The Brave Ski Mom - Choosing a family ski resort
There are several big decisions to be made when your family takes up skiing or snowboarding.

First, is the decision to jump feet first into snowsports.

While we can’t think of anything more fun than sliding down a mountain on skis or a snowboard, this can be a big decision, especially for families that don’t live near ski areas or ski resorts.

Next, is choosing between skiing and snowboarding.

This is a personal decision, dependent upon the preferences and personalities of each member of the family.

And, while both skiers and snowboarders tend to be loyal to their chosen discipline, we also know plenty of people who mix it up, switching out their skis for a board, and alternating between nordic and alpine skiing.

Why choose just one way to move on snow, when each of the options can be so appealing?

Finally, families need to choose where to ski or ride. Again, there’s no right or wrong answer, with hundreds of resorts, each beckoning to you in their own way.

The Local Mountain

For families who live in ski country, choosing where to ski is usually pretty darn easy. Choose the nearest mountain, or in the case of several mountains in close proximity, choose the one with the best season pass deal, or the one where your friends ride.

Easy-peasy.

For families who travel to ski, the options are more varied and depend upon what each family wants from the experience.

The Family Ski Holiday

Over the years of skiing with my family, and talking to and assisting countless other families, I’ve come to believe that there are three primary things families want on a ski holiday.

1. Families want time together. The world is a busy place for families and the distractions of day-to-day living are many. The ski holiday can be a time apart from the world, an escape to a simple routine that centers upon awakening and hopping on a chairlift.

2. Time to relax. While much of each day may be spent vigorously enjoying the snow, evenings offer families a chance to relax together, enjoying one another’s company whether hanging out in a lodge or condo, playing games around a fireplace or soaking in a hot tub.

3. Time to make memories. Despite our ability to photograph and record every day-to-day moment on our phones, we’ve found that lasting memories are truly made when families share experiences and activities. Family skiing and snowboarding are among the best pursuits for doing this.

Choosing a Ski Holiday Destination

Lots of thing come into consideration when choosing a resort for a family holiday.

Here are some questions to think about as you begin planning for the upcoming winter.

When Will You Go?

Choose your dates and put them on the calendar.

If you plan to travel during popular times (in the US, these include the fortnight around the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, President’s Day weekend and March), book lodging and flights, if you need them, as early as you can.

Many resorts offer lift tickets and lesson bookings online, along with special activities like on-mountain dining or tubing. If you know what you want to do, book these activities before you arrive to avoid disappointment.

What Is Your Budget?

Despite skiing’s reputation as a pricey pursuit, it doesn’t have to be.

Knowing how much you want to spend and planning accordingly is an important component of enjoying the holiday. Think of it this way: you want to be focused on your family and having fun, not on the pending credit card bill.

Here are some easy ways to save money, without sacrificing any part of your vacation.

Travel off peak. Avoid the winter holidays and long 3-day weekends. Prices drop dramatically at other times during the winter, especially early December, January and February (with the exception of holiday weekends), and April.

I realize this can be difficult if you have kids in school, however, we found taking our sons out of school for a ski week was actually a wonderful way to motivate them to get good grades.

Avoid the “top” resorts, as reported in media lists. Without a doubt, these large, well-known resorts are fabulous or they wouldn’t make the lists.

But think about this: there are over 460 ski areas and resorts in the US alone.

And everyone of them offers something fun and unique, many without the premium price.

Choose a state or region, ask your friends and family for suggestions and read family-oriented resort reviews online (braveskimom.com has hundreds).

Think about what is most important for your family and choose accordingly.

Where Do You Want to Eat?

While it is fun to dine out once or twice during a ski week, most families we know (including ours), prefer to cook in a rented condo or house or stay at a lodge with meals included.

Dining in means you’re under no pressure to get reservations, you don’t have to wait to get a table when you forgot to get reservations, and you don’t have to tip (just remember to say thanks to the family “chef”and give her or him a big hug).

Plus having a kitchen in your accommodation (or meals included), means breakfast can be ready when your kids wake up and snacks are always on-hand.

With a little planning (choose simple recipes and make your grocery list in advance), your family can spend time cooking and enjoying your favorite foods together, while leaving plenty of time to relax, play games, study trail maps or chat about whatever strikes your fancy.

And that’s how family memories are made.

Enjoy!

Hailing from Colorado (USA) Kristen Lummis, or as she is better known, the Brave Ski Mom, is an avid skier and true family mum in every sense of the word. www.thebraveskimom.com


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