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

Category: Ski Goals (page 2 of 3)

Where was the snow in 2018?

Where was the snow for winter 2018 ski friends?
Skiers are always lusting for the best snow conditions. It’s a cat and mouse chase… as the weather is as fickle as Tweety and Sylvester. This year the chase is real, while the Rockies, particularly Utah and Colorado, haven’t gotten big snow or consistent cold, The East, The Alps and The Pac North West have seen big snow accumulation, cool temps and great ski conditions to start the season.

Top ski resorts in the East like Sugarbush, Okemo, Jay Peak, Mount Snow, Pico and Stowe are wide-open by New Year’s, that’s something to pop Champagne about. Its been uber cold to perserve New England’s snow, perhaps a bit too cold for skiers though when well below zero!

Meanwhile, Park City Utah is balmy, with just 60 of its 300 + trails open, yikes! Aspen’s four mountains are just 20% open. South West Colorado and New Mexico are downright snow-deprived. Same goes for Tahoe ski resorts in California. Meanwhile, Grand Targhee in Wyoming is 100% open, and nearby Jackson Hole is looking good! So is Montana, big snow at Big Sky, Great Divide, and Whitefish. In the Pacific Northwest, where we are headed in January, Stevens Pass and Snoqualmie are 100% with 50-100” base depths of natural snow!

Canada’s Rockies are strong, with the majority of terrain open at steep Kicking Horse, Panorama, Big White which we skied and loved last season, Lake Louise, and Sunshine in Banff, and Whistler Blackcomb, where we’ll ski January. In Quebec, its been frigid, and Tremblant and Mont Sainte Anne are frosty with snow.

The biggest snow of the season is in the Alps! The French Alps, Austria and Switzerland have all been hammered with December snow, all white for the holidays and the start to the year. St Anton Austria already has base depths of 250cm, Verbier Switzerland is reporting 10 feet of snow so far.

So if you like to go to the snow, follow us here at Family Ski Trips. We started our ski season at Okemo Mountain Resort in Vermont, where they’d blown piles of man made, and early December brought natural snow to complement their conditions. Similarly Bretton Woods and the Mount Washington Resort just before Christmas had us skiing natural glades and gorgeous groomers with 5 inches of fluff on top – white Christmas in New Hampshire’s White mountains!

Next up, we’ll be skiing Whistler Blackcomb in the new year, as well as Washington’s ski resorts Snoqualmie and Crystal – so says our crystal ball.

Snow prayers for Colorado where we head in February for Copper On Snow Demos, skiing at Steamboat and Vail too!

We are Alps bound mid-winter visiting Portes Du Soliel – the largest ski terrain in the world which spans 12 resorts between Mont Blanc in France and Lake Geneva in Switzerland.

We’ll end our winter at one of our favorite ski resort on the planet, Big Sky, this Montana resort never disappoints with its big mountain terrain, beautiful views and cool vibe.

Where are you skiing this season? See our Guide to the Top Ski Resorts and our Guide to Skiing the Alps to plan your 2018 winter of skiing!

Copyright 2018, by Heather Burke of

Top 10 Apres Ski Tips

How to Après Ski Like a Pro…

My friends ask me, “do I have to ski to après ski?” This naive inquiry comes mostly from my gal pals , who fear getting cold, hurt or embarrassed, but don’t want to miss a good party. I have decided to let them in on our after skiing social since the ratio of ladies to dudes at ski resorts bars is sadly disproportionate. However, I do ask that non-skiers make an effort to understand the skiing lifestyle and après ski culture. Most importantly, I advise them not to start conversations with “I wish I could ski, looks fun, but it terrifies me.” Or “I hate the cold.” And “I’m afraid of heights.”

Here’s a guide of how to be a good après skier!
You can join in all the fun and camaraderie over cocktails, ok – predominantly beer,  without the risk of falling on the slopes, totally avoiding the cold and the cost of a lift ticket.

