The success of a family ski trip is riding on a lot more than snow, and keeping the kids happy is key. Certain factors exist beyond our control: air temperature, natural precipitation, and random tantrums are a few bumps in the road we can't avoid. Fortunately, there are a number of factors we can control that bring new levels of fun to a day skiing with the kids. If you haven't skied in a while or you're thinking of a first family trip, add these tips to your ski trip checklist.
Sign the Kids Up for Lessons
Getting the kids into a lesson group is by far the greatest investment you can make toward having fun on the mountain. It's not a reflection of your own skiing ability -- professional ski instructors are trained to get kids to listen, have fun, and ski away with improvements that keep them safe, happy, and loving the snow. It's their job, so you get to enjoy more of your vacation. Morning lessons give adults the chance to go make some turns on their own, then meet up and ski as a family for the afternoon. You might be surprised at how affordable lesson programs can be, too. Kids as young as three can get started at the Mount Snow Ski School, with lift tickets, lunch, and other activities included in lesson rates.
Use the Right Equipment
We know you did just fine on your straight skis back in 1985, but ski technology has gone through a couple of major revolutions since then. When you skip buying gear at the neighborhood garage sale, you're avoiding nasty yard sales on the slopes. Depending on your needs, you can rent ski equipment for just a day or the whole season, or buy kids' gear outright. Make sure boots fit snugly without cutting off circulation or causing serious discomfort -- some kids might not realize that ski boots need to fit tighter than their sneakers.
Choose Terrain Wisely
Skiing's familiar system for rating trail difficulty (green circle, blue square, black diamond), actually varies from mountain to mountain. You can't really go wrong with green circles, but there's some overlap as you get into more advanced terrain: a lot of skiers might feel like a difficult blue square at one mountain skis more like an easier black diamond at another. We're all constantly advancing our ski skills and looking to conquer new terrain, but it's important to remember to ski within our ability level. Kids are especially prone to skiing too fast, which becomes problematic when they don't have the technical ability to turn, slow down, or stop to avoid obstacles and other skiers. Glades and trails with moguls are an exciting challenge, but it's important to have a solid foundation maing parallel turns on steep terrain before giving them a try.
Find Lift Ticket Deals
If the kids have their way, you can rack up more hot chocolate breaks and photo ops than lift rides by the end of the day. That's just one extra reason not to pay full price for your tickets. Buy tickets online in advance and keep an eye out for upcoming Mount Snow deals.
Stay Somewhere Comfortable
When you have a cozy, comfortable place to stay, everything on the mountain goes smoother. Kids love having their own rooms, and it's always a plus when your southern Vermont rental home comes with access to a clubhouse, game room, skating rink, and indoor and outdoor pool.