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Christmas Ski Trip - with kids too young to ski? Where?

Texas
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Christmas Ski Trip - with kids too young to ski? Where?

I grew up doing family ski trips around Christmas every year. Now it's my turn. I didn't start until I was about 6, but my kids are now 2 and 4. I know they're old enough to start learning but...

What I'm looking for is a great christmasy winter wonderland type vacation that also allows for some skiing. We live in texas which means no snow and no mountains. Kids activities, holiday spirit, and a bunch of things to entertain the kids... besides skiing... are what i think would work best for us. I'm thinking cool parks, sledding, snow forts, kids running around having a good time. If I can get them on the bunny slope for a few days here and there, great... If my wife can entertain them for a few mornings with all the things to do and I can get out and ski for a few hours... this would be the perfect vacation. MAYBE some ski school, but this is a FAMILY vacation so we don't want to just dump the kids and take off.

Because we're traveling with kids, it should be easy to get to. Direct flight out of Houston or Dallas would be ideal, and no more than an hour or so from the destination airport.

I've been to Steamboat over a dozen times but my memory of it is all about slopes and not about what kids can do at the base/in town. I remember the town being nice for an evening stroll around dinner time, but we never spent much time there. I also visited Vail one summer 20 yrs ago. I dont remember it being very big or having much to do off mountain... but then that was 20 yrs ago.

I've researched for a few hours and find vague information here and there stating certain resorts are "family friendly" or "plenty for the kids" but that's about as specific as it goes.

I'm looking at most of the big resorts - Steamboat, Vail, Beaver Creek, Deer Valley, Park City, Breckenridge, Aspen, Snowmass, Crested Butte, Telluride, etc... however since skiing isnt as important as overall experience, I'm definitely open to suggestions.

We'd be going for probably 7-10 days around christmas/new years.

Thanks for any help/suggestions/info ... really want to make this a great trip for the wife and kids.

Aspen, Colorado
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1. Re: Christmas Ski Trip - with kids too young to ski? Where?

"direct flight . . . no more than an hour or so from the destination airport."

I'd look into that first. Could be an issue. Utah resorts may be a good choice with Deer Valley only abt an hour, maybe less, from airport.

Much has changed in 20 years. Most resorts including Steamboat have family activities that are not skiing related.

Will the 2 yr old be 3 by the time of your vacation? Most ski schools have age restrictions on the young ones with 3 often the start age. No that your kids will be so tired by the end of a ski day they will only want to sleep.

Decide early and book. Your window for the best options is closing.

Colorado
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2. Re: Christmas Ski Trip - with kids too young to ski? Where?

Eagle Co airport is close to Beaver Creek and Vail.

Believe Steamboat, Aspen Snowmass, Telluride, Crested Butte are all near local regional airports.

Breck/Keystone are going to be tough as you'd have to fly Denver or Colorado Springs, both of which are about 2 hours (on dry roads) drive. Suppose you could fly into Eagle.. but then I'd just stop at BC or Vail.

Utah has some great areas also, it's been years but Park City and SLC areas can hold their own against anything in Colorado.

If I was looking, I'd check out Park City, Beaver Creek, or Aspen Snowmass. A nice thing about Park City is SLC is a big airport, so odds of delays in/out are likely much less than the smaller regional airports. Also likely have a few more flight time options.

Texas
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3. Re: Christmas Ski Trip - with kids too young to ski? Where?

Very interesting take. I had considered the convenience of SLC to be a plus for driving, but good point about delays. I remember being rerouted a couple of times on the way into Hayden/Steamboat because of weather.

I do like that Park City seems to have a decent size village. Although the photos i see of the base are mostly of parking lots? Is there no central base like Steamboat?

I also liked the look and size of aspen. It seems like the views are more dramatic, which is kinda cool since we NEVER see mountains anywhere else. I'm a bit worried about he reputation Aspen/Snowmass has about being a ritzy/snobby hotspot... maybe not kid friendly? For those who dont have kids... kid friendly means your kids can run, jump, play SCREEEEAAAM and just be kids... without getting dirty looks or worry of disturbing people... in fact, kid friendly should mean that they do that AND people enjoy it cuz their kids are doing the same.

Is Telluride too small? Looks like 1 street in the photos but its a pretty street!