To excel at après ski requires much less athletic prowess than skiing or snowboarding, you just need to balance on a bar stool, maybe navigate snow base lodge stairs. As a non-skier, you can show up to the slope-side bar looking fresh, no helmet hair or sweaty UnderArmour, and jump in as if you have been carving cord all day.

Here are some après ski practice tips, so that you are top notch, and can fit in with your fall line friends as soon as snow flies.

  1. Dress like a skier. Look like you skied even though you didn’t.
  2. No need to wear ski boots, real skiers take them off for serious après ski. Instead opt for visible ski socks with loose Merrill’s or LL bean boots (when in Maine). Ladies can don furry boots, but be careful not to look to chi chi or haute-maintenance in the mountains. You are pretending you skied, right snow bunny?!
  3. Get yourself a prime bar stool, near the window so you can watch the descending last chair lappers. Point outside, laugh, as if that awkward guy who is actually skiing is a bigger loser than you. LOL
  4. Tip the bartender early and enthusiastically. Remember their name, share yours. You will look like a regular.
  5. Bring a puppy (pet friendly bars only) and say you’re training your Dog  for patrol and avalanche rescue. Wait and watch as your dog, and eventually you, receive ridiculous amounts of attention.
  6. Bring attractive friends if the puppy ploy seems staged and you don’t actually own a dog.
  7. Wear an air cast and have an epic, convincing story about your double black diamond crash that was not caught on tape – sadly.
  8. When asked in too much detail about your ski day, deflect – ask them: what’s your favorite trail, what do you ski on, how many millimeters under foot, how many ski days do you usually bag in a season? etc… Skiers love to brag and boast.
  9. Don’t dance in your bare feet, rookie move. There are sloppy skiers in ski boots on the dance floor – ouch! Unless you are going for the “après ski injury” and sympathy vote.
  10. Don’t get hammered… that’s not pretty in any sport or season…sure, do one shot ski to cross it off your bucket list – and because its “trust building” exercise with your new ski buddies – but know when to say when.  Cheers! See our Favorite Après Ski Bars on the Planet… seriously consider Learning to Ski or Trying to Snowboard!

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Ski Magazine Top Ski Resort rankings?!

Dear Ski Magazine,

I love you – I always will…but… your top 50?! I’m not sure…

Seriously I have loved you since my youth, you made me want to be a better skier, and to be a ski journalist. I love seeing you, Ski mag, in my mailbox… it makes my banal schlep to the Post Office feel like a powder day. And your fall edition, with the Top 50 Resorts Readers’ Picks, has always been my favorite flavor of the month issue.

In recent years, however, this Top Ski Resort Guide evokes skepticism on my part… like this year…

Best skiing in the west: Sun Valley #2? Really?! Jackson Hole is awarded the most “terrain variety” … I beg to differ. I’m a well-traveled skier, at 165 ski resorts and counting…  Big Sky (at #13?) in my opinion ranks much higher than Keystone. Similarly Snowbird (#17) is far superior skiing to Crested Butte (#14). Same can be said for Snowbasin at #25.

In the East, I love seeing Sugarbush climb to #2, but Mount Snow is surely not #3 in New England. Stowe (#8) should earn much higher in ranks than Jay Peak (#5). Surprising to see Mad River Glen at #6, but I appreciate the authenticity of the skiers-only mountain. Same goes for Sugarloaf and its loyal following and avid voters deeming it #7 (Sugarloafers probably think this number 7 rank is a travesty for their beloved Maine mountain, should be #1 in their minds). I’d put Sunday River and Killington well ahead of Loon for that matter.

Here’s our Top Ski Resorts in The West
Aspen Snowmass
Big Sky Montana
Steamboat Colorado
Vail Colorado 
Deer Valley
Snowbird Utah
Jackson Hole Wyoming
Mammoth Mountain California
Snowbasin Utah
Honorable Mention:
Whitefish – aka Big Mountain – Montana

Top Ski Resorts in The East
Stowe Vermont
Okemo Mountain Resort
Sunday River
Bretton Woods
Smugglers Notch
Loon Mountain
Wildcat New Hampshire 
Le Massif in Quebec

Top Ski Resorts in Canada
Sunshine at Banff
Big White
Kicking Horse
Whistler Blackcomb
Lake Louise
Le Massif Quebec
Tremblant Quebec
Mont Sainte Anne Quebec

I respect that your Readers’ Choice Top 50 Resorts are the result of a ballot, but given the weird results – I wonder if some ski resorts might be ballot-stuffing, or perhaps cultish ski locals are over-voting to put their beloved ski area on top. Or maybe personal taste is just that… no accounting for it…

Thanks of listening, and let me know how you find our Top Ski Resorts Reviews… keep skiing and striving to be the best.


