Before you even start planning your first family ski holiday, you can already see the photo memories: classic snow angels, your kids’ huge smiles after completing their first ski runs, sipping hot chocolate together by your cabin’s fireplace. It sounds idyllic, but it can easily get overwhelming when thinking about the logistics, some of which are new to your family. Don’t fret: With a little planning and tips from this guide, your family’s first ski trip can be the gateway to a lifelong love and an unforgettable adventure.
When to Travel to the Slopes
While most American ski resorts open in late November or early December, the best conditions are usually January through March, when the snow pack is thicker and sturdier. Several school holidays, like Martin Luther King Jr. Day, fall within this time frame — and those long weekends present the perfect opportunity for first-time skiers to take one or two days of ski lessons and still have time to explore on their own. Friday and midweek ski schools will be less crowded and allow beginner skiers and snowboarders to learn without a lot of people around.
Planning a trip during an off-peak time, such as mid-January or early March before the spring break rush, will also make hotel and restaurant reservations easier. Plus, March temperatures are usually more comfortable for young ones not used to being in cold weather.
Traveling the first week of the new year — when many others are going back to work — may be another good option for families looking for a hotel or airline deal. Or capitalize on your kids’ school holidays by visiting a ski resort in Canada during a major U.S. holiday weekend. American ski resorts can be jam-packed during Presidents Day weekend, but head to the Great White North to Sun Peaks Resort or Whistler, outside of Vancouver, and those days will be far less crowded.
Book all ski trip essentials, including your plane tickets, hotel and rental car, and reserve any ski gear you plan to rent, at least two months in advance so you have plenty of time to shop around, compare prices and get the best deals.