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Safe, Affordable Winter Vacations for Families

by Barbara Rogers

Dec 10, 2021

© Barbara Rogers

Travel Tips

With parents wondering how to keep families safe and healthy this winter, planning a winter vacation isn’t as easy as usual. But for families that live within driving distance of snow, there is an easy, safe option: a ski resort.


Many resorts have self-contained slope-side condos; most ski areas do not expect skiers to share lifts with non-family members, so exposure is limited. Outdoor activities allow for more social distancing and ski resorts led the way in creative al fresco lunch venues.


Choose a resort where condo-style lodgings have kitchens to save money and provide a safer environment as opposed to eating meals in crowded restaurants. Skiers will find budget-friendly packages and promotions, including lodging and lift tickets, often with discounts for families.


At some resorts, young children ski free and some include lessons in the packages. For young children, their first time on skis will make it a winter to remember.


Parents and children don’t even need to ski to have fun together at larger resorts, usually home to a number of other outdoor activities. Okemo Mountain in Vermont, for example, has a snow tubing hill, a covered skating rink with skate rentals and the Timber Ripper, a mountain coaster kids can’t get enough of. Family-sized suites with kitchens are right at the base, with direct access to skiing and non-ski activities.


Smugglers Notch in Vermont has snowshoeing, apres-ski bonfires, fireworks displays, snow tubing, dogsledding trips and ski-in-ski-out slope-side condos for all sizes of families.


Jackson Gore, resort

Okemo Mountain Resort © Barbara Rogers


In New Hampshire, Loon Mountain has an Adventure Center located close to the base lodge, where The Mountain Club on Loon has family-sized suites. The Adventure Center offers a full range of outdoor activities, including snow tubing, cross-country skiing, ice-skating, snowshoeing and a zip line ride over the frozen river.


In addition to 62 ski trails and three terrain parks for snowboarders and freestyle, New Hampshire’s Bretton Woods Resorthas a long list of other winter activities. These include sleigh rides, skating, snowmobiling, a tubing center, dedicated fat-bike trails and rentals, one of New England’s biggest cross-country trail networks, and a Canopy Tour that’s a thrilling ride through the treetops and above the slopes.


In Colorado, Copper Mountain is a self-contained resort with slope-side condos for families, plus ice skating, the Alpine Rush Zip Line for side-by-side rides, a tubing hill and Critterland. Designed for younger children, Critterland includes a tubing carousel, mini tubing hill and a snow den with tunnels.


Not all the ski resorts are in the Northeast or the Rockies. Perhaps the best family deal in the West is at Sipapu Ski & Summer Resort, only 20 miles from Taos, New Mexico. Children under 12 get free season passes, and there is plenty of slope-side family lodging.


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