Ski Magazine reader and passionate skier, forever Heather
Editor and

Copyright and photos property of Family Ski and our sister site The Luxury Vacation Guide

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About Our Editor Heather Burke

2avalancheHeather Burke has been the editor of Family Ski Trips since 1995. In 1999 she launched Luxury Ski Trips- which she later sold to, and she launched Luxury Vacation Guide  in 2017.

Here are 10 Ski Questions for the Ski Travel Journalist & Editor between ski trips to Canada and Colorado:

What’s your ski goal each season? Ski my age in days – so that’s 50 this season… and an exponentially more challenging goal to achieve each year! Also I want to add several new ski resorts every winter, I’ve skied 147 on Liftopia’s Where I’ve Ski app!

What’s your Favorite Ski Resort? The one I haven’t skied yet!
6kitzbuhel-hrb-markus-pow2#lol Seriously I love Kitzbuhel and St Anton in Austria, and Big Sky in Montana, and there are very few ski areas I don’t love (not naming names).

Where do you most want to ski? As a travel journalist, I am fortunate enough to to ski all over the globe… I’m living the dream. I’m very excited to ski and aprés ski the French Alps this season! just skied Big White in BC Canada – it made my Canadian Top 10 Ski Resorts!

4heatherFavorite Gear? Right now its my Rossignol Temptation 100’s! It’s the first time I have found a women’s ski to be a real strong performer and an all quiver ski.  These Rossi’s are wide and stable, carve well on groomed and hard pack but float beautifully in powder – and they’re pretty!

Go To Ski Outfit? I love my SKEA Silver Cargo Pants, my Skea Blue Effie jacket with the gorgeous fur trim hood,  and my aprés ski skirt!

Proudest skiing accomplishments? Raising two beautiful big-sky-family2016children who love to ski as much as me, skiing 170 ski resorts (so far, so good!) and being a respected ski travel journalist!

 What famous skier would you most like to meet? Lindsey Vonn – Strong is the New Beautiful! And Klaus Obermeyer – he’s amazingly passionate, talented and time-tested.

Visit Heather Burke’s websites Family Ski and  for luxury resort reviews:

Copyright & photos 2018, property of Family Ski


Most Epic Ski Winter Ever?

Entering this winter I had lofty ski goals. I vowed to ski my age in days, and pledged to do so at a big birthday party with all my friends as witness. Not only did I hit my mark, I exceeded 50 with a bunch of bonus ski days! This was the best winter of skiing EVER. How was your ski season?

My amazing ski season brought first tracks in Maine and a White Christmas in Vermont, cat skiing Canada to Courchevel France, ending with perfect spring corn in Colorado. 69 days at over 28 ski resorts. It was truly epic, thanks in large part to the EPIC Pass. Did you achieve your ski goals? Ski anywhere new and different?

My skis are put away, so I am reminiscing about this best-ever ski season, already dreaming of next winter’s snow and where to go!

My Top Ten from a Top Ski Season:

1. Skiing Vermont over Christmas with my daughter and husband was snow globe magic. I grew up in Vermont so I treasured being back in the Green Mountains all covered in white at Jay Peak and Burke.

2. Cat skiing in the Canadian Rockies. How ironic that we flew from Maine to the remote Monashees only to find that our cat ski companions were all from Sugarloaf! What followed? Four days of fantastic camaraderie, untouched powder, steep and deep tree skiing and hot tubbing amid Alpen Glow with our new ski friends.

