Planning a Family Ski Vacation It's time to plan the family vacation -- and everyone wants to go skiing. Don't worry, skiing isn't as expensive as you might think, and there are numerous resorts that cater to families, offering a variety of packages designed to save you money. The problem will be choosing the destination. Most ski resorts have websites. Start the planning process by accessing these websites to determine where you and your family might want to go for your family ski vacation. There are many different things to look for when choosing a resort. The absolute most important thing to look for is a ski school if someone in your family will need instruction. While most resorts do have ski schools, some don't. Don't make the mistake of choosing a destination where one or more of your family members won't have fun, simply because they don't know how to ski. Next, take a look at the slopes, lifts, and trails. You want to make sure that the resort has something to offer everyone in your family. If the resort only caters to beginners, an expert skier will become quickly bored. If you have a snowboarder in your group, and there is no snowboarding park or terrain, that snowboarder will not be happy. There are resorts that serve all winter sports -- so make sure that your families interests are covered. Lodging is the next thing to look at. You want to be comfortable, so where you will sleep at night matters a great deal. In most cases, there is a hotel right at the base of the slopes -- but this isn't necessarily the best or most affordable place to stay. Find out what your lodging options are for the area, and choose the one that is right for your family and your budget. If you will be staying farther away from the slopes, make sure that there is transportation to and from the slopes each day! Your family will have many more interests that you will need to search for before deciding on a particular destination and resort. Some of those interests may be dog sledding, sleigh rides, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, or horseback riding. Resorts do offer these activities, but some don't -- so be sure to ask about the winter activities, as well as the planned events during the time that you will be at the resort. This will help you plan a ski vacation that your family will enjoy and remember for the rest of their lives. Ski Vacations -- Learning How To Ski If your family wants to go skiing on your next vacation, but you don't know how to ski, go ahead and plan that ski vacation anyway! You can learn how to ski, and you will have a great time doing it. You don't even need to know the first thing about skiing before you arrive at the resort -- all of the knowledge you will need is there waiting for you, and you can literally be skiing down a mountain after an hour of instruction. Learning to ski is really quite easy. Most resorts have a ski school on the premises, and lessons are reasonably priced. Group and private lessons are usually available. It is a good idea, however, to schedule an appointment before you arrive at the resort. This will ensure that you can start learning to ski the very first hour of your vacation. Most ski instructors start by showing you how to maneuver around with your equipment. When you are wearing ski boots, you will be inclined slightly forward -- there is a reason for this: when you are skiing down a mountain, you will be inclined forward! Walking in ski boots the first time is a bit difficult -- but it works just fine if you learn to walk with your knees slightly bent. The first maneuver you will learn is called the plow, or snow plow. This is a technique that is done by literally using your skis as a snow plow. You make the back of the skis slowing move outwards, away from your body by applying pressure -- and this stops you. You guide yourself on skies by bending your knees and leaning in one direction or another, depending on which way you want to go. All of these techniques can be learned in one hour, even if you have never been on a pair of skis in your life. The beauty of skiing is that after you have learned how to snow plow, and how to guide yourself on the skis, you are ready to ski! Get on the lift, head up the mountain, and give it a try. Control your speed by snow plowing -- go slow at first. When you want to pick up some speed, draw your skis back in to pick up a little speed, then push them back out into the plow position to control that speed. As a beginner, you should stick to the trails that are designed for beginners. At most resorts, these trails are marked with a green emblem. Blue trails are for intermediate skiers, and after one day of skiing the beginner trails, you may be ready for those trails. The black trails are for experts. These trails can be dangerous for people who don't have the skill level to handle them! Avoid black trails until you have had a great deal of ski instruction and experience. You will know when you are ready! Ski Vacations -- What To Pack If you will be traveling for a ski vacation, it is often difficult to know what to pack. You may not even have a problem knowing what to pack, but instead have a problem figuring how to get everything that you need from your home to your destination. Skis do not easily fit into suitcases, and if you are flying, this presents a huge problem. Start by knowing what is available at your destination. Is there a rental shop? How much are the rental fees for skis, boots, and poles. If it is reasonable, and you don't mind skiing with rented equipment, this is a viable option -- and it makes packing and traveling much easier. If you don't care for rented equipment, there is another option. Find out if there are any ski shops in the area. There usually are. Get prices on skis, poles, and boots, and then ask if they buy used equipment. If they don't, ask if there is anyone near by that does purchase used equipment. Call that place to get an estimate on how much you could get for barely used ski equipment. Figure the difference in the money you will spend on the ski equipment, and the money you will get for the used equipment when you are finished with it. If it isn't much more than what it would cost you to rent the equipment, go for it! Ski suits, ski jackets, and sweaters can be very bulky, and hard to pack. These items will take up a lot of room in your suitcase, and leave less room for other clothing and essentials. If you are trying to pack for a two week ski vacation, it will be impossible to fit everything you need into one suitcase. There is a way to solve this. Call the lodge or resort where you will be staying. Tell them that you need to ship a package, for yourself, to them, and that you need that package to be there when you arrive. Ask them if they will hold it for you at the desk. In most cases, they will. Next, get a box, put all of your ski suits, your ski jacket, and any other bulky items in the box, and ship it to yourself, in care of the lodge or resort. Shipping can be overnight, two day, or three day depending on how far it must travel. Depending on how much the box weighs, you will usually pay less than fifty dollars to ship a package in the continental United States: .which is a lot less than you would pay an airline for extra baggage! Ski Vacations on a Budget When you start thinking about ski vacations, you will find a lot of information about various resorts and packages. Finding terrific vacation spots isn't difficult, however, finding ski vacations that fit into your budget can be a challenge. To save money, look for lesser known resorts. This doesn't mean that these resorts won't provide you with a fun vacation -- it simply means that they aren't quite as well known as other resorts, and therefore, the prices ma y be a great cheaper. Also look for ski vacation packages that will include your lodging, lift tickets, lessons, rentals, and possibly even some meals. Be willing to make some sacrifices if money is a real issue. For instance, instead of eating in an expensive restaurant each night, eat cheaper fast food, or make sandwiches in your room. Borrow equipment from friends instead of renting it. Join a group for lessons instead of taking private lessons. Don't stay at a lodge, stay at a motel farther away from the slopes if necessary. There are numerous ways that you can cut down on the expense of your ski trip. It is all about the powder after all! Ski Vacations with Ski Clubs There are many different types of clubs throughout the world. In fact, there is a club or organization for just about everything that you can imagine! Skiing is no exception. Ski clubs are a great way to learn new things, and to go on ski vacations with other members. In fact, ski club members often get discounted rates on ski vacation packages. No matter where you live, there is a ski club near you. This is true even if you live in a place that does not ever get snowfall! These clubs regularly get together for trips to various mountains, ski areas, and ski resorts. Some are local clubs, meaning that the slopes that they ski on are within driving distance, while others are more national or global, which means that they not only ski locally, if possible, but they also plan ski trips. Again, members of ski clubs often receive deep discounts on ski vacation packages. Arrangements are usually made through the club, so that everyone is eligible for the discounts. The money that is required from each member for the trip is usually paid to the club, and the club passes the funds on to pay for lodging, airfare, meals, lift tickets, and other perks that are included in the trip. Because arrangements are being made for a group of people -- which is usually fairly large -- discounts are given. This benefits all members of the club. The discounts aren't the only thing to be excited about. These clubs get together regularly -- even if they aren't getting together to ski. They join together for other activities as well, such as cookouts and fundraisers. Many ski clubs do annual fundraisers to help less fortunate families and children at Christmas time. Others do annual fundraisers to help preserve the environment -- which is usually a topic of great importance to skiers who love being out in the wide open spaces and fresh air. While skiing is what brings these groups together in the first place, it is not necessarily what keeps them together. Their love of a common sport, and their common interests and feeling of community is what keeps them together -- and it keeps them skiing together for years and years. If you are a skier, you should definitely consider joining a club. It doesn't matter -- in most cases -- what level you are at. Beginners are usually welcomed, and this is a great way for beginners to quickly improve their skills and