Parents who want to take their kids skiing in the Colorado Rockies can find it a bit intimidating. After all, venturing into the frozen wilderness at 10,000 feet above sea level with your precious babies sounds like a recipe for a major tantrum. So what’s up with all those smiling faces in the ski brochures?
Smart parents know that the key to a successful Colorado ski vacation is planning. They make sure to cover the bases, keeping a handful of points in mind, and somehow it all falls into place.
Then, when they are at the ski resort, cuddled up on the chairlift with their kids, watching the big smiles on their faces, they wonder how it could have all been so easy.
Tip # 1: Know your family.
Colorado has a ski trip for every family, and every family’s ski trip is different. Before you start planning, take a realistic look at your family’s size, interests, finances, and time frame. All will be factors that help you decide when to go on your ski trip, how long a trip it will be, and what ski resort is best for you.
Tip # 2: Know your kids.
As you begin to plan your Colorado ski vacation, think hard about who your kids are. Do you have an aggressive little whirlwind that will be happy attacking long runs, or is your child less tolerant of adversity or perhaps kind of out of shape? Thinking about the ages of your children and their personalities will help you pick a ski resort and an itinerary that is more suited to their needs. While you are at it, take your spouse or partner into account, too.
Tip # 3: Choose your ski area carefully.
While the big name ski areas come to mind first, Colorado is full of smaller, quiet areas that are far less expensive and better suited to families who are new to the sport. If you or your kids are beginners or just starting intermediate runs, then plan your Colorado ski vacation at a smaller area. Ticket prices are likely to be far less expensive, they frequently have thinner crowds, and the mountain size is more manageable. Wait to go to the big resorts until you have the skills and stamina to cover the whole mountain.
On the other hand, if the members of your family have a variety of skiing abilities, then the bigger resorts offer places everyone to find a challenge. These are also the areas where families looking for a luxury experience can find top-notch customer service that makes the skiing experience virtually hassle-free.
Tip # 4: Get the right gear.
Cold kids are grumpy kids. Make sure they dress in layers, and have the right ski clothes to stay warm and dry on the slopes. The ski technicians at the ski shop where you rent or buy the skis, boots, and poles should take the time to carefully fit equipment to your kids and their skiing ability. And make sure your children do not venture out without a well-fitting helmet.
Tip # 5: Relax and absorb the bumps.
The best ski instructors in Colorado will tell their students to relax. This helps the skier to absorb the bumps and variations in the snow rather than being thrown off balance by them. The same principle holds true for planning and enjoying a Colorado ski vacation. Relax and go with the unexpected and your kids will have a much happier time.
That may mean that if your little one gets tired, sitting out a run or two in the lodge with a cup of hot cider may be a judicious choice. Or if the temperature drops, the family will have more fun splashing in the hotel swimming pool than going skiing at all.
And yet, it may just be worth it to brave the elements and venture onto the frozen slopes only to sit on the lift with your kids and watch them grin as they tell you what rugged heros they were on that last run.
To read quick reviews of each of the ski areas in Colorado, go to this Colorado Ski Area Round-up.
Ideas for families and more in depth reviews of Colorado ski areas can be found at each of the following links:
Skiing Beaver Creek with the family
Ski Vail with the kids
Family friendly Keystone ski resort
Skiing through the generations at Winter Park
Sunlight Mountain Resort
Ski Loveland with the kids