For active and adventurous families, snowy holidays are hard to beat. Watch your little ones zoom with confidence down trails, then after a day of exercise in the fresh open air, cuddle up together for evenings by the fireside. Beautiful views, exciting activities, expert childcare, and family hotels help create a trip everyone remembers fondly for years to come. If you are wondering where to go, here are five places you might want to consider for your next winter vacation with the kids:
Aspen is famous for having one of the world’s best ski regions for every category: professional skiers, party lovers, luxury seekers, and families all go wild for this destination. The easily negotiated ski villages of Buttermilk and Snowmass are perfect for travelers with kids. Buttermilk is widely thought to be the best beginner mountain in North America, the perfect place for novices and first-time family ski trips. Snowmass also has abundant learning facilities and is a hub of activities offering a V.I.K. (Very Important Kids) program featuring s’more making, storytelling, and cookie decorating throughout the ski season. Both villages have fantastic childcare centers where licenced staff provide expert care, fun, and adventures, while Mom and Dad take to the trails. I know the resort has a reputation for being expensive, but it certainly helps that under 6-year olds get a free ski pass! Aspen Skiing Company’s Limelight Hotel in Snowmass is opening this winter and will have family facilities including a play room and a climbing wall.
- Big White
Big White is a big hit with families all over Canada and the world. If your kids need ski lessons, they offer group classes for different age sets as well as “Mom/Dad & Me” sessions where little ones will not have to leave your side. You have the Tot Town Day Care Center for kids below ski age or those who do not want to be skiing all day. Moreover, the Kids Center right in the middle of the village has indoor and outdoor activities and childcare options including an evening program that gives parents the chance for a date night. The village is ski in, ski out, and only 15 minutes from Kelowna airport, two things which equal bliss for anyone who has endured carrying their children’s ski gear about or long coach transfers. A family favorite accommodation is Big White’s Sundance Resort, which has a games room with nightly events for kids, a movie theater, and a heated outdoor pool.
Combining a family skiing break with meeting the real Kris Kringle and his reindeer? Sounds good to me! For a truly once in a lifetime trip, a vacation in Lapland is one parents and kids alike will never forget. Levi has a compact ski area with no scary steeps and little charms like fire pits at the bottom of the kids slopes. What is more when not enjoying the ski runs, there are so many exciting activities from meeting Santa in his woodland cottage to taking a husky sleigh ride and visiting a reindeer farm. The village’s Levi Hotel Spa is a common choice for families staying here as it has numerous swimming pools, a ball pit, and a bowling alley. My question is, who will be more excited, the kids or the grown-ups?
The British royals frequent this French ski resort: who does not remember the adorable photos of Prince William, Duchess Katharine, and their children in the snow? It is easy to see why they choose it for their first ski vacation as a family. Not only does it look like a scene straight out of a storybook with wooden huts, cobblestone streets, and fairy-tale forest, it also goes above and beyond to welcome young visitors. A lot of the bunny slopes are free and there is a special “Stop Zone” to learn control in as well as fun themed runs. The village is served by escalators and has heated streets to prevent ice. Besides room-only hotels and condos like you find in North American ski towns, European resorts like Courchevel offer something called “chalet catering” in traditional chalets and chalet hotels. It includes main meals and afternoon tea in the cost of your stay and hosts look after guests and make them feel like royalty! You get luxurious, basic, and kid-friendly properties, and Sno’s family chalets come with facilities like interlinking bedrooms, games rooms, soft play areas, swimming pools, and crèches.
- Beaver Creek
Back to the States and any resort with a candy store at the top of the mountain, that provides free fresh-baked cookies and cocoa once the ski lifts close, gets a big thumbs up from families all over the world. Breckenridge claims to have the “Ivy League of Ski Schools” where novices can “learn from the best of the best”. The Red Buffalo Park is a family zone featuring 13 easy trails with charming snow sculptures. There is ice skating in the center of the village and they often put on firework displays on Thursday nights. Park Hyatt’s Resort & Spa has ski in, ski out access, a heated outdoor pool, and a firepit for s’more roasting (if the free cookies and cocoa having satisfied your sugar cravings).