techniques out on the slopes. Tahoe Ski Vacations If you are planning a ski vacation and there are beginners in your group, or you are a beginner yourself, you should definitely consider Tahoe Donner in Truckee, California for your ski vacation. Since 1971, when construction first began at Tahoe Donner, the area has come to be known as a world class cross country ski center, but beginners are still welcome, and this is one of the better places to learn how to ski. Located near Tahoe and Truckee, Tahoe Donner provides a family atmosphere, and is very affordable. It features a 601 foot vertical drop, and the highest elevation is 7353 feet. There are approximately 120 acres for skiers to enjoy, with over 13 trails for beginners, intermediate skiers, and expert skiers. The resort features four lifts, with two of the list being surface lifts, and two being chair lifts. Snowboarders are also welcome at Tahoe Donner. The resort has reasonable lift ticket rates, and there are rentals available. Here, you will also find a variety of ski programs and a ski school. After a full day of skiing, be sure to visit the Lodge Restaurant for a wonderful and relaxing dining experience. Wintergreen Resort Ski Vacation Known as the single best ski resort in the South, Wintergreen Resort in Virginia has quite a bit to offer skiers. Featuring 11,000 acres with 19 trails, Wintergreen has a top elevation of 3516 feet, with a 1003 foot vertical drop. Beginners, intermediates, and experts will all find suitable trails at Wintergreen Resort. To accommodate skiers, there are six lifts, including five chair lifts and one surface lift. There is also a dedicated terrain park for snowboarding. The resort is located near Charlottesville, Virginia, and you will experience breathtaking views of the Appalachian Mountains, and be surrounded by luxury that most people only dream of. There is also a world class golf course located near the resort. Other activities include tubing, snowmobiling, tennis, hiking, and horseback riding. The Out of Bounds Adventure Center is a very popular attraction at the resort with rock climbing and bungee trampolines. The Outdoor Wilderness Leadership school offers corporate retreats, real rock climbing, rappelling, and mountain biking. This is an ideal spot for a family vacation. You and your children can participate in a variety of craft workshops, enjoy campfires and storytelling, go on hay rides, and enjoy many more community events that are scheduled throughout the year. There are many planned activities for families, including winter hiking, skiing, snowboarding, tubing, and swimming in a cozy indoor pool. While vacationing at Wintergreen Resort, make time to see the civil war history attractions, and visit the local wineries as well. Also take time to enjoy the Wintergreen Spa. At the spa, you can be pampered with massages, body wraps, skin treatments, and nail care. You can also visit the Mountaintop Aquatic and Fitness Center which features the latest in cardiovascular equipment, strength equipment, heated pools, hot tubs, steam rooms, and saunas. The Wintergreen Performing Arts has many musical performances throughout the year that are sure to delight you and your family. If you are less interested in culture, and more interested in nature, the Wintergreen Nature Foundation is for you. This foundation promotes the understanding and conservation of natural resources that the Blue Ridge Mountains are famous for. No matter what your interests are, if getting away from the hustle and bustle of city life is what you want, this is the number one spot in the South for fun, relaxation, and rejuvenation. The Wintergreen Resort is open all year long, with activities that are suitable for every season. The Great Aspen Resort Ski Vacations When you think of all the ski resorts in the world one of them stands out inyour mind. Aspen offers a variety of ski areas for all levels and it covers 4,500 acres or more spread over four mountains. This resort is known for itsnightlife because of the downtown area and the quieter Snowmass resort area has something to offer everyone. Aspen provides all the restaurants and bars you could ever want or need You can take a stroll through this luxurious city and find many boutiques and much more. There is a lot of history in many of the buildings that are in the downtown area. One of these buildings is the Ute bank; this building can be dated back to the silver area around the 1800's. With everything that there is to do in Aspen you shouldn't find yourself getting bored. Aspen is located in Colorado, and with the various mountain ranges, you are sure to find slopes that are suitable for your level. Snowmass is one of the most popular resorts in the world, so be sure to make reservations well in advance. Tennessee Ski Vacations Located near Gatlinburg, Tennessee, Ober Gatlinburg is the only ski resort in the state. It is more than just a ski resort, however. It is a complete family vacation spot with an amusement park, indoor ice skating, a bungee tower, an alpine slide, and many other activities and attractions -- there is something to please everyone. With an elevation of 3301 feet, and a vertical drop of 600 feet, Ober Gatlinburg features eight trails: two beginner trails, four intermediate trails, and two advanced trails. There are three lifts, including two quad lifts, one double lift, and one surface