Planning a family ski trip can feel overwhelming. Where to ski? Where to stay? What to pack? Although there is a bit of planning involved, it’s well worth it for the incredible family memories. Riding the chairlift together, exploring a mountain as a family, getting out into nature… all part of the beauty of skiing.
A few planning and packing tips for a family ski trip:
Picking Your Peak Spot
Each ski town has its own vibe, so you want to choose a mountain that fits your family. Will Mom or another adult not be skiing? Pick a destination with plenty to do off the slopes— like Park City, Utah, or Jackson Hole, Wyoming, with their spas, boutiques and world-class restaurants.
We were looking for a budget-friendly destination close to Denver (plenty of direct flights from Chicago). We went with the neighboring ski slopes of Keystone & Breckenridge. We loved Keystone’s family ski trail, the Schoolyard, and the enclosed gondolas helped us warm up and relax on our way up the mountain! Breckenridge has an adorable western-themed Main Street with fun bars, shops and restaurants. Dividing our time between the two ski resorts gave us the best of both worlds.
Ski-in/ski-out accommodations mean less time dragging you and your kids’ gear and more time enjoying the mountains. It also gives family members more freedom to come and go. Maybe only some of the family wants to go on a couple harder runs at the end of the day? The rest of the family can walk back to their lodge and others can stay on the slopes. We stayed at Keystone’s slope side Springs Condominiums. It had a full kitchen, which saved us lots of money, and a fabulous heated pool/jacuzzi area. Pick the right lodging and it’s a relaxing retreat to come home to after a day on the mountain.
I never check luggage (too many experiences with lost suitcases or waiting an hour for it at the airport). Airline baggage fees also make this a no-brainer for me. We rent all our ski gear, including helmets. However, we bring along our other ski must-haves… wool socks, waterproof gloves, ski pants, neck warmer or turtleneck, ski cap, and ski goggles or sun glasses. After spending $150 for forgotten ski pants at the mountain gift shop, I learned my lesson. Get must-have items locally. You can buy a box of wool socks from Costco for what a pair will cost you at a ski resort.
It’s All About the Base
Layers are key when skiing. You can take off pieces as the day gets warmer, or you warm up from exercising. We like Lululemon men’s thermal underwear— soft and warm, like skiing in your pajamas!
We tried out Columbia’s new 860 Turbo Down ski jackets. They’re warm, waterproof and stylish. What more could you ask for? Choose a bright color to make it easier to spot your kids on the slopes. We were also kept toasty warm with Columbia’s fleece-lined Karako Pass waterproof gloves. Great snow boots are another must. These LL Bean Bar Harbor boots are THE best. They’re waterproof, lined to keep your feet warm and LL Bean has the BEST return policy in the business. If they get damaged or you end up not liking them, LL Bean will ALWAYS take them back, no questions asked.
Rockin’ the Mountain
A must-have for my teenagers is mountain music. They like to be able to ski and snowboard with their tunes. I’m the meddling mom, nervous about them flying down the mountain unable to hear what’s going on— like someone yelling that they’re about to crash into them! Outdoor Tech sent me the perfect solution. I tested their Wired CHIPS, headphones that fit inside the helmet but don’t actually cover your ears (the headphones are pictured in the “Peak Perfection” collection above). Plug them into your phone or MP3 player, stick that in one of your pockets, and you’re set. You’ve got your tunes, but are aware what’s happening around you. They’d be great for bike riding as well.They also come in a wireless bluetooth version.
Wishing you mountains of fun on your next family ski trip!