Skiing in America - need suggestions for good family resorts please(27 Posts)
We'll probably be spending the next year in America, so I am thinking ahead to planning dd's introduction to skiing.
I'd like a family oriented resort/village, with good ski school/instructors and nice facilities. Is there such a thing as all inclusive? Any positive/negative experiences with specific tour operators? Do chalet girls who cook/clean exist in the States, or is that a European concept?
I don't want/need the glamour/expense of the glitzy Aspen/Vail scene. I'd also like to go somewhere that isn't hours and hours from an airport. Presume I'd need to rent a car for the whole time as Americans are not known for their public transport or for the ability to walk to facilities! Is that correct?
Any suggestions would be welcome. Oh, and if you've had any disastrous experiences at places that should be avoided at all costs, I'd like to know about those too!
Reviving this 'zombie thread' as would love to hear more recent thoughts/suggestions (we never went skiing, but are thinking about it again!).
Sorry to be so slow in responding, but I just got back to this thread , and wanted to thank everyone for sharing their experiences. There are many good suggestions to explore.
Soapbox - Beaver Creek sounds amazing! Thanks for the detailed 'report'!
Alipiggie - didn't see your message
Well we are back - and Beaver Creek just rocks - it really does!
It is just the most fabulous, family friendly, easy ski resort.
It is small - with very few lift queues. The most we waited was 3-5mins for even the main Centennial lift.
Because it is small and compact, getting from accomodation to the slopes is really easy. There is also a shuttle bus that constantly circles round the resort seemingly to avoid having to walk for more than 2mins!
There are escalators all the way up to the slopes, and loads of information guides to let you know which part of the mountains might be worth a visit!
The jewel in the crown is undoubtably the ski school. It really is fabulous, and right in the centre of things. You can sit at the fire pit outside the Hyatt hotel and watch your little ones pootle up and down the magic carpets learning their pizzas
The instructors were just fantastic with the children and there were so many adventure zones for them to ski through - gold dust run where they bend down to pick up fools' gold learning to ski and pick things up at the same time, jack rabbit alley where they do mini moguls, then some caverns where they grab sweeties hanging down from the roof!
Even the tinies were taken out from the nursery for a little ski each day for 30mins or so - they were terribly cute!
There is a very good mix of runs, from very gentle greens, through to the extreme terrain for real adventurers! There is plenty of black and double black skiing - some of them seriously challenging - or so I am told
The days skiing is topped off by the bakers handing out cookies all around the village, or from making smores at the fire pit outside the Hyatt. If the children have any juice left in their legs at the end of the day, then there is also ice skating to get stuck into!
We stayed at the Beaver Creek lodge which is effectively a one bedroom suite - which means the children can sleep on the bed settee (or in travel cots in the living room) which saves squishing everyone in one bedroom, or forking out for interconnecting rooms. The living room has a small kitchen area which would be good for breakfasts etc, if the restaurant wasn't so good for breakfast time!
It was a joy to pick up your heated boots from the ski valet then walk up 2 escalators and hey presto you are on the slopes!
If anyone wants a bit more info then please do CAT me and I'll do my best to pass on any info!
I've been to Stowe, Vermont a few times and loved it. Not done with kids but there are always lots of kids around and it seemed very child-friendly.
We stayed in Green Mountain Inn in Stowe village (can't recommend enough) though there are other larger hotels with more facilities that kids might like. Green Mountain Inn has a games room and restaurant itself.
As a total novice I was impressed by the skiing and the ski instructors - really friendly and helpful. The kids schools used to whizz past me and always looked to be great fun. Def worth checking out.
Go Stowe website
Green Mountain Inn
if choosing between Jackson and Beaver Creek for family trip, BC wins - much easier all round, Jackson is a bit hard core for kids I think. BC is amazing, so pretty, well groomed great ski school. Jackson is lovely too but much more rougfh and ready, and much scarier skiing. Imagine a kids drawing of a mountain - a giant triangle rearing up from a flat plain. Beaver Creek is all undulating and so well thoughtout.
Silver Star is the Okenagen and Tremblant is in Quebec - so both Canada. Overall I think we probably prefer Canada to the US for skiing, but alternate more or less.
Think where ever you go in US or Canada the kids ski instruction will be good - they teach in English, the other kids are generally all english speakers and somehow they seem to work more at making it fun for the kids - they all seem to have fun things to ski round, lots of hot chocolate and jelly beans. Also the kids will always eat the lunch - because it is of the hot dog style.
I've never had a bad instructor for myself either.
Think you will have lots of fun where ever you go.
Good link here . My former boss used to take his kids to Snowmass every year.