lift. The season runs from the m iddle of December through early March, and night skiing is allowed on all trails except the Grizzly trail. Rentals are available for both ski equipment and snowboarding equipment. Private and group lessons for skiing and snowboarding are also available through the Smokey Mountain Snow Sport School. You can also easily find food at the many snack bars, food carts, the cafe, the restaurant, or in the lounge. You must not miss the longest chair lift ride in the south! You will see awesome views of the Great Smoky Mountains. You will also get a bird's eye view of some of the slopes, and you can have your picture taken on top of the mountain. If you don't ski, don't worry! You can ride back down the mountain on the chair lift as well. Don't forget the Tramway. The tramway departs from downtown Gatlinburg and takes you to the ski resort and the amusement park. Even if you don't ski, you can still explore the thrill of flying down a mountain at a high speed -- or a slow speed if you choose. This is possible with the Alpine Slide. The slide is approximately 1800 feet long, and takes you down a winding wooded slope. You have total control over your speed with the use of a braking device on each sled. Other attractions at the amusement park include the Black Bear Habitat, a bungee jump, a water race, go karts, indoor ice skating, kiddie land, an arcade, miniature golf, a Spider Web Velcro Wall Jump, water rides, and a shooting range. No matter what type of fun or adventure you are seeking, there is something to satisfy everyone in the family at Ober Gatlinburg Ski Resort and Amusement Park. This is definitely a trip worth taking -- especially if you have younger kids or senior citizens traveling with you. Ski Vacations at Solitude Mountain Resort, Utah If you are looking for the ultimate Utah ski vacation, Solitude Mountain Resort has everything that you could want or need. During the early 1900's, the area was full of silver miners, who gave the area its famous name. Today, the area is covered with skiers -- but the crowds are rather light. The area became a skier's paradise in 1957. It was developed by Robert Barrett, who made his fortune as a uranium miner. He basically started developing the resort because he was denied restroom privileges at the ski area in Alta -- because he was not a guest. Now owned by a different family, the resort features 1200 acres of 63 runs for beginners, intermediate skiers, and experts. There are eight lifts, including seven chair lifts and one surface lift. The top elevation at Solitude Mountain is 10036 feet, with a vertical drop of 2048 feet. There are five lodging options for guests, and activities and events take place all throughout the year. The resort looks like a Tom Kincaide painting, and one can't help but wonder if this is where some of his inspiration came from! Red River Ski Vacations Red River, New Mexico is home to one of the most popular ski resorts in the United States, and has been for many decades. The resort offers six chair lifts and one surface lift, and the trails are equally divided for beginners, intermediates, and experts. Top elevation at Red River is 10354 feet, and the vertical drop down the face of the mountain is 1601 feet. Unfortunately, it doesn't snow much, and about 85% of the powder is man made. There are 58 trails scattered over 247 acres. Red River is called the 'ski town of the Southwest.' The resort has three restaurants, all of which offer fabulous fare. Lodging can be obtained in cabins, chalets, inns, or private condominiums in the area, and many lodging packages, as well as ski packages are available through Red River Central Reservations. Red River also offers snow pass rates which allow children to ski for free, and teens to ski at reduced rates. This is a great way to save money on your family ski vacation. Red River also has a ski school, and group lessons and private lessons are available. Even if you've never skied before, you will quickly be on the slopes after your lessons. There are even lessons for snowboarders, who are welcome on the Red River slopes. You can also rent all of your ski and snowboarding equipment for very reasonable rates. The nightlife in Red River is also great. After a day on the slopes, you can kick back and relax at the lodge, or visit one of the taverns in the area. For the younger crowd, there is a great game room located right in the center of the town. One of the great things about Red River is that everything is within walking distance of the lodging areas, and shuttles are provided for transportation to and from the slopes. You can also enjoy taking scenic chairlift rides, hiking, biking, horseback riding, camping, snow-mobiling, and hunting. You can even take one of the jeep tours to go see the abandoned gold mines in the area. So, even if you don't ski, there is still plenty of fun to be had at Red River Ski Resort. Childcare is available while you spend your day on the slopes. Your child will be well tended at the Li'l Buckaroos Child Care Facility, and the center provides lunch for your child as well. At Red River, everything has been thought of and taken care of to ensure that your ski vacation is as enjoyable as possible.