3. Discovering Big White was a big win, this cool Canadian ski resort is friendly, fun, with fantastic frost-covered trees. What’s
not to love? Good snow, gorgeous groomed trails, genuine Canadian hospitality in the village, and a bonus 25% exchange rate for beer, eh?!

4. Skiing five Colorado ski resorts on one Epic Ski Pass in January was, well, EPIC! The snow goods blessed Colorado, and we skied fresh powder at Vail, Beavercreek, Breckenridge, Keystone and Arapaho Basin. We followed that trip with Utah, where we hit Park City and Canyons also on our Epic Pass. A lot of ski bang for our $800 bucks.

5. Powder Mountain in Utah lived up to its name. What a cool powder stash, and an up-and-coming indie resort, owned by the Summit Group. If you want to get away from Vail Resort conglomerate and crowds, Snowbasin and Powder – just a half hour apart, are gems with huge terrain, few peeps, and terrific scenery.

6. Skiing The French Alps! It had been 30 years since I’d skied France and the alpine ambiance was just as “charming” as I remembered. Jagged snow covered peaks, vast vertical descents at the biggest ski resorts in the world, alpine chalets serving fondue on the slopes, après ski dancing and drinking, followed by more refined cuisine and fine wine at five-star French hotels. Fantastique!

7. My new favorite European ski villages are Courchevel and Méribel, on par with Kitzbühel and St Anton. Val D’Isère is another classic ski town – historic and happening apres ski with La Folie Douce on-snow party that’s off-the-hook.

8. The best culinary event on the snow is “Taste of Vail” combining my three favorite things: wine, food and skiing. This is an extraordinary culinary event for the vertically obsessed. I’ve never tasted such wonderful wines – the perfect après ski in quintessential Vail resort.

9. The big splash to our end of season – watching
Vail’s World Championship Pond Skimming at Spring Back to Vail which also featured a big name band live concert, free, with Magic in Gerald Ford’s presidential park at Vail. A musical magical ending to a 69 day ski season!

10. Two scary moments that make the highlight reel: Escaping a horrendous car crash on Vail Pass on our way to the slopes at 7am. (When it says icy roads may exist, you need to slow down even if you’re driving a four-wheel-drive Subaru. No one is invincible on ice). Surviving food poisoning in France (eating raw scallops at 10,000′, even at a Michelin 1 star restaurant, is a bad idea).

What were your top 10 ski memories of the ski season? Remember, if you don’t set ski goals, then how can you accomplish them? Skis are stowed, pulling out the Paddleboard, the bike and the boat… but dreaming of next ski winter!

By Heather Burke, Photos by Greg Burke, Copyright 2018

Visit Heather Burke’s websites Family Ski and  for luxury resort reviews:


Lessons from the GOAT – Tom Brady

tb12Super Bowl 51 is history – and historical – dubbed the most miraculous Super Bowl comeback of all time. Perhaps bigger than the plays on the field February 5 are Captain America’s actions off the turf.  Tom Brady is being heralded as the GOAT (my daughter Aspen explained the trending acronym): Greatest Of All Time. I’m calling Brady the Gracious Optimist of All Time.

Tom’s timing couldn’t be better in America – to be the pillar of grace, humility and positivity – showing up and showing us how to be the best human being possible – in a time of incredible divisiveness in our nation – Tom is optimistic, and kind. He has nothing but good things to say. How refreshing that the media can’t spin his positivism negatively?!  Today’s so-called “liberal” media is anything but open-minded and accepting – which is BTW the definition of liberal. The news can’t “deflate” TB 12’s champion attitude. Brady doesn’t seize the spotlight to shame, blame or boo anyone, he doesn’t perpetuate the hate, or lambaste the NFL. Tom is gracious – he takes responsibility for his actions, gives tremendous credit to his fellow players, praises and compliments his opponents, even indulges the same media that portrayed him as a cheater not so long ago – with a smile and patience. This Goat doesn’t GLOAT…

Tom Brady embodies and demonstrates daily the #DoYourJob work ethic that made our country great from infancy. Work hard and reap your rewards (5 Super Bowl rings) from the freedom and opportunity we are provided.

