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

Category: Family Skiing (page 1 of 4)

Blog on family skiing, teaching your kids to ski, where to take your family on a ski vacation and the best skis and gear for you and your kids for the winter.

Reasons to Ski in a Pandemic

Friends ask, “Are you really going to ski this season?” and “Is skiing safe with Covid?” I can think of no better activity for your health and well-being than skiing.

“Stay at home,” “quarantine,” “social distance” are all expressions that make me sad. Being outdoors, skiing, breathing fresh air – all things that make me glad. Here are reasons you should go skiing…

Skiing is an inherently outdoor sport. Don’t we all need some nature to nurture our souls right now? Wear your mask, no big hardship – in fact it’s a pretty typical essential in any skier’s gear bag. Enjoy the fresh air, the spectacular mountain scenery, and the much-needed exercise of carving turns on snow. 

It’s safe…Ski resorts have adopted stringent new policies to keep you, and their crew, safe. “Mask up”, and “arrive with your party, ride with your party”, these are clever new colloquialisms ski areas have introduced for everyone’s safety. You can share a chair with your family/friends, or if it’s a quad or six-pack, you can achieve safe distance by seating on opposite ends of the lift. Ski resorts have in place good spacing parameters. Hats off, masks up to Vail Resorts, and their Epic Pass reservation system. Sure you’ll likely encounter longer lift lines, when chairs and gondis aren’t filled to capacity, but it does not translate to more or less people on the hill or the trails. Side note: Don’t make the liftees have to remind you to cover your face, CYA – cover your own ___, they’re lift attendants not Covid patrol.

Make your Resies…Yes, you can and often must reserve your ski days…(true, our elitist sport has become more so, for now). Read up online as to what your ski resort requires of you, reserving your season pass days and/or lift ticket in advance online. Sorry you can’t just show on a snow day, or when you feel like it… but this is the way we have to play till we’re all safe to roam about the world again. Some resorts are requiring parking reservations too, Bachelor, Snowbird, Copper, Killington to name a few. You may find restricted base lodge access, so know before you go. Vail Resorts has “idiot proof” signage (well, almost…) just go with the flow, single entry, single exit points to minimize contact. Pack a lunch in your pocket, or reserve a socially-distant table for dining indoor or out. Be sure your QR code app is up to date – that’s the new touchless way to reserve, view the menu and order. Credit cards are the way to pay, not cash. Our visit to Breckenridge, Vail and Keystone, we were impressed to find big distances between tables, strict signage managing traffic in and out of the lines and lodges, and police-like protocols to keep everyone apart, very safe. It’s still a privilege to ski. Also now to use a restroom – wait your turn (often outside), follow signage, wear your mask and wash your damned hands!

Support Your Resort. Remember how ski areas “shut down” mid-March 2020 with tons of snow, having to lay off staff and loose revenue. Well, they have adopted significant changes to re-open and provide a safe ski experience. Go support their efforts, follow their rules and regs, do your part to “SOS” = Save Our Season, Stop Our Spread.  If you don’t go, if you skip a season, your favorite ski area might not be there for you in 2022! Many tourism based businesses have been crippled, even permanently closed, by Covid’s economic impact. Maine alone has 29,000 unemployed hospitality workers. Meanwhile Saddleback in Maine has re-opened for skiing after 5 years of being shuttered, let’s make sure this classic ski area remains vibrant and funded. The majority of ski areas are open, with reasonable safety protocols and plans, let’s help keep it that way.

Boot Up at your Car or Condo… I grew up booting-up in my ski boots in the parking lot so its no big deal to me, in fact its super convenient, just don’t dip you sock in the cold snow (balance). Carrying your bags in to the lodge is a luxury not afforded this season, in fact lodge access is very limited so no more lunch table squatters (silver lining?). Streamline your process and pack accordingly.

Book slopeside lodging – for your own refuge, restroom and dining, just off the slopes, perfect for warm ups, a hot cocoa (for under $3!!), lunch break, and après ski with your posse… you kinda need to BYOB: bring your own beer, breakfast, etc. Or ski locally, go bang out some heart-thumping runs at your nearby hill for a few hours, then go home for lunch, no lodge stop or indoor resort time required. Be resourceful, but don’t be sidelined this season.

Tailgate, party in the parking lot, with your party. This is a refreshing twist on a fun ritual that had been curbed and curtailed for years by ski resort security. Now you are encouraged to picnic and have aprés ski outside by your car. Think of the drink-tab savings! Just don’t over-imbibe before you hit the road, and keep that distance from folks you don’t know. Yes, we will all appreciate good ole fashioned aprés ski at a bar with a band when we resume that ski lifestyle, which may look different. Shot skis only for those who’ve had the shot?!