Oregon Ski Vacations Oregon is famous for the ski slopes found around the state, and if you are planning a ski vacation, you should definitely consider Timberline Lodge, located near Mt. Hood in Oregon. There is quite a bit of history in the area, starting with the lodge that was built during the Great Depression by a master craftsman. The Timberline Lodge also has a bit of more recent history attached to it. Part of the movie, The Shining, was filmed here. Many of the 'outside' shots were done at Timberline Lodge. The lodge is entirely hand made, and well preserved. The hand woven draperies and the hand hewn beams add to the rustic charm and history of the place. The lodge sits in the middle of 1400 acres consisting of 35 trails. The trails are perfect for beginners, intermediates, and experts. The top elevation at Timberline Lodge is 8504 with a vertical drop of 2501. There are six chair lifts to accommodate skiers. One of the most unique things about Timberline is that it is the one place in the United States that offers year-round snow skiing. Palmer Snowfield is part of the Timberline Resort, and it is permanently covered with snow. Beginners are not always allowed on Palmer snowfield -- the conditions are considered each day when making this determination. Skiing, snowboarding, hiking, snowshoeing, and lodge tours are the main attractions at Timberline. Here, it is all about the powder! Mt. Hood is an active volcano which is considered to be dormant. Occasionally, tremors are felt, and steam vents are often visible. The Cascade Dining Room is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner each day, but the hours do change with the seasons. Other fare can be found at the Ram's Head Bar, the Blue Ox bar, the Wy'East Kitchen Cafeteria, the Market Cafe, and the Mt. Hood Brewing Company. Rental equipment is not available at Timberline. You must bring your own equipment. However, smaller items such as gloves and goggles can be purchased at the lodge, along with some clothing items. There is a snowboard and ski school on the premises, and private and group lessons are available. If the idea of a 'rustic' ski vacation appeals to you, as opposed to trips with accommodations that are a bit fancier, then Timberline Lodge in Oregon is the place to be! Again, it is definitely all about the history and the powder here. However, whether you ski or not, you must not miss the Magic Mile, which offers a panoramic view of the Cascade mountains that cannot be matched! Okanagan Mountain Range Ski Vacations Okanagan is a mountain range that runs through valleys close to three mountain ranges.During the summer this is the perfect place to do some camping, but when winter hits you will have great skiing weather and conditions. There are small resorts that are scattered throughout the area. The climate here will make for great skiing down the slopes and through the trails. These scattered resort s are very quiet and peaceful. Lifts are available, but they are limited to specific times and dates. These resorts have great skiing around them, even though they are small. This area of mountains offers the most consistent weather conditions, and the resort offers lodging for everyone that cares to stay -- at a reasonable price. The mountain ranges offer different trails and skill levels, but most of all they provide you with the skiing vacation of your dreams. During the winter, temperatures in the Okanogan range often drop to zero degrees. The items you bring will need to keep you warm at all times and safe no matter which trail you may choose to ski. Nub's Nob Ski Vacations If you will be in Michigan, you should definitely visit Nub's Nob Ski Resort. Nub's Nob has what is considered to be the Midwest's best snow, and the resort has a reputation for being a family friendly mountain. Generations of families have brought their children here for their very first ski run. The mountain layout is fairly simple with an elevation of 1338 feet and a vertical drop of 427 feet. There are 43 trails serviced by eight chair lifts. Boasting one of the best skiing and snowboarding schools in the country, both private and group lessons are available. If you are brand new to the sport, you can even learn to ski free, and take advantage of Nub's Cubs Childcare Center while you learn. Don't make the mistake of thinking that intermediate or expert skiers won't find any challenges waiting for them at Nub's Nob! The terrain is varied, and you will find challenges. Night Skiing is also available. The Ski School offers training programs for advanced skiers who are interested in racing, and many racing events are held at the resort. You can signup for race leagues at the resort, and many league events are planned each season. Equipment rental is available, and there is a General Store right inside the lodge, where you can purchase gloves, hats, and neck warmers among a variety of other items. You should also visit the technology center to have your ski's tuned or repaired. You won't go hungry either! Nub's Nob Cafeteria is open for breakfast and lunch, and if you brought your own lunch, you can eat in the 'brown bag' room. Nub's Winter Garden serves grilled burgers when the weather allows. Pintail Peak Warming Hut is located at the top of the Black Lift. Here, you can enjoy amazing views while enjoying home made soups and sandwiches. Nub's Nob is the place to go if you want to have a great family ski vacation -- or if you are already an expert skier interested in racing and skill events. There is plenty to do and see. In fact, you