With warmer weather and a well-established snowpack (especially after this season’s epic dumping of snow in the west), spring break is the perfect time to get out and explore the mountains as a family. With ski schools that can accommodate even the youngest kiddos, women’s lesson programming, and adventures for the most advanced skier in the fam, a well-planned spring vacation will result in epic memories that will last a lifetime. Here are six suggestions for an incredible spring-break ski vacation.
<<Traveling with ski/snowboard gear for the whole family is a hassle. Avoid schlepping everything yourself this year and rent instead.>>
Park City, Utah
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Elevation: 6,900 feet at the base, 10,000 feet at top Slopes: Mostly Northeast facing, but a good variety Average Snowfall in March: 55 inches Latitude: 40.6511° N Size: 7,300 skiable acres Daycare: Ages 6 weeks to 6 years
The proximity of Park City Mountain Resort to the Salt Lake City International Airport simply can’t be beat. Partner this with epic snowfall and family-friendly amenities and voilà—the perfect spring break ensues. The resort is one of the largest in the United States, with more than 300 runs and 41 lifts, giving both skiers and snowboarders a massive amount of acreage to enjoy, including six terrain parks and two half-pipes. Park City Mountain Resort’s daycare accepts the youngest adventurers, making it a great option for new parents. The town of Park City itself offers a variety of alternate adventures to make your time off the slopes just as enjoyable as chasing downhill powder. Enjoy excellent dining at the restaurants on Park City’s historic Main Street, see future Olympians and ride the bobsled yourself at Utah Olympic Park, and take a moonlight snowshoe hike as a family followed by a horse-drawn carriage ride. Park City is just filled with choices—a happy problem to have.
Elevation: 6,300 feet at the base, 8,610 feet at top Slopes: All but south-facing Average Snowfall in March: 14.5 inches Latitude: 39.2748° N Size: 3,000 skiable acres • Daycare: Ages 2 to 6 years
Take advantage of the epic storms that have blanketed California and shush your way down Northstar’s mountains while gazing at Lake Tahoe in the distance. The resort’s ski school has a plethora of family-friendly lesson options, giving everyone a chance to hone skills while having a blast. Test your toddler’s interest with a free Mommy, Daddy, and Me 45-minute lesson, or split up and maximize personal attention with the Ultimate 4 lesson series (with no more than four participants in each class). The Village at Northstar is chock full of activities to squeeze in between trips down the slopes—activities designed for families just a stone’s throw from the lifts—build your own s’more cookouts, a bungee trampoline, ice skating, arts and crafts, and an onsite spa. Perfect for the family with both hard-charging snow chasers and vacationers that want a little bit of everything.
Beaver Creek, Colorado
Elevation: 8,100 feet at the base, 11,400 feet at top Slopes: North and northeast facing Average Snowfall in March: 5.4 inches Latitude: 39.6042° N Size: 1,832 skiable acres Daycare: Ages 8 weeks to 6 years
Who says life has to stop when you have kids? Leave your tiniest babe with Beaver Creek’s daycare and enjoy a break from the throngs of parenthood, or you can enjoy the slopes while chasing your young powderhounds through a forest of Aspen trees. Beaver Creek, while not as massive as some resorts, is stunning with natural ambiance. If you are willing to trek a little farther from the village base, Bachelor’s Gulch is rarely busy and has a great balance of easy and intermediate terrain for those seeking cruisey groomers. Start your day as a family with the Cocoa and Corduroy program, where you can grab a free cup of hot chocolate before hitting the freshly groomed trails. For a different perspective of the resort (without the vertical), check out Beaver Creek’s Nordic Center and try the Nature Valley Family Snowshoe Tour, offered weekly from 4-5:30. Beaver Creek provides ample opportunities to explore with and without the kiddos, making sure everyone leaves vacation happy.
Elevation: 9,600 feet at the base, 12,998 feet at top Slopes: East and northeast facing Average Snowfall in March: 17 inches Latitude: 39.4817° N Size: 2,908 skiable acres Daycare: Ages 8 weeks to 5 years
More and more families are planning trips that include grandparents, aunts, and uncles, and of course kids of all ages. With this type of trip, diverse experiences are a must. Breckenridge’s “perfect mountain and perfect mountain town” are the ideal setting for your multi-gen spring vacation. Breck’s Peak system provides the perfect playground to meet everyone’s needs. Peak 10 is a solitary respite for any advanced skier, Peak 8 and 9 are best for wee wanderers in ski school, Peak 8 boasts the goods for snowboarders looking for tricks, Peak 7 is an intermediate skier’s dream with rolling hills of corduroy, and, finally, Peak 6 will reward anyone who ventures that far with roomy wide-open runs. And because all of the peaks orient towards the town, new skiers will find this resort a breeze to navigate. For non-skiers and boarders, this walkable historic mining town is full of shops, galleries, and eateries that will satisfy anyone looking for off-slope inspiration.
Elevation: 8,120 feet at the base, 11,570 feet at top Slopes: North facing (with the exception of back bowls) Average Snowfall in March: 17 inches Latitude: 39.6061° N Size: 5,289 skiable acres Daycare: Ages 8 weeks to 6 years
Unlike any mountain you will ever ski, Vail’s 5,000 skiable acres are epic at every turn. Best for families with bigger kids, this mountain needs to be learned to be enjoyed. Free mountain tours are offered daily by ski staff and are a must for newcomers. Once you have your bearings, it will be hard to stop exploring the vast array of terrain Vail has to offer. But tiny adventurers will not be left out—Vail’s has 13 kids adventure zones sprinkled throughout the resort, where your little one can master rolling, turning, and tree skiing. And Adventure Ridge’s tubing, snowbiking, and ziplining take snow exploration to a whole other level. The walkability of Vail and Lionshead Village sets the scene exploring the nightlife, with après ski and dining options around every corner. From swanky hot chocolate at The Sebastian to unforgettable burgers at the Larkspur Bar, Vail leaves guests only wanting more.
Elevation: 9,280 feet at the base, 12,408 feet at top Slopes: North facing Average snowfall in March: 17 inches Latitude: 39.5792° N Size: 3,148 skiable acres Daycare: Ages 8 weeks to 6 years
If convincing your little one’s that skiing is the best vacation ever, start at Keystone. Targeting families with young children, Keystone’s offerings are unparalleled. The resort’s on-site daycare is divided into three groups, allowing each one to fully experience age-appropriate activities, like daily snow play and snow painting. Keystone, also offers one on one care (for an extra charge), for children whose parents desire more attentive care for their wee one. Offered all season, Kidtopia is the resort’s massive festival for families to experience together. Explore the world’s largest snowfort, search for Bigfoot after dark, whip down the tubing hill, boogie at pint-sized dance parties, and end your day with a bang as Keystone’s fireworks illuminate the slopes. Camp Keystone, the resort’s ski school for kids, has tot-sized lessons down to a science, from leaving ski gear at the ski school, to off-ski mazes and activities to help kids just get comfortable on snow. And a major bonus, kids under 12 ski free when you stay a minimum of two nights at one of Keystone’s properties. Parents can enjoy the mountain worry-free on their terms, booking a Cat skiing adventure, taking a lesson on their own, or soaking it up at the spa while their little ones are busy. Relaxation and fun is for everyone at Keystone.
Featured image provided by © Vail Resorts