Skiing hasn’t changed. Once you are gliding down a snowy trail, feeling the slippery snow beneath your boards, looking at the spectacular mountains, you will feel the joy of skiing. Nothing is quite like it, and you can do it safely, and I promise you it will refuel you after all these months of fear, and isolation, and frustration.  Get out, get fresh, ski, support your favorite resort, you’ll be glad you did… I see your smile under your ski mask 😉

Fact is we are way better off than skiing in Europe, where ski resorts across France, Spain, Switzerland and Austria are heavily restricted in their access, Italy is closed indefinitely. Canadian ski resorts are closed to  foreigners as well.

Skiing Safe – Winter 2020-21

Repost from Ski Butlers: Ski Resorts are Open and Safe
Now over a month into 2020-21 ski season, resorts have done a phenomenal job following their protocols and keeping guests comfortable and safe. In a time of uncertainty, one thing is certain, you can enjoy your ski vacation this season.   Below is what Ski Butlers pro team has learned over the past month, watching and experiencing first hand how the resorts and ski communities have adapted for this winter.  

Skiers are Excited   Skiing has always brought people together. And now, more than ever, we are all looking for those connections we’ve lost with friends and family. Although we can’t see all the smiling faces underneath masks, we have heard the enjoyment around the mountain. People are simply excited to be outside, enjoying the crisp mountain air, forgetting their worries, even if it is for a brief moment in time.  

Skiers are Considerate   We all come from different areas of the country with varying mandates and restrictions. So far, no matter where guests are coming from, everyone has been considerate with local restrictions and following guidelines. Our mountain communities are small and in rural settings, so staying safe, so the resorts can stay open is something we can all get behind.  

Lift Lines are Safe   The only bottleneck zone of a ski resort are the lift lines and one of the most important areas ski resorts had to prioritize this season with safety. Lift operators have done a great job making sure people are wearing their masks and keeping enough distance through their capacity management.  

Hotels/Vacation Rentals are Prioritizing Your Safety   We have been beyond impressed with our lodging partners and how they’ve adjusted to keep their guests safe without sacrificing on service and the overall experience. Automation has been implemented to avoid contact where applicable, staggered check-in times are now standard, enhanced room service/grocery delivery with restaurant limitations and so much more.  

Ski Rentals   And of course, with Ski Butlers, you will enjoy the best equipment, the best service and the safest rental process. Ski Butlers has plenty of availability for Christmas and beyond and look forward to seeing you at any of the resorts they service.

Ski Butlers offers ski rental delivery service at all these Top Ski Resorts British Columbia Canada’s Whistler/Blackcomb
California’s North Lake Tahoe & South Lake Tahoe
Constellation Residences/Ritz Carlton Destination Club
Marriott Timber Lodge
Colorado
Aspen/Snowmass, and Aspen’s The Gant Aspen Hotel
Breckenridge/Copper
Keystone
Steamboat
Telluride
Vail/Beaver Creek
Idaho
Sun Valley
Montana’s Big Sky
Utah’s Park City/Deer Valley
Waldorf Astoria
Salt Lake City
Wyoming’s Jackson Hole
In EUROPE
France’s Chamonix, Les Trois Vallees- Courchevel, Meribel, Val Thorens,
Les Arcs La Plagne, La Rosiere, Les Menuires, Sainte Foy
Val d’Isere Tignes
Italy’s Cortina d’Ampezzo & Val di Fassa

For more on where to ski with your family this year, visit Family Ski Trips.com

Ski Resorts Open for 2020-21

This ski season will look a little different, masks required, social distancing on chairlifts and gondolas – “arrive with your party-ride with your party”, very limited access to inside space in base lodges, and even reservations required to ski. So first up, check with your ski resort so you know before you go… 

But there will be a ski season… so co-operate, boot up in the parking lot, pack a lunch, plan a tailgate après ski party, and wear your mask. These are hardly hardships for the privilege to pursue your favorite winter pastime, get out and make some turns and enjoy the snow! Lift lines may seem longer when spaced out, but with six-feet of separation, it may look worse than the wait…

Here’s a look at ski resorts that have opened so far for the 2020-21 season…

Canada’s Norquay in Banff opened October 24. This is the Banff ski area’s earliest opening on record in their 95 year history!

Wolf Creek Colorado, known for its big snow totals and early start ups, opened October 28, beating out perennial season pushers Arapahoe Basin and Loveland.

Keystone was the first Vail Resort to open for skiing and riding Nov 6, their big emphasis on snowmaking has been “key”! Breck followed on Nov13 and Vail opened Nov 20.

In Utah, Park City opened Nov 20 at the first in the Salt Lake state, Alta opened November 23 for its 83rd season.