may find that you have a problem deciding which activity to participate in first! Don't worry about missing anything, though -- if you want to ski now and board later, you can do that. Most events are planned for the weekends, so arrange your schedule so that you are able to attend or participate in the planned events. Mount Snow Ski Vacations Mount Snow, located in Vermont, is the one of the largest ski resorts in the Eastern United States. Featuring 26 lifts and more than 135 trails, the top elevation at Mount Snow is 3600 feet, with a vertical drop of 1700 feet. There are 20 chair lifts and six surface lifts available. Snowboarders are welcome at Mount Snow, and there is a 'kids only' terrain park as well as a special tubing park. The Grand Summit Hotel and Crown Club sits right off the slopes, and guests enjoy a heated outdoor pool and ski in/ski out accommodations. There is something to suit everyone at Mount Snow. Many different winter ski vacation packages are available. Many of these packages are really great deals designed to save families money. Child care is available at Mount Snow, and the youngsters will be well cared for, and learn to ski as well. The adults aren't left out of the learning process either! Both group and private lessons are available. Mount Snow is very family oriented. At Mount Snow a unique 'back-to-base' trail system is used that keeps everyone in your family from getting lost. Kids under six ski and ride for free. When an adult buys a 3 -- 5 day ticket during mid-week, their kid receives a free ticket for that same time period as well. During January, the Kids Ski & Learn Free weeks seem to be the most popular family deals. Mount Snow features a full service health spa that you should take full advantage of. A variety of massages are offered, as well as various skin treatments. Spa packages are also available, and the spa caters to couples as well, and wedding parties are also welcome. There is also a fully equipped health club and fitness classes are offered. There is always something to do at Mount Snow -- even if doing nothing but relaxing is on your agenda! Winter activities at Mount Snow also include snowmobiling, snowshoeing, tubing, cross country skiing, and sleigh rides. There is a ski shop on the premises and rental equipment is available. There are several restaurants and bars on the mountain to choose from as well. Again, Mount Snow is family oriented. You will find that this is a very safe environment for your entire family, where you can relax and have fun -- without any worry. Be sure to ask about the family deals when you call for reservations or information. Lost Valley Ski Vacations If you will be traveling to the North East, you must not miss Lost Valley Ski Resort. Located on 300 acres in the middle of Maine, the resort offers many different types of terrain, hills, streams, bridges, and fifteen well maintained trail systems. The Lost Valley Resort is best suited to beginners and intermediate skiers, but there are more thrilling trails available for expert skiers as well. There are three lifts to accommodate skiers, including two chair lifts and one surface lift. Equipment can be rented for all sports that are catered to at Lost Valley Resort, including ski equipment, snowboarding equipment, mountain bikes, and paintball equipment. Ski and snowboarding lessons are also available for private parties and groups. At the lodge, you will experience a warm family environment with outstanding food and beverages. This is an absolutely wonderful place to bring a family. There are training programs, adaptive ski programs, racing events, a snowboard terrain park, mountain biking, and a huge twenty acre paintball park. Lost Valley Resort is also a great place to hold meetings, family reunions, weddings, and other special events. Catering is available. Holiday Mountain Ski Vacations Holiday Mountain, located in New York, is a popular area for skiing. Even though the highest elevation is only 1300 feet, and the vertical drop is only 400 feet, this area is a popular place for the younger crowd, and it is definitely a great place to learn how to ski. There are eight lifts, including three chair lifts and five surface lifts. There are 15 trails for beginners, intermediate skiers, and expert skiers. While skiing and snowboarding are the main attractions, there is much more here as well, including bumper cars, an arcade, and a mechanical bull. There is always something to do at Holiday Mountain Ski Resort. The best place to stay when visiting Holiday Mountain Ski Resort is the Villa Roma Resort Hotel, which is located in the Sullivan County Catskills. Villa Roma was named as one of America's 50 Best Family Resorts by Better Homes & Garden Magazine, and with the amazing amount of fun activities, it is easy to see why. The resort features a rail park for snowboarders, birthday packages, snow tubing, and of course skiing. Fun Valley Ski Vacations If you are looking for a great place to go for your family ski vacation, Fun Valley, Iowa is the place to go. This resort caters to families and beginner level skiers, but it is also great for intermediate and expert skiers as well. There is something to suit all levels at Fun Valley. The top elevation at Fun Valley is 1201 feet, with a vertical drop of 200 feet. There are six lifts, including three chair lifts and three surface lifts. The new learning