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For The Kids

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
What is the best resort to take kids out west? They are 7 & 10 and learning quickly.
post #2 of 7
I'm hardly a western expert, having only been to two areas: Whitefish, MT (Big Mountain) and Salt Lake City (Deer Valley, Alta, and Solitude). Both areas are great options for skiing with kids.

I've been to Big Mountain several times, and have always had a fantastic time. The mountain is huge, with terrain for all ability levels, and they have a wonderful ski school. Positives were, really laid back feel, friendly locals, low altitude, uncrowded slopes, beautiful scenery (on a clear day you have an incomparable view of Glacier), neat local town (Whitefish) with free shuttle bus access, and total lack of pretension. Downsides were, can be really cold (our first visit was in mid-January, and it was -8 deg F and blowing 30mph on the summit), fog/low visibility, and more expensive to fly to since it's off of the beaten track. That last issue forced us to pick SLC for our most recent trip.

Salt Lake City is a great place to head with kids. It is a major airline hub, with easy access from almost anywhere in the US. You have at least 10 major ski areas within 90 minutes of the airport, and the 3 Park City resorts, 2 Little Cottonwood Canyon and 2 Big Cottonwood Canyon resorts are all within 45 minutes of downtown SLC. Check skiutah.com for more info. Stay down in town (Sandy) and rent a car to keep things on the cheap end of the scale. There is also plenty to do around SLC, if you want to take a day off from skiing.

My 10 year old son and I visited Dear Valley, Solitude and Alta. Deer Valley, while better than expected, was a little to posh and polished for my taste. Really expensive homes littered all over the slopes didn't give me any warm fuzzies. They do have plenty of terrain, buffed to perfection, and an extensive high speed lift system. Didn't get to experience the ski school, although they have an excellent reputation. We didn't catch Solitude on a great day, it didn't get below freezing the night before and the snow was very sticky. There were also some major flats, but on a better day, they would not have been such an issue.

We found our mecca in Alta. Having heard, for years, about their extensive ungroomed terrain, we were surprised by the amount of grooming on our first day. It was a little warm, and they groomed a bit more to compensate. And, despite their reputation, they have a great beginer/green run area. Unlike Snowbird, their next door neighbor, Alta can accomodate all ability levels from true beginer to clff jumping expert. My son had a great day in their ski school, and I received a killer, 2 1/2 hour afternoon clinic, almost a private, for a very reasonable $54. It was a great spring break trip, with an interesting ending (http://forums.epicski.com/showthread.php?t=40091).

We are looking forward to returning next winter. This time, the wife and 7 yo twin daughters will be in tow too.
post #3 of 7
Does Steamboat still offer the kids ski and fly free promotion?
post #4 of 7
I think Brighton also has (or had) a kids ski free under age 10 policy. If $$ is a factor in "best".
post #5 of 7
Steamboat offers free lift tickets to kids age 12 and under with a parent or grandparents 5 day purchase. It's a great family resort and you'll save hundreds of dollars.
post #6 of 7
I have a bias to Winter Park, CO. It is a low key, very family friendly resort and town. they have non ski activities kids like too, like a great tubing hill in Fraser and dog sledding and snowmobiling and such. the restaurants are kid friendly, the ski school is very good with a large beginner area that isn't at the bottom of the mountain, so they get to see more. once they graduate from it, there are tons of great intermediate runs and some beginner trees and adventure land type trails. it is a short shuttle or drive from DIA and the bus system is really good, so you don't need a car if you don't want one. Also, they have two nice beginner terrain parks, one for rails and one with little jumps if your kids want to try their hand at that without venturing into the bad-ass park.
post #7 of 7
Alpine Meadows- Lake Tahoe. Great family resort and geared as a Kid Friendly place. Kids 0-6 Free, 7-12 $15.00, 13-18 $39.00. Pluys an interchangeable parent ticket, so one can ski while the other one manages the kids, and they participate in the California SnowPass program, http://www.californiasnow.com/passpo...formation=true etc...Many Family packages available. North Lake Tahoe also has a lot going for it for both the family and the parents. Nite Life for the parents, gambling at Cal/Neva etc.. also other resorts within 20-30 minute drive time.
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