Unless you’ve got a personal assistant, herding the kids and gear for a family ski vacation is no simple task, but the rewards for putting in some planning time are numerous. Once you’ve reached your mountain resort destination, there are often a slew of activities and amenities that will make slope time with the kids an adventure you’ll want to go on again and again.
At Vermont’s Smugglers’ Notch they have so much going on that families might find it a bit overwhelming, but “a little bit of planning takes care of that,” says Smuggs’ Mike Chait. “Our full, 43-page book of weekly activities is available online so families can have a loose plan put together before they travel.”
Chait says they find the key to success for families traveling to Smugglers’ is separation in moderation. “Send your kids to ski and snowboard camp and they’ll have healthy, social experiences during the day, allowing you to have your special time as well.” Campers are off-snow by 2:30 for indoor entertainment, so you still have the option to pick them up for a few afternoon runs if you’d like. Otherwise, wait until 4:00 and head to the bonfire and hot chocolate warm-up or any of our other après activities.
Sometimes, that space is just what you need to keep the time you spend together that much more special.
In addition to doing your homework, many resorts have friendly staff who are ready to help. It’s always a great idea to book lessons and activities ahead of time during busy school vacation weeks.
At Utah’s Deer Valley, the staff refers to their stellar guest service as the "Deer Valley Difference." “We try to provide a seamless vacation experience for our guest, from daily, complimentary mountain host tours, to complimentary overnight ski storage, to ski valets and parking lot attendants to help with your arrival experience,” Deer Valley’s Emily Summers told us.
Deer Valley makes getting out onto the snow an easy task. It’s a short 36 mile- drive From Salt Lake City Airport to Deer Valley, and you can even skip the car rental hassle and just take a shuttle service from the airport. Once you are in Park City, you can take lodge shuttles and the free city bus system.
“We have a large variety of lodging accommodations including multi-room condos and private homes that allow for extended and multi-generational family travel - all with kitchens for any meals in,” Summers added.
Many families also seek Deer Valley out for the ski-only policy as well as a good variety of terrain. “One thing families love is that there is a green run from five of our six peaks. Beginners aren't stuck in one area and can move around the resort with the rest of the group,” Summers told us.
You can also decide if you want some adult apres-ski time separate from the kids. Smuggs organizes activities for kids at the same time as ones for adults. At the Kids’ Night Out, kids get to hang at the FunZone, playing laser tag, eating pizza, watching movies, and just being kids. This runs at the same time as the Top of the Notch Snowshoe Adventure Dinner, where guests ride the chairlift up after the trails close for the day, enjoy a fine dinner and get out for some nice (flat) adventures in some of the deepest snowpack they see at Smugglers’. After dinner, guests snowshoe back down the mountain with a guide, using just the reflection of the moon’s light off the trails to see.