Killington in Vermont spun lifts Nov 20 for passholders, opening to the public Nov 23. The Big K requires parking resies this season, so book ahead to ski and tailgate at the Beast of the East.

Other New England resorts Maine siblings Sunday River and Sugarloaf both dropped ropes Monday November 23, for passholders only to kick off their ski seasons.

Morzine Avoriaz in Portes Du Soleil opened October 29, the earliest date on record for this French Swiss Resort in the Region Dents du Midi.

See you on the slopes, I’ll be the one in the face-covering mask and goggles!

How to Ski Boot up in the Parking Lot

Grateful to ski this season… that’s me …the eternal optimist. There will be significant changes to your ski day – starting with making a resy for your spot on the mountain and many ski resorts, Epic Pass holders, in advance. Good luck picking your powder days! The upside will likely be less skiers on your downhill runs.

Next big change is booting up in the parking lot. I hear the moans and groans of you boot baggers that like to enter the base lodge, have a hot coffee, a chat, a bathroom break and boot up in the comfort of a warm lodge chair, then stash your bulky bag under a table, in a cubby or locker. That’s over and done. If you aren’t seasoned with the outside boot-up scene, here is how to put on your ski boots in the parking lot…plus other Covid ski season protocols.

1. Keep you ski boots warm during your commute. Get yourself a Kulkea Thermal Trekker Boot Bag and your ski boots will stay warm and toasty during your commute! Another options is Seirus Hot Ratz that similarly plug into a DC (cigarette lighter) outlet. At minimum start with warm dry ski or snowboard boots at home, then place them near a car heater so the plastic remains malleable and the liner stays toasty. Do not place your ski boots in your car the night before (duh)!

2. Wear your ski socks from home, the condo. You don’t want to be naked footed in the cold switching out socks in the snow or “snirt” (you know the snow, salt, dirt combo you encounter at ski area parking lots).

3. One boot at a time. If booting up inside your car is too confined, not enough space, open your car door and stand between the seat and door (read: wind protection and a door handle for stability). Keep your street shoe on until you’ve unbuckled and opened one ski boot widely. Slide in your ski sock foot, settle your heel back, and buckle up immediately. The Trick? Don’t put your foot down… don’t overthink it. Repeat with your other foot. I suggest starting with your dominant leg first, stronger, more stable.

4. Once booted up, suit up. Finish dressing – hat, helmet, gloves, grab your gear and walk to the lift. See that wasn’t so bad outside the base lodge.

5. Mask Up! Yes, masks are mandatory at most ski areas, when waiting in lift line, loading and riding lifts, entering and exiting a lodge. The new NSAA, National Ski Area Assoc., Ski Safe Be Safe campaign is easily adapted to our ski attire, we often wear goggles and a face covering.  

6. If you arrive together, ride together is another NSAA campaign slogan, encouraging family and friends in your safety bubble to carpool and to share a chair or gondola to reduce lift line waits. Ride with your Party is another term you will hear.

7. Pack a snack. Lodge dining will be limited, so flashback to your youth when you skied with a samwich or a smart bar in your jacket pocket to munch on the lift ride.

8. Pee outside! Access to restrooms in base lodges and on-mountain will also be limited, so guys – go find a tree. Ladies, good luck. Please be discreet, read: tuck in the woods. No one wants to see that, or ski on yellow snow.

9. Tailgate! Party in the Parking Lot! Ski resorts are actually encouraging you to enjoy a little après ski in the parking lot, since bars and live bands at Sunday River’s Foggy Goggle and Vail’s Red Lion may not be the same. So plan and pack accordingly, enjoy some camaraderie by your car or truck with your own food and bev cooler and tunes – totally on budget by the way. Designate a DD, be respectful, responsible, and head home before dark.

10. Be kind, be patient, be appreciative that we get to enjoy some alpine exhilaration even though it means booking head, social distancing, no singles lines, and sidelined après ski plan.

See you on the slopes, I’ll be the one with the full face mask and goggles. See our favorite ski destinations in The East, West, Canada, Europe
Ski Safe, Be Safe, Play All Season!

Vail has an EPIC Plan

Finally! Some “good news”, like fluffy flakes from heaven… way more uplifting than Covid stats and politics. Here’s your much need alpine anticipation and cold hard hope for our upcoming ski season from Vail Resorts.

Vail announces their 34 ski resort opening plan for ski season 2020-21, which includes face mask wearing requirements, social distancing on the slopes, in lift lines and in lodges, riding lifts with your party only or with significant spacing on larger capacity lifts, and the biggie – mountain access via reservation only at all 34 resorts (not partner resorts). This will limit lift ticket sales to prioritize EPIC Pass holders. This all sounds reasonable, promising and hopeful!

