While skiing in the Swiss Alps is the dream of most skiers, you don’t need to wait until the kids are on the level of Bode Miller to spend a family vacation at a Swiss ski resort.
Nor are you limited to those famous resort towns. Beyond the glitz of St Moritz and the glamor of Zermatt there are dozens of alpine mountains offering miles of world-class trails, beginner slopes, ski lessons, children’s programs and family-friendly après-ski life.
Here are three of our favorites.
In Switzerland’s Bernese Oberland region, the two resorts of Lenk and Adelboden are connected by a lift system, which allows it to offer a variety of terrain for skiers of varying skills. Advanced skiers should head for Adelboden, while the rest of the family will find plenty of beginning and intermediate pistes and slopes at Lenk im Simmental. Boarders will find a total of five terrain parks. This is also a friendly resort for non-skiing family members with its postcard alpine village feel and lots of off-the-slope activities. Like Lenk, Adelboden’s high-altitude setting promises more consistent snow conditions than lower altitude resorts.
Like Adelboden and Lenk, the resorts of Arosa and Lenzerheide are linked and one ticket is valid at both. The mile-long Urdenbahn cable car, opened in 2013, connects the two in a five-minute ride. Both are known for abundant intermediate terrain, with 140 miles of groomed runs that stretch across three different mountainsides. What makes Arosa Lenzerheide so exceptional for intermediate skiers? So much of the terrain is above the tree line and the views are spectacular — such open views are usually seen only by experts skiing the summit snow fields. An added appeal in mid-winter, this region gets a lot more sun than many Alpine resorts. Of the two base towns, Arosa is the more appealing for families.
The largest family resort for winter sports in central Switzerland is the village of Engelberg. Located under the slopes of Mount Titlis, it’s only an hour train ride from Zurich and 45 minutes from Lucerne. The mountain itself is a year-round attraction with its state-of-the-art revolving cable that takes tourists to the summit.
The mountain’s more than 50 miles of ski runs are mostly for beginning and intermediate skiers, with 17 miles of easy runs, 30 miles of intermediate slopesand plenty to keep the kids busy for a vacation.
Experts won’t be bored, however, with steeper slopes at higher altitudes and on the glacier. There’s a lot of good powder skiing at the higher altitudes and it’s easy to access from the lifts. Meanwhile, in Engelberg, there’s plenty to do for the whole family and children are welcome everywhere.
Families who love being fully wrapped up in new surroundings can put a fun spin on exploring by choosing a hotel that offers the opportunity to participate in a self-guided scavenger or treasure hunt. Along the way, discover fun details about your destination that you might have otherwise missed.
Mendocino County in Northern California is known for its craggy coastline, towering Redwoods, world-class wineries and creative microbreweries. Locals find autumn the best time of the year here, when the summertime crowds have given way to a more relaxed vibe, holding hands while leaf peeping passes for the perfect afternoon activity and crisp nights are made for snuggling. In other words, it’s the perfect setting and season for a couple’s getaway.
While urban wine country might sound like an oxymoron, it’s actually a reality at the stunning City Vineyard in New York City’s Tribeca neighborhood. The water-side venue is the perfect host for your next event — whatever that may be, from 20 to 200 guests and from cocktail party to plated dinner.