Family Skiing At Steamboat Springs
This month’s #MOMtravelchat was all about skiing with kids. Steamboat Springs Ski & Resort hosted the party and Smart Wool provided giveaways to keep several of our party goers warm in the outdoors this winter.
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Here is what you missed.
Top Tips about SteamBoat
We learned a lot about Steamboat Springs, of course. For starters, Powder Magazine readers voted it the best ski town in North America last year. One factor in this could be it’s Olympic cred. The town has produced more winter Olympians than any other in North America, 88 so far!
We also learned the Steamboat is pretty accessible. Its base has the lowest elevation in Colorado, so it’s easier to adjust to the altitude change. Local Hayden Airport has direct flights from 11 other cities. And if you fly in, your boarding pass gets you free night skiing the day you arrive. If you’re driving, Colorado has an excellent website dedicated to road conditions and safe driving.
We got a few tips on saving money: Kids get free lift tickets and free rentals when they accompany an adult who skis and rents, too. And if you buy your lift tickets online at least seven days ahead, you can save up to 15%.
How Our Families Ski
All of our partygoers have skied with their kids or want to. Even parents who don’t ski themselves are interested in having their kids learn.
Families both drive and fly to ski destinations. Of course, families who live within one to three hours or so of a ski mountain start their kids younger and go more often than those who have no skiing close by. The most dedicated families go every two to three weeks or more during the winter, especially if they own season passes.
Parents say small local ski hills are less expensive, have easier parking and are easier to navigate than bigger resorts, which help them to just get out and ski more often. But bigger resorts often have better ski schools and a wider variety of ski runs, which parents and older kids and teens appreciate. So serious ski families will visit a larger resort once a year or so and will stay for an extended weekend or a week, especially if they fly.
Parents most prefer ski weekends. They are affordable and there is more time than on a day trip to ski and have other fun, too..
Parents who ski themselves are more likely to start their kids skiing sooner than parents who don’t; sometimes as young as age 3 (which is when ski lessons start at Steamboat). Most parent say somewhere between 4 to 7 is ideal and tween-age is almost too late.
Top Tips for Family Skiing
Most parents agree ski lessons are the best way for kids to learn the basics. Instructors do a better job of making learning fun and pushing kids out of their comfort zone. And lessons give parents a few hours to ski on their own before joining their kids.
Some parents who had never skied before took the opportunity to learn when their kids did. Some resorts lessons for adult learners or allow parents and kids to learn together.
Parents also suggest skiing with other families. Being with other kids the same age on adds to the fun and helps kids to be more adventurous.
Though you might not think it, the sun can be strong on ski slopes, especially up high in the Rockies, so sun screen, lip balm and sun glasses or goggles are important for kids.
While renting equipment off the mountain can save money, some parents note that renting on the mountain means less schlepping and squeezing equipment into the car. If kids get free rentals, that’s an extra enticement. But even on the mountain, it saves time and stress to pick up lift tickets and equipment the night before a morning lesson.
With older kids it’s a good idea to meet up at a given place every hour or two for a check-in.
Top Tips for Fun off the Slopes
Parents say one way to kill the fun on a ski trip is to overdo the skiing, especially when kids are young. Take breaks, bring snacks, and buy hot cocoa.
A few hours a day on the slopes can be enough, especially on a longer trip. Then families can spend time sledding, tubing or just playing in the snow. Parents say it helps to give kids a say in those other activities.
A lot of families also like combining skiing with swimming and make a point of booking a hotel with an indoor hotel pool or skiing where there is an indoor water park. Families who visit Steamboat like combining skiing with the hot springs.
Families also like skiing at a destination with a real ski village, walking around to shop and try different restaurants also adds to the fun and makes it a complete vacation experience.