Vail Resorts’ CEO Rob Katz states, “For the vast majority of days during the season, we believe everyone who wants to get on our mountains will be able to,” says Katz. “We want to provide assurance to our guests that we will do our very best to minimize crowds at all times—be it a holiday weekend or the unpredictable powder day. We believe this approach will help ensure a safe experience for everyone, while prioritizing access for our pass holders.”

  • Pass holders will be required to make advance reservations before arriving at any VR resort at EpicPass.com. Basically, your pass will only work if you’ve made an online resie to ski that day- epic tracking and data, eh?!
  • Pass holders will be able to make as many week-of reservations as their pass product allows
  • In addition to week-of reservations, pass holders will receive seven Priority Reservation Days that can be booked for any days between Dec. 8- April 4. The booking window for Priority Reservation is Nov. 6 – Dec. 7 for pass holders. Epic Coverage will account for days skiers are unable to book, unavailable, in the new res system.
  • No day tickets will be sold to non-pass holders before Dec. 8, giving season pass holders exclusive access to the resort until that time
  • As pass holders use their Priority Reservation Days, they can continue to book new ones as their pass product allows.
  • Families will be able to book reservations together when they log into the same pass holder account.
  • Lift tickets will only be sold online and through VR call centers; pre-purchased tickets may be picked up at the resort lift ticket window.

My thoughts…

Well-orchestrated plan by Vail! Best news of all… we’ll have a ski season!

Local limits – sorry, powder flu mornings won’t be quite so spontaneous based only on your snow dump-o-meter  … rabid locals are going to need to calm down, plan… and probs not ski every day since resies apply to everyone! I’m sure the “ski every day posse” interprets this as Epic restrictions – not “Epic priority access.”

Ski vacation families should do well reserving their designated days in advance, just requires the forethought to login and book skiing, along with flights and lodging.

An uptick in ski face masks…since that’s going to be a thing (a required thing) . You won’t’ recognize me in my new outfit 😉

Wide open skiing is a bonus to limiting the number of skiers visits per day! Hooray! Imagine the jackpot when your reserved ski days is bluebird pow!

Bye Bye singles line? Here’s the lift scenario, for non-related guests, two singles may ride on opposite sides of a four-person lift; two singles or two doubles on opposite sides of a six-person lift; or two singles on opposite sides of larger gondola cabins.

Vail Resorts has extended the Epic Pass purchase deadline to Sept. 17, 2020 also the deadline to use pass credits from last season. Get yours, you have Epic Coverage as your insurance in the event of closures or inability to use your pass. Get all your 2020-’21 Epic Pass details

Are you skiing next winter?

92% of Polled Skiers Say YES
Despite coronavirus, the majority of older skiers plan to be on the slopes next season, and they expect ski areas to take measures to minimize spread of the virus.

Of  almost 3,500, or 21%, of SeniorsSkiing.com’s 16,500 subscribers surveyed in early June, 92% indicate they definitively or probably will go ski next winter!

Ski Travel Plans?
41% surveyed plan to ski locally
31% plan to take one or more long distance ski trips plus skiing locally
25% plan one or more long distance trips
42% indicate planning a ski trip to the US Rockies
15% planning a ski trip to the Eastern US
14% plan to visit the Canadian Rockies
10% will consider planning a ski trip Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Asia, or South America.

Rating the importance of preventive measures ski resorts can take to control the virus:
88% say continuous sanitizing in public areas ( dining, lodge, restrooms) is extremely important. 
74% indicate social distancing in dining areas, lift lines and other public spaces is very important. 
59% said requiring facemasks on lifts and in public spaces is considered extremely or very important.
50% favored daily limits on numbers of skiers and boarders at an area as very important.

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What Skiers Spent Last Season – When asked what they spent on skiing 2019-20 season including ski gear, clothing, lodging, food, and lifts?
51% spent  under $2500
29% spent  $2500 -$5000
20% spent $7,500 or more. 

The survey respondents of SeniorsSkiing.com Survey Monkey June 2020 poll are 73% male; 27% female.

So the question is… if Seniors are brave and bold enough to plan to ski the 2020-21 ski season, are YOU?

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

Vail Resorts open for Summer Fun

Vail Resorts has summer opening dates and plans for its North American ski resorts with a commitment to safety amid the COVID-19. The first set of resorts will open June 26, including Keystone, Crested Butte, Okemo and Mount Snow. More resorts to open shortly thereafter, including Whistler Blackcomb, Vail and Beaver Creek, Park City, Heavenly, and Breckenridge. The resorts will open with a limited summer on mountain access and scenic lift rides. Lodging, restaurants, retail, biking and other activities will vary by location. See details at www.VailResorts.com

As a part of Vail Resorts’ commitment to safety, guidelines across all of its resorts and properties in North America. Like the Skier Responsibility Code, Vail Resorts asks guests and employees to take on a new level of personal accountability to ensure the safety of its mountain communities.

