sugarbush resort because of its scenic, small town base in the Mad River Valley of Vermont. You can expect lots of snow, naturally, and from the more than 350 new snowguns that guarantee great conditions over 70% of the terrain. We love the family apartments at the classy, barn-like Clay Brook, where you can cook and dine “at home” – slopeside — after their concierge has stocked your refrigerator as requested. Sugarbush is a big proponent of terrain-based learning, with programs at Schoolhouse starting at age 3.

SUNDAY RIVER in Maine boasts a 55-year history, 870 acres of terrain of eight interconnected peaks, 12 hour skiing and riding Fridays, Saturdays and select holidays, a White Cap Fun Center with a tubing park, and a Sugaring House so you get an up close and personal look of exactly how maple syrup is made—complete with samples. Many families come to Sunday River because of the Perfect Turn Ski and Ride School. During Children’s Festival Week (1/12 – 1/16), there will be scavenger hunts, live entertainment, movies, pajama parties, teen parties, and themed Perfect Turn kid’s lessons – with ids ski, snowboard, stay, rent, and learn – all for free when families stay three nights or longer!

TELLURIDE, a historic southwestern Colorado mountain town, is so safe that local parents let 10-year-olds run around on their own. Kids will enjoy outdoor adventure programs, a visit to the Climbing Rock, and rides on the free gondola connecting the towns of Telluride and Mountain Village. Visiting kids might learn a little Western history in the process. Nestled in a box canyon, the entire town of Telluride — four blocks long and four blocks wide— is a federally designated historic district, and it couldn’t be prettier with buildings dating back a century and mountain views in every direction.

TAOS SKI VALLEY, located in northern New Mexico with easy access from Albuquerque or Santa Fe, Taos is one of the last, most pristine, and still somewhat undiscovered ski areas in the country. It is still family owned and run. Not only is there great snow and an 18,000 square foot children’s center, but you have the opportunity to explore Native American culture nearby—right at the Taos Pueblo, the only living Native American community designated both as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and a National Historic Landmark.

VAIL has more than 5,200 acres to ski, including the famous Back Bowls and another 645 acres in Blue Sky Basin, the huge expanse of wilderness-like terrain that faces Vail’s bowls. This resort offers intermediate and expert skiers moguls, tree skiing, and even some cliffs. No one in your gang will get bored here—even after the slopes close. There is a bungee trampoline and multi-lane tubing hill at Adventure Ridge, as well as kids snowmobiling and ski biking. For some fun on the mountain, check out Coyote’s Escape, a 50-foot long wooden ski-through feature, and the teepee in Sherwood Forest. Also, check out the Nature Discovery Center at Eagle’s Nest with frequent nature walks and programs led by naturalists. You can even take a moonlight snowshoe tour! When it comes to ski lessons, for an extra fee, you can opt for the Ultimate Four, a small group lesson program for kids ages 3-15 with only four children per instructor.

WATERVILLE VALLEY RESORT is known as “New Hampshire’s Family Resort” and ranked #1 in New Hampshire for Kid-Friendly Activities by SKI Magazine. Waterville offers 220 acres to ski or ride, a Nordic Center that features more than 70km of groomed trails, and a Town Square just a short walk from most of the resort accommodations. Instructional programs are designed for kids of all ages and skill levels and new terrain features make Waterville Valley Resort one of the most fun and exciting places in New England to learn.

WHISTLER BLACKOMB in British Columbia is just 78 miles from Vancouver and was the official alpine skiing venue for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympics Winter Games. Whistler and Blackcomb are two side-by-side mountains, connected by the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola, which together offer over 200 marked runs, 8,000 acres of terrain, 16 alpine bowls, and three glaciers. There’s plenty of snow—over 458 inches a year—which means one of the longest ski seasons in North America. Check out the website for deals, including discounted airfare from certain cities and lodging deals. Coca-Cola Tube Park is located in the Base 2 Zone on Blackcomb Mountain and has seven lanes varying in difficulty. There’s also plenty to see and do besides the slopes, including a wide variety of restaurant options as well as several top après ski destinations. Open from Dec 15- Apr 15; weekdays: noon-7pm and weekends: 11am-7pm.

WINTER PARK RESORT is only 67 miles from Denver, this season Winter Park is celebrating its 75th season, a diamond anniversary for one of Colorado’s crown jewels. This park offers the state’s longest continually operating professional ski school. The Private Lesson Center allows your family to learn together. There is an incredible variety of terrain with over 3,000 skiable areas spread out over seven unique territories. The Resort is also home to the National Sports Center for the Disabled, which offers a variety of programs for those with special mental and physical challenges.

This special FamilyTravelConsulting.com travel section contains advertising and some sponsored content.  All opinions are based upon the author’s actual travel experience and knowledge.

Seasonal Travel Tips | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

One Response to Fun in the Snow — Your Guide to family vacations on the ski slopes and beyond

  1. Great tips for about every resort I can think of. To follow with the tips, with it now being Dec 12, all of those season passes and epic passes are closed. But there still are some deals left, but you have to book early. Everyone knows to book flights and hotels early, but never thinks there are price hikes for paying for lift tickets on the day of skiing. Snowmass lift tickets lift tickets are a good example, where you can save as much as $45/day just from buying 7 days in advance. The same is true of most every resort. So look for online deals well ahead of your trip. It will save a ton.

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