I am taking the high road with Tom. Brady works tirelessly to be the best he can be. TB12 is the 1% – the greatest of all time perhaps because he gives 101% effort every day. He’s not like the 99% that protest and complain and blame, the folks that don’t exercise or eat healthy but expect freebies, hand outs,  and federal help. If you haven’t read Tom Brady’s recommended book “The Four Agreements” do so. For anyone not motivated enough, didn’t want to say lazy – trying to be positive like TB, here is a summary of Tom’s principles outlined in this book (but you should read it – annually like Captain America does):
The Four Agreements:
Be impeccable in your word
Don’t take things personally
Don’t make assumptions
Always Do your Best

Last but not least is Tom Brady’s diet – his body is his temple and it shows on the field – a fierce competitor turned 40 on August 3, 2017. Tom is determined to play football until 48, saying he’s in his best shape ever! Try Tom Brady’s diet for a month, or a day:

“80 percent of what I eat is vegetables, the freshest vegetables. If it’s not organic, I don’t use it. And whole grains: brown rice, quinoa, millet, beans. The other 20 percent is lean meats: grass-fed organic steak, duck every now and then, and chicken. As for fish, I mostly cook wild salmon,” says Tom Brady. Remember his wife is also a super model.

patriotsWhat TB 12 doesn’t eat: “No white sugar. No white flour. No MSG. I’ll use raw olive oil, but I never cook with olive oil. I only cook with coconut oil. Fats like canola oil turn into trans fats. … I use Himalayan pink salt as the sodium. I never use iodized salt. No coffee. No caffeine. No fungus. No dairy.”

Can we all try to be a little more like TB? What the world needs now is positivism, kindness, acceptance, grace and a good ole fashioned hard work ethic. Let go of the negative – take responsibility, embrace each day and be positive. #DoYourJob and be your best.

Thank you Patriots for the GOAT Super Bowl – Greatest Of All Time.

By Heather Burke, Copyright 2017

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

Warren Miller ski movies, 7 Decades

Did you grow up on Warren Miller ski movies like me? It started with my parents telling me how Warren Miller would come to their New Hampshire ski club meetings in the fall, with his projector to show his latest ski film. It was a great fundraiser, a fun party and the traditional kick off to the ski season. My mom would tell us she felt badly laughing at Warren Miller’s chairlift crash clips – “but they are just so funny, watching skiers pile up as they slide in to each other off the lift ramp.”

Flash forward – Warren Miller  passed away in 2018 at 94 (October 15, 1924 – January 24, 2018). But his ski film legacy lives on … Warren  sold Warren Miller Entertainment in 2004, now the narration is Olympic skier Jonny Moseley – but the legend continues with annual ski movies filmed in remote beautiful ski locations starring the best skiers in the biz, funny narration and phenomenal footage. From Alaska to Kazakhstan, Zermatt Switzerland to the steeps of Big Sky Montana, Warren Miller’s ski movies celebrate 69 years in 2018, and this year’s ski film to debut at ski parties everywhere in November is titled Face of Winter following previous years’ success Line of Descent, Here There and Everywhere, Chasing Shadows, and No Turning Back.

Here is a list of the annual Warren Miller ski movies from 1950 when it was just Warren, his rucksack and his 9mm camera, to today spanning ski celebs from Suzy Chafee and Greg Stump, Phil & Steve Maher, Dan and John Egan to Olympians Bode Miller, David Wise, Lindsey Vonn, Julia Mancuso, Ted Ligety, Sarah Burke, Daron Rahlves, Jonny Moseley, snowboarders Seth Wescott, Gretchen Bleiler, and free skiers Chris Davenport, Chris Anthony, Seth Morrrison, Peter Olenick, Pep Fujas, Doug Coombs, Glen Plake, Scot Schmidt, the list goes on…and so does the tradition of Warren Miller…an inspiration for more ski film start ups Meathead, Teton Gravity Research, Sweetgrass and Matchstick Production…