“Summer is a special time in the mountains and we are excited to welcome guests back to the outdoors to have fun, refresh and recharge,” said Pat Campbell, president of Vail Resorts’ mountain division. “While we are offering limited summer activities, we are lucky that our beautiful outdoor settings provide a landscape to experience nature and to easily practice physical distancing so we all can safely return to the mountains we love. It is our expectation that guests help us ensure the experience is safe for them and for our employees by following our new guidelines. As summer progresses, we look forward to opening more activities and adventures at our resorts.”

Vail Resorts scheduled opening dates and activities:
Weekly operating days vary by resort; Additional activities may open as summer progresses and restrictions ease.
• Attitash (July 18): Scenic chairlift rides; hiking; alpine slide; grab ‘n go food.
• Beaver Creek (July 1): Scenic chairlift and gondola rides; hiking; bike haul; Spruce Saddle to offer grab ‘n go food.
• Breckenridge (July 4): BreckConnect Gondola; scenic chairlift rides; hiking; alpine slide and alpine coaster; Ski Hill Grill to offer grab ‘n go food.
• Crested Butte (June 26): Scenic chairlift rides; hiking; Butte 66 to offer grab ‘n go food.
• Heavenly (July 3): Scenic gondola rides; hiking; Tamarack Lodge and Café Blue to offer grab ‘n go food. Mountain coaster opening date to be determined.
• Hunter (July 4): Scenic chairlift rides and hiking.
• Keystone (June 26): River Run Gondola; hiking; Summit House to offer grab ‘n go food. Golf opened June 5 at the River Course.
• Liberty (June 17): Golf
• Mount Snow (June 26): Scenic chairlift rides; hiking; Bullwheel to offer grab ‘n go food. Golf and Fairways (grab ‘n go) opened June 17.
• Northstar (July 15): Golf to open July 15. Additional activities to be announced by early July.
• Okemo (June 26): Scenic chairlift rides; hiking; mountain coaster; golf and disc golf.
• Park City (July 2): Scenic chairlift rides; hiking; bike haul; alpine slide and mountain coaster; Jupiter Java to offer grab ‘n go food. Canyons Golf is scheduled to open June 26.
• Stowe (June 27): Auto Toll Road opens June 27. Scenic gondola rides and Waffle to offer grab ‘n go food on July 18.
• Vail (July 1): Gondola One scenic rides; hiking; grab ‘n go food at Mid-Vail. Mid-July, Gondola 19 is scheduled to open with hiking, Epic Discovery interpretive trails, mountain coaster and grab ‘n go food at Eagle’s Nest.
• Wildcat (August 1): Wildcat Express scenic chairlift rides; hiking; cafeteria to offer grab ‘n go food.
• Whistler Blackcomb (June 29, subject to provincial alignment): Whistler Village Gondola, PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola and Blackcomb Gondola scenic rides; hiking; bike park (Fitz Zone and Garbanzo chair). Rendezvous, Garbanzo Bike and Bean, Roundhouse to offer grab ‘n go food.
• Whitetail (June 17): Golf

Get outside, recreate, have fun, stay in shape, ski season is coming!

2020 Copyright & Photography property of Family Ski Trips

See more Vacation Travel Destinations at our sister site, LuxuryVacationGuide.com

Aspen’s IKON Pass or Vail’s Epic Pass

After an abrupt end to 2019-2020 ski season, already it is time to consider which season pass to invest in for next season. Aren’t we all ready to ski again, and hoping to have a better, longer ski season? Social distancing – fine… let’s just get skiing!

The two major season pass conglomerates are back for ski season 2020-2021! EPIC or IKON! With mergers of more mountain resorts this year by both Vail Resorts – and competitor Aspen and Alterra Mountain Company, skiers have a big choice between the Epic Pass or the “IKON” pass – both for similar expenditure, under $1,000. The IKON Pass unites 43 top ski destinations, while  Vail Resorts’ Epic Pass is valid at over 90 ski resorts across the US, Canada and the globe.

