In much of the U.S. and in many other areas of the world, it’s winter –
the real, snow-piled-on-the-sides-of-the-road kind of winter.  This is a
time when outdoor enthusiasts’ thoughts turn to winter sports.

When the outdoor enthusiasts also happen to be parents, the creativity

Since I love downhill skiing, I had my daughter on a harness and
munchkin skis when she was barely four years old.   We went to the
least expensive resort in the area and paid a ½ day fee for me, which
allowed Amy to “ski” free (until she was six).  The few times I bought
her a lesson, it was a private or semi-private, so she could get the
most concentrated learning for the buck.  By age seven, she and I
could ski the easy blue runs together comfortably. By eight, she was
tackling some steeper hills. It will probably take another lesson or two
to get her on the bumps.

I know other parents who put their kids in group ski lessons from a
young age, season after season, and now that they are in the seven to
nine-year-old age range, they are speeding down varied terrain with
their parents.

Other parents who are cross country ski or snowshoe enthusiasts
purchase pull-along sleds when their children are young. Imagine the
snowbound equivalent of a bicycle trailer.  They tow their kids behind
them on the trails.  Eventually, the kids don’t want to be in the sled so
they learn how to track along with their parents.

Then there is another group of parents – a group which is interested in
involving their kids in winter sports, but hasn’t had the best of
experiences when they’ve tried it.  I’d like to share a few downhill-
skiing-vacation travel tips, amassed from years of experience with first
my stepchildren and now my daughter.

Downhill Skiing Travel Tips
  It’s a little late in the season now, but hey, you can always plan for next
year.  When it comes to the expensive sport of downhill skiing, with a little planning
you almost never have to pay full price. This is a very important factor in downhill
skiing with kids because if you have paid less for your ticket, you’ll feel less pressure
to maximize the value of every minute. 
See Kid Days below.
You can buy season passes and four-passes to a variety of resorts if you can decide
where to ski by October.  If you can’t plan that far in advance, type in “ski free” in
your search engine (sometimes you need to add the state you’ll be skiing in) and
several existing deals should come up.  For example, in Colorado, if you fill your tank
with Phillips 66 gasoline, you can get one discounted ski pass or a buy-one-get-one
(BOGO) set of passes.  Don’t forget to check local grocery stores, ski shops, and
chambers of commerce for possible discounts.

Kid days vs. adult days:  If you want a full, hard day of skiing, this should be an
adult ski day (unless you know for a fact that your kids can run the slopes with you
this way.)  Otherwise, remember that a kid ski day is a different animal, and that if
you’re going to enjoy it you need to be willing to go at their pace.  And that attitude
must start first thing in the morning as they are putting on equipment.  Also see Hot
Chocolate Breaks
and Games below.

Properties:  You can motivate your kids with other things they can see and do at the
resort at which you ski or at the property at which you stay.  For example, my
daughter and I ski Copper Mountain partially because I get a pass there and partially
because they offer snow tubing.  We can tuck into a café for a little après ski and
food, then go back out on the hill and do some tubing.  Other resorts also offer ice
skating and sledding hills.  Some hotels or condos have game rooms and swimming
pools.  See next topic.

Swimming Pools:  I can’t emphasize enough the value of a pool for most kids.  I
have unashamedly bribed my daughter into one more run, or trying a slightly more
challenging run, by promising and following through on a good swim after skiing.  In
the general radius of skiing areas, these pool sites also offer hot tubs.  Need I entice
you more?

Hot chocolate breaks:  Plan at least one of these into your kids’ ski day.
A little rest and warm liquid can give yield much better energy for the rest of the day.

Games:  Even older children still enjoy going and playing in the kids’ terrain parks
available at most ski mountains.  There are secluded routes through the trees with
little jumps to catch some air. If you are trying to teach your kids speed, pick a less
populated run and play a little chase.  If you’re trying to teach technique, try follow-
the-leader and pick something specific to work on, like small s-turns, when you are
the leader.

I hope these tips help you plan an enjoyable skiing getaway.  If you
come to the great state of Colorado to ski, see you on the slopes!

Mama J (Diane Fromme) is a writer, parent, and stepparent located in
Northern Colorado.  For more information on her stepparenting book,
go to


Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply