The temperatures are dropping and ski season is finally here. Families across the Northern Hemisphere are ready to hit the slopes and get outside this winter, but a bit of planning needs to go into it before you head out. Do you need a season pass? Should you and your kids take lessons? What should you pack? Do you go to a ski destination or find somewhere closer to home? Let’s answer all of these questions and more!
Season pass or daily tickets?
This is one of the hardest questions for families, especially those who are just starting out. If you have never skied before, skip the season pass. Look into beginner packages. Many mountains want to get you excited about skiing and offer great deals to get you on the slopes for a fraction of the price. January is also Learn to Ski and Snowboard month, so be on the lookout for deals. For families who know they love to ski and snowboard, and will be on the mountain at least seven days in one season, a season pass may be worth it to you. The easiest way to figure it out is to divide the number of days you think you will ski by the cost of a season pass. If you come away with a number less than the daily lift ticket rate, you should grab a season pass.
If you have never skied or snowboarded, please take a lesson. Everyone on the mountain will thank you and it will help you have a much better experience as you learn a new sport. Even if you are married to an Olympic ski champion, get a lesson on your own. This way you won’t feel self-conscious, you can make mistakes, and you learn in a pressure-free environment. Children should definitely take lessons. Mom and dad can get some quiet time on the slopes, and children can practice with their peers where they learn best. Everyone will have a fun day, learn at their own pace, and can always spend the afternoons skiing together.
Local versus destination skiing
If you have a local mountain that is less than a two-hour drive from your house, staying local is a no brainer. This is where you get your season pass and can visit every Saturday morning for the day. If you love skiing a whole lot, you can plan a trip to one of the bigger mountains you have always wanted to tackle, like Keystone or Whistler, but if you are just starting out, it can be cheaper to stay local. Look into the local mountain ski schools. Even the Mid-Atlantic states and the Carolinas have great programs, like the one at Liberty Mountain Resort just outside of Gettysburg, PA. Your location might not be as far away from the slopes as you think.
Skiing with kids requires a bit of forethought as you pack up the entire family’s winter gear, which can also take up a lot more space when you are flying and driving. Pack warm layers, as well as snow pants, winter coats, at least two pairs of gloves, lots of warm socks, snow boots, any and all ski/snowboard gear, hats, scarves, sunglasses and goggles. Plan on everything being soaked when you get back home or to your hotel, so doubling up on your outerwear is a good idea. Take advantage of resort laundry rooms so you can dry your clothing after dinner and be ready to hit the slopes again in the morning.
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