Vail Resorts’ Epic Pass is priced at $979 for unlimited skiing at 37 ski resorts, plus 5-7 days each at many more.  Vail resorts include:  Colorado’s Vail, Beaver Creek,  Breckenridge,  Keystone,  Crested Butte, Park City in Utah,  Whistler Blackcomb, Washington’s Stevens Pass, California’s Heavenly,  Northstar,  Kirkwood,  Vermont’s Stowe, Mount Snow and Okemo, Attitash, Wildcat, Crotched and Mount Sunapee in NH,  Wilmot,  Hunter in NY, several in the Poconos, The Mid Atlantic and Michigan,  and Perisher Australia, Hotham and Falls Creek, plus 7 days skiing at Telluride, Snowbasin and Sun Valley, and the Canadian Rockies Resorts – Fernie Alpine Resort, Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, Kimberley Alpine Resort, Nakiska, Mont Sainte Anne, and Stoneham!  The Epic Pass also has great free ski benefits with in the Alps, The Arlberg, Verbier, Les Trois Vallees, and Hakuba Japan – so many ski resorts. New is free season pass insurance- “Epic Protection”! Bonus also, Epic Pass holders get 20% off food and bev, lodging, lessons and rentals, and their Mountain Express airport transportation,  Some resorts even offer 1 free wax, plus 50% off a ski or board tune. Child’s Epic Pass is $499.  The EPIC LOCAL with some restrictions is $729. See the Epic Pass on sale now. 2019 purchasers of the Epic Pass get a Covid discount on their 2020 pass and Epic Protection pass insurance at no charge.

The IKON Pass offers 43 ski resorts acres across the continent, yes Canada & Japan too,  on one season pass, with varying access at each destination, with a price of $999 , a strong competitor to Vail’s Epic Pass. The IKON Pass brings together Alterra Mountain Company, Aspen Skiing Company,  Boyne Resorts, POWDR, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Alta/Snowbird and Canada’s Ski Big 3 – Lake Louise, Sunshine and Banff, plus some Indies like Mt Bachelor Oregon, Revelstoke BC and Tremblant in Quebec! A spin off from previous The  Max Pass, this iconic pass has some pretty epic ski resorts – Aspen, Steamboat, Arapahoe Basin, Winter Park and Copper in Colorado, to Deer Valley, Solitude, Alta, and Snowbird in Utah, Squaw, Mammoth and Big Bear in California, Crystal Mountain in Washington, Big Sky in Montana, Jackson Hole Wyoming, plus Loon, Sunday River , Sugarloaf in Maine, Stratton, Sugarbush and Killington in Vermont, Wyndham NY in The East.

The Ikon Pass is on sale now, see details at www.ikonpass.com. Alterra’s IKON Pass is $949, returning pass holders get $200 off. There’s also an IKON Kids pass with $200 savings when added to the parents purchase. For a lower price point, there’s a slightly more restricted IKON Base pass at $699 (with black out dates and a few caveats).

Well, skiers are the winners in this big mountain pass play off, with great choices at significant savings versus the old-school one-mountain season pass that was often well over $1,000!

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

Copyright 2020, by Heather & Greg Burke of FamilySkiTrips.com 

 

How to pack for family ski trips

#1 Question we get at Family Ski Trips? Where to go on family ski vacation?
See our favorite ski resorts for families:
Top 10 New England Ski Resorts for Families
Top 10 Western Ski Resorts for Families
Top Family Ski Resortsin Colorado
Top Canada Ski Resorts for Families
Top European Ski Resorts for Families

#2 Question, How to pack for a Family Ski Trip? Packing shouldn’t fill you with dread, you and your family should be stoked to go ski. Having systems in place is the key to making packing easy breezy… so you are ready to go at the word “snow.”

Here are our tried and true ski packing tips:

Ski Bag: Every skier in the family should have their own snowboard/ski boot bag, labeled with name, address and cell. We love KULKEA boot bag backpack, its roomy easy to carry, and carryon the plane, has ideal compartments…and it comes in cool colors and patterns for every person in your ski clan.

Snowboards and Skis with poles should be stored clean and dry in one place – the garage or basement and ready to be packed in a ski bag, in the car or on the ski rack, ski coffin or Thule. If you are flying overseas or out west, consider renting skis from Ski Butlers, or a destination rental shop to save on the cost of checking skis, and the bonus of getting freshly tuned, new skis perfect for the day’s conditions.

Ski Bag Checklist:
ski or snowboard boots
quality ski socks
helmet/hat mittens/gloves
goggles/sunglasses in their protective case
neck warmer or balaclava
base layer –thermal long undies, and a fleece layer
wind/waterproof ski pants and jacket (wear the jacket to reduce bulk in your bag)
season pass or lift ticket coupons
hand/toe warmers
lip balm
sunscreen
energy bar

Bonus items:
Cell phone with downloaded ski app – with trail map and vertical tracker
Phone chargers – cold zaps battery power
Après ski clothes
A swimsuit (can you say hot tub?)
Portable boot dryers

Check each ski bag before and after each ski trip to be sure everyone’s inner and outerwear is clean, dry, and ready to go. With young skiers, pack extra undies, base layers, socks and mittens, with ziplock bags to contain wet stuff.

