Family ski vacation guide with the best ski resorts for family skiing

Category: Ski Gear Reviews (page 2 of 2)

Get Your Kids Ready to Ski

2-ski-timberline2The PSIA and I agree on how to get your kids ready to ski. Here is sage ski advice from the Professional Ski and Snowboard Instructors of America with our own Family Ski Tips. Confession: I was a member of PSIA when I taught skiing at Smugglers Notch Resort in Vermont in the 90s. Flash forward, as Editor of Luxury Vacation Guide and, I have similar ski tips for parents on how to make skiing fun with less stress for everyone.

PSIA Ski Tips
1. Be active as a family before your ski trip

Skiing and snowboarding require physical fitness, so start an exercise program for you and your family. Whether it’s enrolling kids in soccer or another sport, to taking walks together as a family, it’s important to get moving. See my similar tips on quad strengthening wall sits pre ski season.
2. Do your weather homework 
blizzard-heatherSki resorts have mountain cams,  temperature updates, even meteorologists on retainer. Know before you go –  what the weather and temperature is like on the mountain and where you are staying, so you can dress your child appropriately for conditions. At some resorts temps vary greatly from the town versus the mountain, mind the elevation too!
3. Try on ski/snowboard  gear before you go
For younger children getting used to putting on ski or snowboard equipment and clothing helps them adjust to the mountain environment more easily. You can make it a game, we call it the pre ski season fashion runway show,  and help them see their ski/snowboard clothes and equipment as something fun to play in versus something strange or bulky to wear. For older kids, it also helps to check to make sure everything still fits and is working properly before you arrive on the slopes.
3family-lookout-pass4. Invest in lessons for your kids
Having your kids learn from an expert can make their ski/snowboard experience more fun, see our Top Tips for teaching kids to ski,  and also gives you time to enjoy the slopes. Set the expectation that the lesson is more like a sports practice than going to school and that they’ll have fun while getting to learn new skills.
5. Watch ski/snowboard movies or videos to get everyone excited
We couldn’t agree more – nothing like a Warren Miller family ski movie night to amp up the alpine enthusiasm among the fam! Use media to motivate your kids and set expectations of what their experience on the mountain and lessons will be like. Check out ski and snowboard clips on YouTube .
6. Pack the right gear
family-ski-trip-packingYou don’t have to spend a fortune on kids’ ski and snowboard gear. Just make sure they have a good snowsuit that’s wind/snow resistant along with goggles, long socks pulled up below the knee, snow gloves and insulated layers. If they become more involved in the sport then you can invest in wicking base layers and more expensive jackets when they will be out on the mountain for longer periods of time. There’s a science to packing properly – see our guide to packing for a family ski trip.

Get your kids ski bags and gear and get ready! See our reviews of the Best Family Ski resorts in the World and we’ll see you on the  ski slopes!

By Heather Burke, 2018 Copyright & Photography Family Ski Trips

Break a leg…ski joke!

Before actors take the stage, a traditional good luck wish is “break a leg.” The same protocol clearly does not apply in skiing, since leg and specifically knee injury is one of the most common incidents/accidents in the winter sport. About 2 in 1,000 participant skier days result in injury according to – reported leg and knee being the most frequent, much higher than skiers, thumb, lift or head injuries.

The human knee is amazingly engineered, it bends, twists, pivots, genuflects, jumps, lands, you name it- but sometimes all that gyration despite all the physical preparation and fitness, can tweak the knee. New knee friendly bindings and ski boot advances are working to reduce the knee injury, ACL tear, rate… still it is commonplace among competitive skiers – just ask Lindsey Vonn, Bode Miller, Simon Dumont, snowboarder Seth Wescott

Interestingly, if you compare the ski and snowboard injury rate to soccer, a hot topic as the World Cup is going on in Brazil at the moment, soccer has an injury rate 35x greater than skiing and snowboarding according to, and that’s calculated during a single game versus an entire skier visit which encompasses a whole day of ski activity (well, we know statistically some of you only take 5 runs, while others bang out 20-25 in a ski day).

1purgatory4Still, every skier that has sustained a ski knee injury knows once it happens to you, it becomes top of mind, something you must physically and mentally overcome in order to confidently return to the ski slopes.

Who can forget Lindsey Vonn’s harrowing scream when she crashed at the World Cup in Austria, watching her knee twist inhumanely. I fractured my tibia plateau skiing at Crested Butte a week before her… so it stung for me too. She came back, I came back… so many skiers do for the love of skiing. But I will never forget the girlfriends who said jokingly “break a leg” to me before my 7 ski resort 11 day ski safari to southwest Colorado.

We’ll talk about helmet safety statistics and the very rare fatalities, which occur 0.68 per million ski and snowboard visits, suffice it to say you are safer on the slopes than in your car on the roads. Know the code and savor your love of skiing.

Just to be safe, and superstitious,  refrain from the phrase, “break a leg” to your ski and snowboard friends, k …


Copyright 2018, by Heather Burke of

Buying New Ski Boots ~ the Fit, the Sole and the Stink

family-ski-trip-packingI love getting new skis, I’m like a kid in a candy store when I get to demo shiny sharp new boards. But I hate having to buy new ski boots. Achieving a perfect ski boot fit is so key, yet so taxing on my soles. Fellow skiers, you know the pinches and winces associated in breaking in new ski boots, or more likely – new ski boots break you in – from your toes to your shins. So when my four-season-old ski boots were feeling cavernous, the lining packed out, the insoles lacking any cushion or bounce, just a bad odor, I dreaded shopping for new ski boots.

vail-heather-simbaNot having time, or an extra $500 kicking around, I opted instead to spend just 15% of that on new custom foot beds with admittedly low expectations. Wow – what a difference. My 160-ski-day-old boots were revitalized. By simply sliding in new Tread Lab foot beds, my feet and my skiing were reinvigorated – not to mention fresher smelling.

I could carve better, and my feet were warmer – even on a -4F degree ski day at Sugarbush, Vermont. I boots-ski2016didn’t even have to schlep to the ski shop since Tread Labs, based in Stoneham, Mass., ships two pair of insoles within your exact shoe size and width, offering varying arch support. You pick the best fit and send the other pair back in the prepaid, labeled package. If neither pair of insoles work, return them both for a full refund.

There are plenty of custom foot beds and orthotics on the market. Tread Labs, made in the U.S., have a 1purgatory4unique deep heel cup and indestructible arch support – with a lifetime guarantee. I’ll get back to you on that after 40 days of skiing.

Apparently you can also move your Tread Labs to other footwear, your sneakers in summer and hiking boots in fall for example. At $75 a pair, Tread Labs are worth trying to enhance your ski boot comfort and therefore your skiing performance, because happy feet are key to a happy skier.

Heather Burke, 2018 Copyright & Photography property of Family Ski Trips

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