I worry that Vail and Beaver Creek are just a group of hotels and ski shops surrounding the base ... not much to do with little ones.

Lots of options, I know, but I sure would like to find the best spot for my fam... surely lots of peole would love to find a place like this for their young families too... so? any great ideas?

Texas
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4. Re: Christmas Ski Trip - with kids too young to ski? Where?

oh and the 2 yr old will not be 2 by then. I also am anxious to get this trip planned because I know the window is closing quickly. I'd like to get it booked up in the next week or two.

Thanks again!

Breckenridge...
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5. Re: Christmas Ski Trip - with kids too young to ski? Where?

I like Telluride but I am not sure it is the size you are looking for.

Colorado: the hour to slopes is the hard thing as that wipes out many of the places.

I would say Summit County area if it were not for this restriction. Tubing hills around the county with the most recent being built in Frisco.

4 ski areas in the county with Vail 30 miles away. Outlet stores in Silverthorne for the shoppers in the family.

Nice Rec Centers in Breckenridge and Silverthorne with things for kids (full pools), Tuesday and Thursday the Rec Center in the winter sets up a basic big air thing for the kids to play on ($6, but call to confirm days).

Day trip to Buena Vista for hot springs if you are not skiing one day.

My favorite ski area/town not in Colorado: Jackson, Wyoming.

Matt

Colorado
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6. Re: Christmas Ski Trip - with kids too young to ski? Where?

<<< kid friendly means your kids can run, jump, play SCREEEEAAAM and just be kids... without getting dirty looks or worry of disturbing people... in fact, kid friendly should mean that they do that AND people enjoy it cuz their kids are doing the same.>>>

I am going to guess that the upscale places you are looking for would give you and the screaming kids a dirty look. Places like Aspen, Beaver Creek, Vail, Telluride all have people paying big $$$$ to have a nice relaxing vacation.

Have you considered something a bit less elegant but more geared to families like

ymcarockies.org/snow-mountain-ranch-winter-p… which is close enough to Winter Park to ski should you want to.

Edited: 29 August 2012, 18:34
Chicago, Illinois
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7. Re: Christmas Ski Trip - with kids too young to ski? Where?

We have been to Breck and vail before kids and Park city/deer valley/the canyons with our then 3 1/2 yr old. This year we are booked at keystone for Christmas.

PC et al was wonderful! We went over NEw Years. The city of P C is not at the "base area". Great town, great lodging, skiing, ski school, ice skating, tubing. Less than 1 hr drive from SLC.

Keystone won this year, primarily for price. It too has tubing, ice skating, wonderful ski school ( so I hear). We found lodging less here than at Breck or Vail. It is an easy drive FTP

Denver, but of course that is weather dependent. We are driving from Chicago, so that didn't really matter.

In all honestly all the resorts you picked are excellent choices. It just depends what you are willing to compromise on...distance, lodging,

price etc. Have fun planning!!

Colorado
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8. Re: Christmas Ski Trip - with kids too young to ski? Where?

There are daily direct flights on American from Houston to Gunnison/Crested Butte which is part of the reason Crested Butte is so popular with Texans.

There's certainly plenty to do in Crested Butte as a family including snow tubing, sleigh rides and other kid friendly activities. Also, similar to most ski resorts, there are daycare (and babysitting) options if you'd like to get away for a few hours to ski during the day or go out to dinner at night.

Colorado
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9. Re: Christmas Ski Trip - with kids too young to ski? Where?

I will add that all those places do just fine for a family vacation but the SCREEEEAAAM and Enjoying it part hmm not so much.

WestSlope,CO
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10. Re: Christmas Ski Trip - with kids too young to ski? Where?

Telluride is beautiful, (one of the most scenic/picture-perfect places in the state, IMO) with lots to do, and there are direct flights to Montrose from Houston in the winter, and maybe from Dallas. About an hour and a half to Telluride, and not a bad drive.

Crested Butte would be good, if you can get a direct flight to Gunnison. (Gunnison has a nice rec center and skating rink)

Consider Durango, too. It is really family friendly and the winter train ride is awesome...my grandson went on the Polar Express and loved it so much he wanted to go again the next year. (The 4 yr old would love it!)

Snow Mountain Ranch (YMCA of the Rockies) is a family favorite with tons of activities and close to Winter Park for skiing. http://www.ymcarockies.org/smractivities.html