THREE FABULOUS FAMILY SKI TRIPS
There is no winter activity so rewarding as a ski vacation with the entire family. Choosing a resort and accommodation that provides activities for every level of ski skills and every age group can be quite difficult, but we've located three of the best in the United States.
Smuggler's Notch in Northern Vermont GUARANTEES your family's good time. Really. It bills itself as the "only resort in North America that guarantees family fun."
Certainly, judging from the varied programs the resort offers for all age groups, the range of difficulty on the slopes, the sundry lodging options and apré ski activities, it's hard to imagine any family cashing in on the guarantee.
Kids have a ball, but one of the nicest aspects of this resort is that parents can have a ball too, with or without the kids. Day care (kid's camp) begins at an unusual 6 weeks old, with age-appropriate groupings and activities through age 14.
Accommodations range from simple studios with kitchenettes to lavish four and five bedroom homes. The resort has several restaurants if you don't feel like "eating in," an indoor pool and hot tub, outdoor skating rink, and indoor fun center for the entire family.
The Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia provide the perfect backdrop for one of the best ski resorts on the East Coast, Wintergreen. Accommodation is provided in condominiums and private homes, studio to seven bedrooms. Ski levels include open terrain for beginners, plenty of intermediate slopes, and challenging black diamond runs, all separated from each other, providing a comfortable environment for every level of skier and snowboarder.
The kid's program, called The Treehouse, features activities for all ages from 2 1/2 to 12 years. Ski Cubs, ages 3 - 5, and Ski Cats, ages 6 - 12, learn skills appropriate to their ages and experience. The Ski Buddy program provides a companion for children who already know how to ski, and the Kids in Action program offers non-skiers a chance to enjoy exciting activities within The Treehouse.
Six restaurants, a full spa and fitness center, year-round indoor pool, and the unique "ski and golf" program round out this exquisite resort.
Steamboat Springs in Western Colorado has always been a fun family venue, with its western themes, hay rides, and stunning Rocky Mountain vistas.
The Steamboat Grand Hotel provides the perfect family respite combined with Steamboat's active "Kid's Vacation Center." All manner of activities are available, from ski-school to "Giggle Gulch," a kid's terrain park. Steamboat also has two kids-only ski lifts and several kids-only ski areas for all skill levels. A "Kid's Night Out" program for children age 4 - 12 provide a nice break for parents choosing to dine à deux.
The 327 guestroom resort hotel provides accommodation from hotel rooms to three-bedroom suites; there is an onsite year-round outdoor pool and a fully equipped fitness center. Three full restaurants, a slopeside snack bar and a food court provide ample sustenance. Underground parking is also provided
No matter which resort you choose, no matter what your ski skill levels are, sipping cocoa with your kids in front of the fire after a day out in the snow has got to be great family time.