center is something to see -- and experience if you are a beg inner. Tubers and snowboarders are welcome, and there is an excellent terrain park available. Rental equipment, including tubes and boards, is available. Fun Valley offers outstanding group rates for groups of ten or more. Birthday packages are also outstanding for kids twelve and under. Every Wednesday and Thursday night, the resort offers a student night, with greatly reduced rates. Buddy Pass Friday's are also popular -- bring your friends and you will all save on lift tickets. Coca-Cola sponsors Sprite Saturday's at Fun Valley, where you can participate in three activities for one flat affordable fee. Sundays are Family Four Pack Day. Frost Fire Mountain Ski Vacations For the ultimate family ski vacation, you must visit Frost Fire Mountain in North Dakota. Located near Walhalla, the resort features three lifts, including two chair lifts and one surface lift, 25 acres, and ten trails for beginners, intermediates and experts. The top elevation is 1346 feet, with a vertical drop of 345 feet. Although this is not a large ski resort, it is a great deal of fun, and perfect for family ski vacations. This is the perfect place to bring kids to learn how to ski. Both ski and snowboard lessons are available at reasonable rates. There is a rental shop and ski maintenance area on the grounds, and many motel accommodations in the area to choose from. There is a separate terrain park for snowboarders as well. There are many restaurants to choose from, and you can also visit the areas antique shops when you aren't busy enjoying the slopes. There are many historical sites to see in the area as well, as Walhalla is the second oldest town in the state of North Dakota. Durango Mountain Resort Ski Vacations Featuring more than 2500 acres of ski area and 75 trails, Durango Mountain Ski Resort has much to offer skiers of all levels. The resort claims that there are approximately two people per acre on their slopes during operation hours. The crowds are small, and lift lines do not exist. Located in Colorado, the top elevation is 10822 feet with a 2030 vertical drop. There are eleven lifts, including nine chair lifts and two surface lifts. You can find lodging at the resort, or in the town of Durango, which is nearby. If you stay at the resort, make sure that you actually visit the town while you are there. While the town is small, there is much to see and do. Rentals are available for both ski and snowboarding equipment, and private and group lessons are also available at the Durango Mountain Resort. There are plenty of activities and events both at the resort and in Durango to keep everyone in your family happy. When it comes to family ski vacations, this is one you don't want to miss! Crystal Mountain Ski Vacations If you are in or near Washington State, you should definitely check out Crystal Mountain. With an elevation of 7004 feet and a vertical drop of 3102 feet, Crystal Mountain actually sits below Mount Rainier, which has a top elevation of 14,408 feet. Between the months of November and April, several feet of fresh powder falls on Crystal Mountain, due to the cold Cascade storms common to the area. This is rough terrain, and there is little offered to beginners as far as the ease of the trails go. But lessons are available, as well as rentals for ski's and other equipment. At Crystal Mountain, there are more than 2300 acres and fifty trails, making this the largest ski area in the state of Washington. There are ten lifts available: 2 high speed six passenger lifts, 2 high speed quads, 2 triple chairs, 3 double chairs, and 1 children's surface lift. The season runs from the middle of November to the middle of April, when the most snow fall is experienced. There are several places to choose for lodging, meals, and nightly entertainment, but the biggest attraction is the skiing, of course. The Crystal Mountain Express Buss service runs on weekends from the middle of December to the middle of March. You will be picked up from your lodge and dropped off at the base plaza -- where you can begin a full day of fun on the slopes. After a day of skiing, you should definitely head over to East Peak Massage & Fitness to take advantage of the hot tub, sauna, showers, and even the game room. Massages are also available, with a reservation. If your kids aren't quite ready for the black diamond trails -- but you are -- you can register them in the Kid's Club. The Kid's Club is open from 8am to 4pm each day for children aged four to eleven years old. The kid's aged 4 -- 11 will be supervised while they ski on a 'kid appropriate' slope, and snowboarding is also available for children aged 7 -- 11 years old. Your child will have fun, while being supervised and taught. The cost of the care includes a four hour lesson, a lift ticket, lunch, and supervision. Rental equipment is available for the kids for an additional fee. Everyone has fun at Crystal Mountain. It is a great place for a family vacation, but again, the slopes are more for intermediate skiers and expert skiers -- although beginners will have fun as well. Just use good sense, and avoid trails that you don't feel like your ready for. Big Sky Ski Vacations With all that Big Sky, Montana has to offer skiers, it is amazing that so few know about its existence! Known for its wide open slopes and short lift lines, Big Sky Ski Resort has