We love to hear tips from other parents about how to have a fantastic ski vacation. In this post, sponsored by Go Breck, Shannon Entin tells us how to successfully enjoy a multi-family ski trip. (Hint: The secret may be in the meatballs!)
I’m proud of myself for skiing the gully on Psychopath at Breckenridge, Coloroado but my biggest accomplishment there was actually cooking spaghetti and meatballs for 21 people. I’d planned and come prepared and I’m happy to say no one left the table hungry.
But on my first multi-family ski trip I had lessons to learn. We had four families staying in one large ski vacation rental and the night we arrived, three of us went to the grocery store and filled two shopping carts to overflowing. In the checkout line, my friend suggested that she pay for the groceries and we split everything evenly when we got back home. The problem was that the other three families had four children to my two – and that my kids ate like birds compared to their teenage boys. We worked it out, but I was uncomfortable with the last-minute decision making at the checkout counter.
A multi-family ski vacation takes planning
I’ve got five tips to help you succeed:
Choose a leader. Pick one member of your group who will book the accommodations and keep everyone organized. This should be someone with good communication and managerial skills. A private Facebook page ensures everyone involved sees all messages and has an opportunity to state opinions – plus it keeps people fired up to hit the powder.
Decide on a location. We chose Breckenridge as the perfect ski resort because of the varied terrain accessible at every peak, allowing all of our family members to ski and ride in the same area. We also chose it for the unique and relaxed atmosphere of the town, and the many options for shopping, dining, and off-mountain activities all in close proximity to the mountain. Consider what each member in your group will want to do and be sure everyone will be well-served by your choice of location
Consider your transportation options. When traveling with a large group, there is money to be saved. You can often get group discounts on activities, save on food, and save on transportation. For instance, at Breckenridge if you are all coming into the Denver airport around the same time, chartering a van or large SUV will be your thriftiest option. It’s very easy to get around Breck without a rental car, but if you feel you want one, you can definitely manage with just one vehicle for your group.
Make some meal decisions in advance. You may think food is a trivial concern, but it can cause a lot of tension when one family’s idea of vacation is eating out every night, while the others want to save money on food by taking turns cooking. I’ve found that a combination of eating out and staying in is the best way to go. Talk to your group and decide how many people want to eat in how many days, then decide how to divvy up the food bill and the cooking/cleaning responsibilities.
We had a great time on our multi-family trip taking turns cooking, and each family went home with new recipes. But when you all want to eat out in Breck don’t miss Downstairs at Eric’s. This combination arcade and sports bar has scrumptious food and a lively atmosphere that’s fun for all ages.
Communicate, lean on each other, and spend some time apart. Discuss bedtime policies and be aware of food issues. Plan ahead of time to split up what you have to pack; you might be able to share toys or gear. Find out how the other adults feel about taking turns babysitting so the different couples can have some alone time.
One of the best thing about vacationing as a group is that your kids have built-in playmates, but be sure they also spend some time apart. This goes for adults, too; make some plans separately and have a little down time away from the other families. Most of all, enjoy the special bond you’ll be creating with your friends and extended family. Some of our best memories are of our ski vacations with friends and family.
Shannon Entin is a family travel writer and lover of snow. Passionate about road trips, her goal is to drive through all 50 states in America, chronicling her adventures at 100 Routes Across America.