Why Your Family Needs A Long Ski Vacation
I grew up in Connecticut, where my family and I were the weekend ski vaction warriors. We headed up Route 91 to Vermont several times a season, the car filled to the brim with kids and gear for a three-to-six hour drive on Friday and Sunday nights. Once, our suitcases fell off the roof of the faux-wood-paneled station wagon and went flying down the highway.
I married a fellow ski fanatic and in 1996 some friends suggested a week-long trip ski vacation to Utah for all of us. It was the first time I’d even heard of anyone going all the way out there just for skiing. My husband and I figured it was a one-time thing, like a trip to Hawaii; too expensive and too much work to make a habit of. Fast forward 16 years and four kids. Our lives are incredibly busy and we keep moving farther from good slopes. We’ve attempted weekend trips, but they’re too difficult to squeeze in between work and the kids’s various teams and lessons. So several years ago we changed our game plan, trading in several hectic weekends for one leisurely week-long ski vacation out West every year.
At first, I was hesitant to go to plan an entire week of skiing. Would we get sore? Tired? Bored? Would the kids rebel after three days? No! It actually worked out really well. Here’s why and how:
We discovered life off the ski slopes
I was surprised to discover that there are endless things to do besides downhill skiing in most Rocky Mountain towns. For starters, there are other outdoor pursuits like ice skating, tubing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling and swimming; things we could never fit into a weekend ski trip. Plus, he ski towns are filled with restaurants, spas, museums and shopping. You easily spend a week exploring a good-size ski town.
Fewer Crowds Make Better Skiers
As our kids have gotten older we’ve come to appreciate the small ski-school classes, great snow conditions, long ski runs and short lift lines that are typical out west. These conditions—less hectic than small, crowded, icy NorthEast slopes—turned our kids into eager, incredible skiers in just a few years. With only one week per year under their belt from age 4 on, alll our kids were skiing black-diamond trails by age 8. Plus Park City, our favorite destination, has three resorts. It always takes a week to try all three!
The kids can’t miss several weekends of practice or lessons. But their coaches and teachers can live without them for one week. Skiing is a sport you have for a lifetime and it can bring you together for family trips for decades. This year or next, try trading in the ski weekends that never (or rarely) happen for a weeklong vacation that’s extremely doable. I guarantee your family won’t regret it!
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Kristen Haaijer resides outside Toronto with her husband and four kids. She left her career in corporate relocation to stay at home with her kids and plan the family ski trips. When she’s not on the slope you can find her on Twitter.