If you are traveling for a week ski trip, you’ll need an additional checked bag with clothing and toiletries (travel size please)…the key is not to over-pack, overpay for luggage, and over haul stuff you don’t need. So plan your wardrobe, and your outfits.

Ski Tips:
Don’t over pack
bulky bathrobes, sweatshirts, extra pairs of jeans.
Wear your one pair of boots/shoes with insulation and traction soles.
One pair of slacks that coordinate with everything is plenty for après.
2-3 base layers and midlayers serve as evening wear tops, hand wash when needed.
Ladies, pack a cute aprés ski skirt to slip on over your base layer/leggings for après ski activities.
Bring disposable Tide packets to launder ski soxs and undergarments on the fly, overnight they’ll dry!

Enjoy your family ski trip! See more on where to go with your family on ski vacation.

Family Ski Trips content and photos copyright 2020
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Top Reasons to Ski Utah

#1 Pow – Utah has the snow! Ski resorts Snowbird and Alta typically get over 500’ of snow annually, and this year – they are getting dumped on, storm after storm – 27 feet by February! Their patented “greatest snow on earth” couldn’t be truer this season – its copious, light and dry, no heavy wet stuff here, and as a bonus – its often bluebird when the sun shines on these high-elevation Rocky Mountains.

#2 ConvenienceUtah’s big ski resorts are easy to reach. From Salt Lake City, you are a just 40-minutes to Park City, Deer Valley, Snowbird and Alta, under an hour to Powder Mountain and Snowbasin. You can easily be skiing fresh snow by noon of your arrival day. In a week, you can ski eight major resorts, all with their unique character, an easy drive to each other.

#3 Little Cottonwood Canyon is a must, skiing at the legendary 1938 Alta – first and foremost. Alta is loaded with snow, and with alpine accolades – a venerable skier’s only mountain, with a hearty wholesome ski crowd (no snowboarders ever), and a lot of steep and deep terrain. Heading out High Traverse, you can drop in No Name Chutes, the legendary High Rustler, dozens of precipitous powdery chutes, and big snowy bowls. Only thing Alta doesn’t have is many long intermediate groomers. Don’t miss lunch at mid-mountain Collins Grill, grab a scenic table top floor at  Watson’s Shelter.
The Snowpine Lodge, Alta’s beautiful boutique hotel, offers a room with a view, a steamy outdoor Jacuzzi and pool, and aprés ski fireside at Gulch’s Pub. Your boots will be toasty dry in your private locker next to the lovely fireplace living room. Maybe you’ll get snowed-in at Snowpine if Little Cottonwood Canyon closes for too much snow!

#4 Snowbird, Alta’s neighbor, is interconnected encompassing 4,700-acres. Ride the ‘Bird’s amazing base to summit Tram, (2,900’ pure vert) to 11,000’ Hidden Peak and you have bounteous ski options in all directions. Snowbird is a snow cone for skiers and boarders. Charge out to The Cirque for a dramatic drop in under the Tram, or make Mineral Basin your first powder tracks when patrol drops rope to this vast snowy back bowl. Snowbird has so many steep gems, wide open powder fields, it’s a skiers’ playground. Sure there’s white carpet groomed runs too – like Chip’s 2.5 mile trail that winds its way to Snowbird Village. Have lunch at the spectacular glass Summit Lodge, enjoying the panoramic views as far as the Great Salt Lake. Stay at Cliff Lodge – all the rooms have views in this grand 10-story concrete and glass tower hotel originally built in 1971 to withstand avalanches. The rooftop Cliff Spa is a must for a scenic soak, maybe a massage. Après ski at Aerie on the top floor – the place to be for cocktails and dinner, often live entertainment, before you sleep, and repeat! Odds are good it will be another powder day tomorrow!

You can also lodge very affordably in Salt Lake City, we stayed at the Residence Inn by Marriott in suite lodging at the base of Big Cottonwood Canyon, 20-minutes to Solitude, Brighton, Snowbird and Alta.

