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Northstar Trip Report (January 3rd through 7th)

post #1 of 3
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My family got back early this week from our first family ski vacation.  The trip consisted of myself, wife, 3 year old son, 1 year old daughter and grandma to watch daughter during the day.  We had a blast and certainly learned a lot for planning future ski trips with with our family.  Below is a breakdown of what we did:


Boot and Ski Fitting


On Sunday January 3rd we met Bud Heisman at 8:00 a.m. for a boot fitting and to get our skis setup.  I was set to do everything possible to make this an enjoyable trip for my wife so wanted to get her setup with the right gear.  Can't say enough great things about the process Bud goes through.  My wife and I were both very impressed with how thorough he was and are very pleased with our boots and skis.


Northstar Lodging


Since we have little kids we decided to stay in the village at Big Horn Lodge.  This was perfect and was pretty reasonable for ski in ski out.  A major plus was the ski school meeting spot was literally 20 steps out of our front door.  Highly recommend Big Horn Lodge if you have kids or if you just want to be really close to the action.


Ski School for Son


My son is 3 (will be 4 next month) and I was able to get him enrolled in the Ultimate 4 program.  Honestly this was a mistake on my part as I should have kept him in the 3 year old program where there was less skiing.  He basically skied all day Monday and I have never seen him so tired.  This was completely my fault and not the ski schools.  I didn't really understand how much he would ski.  I've never seen him as tired as he was after I picked him up on Monday and he never really recovered energy wise from that first day.  


On the second day of ski school my son still wanted to go but wanted mom and dad to come with him which we were happy to do.  He was actually the only kid in his class this day because it snowed 12" or so and the bunny slopes where the magic carped is was virtually pointless.  After a few minutes of that the instructor took him up the chairlift to ski down a green and he did great and started getting it.  He got tired again after an hour or so of doing the green run so my wife and I took him home.  Great conditions for an adult but not really fun for a first time skier.


On the third day he didn't want to go to ski school so we let him stay home with grandma.  Took him tubing in the afternoon at mid mountain which he loved and did a little bit of skiing afterwards with him until he was getting tired.  That was all the skiing he did on the trip.


Private Ski Lesson with Bud


On Monday after we dropped our son off at ski school we met up with Bud for a private lesson for my wife and myself.  This was a amazing and both my wife and I felt we really improved during the day as we never have had a formal ski lesson before.  Bud is a great communicator on what he is trying to get you to do and is just a really fun person to spend the day with.  If you go to Northstar I recommend requesting Bud to be your instructor.




On Thursday I skied a bit in the morning under amazing conditions but it was then time for us to go.  We wanted to go to another sledding hill so ended up at Granlibakken Resort in Tahoe City at the recommendation of somebody we talked to at Northstar.  Everybody loved this as it was perfect for both of our kids (daughter being only 1.5) and we spend hours there.  If you are looking for an activity to do with really little ones this is a great spot to go.


Lessons Learned


As I said we had a blast but certainly learned a lot from our son on how to make his next trip even more enjoyable.  Things we plan to do:


1.  The day we get there go out and ski with him so he can see how much fun it is and get comfortable with it before dropping him in ski school.  


2.  Check in on him during the day in ski school to better monitor his energy levels.  During the trip I thought I wouldn't do ski school again until he was older but think I changed my mind on that.  I just need to do a better job of making sure that his energy doesn't get completely shot.


3.  Don't worry about my own skiing as much.  It's a family trip after all.


4.  Incorporate more sledding/tubing activities from the get go if they are available.


He still talks about skiing daily and really wants to go back this year.  I'm hopeful we can do a "guys trip" over his spring break so he can try it again this year.  I still consider this first trip a success since he has good memories about it and tells everybody he meets that he just got back from skiing and asks if they have ever seen snow (we live in Texas).


Thanks again for all the help in getting us prepared for our first trip.

post #2 of 3

Nice trip report!  I'm sure other parents of young kids can learn something from your experience.  Here's the planning thread:



From what I've heard, @bud heishman is great for both boot fitting and lessons.

post #3 of 3

Nice report. At that age, things change so fast your next trip might be totally different. My son's first time skiing was at 3 1/2 at Smuggler's Notch. They have a great kid's ski school. At the time he was the only one in his group that still took a nap during the day, so he was toast by the end of the first day.  On his last day they had a cookie race, where they ski thru some obstacles and each kid gets a cookie as they cross the finish line. He was so tired by the finish line that he grabbed his cookie and fell asleep in my arms.


One year later at 4 1/2 we went back and tiredness was a total non issue. He had more energy than us.

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