1. 1950 Deep And Light
2. 1951 California Skis
3. 1952 Wandering Skis
4. 1953 Ski Fantasy
5. 1954 Symphony On Skis
6. 1955 Invitation To Skiing
7. 1956 Have Skis, Will Travel
8. 1957 Anyone For Skiing?
9. 1958 Are Your Skis On Straight?
10. 1959 Let’s Go Skiing
11. 1960 Swinging Skis
12. 1961 Many Moods Of Skiing
13. 1962 Around The World On Skis
14. 1963 The Sound Of Skiing
15. 1964 The Skiers
16. 1965 The Big Ski Show
17. 1966 Ski On The Wild Side
18. 1967 The Ski Scene
19. 1968 No Boundaries
20. 1969 This Is Skiing
21. 1970 Sound Of Winter
22. 1971 Any Snow, Any Mountain
23. 1972 Winter People
24. 1973 Skiing’s Great
25. 1974 The Color Of Skiing
26. 1975 There Comes A Time
27. 1976 Skiing On My Mind
28. 1977 In Search Of Skiing
29. 1978 Ski A La Carte
30. 1979 Winter Fever
31. 1980 Ski People
32. 1981 Ski In The Sun
33. 1982 Snowonder
34. 1983 Ski Time
35. 1984 Ski Country
36. 1985 Steep And Deep
37. 1986 Beyond The Edge
38. 1987 White Winter Heat
39. 1988 Escape To Ski
40. 1989 White Magic
41. 1990 Extreme Winter
42. 1991 Born To Ski
43. 1992 Steeper And Deeper
44. 1993 Black Diamond Rush
45. 1994 Vertical Reality
46. 1995 Endless Winter
47. 1996 Snowriders
48. 1997 Snowriders 2
49. 1998 Freeriders
50. 1999 Fifty
51. 2000 Ride
52. 2001 Cold Fusion
53. 2002 Storm
54. 2003 Journey
55. 2004 Impact
56. 2005 Higher Ground
57. 2006 Off The Grid
58. 2007 Playground
59. 2008 Children Of Winter
60. 2009 Dynasty
61. 2010 Wintervention
62. 2011 Like There’s No Tomorrow
63. 2012 Flow State
64. 2013 Ticket to Ride
65. 2014 No Turning Back
66. 2015 Chasing Shadows
67. 2016 Here, There and Everywhere
68. 2017 Line of Descent
69. 2018 Face of Winter
70. 2019 ….

Warren Miller Entertainment is currently owned by the Bonnier Corporation who also publish Boating, Sailing, Yachting, Field and Stream, Flying, Cycling, Waterski and Wakeboarding magazines.

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

From one Ski Mom to another… be brave!

What does it take to be a Brave Ski Mom? I recently chatted with fellow ski mom Kristen Lummis, Brave Ski Mom, in Colorado about her love of  skiing, family times on the slopes and her fantasy ski trips!

Q: So Brave Ski Mom, is bravery a necessary trait for moms wanting to take their kids skiing?

I think bravery is a necessary trait for all parents. Having children requires a leap of faith, a step into the unknown, into a realm so filled with love and yet so challenging that all parents have to be brave, each and every day.

More to the point with skiing however, I think that ski moms are special. We love our children and we’ll protect them with our lives. But the moment they can walk we put them on skis and push them down a hill!

When they fall, we brush them off and encourage them to try again…over and over again, hoping that this will all pay off.

I’m here to tell you, it does pay off! And then the tables turn. Suddenly, our children can out ski us, and now we’re the ones challenged to keep up, pushing the envelope on our skills.

Yep. You have to be brave!

Q: What do you love about the sport of skiing?

I love skiing for so many reasons. I love the cold. I love the speed. I love the ever changing challenges. I love the pride I feel in watching my sons’ grow into outstanding athletes and I love the time we spend together on chairlifts.

I love trying to carve perfect turns and the rush of trying to ski a fast, tight bump line.

Most of all, I love how skiing is passed down through families, from parent to child. Skiing is one of the few sports I can think of that is truly a multi-generational, lifetime endeavor.