#5 Park City Mountain is Utah’s largest lift-served ski resort – 7,300 acres spread across 17 peaks, since Vail Resorts merged Park City with Canyons. It’s huge, and it’s on the Epic Pass. You’ve got all this ski terrain, and a stylish western miners’ town below the slopes. You need a plan to conquer Park City’s 330 trails, but with 41 swift lifts – six packs, quads and gondis – there’s no wrong or right way. If you love wide open cruisers – Park City’s Motherlode, Silverlode and King Con lifts serve beautiful long Blues. Want it steep and deep? Head all the way out to McConkey’s and Jupiter! Lost? Take the Silver to Slopes two-hour ski tour, learn the PC mining history while getting a lay of the land. Take the Quicksilver gondola to Canyons side for great glades, steeps off 9990, long roomed cruisers and powder fields off Super Condor. Lunch at Lookout Cabin atop the Orange Bubble Express for views and yummy victuals, or The Farm at the base for locally-inspired cuisine overlooking the slopes. Après ski, explore downtown Park City – Main Street has lively pubs, distilleries, local shops and people watching galore – many don’t ski which is totally PC with me.

#6 Deer Valley is another skiers’ only resort that sets a high standard for white carpet grooming, stellar lodges, smooth service, with some very worthy ski terrain amid its 2,026-acres. Bald, Flagtsaff and Empire all peak out over 9,000’ with beautiful long groomers, some gorgeous aspen-tree stashes, and venerable steep cornices and chutes in Daly Bowl. Everything is posh at Deer Valley, especially the day lodges and the 4 and 5-star hotels like Stein Eriksen’s, Goldener Hirsch, Montage and St Regis – where aprés ski is Champagne Sabering by outdoor firepits! Deer Valley limits ticket sales, so buy ahead, and don’t bring your snowboard – not allowed at this “ski” resort!

#7 Snowbasin is a Utah gem, this stunning ski resort is just under an hour from Salt Lake and Park City, but it’s not on most skiers’ radar, even though Snowbasin hosted the 2002 Olympic ski downhill. With its impressive vertical, almost 3,000’ on many runs like Wildflower and Grizzly downhill courses, Snowbasin is a super fun playful mountain. Gorgeous gondolas flank Snowbasin’s east and western bowls – with well-pitched groomed runs and exciting double black diamond steeps peppered around the 9,000’ peaks. Ride the summit Allen Peak Tram to the Downhill start huts, and ski non-stop to the finish to gain serious respect for ski racers. Don’t miss the spectacular view of four states and the Great Salt Lake from atop Strawberry Gondi. Snowbasin’s day lodges are jaw-dropping too – Needles and Jean Paul Lodge up on mountain, and Earl’s at the base are all gorgeous with giant chandeliers, leather seating, huge stone fireplaces – you’ll be glad you stopped for lunch. Cinnabar at Earl’s is our fave for table service and a view in alpine elegance.

#8 Stay at Compass Rose Lodge while skiing Snowbasin and Powder Mountain. This chic boutique ski hotel is new, beautifully decorated in vintage ski swag, with an alpine sophistication in each of 15 guest rooms, thanks to the friendly passionate owners – yes they ski. You can walk to aprés ski at Shooting Star Bar – the oldest continually operating bar in Utah. Have a burger and beer – that’s all they serve in this veritable 1879 ski museum.

#9 Powder Mountain is just plain cool – this private ski area has tons of terrain – reached by lifts, snowcats, buses, backcountry guides – you name it. Powder’s 8,464 acres is unlike any other ski area, you’ve got lifts and trails, plus in-bounds cat skiing at $25 a ride, and unlimited opportunities to hike to wild untracked “powder”. The other unique aspect to Powder is it’s a playground for tech execs and start up successes who are building their ski utopia at the Summit Village of Powder. Modular alpine homes are popping across the peak slopes, but the ski area remains open to the public despite this private club community evolving. Powder caps its ski tickets at 1,500 a day, so it doesn’t see crowds. Powder is humble and happy from the rustic base and summit lodges to the pleasant peaceful terrain. You can park and ski from the top -Hidden Lake Lodge, or Timberline near the base. Check out the Powder Keg for lunch and order the noodle bowl. Boom – you’ll love skiing Powder!

#10 Still longing to ski more powder? Cat ski with Whisper Ridge – the newest cat and heli ski operation in Utah! Whisper Ridge operates daily cat and heli ski trips near Powder Mountain, an exciting add-on to your Utah ski itinerary. With a 70,000 acres tenure of private land for their cat and heli-skiing, you’re going to be skiing some fresh powder, snowfields, in the trees, and having a totally unique remote experience playing in Utah’s snowy mountain far from lifts and lodges with your guides and a posse of strangers who end up friends.

Go ski Utah now, there’s tons of snow, you can fly and ski the same day, and you have so many choice  world-class ski resorts, lesser known snow havens, and convenient lodging within striking distance of the next great ski place to discover.

See our Top Ski Resorts Reviews:
Top 10 Western Ski Resorts for Families
Top Family Ski Resorts in Utah
Top Canada Ski Resorts for Families
Top European Ski Resorts for Families

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