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    Panorama of Lake Louise Lakeshore XC ski trail in Banff National Park, Alberta

    Why You Should Plan a Family Ski Trip

    By Richard CampbellGeneral

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    A family ski trip is one of the best adventures you can go on during the winter months. Taking the family away for the weekend, spending long days exploring the outdoors, and cozying up next to the fire in a quaint chalet is the perfect recipe to create incredible memories.


    Planning a family ski trip doesn't have to be a difficult or time consuming process. The secret to putting together the ultimate family ski trip is knowing your options and knowing what’s important to you. The best family ski trips embrace winter and quality time with your loved ones, so here are some quick tips to help you enjoy a great family ski trip, whether you are looking to explore the Rockies, Utah, the Alps, Whistler, or Colorado!

    As humans, we often search out creature comforts in difficult situations, which unfortunately means that many people feel compelled to shun winter and stay indoors rather than face the cold. As such, most people who plan a winter vacation usually try to escape the cold, opting to head south to Mexico, Cuba, Hawaii, etc. Those are all fine choices, but you can’t run from winter forever!

    This winter, why not focus on embracing the season and creating memories with your family outdoors? Many families have kids that are excited for winter, especially if it involves an annual ski trip, so one of the best things you can do is incorporate winter activities as traditions that the whole family will look forward to.

    A family ski trip is a remarkably relaxing way to spend your days: getting fresh air, being active (which means sleeping better), and growing and learning with your family. Trade waiting in lines and temper tantrums for rolling in the snow, board games and lots of laughing. There’s something about learning, adventuring, and making mistakes on a ski hill that gets us giggling.

    A ski trip is a learning trip. Each family member typically sees improvement during the course of a couple days, and this is especially true when you do a week-long trip. Your kids immerse themselves in the activity, and they’ll be noticeably better at the end of the week. This is great for their self-confidence and it gets them trying something new. It’s also, obviously, an opportunity for the family to do something together: riding the chairlifts, talking about the run you just did, or joking about the fall somebody made. The family becomes a team during these trips, working, playing and having fun together.

    But the ski trip isn’t just during the day. Some of the best memories are at night. Evenings are typically spent as a family, reliving your day’s achievements, talking about plans for the next day, and curling up next to a fire. The best trips also include family meals, board games, sledding, horse-drawn sleigh rides and a giant outdoor bonfire. For the adults, a Bailey's and coffee marks the end of a wonderful family day. And did we mention the long sleeps you’ll all get, worn out from a great day outdoors!

    Visiting Lake Louise in winter is a great idea for a family skiing trip

    Visiting Lake Louise in winter is a great idea for a family skiing trip

    Boy on his first skiing lesson in Banff National Park

    Boy on his first skiing lesson in Banff National Park

    Things to Consider When Planning a ski trip for your Family

    What type of resort suits your family ski trip plans? A ski-in/ski-out, purpose built resort is great, but sometimes limiting in terms of how much you can do. Most fun, little ski towns have charming main streets but then they require a drive to the slopes. With younger kids, we sacrifice everything to have a ski-in/ski-out hotel. This allows us to split up our days and head back to the chalet if fingers get cold, tummies get hungry or we all need a little break!

    Accommodations can range from hotels, B&B's, AirBNBs, and chalets. Chalets are especially prevalent in Europe, and are a true delight. We love ski-in / ski-out resorts or nice hotels that are only a short car trip to the hill, as it provides greater flexibility, which is a must for young families.

    If you’re on a budget, it doesn’t hurt to do some research into the hostels in the area. The HI Hostel in Lake Louise - for example - has private family rooms for rent if you book early.

    What's the terrain like? Some resorts are great for experts but not great for beginners. When planning a family ski trip we try to stay away from big mountain terrain for now because our kids are still young and don't have enough experience. Doing just a small amount of research can help ensure that the resorts you choose will be suitable for younger kids. We also check the snow-school, to make sure they have appropriate options for the kids and the prices aren’t out of line.

    What else is there to do? Not everybody wants to ski everyday, and that's okay, some days are just too cold! Access to spas, leisure centres, shopping, and other activities help mitigate boredom. If you have younger kids they might get tired of skiing after a couple of days. In addition, outdoor activities, such as XC skiing, snowshoeing, sleigh rides, bonfires, or hot tubbing can be a lot of fun. Believe it or not, board games can help pass a day inside really well, so make sure to bring some along on your next family ski trip.

    Include skating on Lake Louise when planning your ski trip with a family

    Include skating on Lake Louise when planning your ski trip with a family

    Happy kid on a family ski trip

    Happy kid on a family ski trip

    Amazing Ski Destinations to Explore With Your Family

    North America

    Utah: Utah is an amazing state to ski in. The area around Salt Lake City alone, in the Wasatch Mountain range, is littered with resorts. They have incredible snow, incredible resorts, and lots of ski-in/ski-out services. We really like Deer Valley, but to be honest there are so many great places that any place you chose will be incredible.

    Vail: We love the terrain in Vail and so does everyone else! It can be busy and a little pricey, but there are still good deals sometimes. You need a car for many of the accommodation options, but if you’re patient there are shuttle services. Or, there is the amazing, luxury hotel, Arrabelle at Vail Square, which has ski-in/ski-out service with a covered escalator to the hill. Vail is better once the kids are a bit older.

    Whistler: Well, it's expensive, but Whistler also happens to be a world-class skiing destination. You’ll hear lots of different accents and dialects at the resort. It’s a compact and fun village; tons of other services and an incredible hill make this worthwhile. This is our favorite resort in North America when we go with friends who aren’t big skiers! Tons of incredible restaurants, bars, and fun in the main village. Read more about planning a winter weekend getaway in Whistler!

    Lake Louise: You can't stay on the hill, but the Chateau Lake Louise has wonderful deals in the winter, and - as always - they have five-star accommodations. We also like the other winter activities they offer: incredible snowshoe and cross-country skiing, backcountry skiing into Skoki Lodge, an outdoor ice bar and sleigh rides. This place rules. Banff is a 30-minute drive away, which has all the diversions one could ask for. Want to save money on a winter weekend at Lake Louise? Find our insider tips here!


    The Alps: This is as good as it gets. The true, “Ski-Alps” experience is pure luxury for parents. Find a family-friendly chalet and prepare to have the best week of your life, as a week in a stunning alpine chalet is about as picturesque and pure as it gets. Now, this means that you often share with other families, but if you bring friends you can take the entire chalet! You get a private room (often with en-suite) and then you have breakfast and dinner made daily. This means no cooking, no cleaning and you ski to your door. At the best resorts, you are close to a charming village, and you can experience European cuisine and nightlife, which makes for an incredible trip.

    The low season is just before Christmas and there are usually great deals. Just watch out for spring holidays, as the resorts get too crowded and not as fun. France, Italy and Austria are currently the best deals out there. Opt for a high resort as well, as snow cover has been poor the last few years. We love the Three Valleys in France for early season snow.

    Have you had a great family ski trip? Share your favourite snaps with us on Facebook or Instagram!




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