If you’ve never been on a family ski vacation you may think that it’s not for you – too expensive, too challenging, too complicated. But I would argue that they are the very best kind of trips to take with your kids offering simple pleasures and fun that you won’t find anywhere else. Why do I love family ski vacations?
Skiing and riding are great exercise – and anyone can learn how
By now, we all know the perils of too many screens and too little activity. A family ski vacation is the perfect antidote to too much time spent sitting in one place. Not only are you outside in the fresh, cold air, you are working all the major muscles groups of your body (including your core) and are getting cardiovascular exercise as well.
It’s also never too late to learn – My husband never skied a day in his life until he was in his early 40s. Because skiing and boarding are sports that require special equipment and some training, just about every mountain resort you visit offers some kind of ski school or lesson program for both adults and kids. Some resorts have group family lessons. There are even resorts offering adaptive programs for disabled skiers and boarders.
Ski vacations are a bargain
Since skiing is notoriously expensive, you may be surprised that I would say this. But in terms of value I’d argue that ski vacations offer a tremendous amount, especially if you are savvy about how you plan them. For one thing, almost every ski resort offers a range of accommodations including condo rentals. Not only will you and your family have space to spread out, you’ll have a kitchen and hopefully laundry facilities as well. Bring and cook your own food and you’ll save a bundle.
Another way to save money on your family ski vacation is to plan in advance and take advantage of preseason discounts for lift tickets and passes. If you prefer not to commit early, keep your eyes open for midseason package deals that often include lift tickets, equipment rentals, and even lessons. Multi-day rentals and lift tickets are almost always discounted as well, so if you plan a longer vacation you’ll pay less. And once you’ve paid for your skiing and a place to stay, many resorts offer additional activities for little or no cost – these range from face painting and family Bingo nights to sledding and winter nature walks.
Depending on how far you have to travel to ski, I would argue that there’s no reason as family ski vacation needs to be more expensive than a beach or theme park trip. And if you decide to make a commitment to a seasonal gear lease or by purchasing equipment at a ski swap or on sale over the summer you’ll save even more.
Skiing and riding parents are cool
I may not understand my 12-year-old son’s music and I’m pretty useless when it comes to having a catch with him, but when it comes to skiing I’m right there on the mountain with him. My knees may not have the endurance that his do and he may roll his eyes when I tell him to slow down, but he also knows that I’ll take him all over the mountain. It makes me feel like a kid myself when he and I are flying down a favorite trail together or skiing the glades and I like to think that he respects me just that much more for my willingness to pick up the speed.
Mountain resorts offer more than just skiing
I don’t know about you, but I think there is little that’s more peaceful than gazing at a snowy mountain view; that alone is enough to sell me on a ski vacation. But if scenery isn’t enough to convince you, ski areas have responded to the challenge of changing weather and the needs of families by offering a wide range of things to do. From snow forts to skating rinks to sleigh rides to tubing to ziplining to snowshoeing naturalist tours, there are oodles of ways to get outside in the winter without ever putting a pair of skis on your feet. And if it’s too cold or rainy to enjoy time outdoors, then why not visit the indoor pool, the spa, the movie theater, or the make-your-own pottery shop? Other options for family ski vacation fun of the non-skiing variety include playing board games or planning and cooking a fabulous meal in your condo. I’ve never been bored on a family ski trip.
You get the best kind of family time on ski vacations
When I’m alone on a chairlift with my sons they talk to me not just about the next runs they want to take or where they’ve been that day but about what’s happening with their friends or at school. They ask me questions and listen to my answers. Rarely do I have their undivided attention like this and I treasure every moment of it.