Oh and forgot here's another fabulous area to ski in Colorado which is cheaper than the "celeb" areas of Breckenridge, Beaver Creek, Aspen and Vail Arapahoe
Soapbox - if only I could get up to Beaver Creek would be lovely to meet a real mnetter. If you have any time on the way back to Denver Airport, cat me and I'd love to meet up . It's snowing loads in the mountains today guys - at least 1/2ft already and more to come. We're having an amazing winter so far.
Sorry earlybird, that last link was an accident - it wasn't meant to be there.
But, if you are interested in Jackson/ Yellowstone (really beautiful) these are the people we went snowmobiling with and this is the
Jackson hole is ski-in ski-out and there were lots of little children skiing either on their parents skis on by themselves. It's very family friendly.
Have been to Beaver Creek was there in the summer... but if you do go there try and find the off license. It's called Beaver Liquors!!
Soooo funny!! I still have photos of it 12 yrs later!!
I stand corrected.....
We are off here
Comments still stand though!!
I can second Beaver Creek.
We are off again on Sunday...yippee!!
Such a safe feeling resort and the instructors are fantastic with the kids.
Winter Park is quite nearby, and is also worth a visit.
mamama - thanks for the suggestions. Just studying info you've posted, and the 'description' link doesn't work for me. Any chance you could try it again? Thank you!
ooohh Soapbox - you'll have a fab time - we stayed at Bacholuers Gulch (my spelling is sooo bad!) DD was too young for ski school but the Small World play centre is really good with attentive staff who care about the kids that are there. It also has the other great invention - a travelator to get you across a bridge on your skis!! So you don't have to push yourself along - ultimate in lazy skiiing
We're off to beaver creek for half term, so glad to see your post alp.
The condos at The Charter there are supposed to be lovely, we are staying at the Beaver Creek Lodge so can let you know what that is like.
Beaver Creek is supposed to have one of the best ski schools for children in Colorado, so we'll see how that goes too!
Don't forget to look at tripadvisor.com for any particular resorts - their forums there are pretty good.
This is great information.
Liz - where are Silver Star and Tremblant?
I only have one experience which was Beaver Creek. Nursery for DD was great - we had ski in/out also they have a free taxi bus service which means you dial a number and a mini bus comes and gets you to take you to whereever (within the resort) and it is all FREE! Which is a great thmbs up for lugging skis and kid about. Also they give warm cookies out at 3pm at the bottom of the main lift. Anywhere that gives out free biscuits gets my vote!
With kids we have been to Silver Star and it is great for kids - will go again. Went to Smugglers Notch last year (Vermont - 4 hour drive from Boston). Was really well organised for kids but had poor snow last year. The kids thought it was fab. If we could ensure the snow would go again.
Pre kids went to Breckenridge - personally think the altitude it too high for young children - unless you live in Denver or somewhere. We found the first few days quite unpleasant (& we were pretty fit then!) Same goes for Aspen - we took ds1 in the summer once but had spent 3 days in Denver first and he screamed driving over every high pass as his ears hurt.
Also did Heavenly in Tahoe before kids - was great, but not really ski in /ski out but maybe if you look around. Also think the minimum age for ski school might have been 4 not 3, so didn't suit us.
This year we are going to Tremblant and might try Jackson Hole next year - have heard good reports from other people.
There are some interesting suggestions here. Will post again once I've had a chance to explore the links/websites.
Anyone know anything about the Lake Tahoe area? What about Taos? Anything near Salt Lake City - imagine they must be family friendly around there with all the Mormons! Any other ideas?
I'd recommend Big White and Silver Star in British Colombia, Canada. Both about an hour's tranfer on the resort shuttles from Kelowna airport - which has connection to quite a few US states.
Both have the very rare attribute in N America of almost all accomodation being ski-in, ski-out. We usually stay in one of the hotels, but the condos are fantastic if your part size justifies it. But you don't have to cook: there's plenty of places to eat out.
You don't need 'tour operators' as such: just ring the central reservations in either resort and they'll book everything for you: flights, transfer, accomodation, ski hire, lessons, and so on.
DS did most of his early skiing there. Apart from the 1st and 5th, the photos here are all Big White or Silver Star. Unfortunately we won't be going back this year
Eldora - just above Boulder Colorado. Cheap cheerful and great for kids to start skiing. Run a great club called Eldorables for 4-6 yr olds. You can stay in Boulder in one of the great motels and be up in the mountains in 45 mins. That way you have the best of both worlds. Winter Park is also another great location Let me know if you want more info - you can cat me.
Jackson, Wyoming is fantastic.
You can stay & ski in the town itself at Snow King or go to the Jackson Hole Ski Resort
(which is where Olympic teams practise). Snow king is a very family oriented lodge - we stayed there but went to Jackson Hole to ski as there was more snow there.
It is the nearest big town to Yellowstone where you can go snowmobiling, dogsledding, bathe in hot springs and visit Old Faithful etc.
It is really wonderful.
We booked on expedia so I don't know any tour operators.
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