Q: You have a family of skiers, has being a ski mom made motherhood better or difficult?

I truly believe that skiing together brings our family together. Skiing is bond we share and that we enjoy doing as a unit. Especially as a mother of two boys, I love that we have a sport we can share and participate in as equals.

This doesn’t mean that we’re always skiing together. But at the end of the day, even if we’ve been apart, we join back up to share our stories. This has been especially important as our kids hit their teenage years. Skiing has given us a portfolio of shared memories to draw on when things get difficult. And it gives us a new way to create more memories each day.

This is not to say that it’s all been rainbows and unicorns!

When our oldest son was 11 he was in a ski accident that resulted in an investigation lasting nearly five months. As a parent, it was an incredibly difficult time in my life.

In the end, everything worked out, but it was painful for us all.

Q: Some parents say skiing is “too much work,” “too expensive,” or “too dangerous”? What do you say to them? ?

One of the primary reasons I started my blog was to help other families get out there and ski. There is no disputing that family skiing can be a lot of work. It certainly takes a lot of gear and organization. It also takes a lot of patience.

But there are tricks and tips for getting organized and staying organized (the always packed and ready to go boot bag, is one), so that a ski day or ski vacation doesn’t have to be too much work. There are also ways to save on ski passes and take some of the expense out of the sport.

As for the danger, I’m all about managing risk. Don’t start your kids off too fast on a slope that is too hard. Not only does this increase their risk of injury, but it is counterproductive and may increase their sense of fear.

Skiing is a skill, and like any skill, it is best taught by professionals and learned incrementally. Sure accidents can happen, we’re living proof of that, but they can happen on a bike, in a car or running across the school playground.

Q: What’s your goal with your Brave Ski Mom blog?  Who do you hope to reach?

My goal is to inspire other families to get outdoors and enjoy winter! My audience is largely moms and dads with kids of all ages, who are looking for tried and true tips, advice to make each ski day easier, and unbiased reviews of resorts, from a parent’s point of view.

One of the reasons I started Brave Ski Mom was because my friends kept asking me questions like “how do I know when my child is ready to ski, how do we pick a racing club, what kind of mittens are the best,” and so on.

I realized that our family had a lot of information, drawn from our experiences, that we could share.

Q: Do you have a home mountain? Where do you  ski most?

Living in Colorado, I have several home mountains! The resort nearest our home is Powderhorn Mountain Resort, a Colorado “Gem” where we can always meet up with friends and where we enjoy skiing the trees and the often, quite deep powder.

Since the boys began school, however, we primarily ski at the Aspen/Snowmass mountains. Aspen offers kids in our school district a season pass at a very low cost. It’s an easy drive to all four mountains, with amazing terrain.

Q: Where would choose for an all expense paid, month long fantasy ski trip?

I’m torn on this one. Europe or Japan?

3skiers-powder-sun2Europe has such an appealing skiing history. I am intrigued with Austria, France and Italy, not just for the amazing terrain found in the Alps and The Italian Dolomites (not to mention the Pyrenees), but also for the food! I like the idea of long lunches and hectare upon hectare of terrain to explore as we move from village to village.

Japan however, has that amazing powder and the lure of a completely different culture. In another life, maybe I was one of those Japanese hot tub monkeys. I love soaking that much!

Can I have two fantasy ski trips? Please?

Q: Why be the brave ski mom, not the brave shopping mom, or the brave bike mom? or are those future blogs?

Well, perhaps if I’d had girls, I’d be more of a shopping mom! But with boys, no way!

Being the Brave Ski Mom is a good fit for me, because skiing, snow and winter are truly my passions. I am lucky to have a husband who largely feels the same way, although truth be told, he’d probably prefer that I focus on biking!

Even more, I am so blessed that my children share my passion. Together, we have the most amazing adventures.

As for future blogs, I’m starting to think about that. My boys are in high school and we’re beginning to envision what life will be like without them living with us. It’s both exciting and frightening!

Copyright & Photos Family Ski Trips 2017

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

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