one of the largest lift served vertical drops in the United States. Over 5300 acres of ski slopes and trails await skiers, with over 33 feet of snowfall each season. Big Sky Ski Resort features twenty three lifts, 220 trails, and a 4350 foot vertical drop. The top elevation is 11154 feet. Along with the ski lifts, there are also two cable car lines available. While there are beginner slopes, most of the slopes are geared toward intermediate and expert skiers. There are many places to lodge in Big Sky Resorts Mountain Village, which rests at the foot of the impressive Lone Peak mountain. Enjoy Sleigh Rid e dinners, ice skating, parties, snowmobile tours, and a variety of community events. At Big Sky, there are no strangers. Big Sky, Montana is one of the highest rated Ski Resorts in the United States, and there is something here for everyone. Aspen Ski Vacations Aspen Mountain has long been known as the playpen of the rich and famous -- and it is. But it is also a great place to take a family ski vacation. Christmas in Aspen is especially wonderful! Aspen Mountain rises above the town of Aspen, with a top elevation of 11215 feet and a vertical drop of 3269 feet. There are 76 trails suitable for beginners, intermediates, and experts, accessible by eight lifts, including seven chair lifts and one cable car line. While Aspen has much to offer skiers, as well as those who enjoy the night life in a ski town, you should expect lots of crowds and lift lines on the slopes. Again, this is the playpen of the rich and famous, and many people choose this ski vacation spot simply for that reason -- as well as for the great runs and nightlife. There are numerous places to stay in and around Aspen, with more than 100 restaurants to choose from as well. Ski instructions and equipment rental are abundant in the area, and snowboarders are welcome. Alaska Ski Vacations Alaska, which has always been a source of awe and mystery, has some of the best skiing in the world, and the Alyeska Resort is one of the finest resorts in the state. With a top elevation of 2751 feet and a 2501 vertical drop, the area gets an average of 631 inches of snow annually. Although this is some of the best skiing in the world, you won't find the slopes overly crowded, and there are no long lift lines. There are nine lifts, including six chair lifts and two surface lifts, and one cable car line. There are 68 trails for beginners, intermediates, and experts, with the majority of the trails designed for intermediate skiers. Night time skiing is allowed, which makes your ski experience more adventurous and thrilling. You will see snow capped mountains, hanging glaciers, and of course, the famous Northern Lights. This resort is ranked number nine of the top twenty-five killer ski trips by Skiing Magazine. The season begins at the Alyeska Resort in mid November, and runs through mid April. This area of Alaska boasts the longest daytime areas in the United States, with approximately sixteen hours of daylight each day during April. During December, however, there are only about seven hours of daylight -- which makes night time skiing necessary if you are going to get in the time that you want to spend on the slopes. The Alyeska Prince Hotel is the place to stay! Here you will enjoy elegant rooms and fine dining. Nightly entertainment is available as well. There are other nightlife spots in the area as well, that are not associated with the Hotel. If tubing interests you, then visiting the Glacier Tubing Park is an absolute must! Featuring two lanes of terrain and a surface lift, everyone in the family will enjoy spending time at the tubing park. The Alyeska Terrain Park is a must for snowboarding enthusiasts. Other winter activities that can be enjoyed in and around the Alyeska Resort include flight seeing, helisking, ocean cruising tours, dog sledding, ice climbing, back country skiing, mountaineering, and polar bear viewing. At the Alyeska Resort, the ultimate winter vacation can be experienced. Brave the elements, then return to the Hotel for some pampering. Get a taste of what Alaska is really like, and what skiing is meant to be! There are activities for the entire family to enjoy, and there are many area sights and attractions to be enjoyed as well. This really is an awesome winter family ski vacation! Italy Ski Vacations If you will be in Italy, you should definitely visit Limone. Limone is one of Italy's oldest ski areas, and it is a very old village with a twelfth century church and many other old buildings. The town is located near the French border, and is only about thirty miles from Nice. At Limone, you will experience a real taste of old Italy. The nightlife has a lot to offer, and the gourmet food is out of this world! Food and skiing are everything here -- with more than fifty restaurants, and 46 ski runs. The top elevation is 6689 with a vertical drop of 3033 feet. Most of the runs are best suited to intermediate skiers, with a few that are suitable for beginners and experts. There are twenty seven lifts, including seven chair lifts and twenty surface lifts. Remember that the village is very old -- and the locales like it that way. If you prefer high technology and modern buildings, Limone probably isn't for you. But if you want to truly experience Italy, Limone must be on your list of places to visit in Italy.
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