Five More Great Ski Schools for Families
Published: May 2009
Northstar-at-Tahoe, California; 800/466-6784 or 530/562-1010; www.skinorthstar.com. This compact resort has a special snow-sports learning area and a mid-mountain headquarters for all children's services. Children 6 to 12 enroll in Starkids for ski and snowboard lessons. Free hour-long clinics teach parents how to ski with toddlers as young as three. At the mid-mountain Polaris Park, families can rent snowbikes and snowscoots, or go tubing, skiing, and snowboarding until seven nightly.
Smuggler's Notch, Vermont; 800/451-8752; www.smuggs.com. At this decidedly family-oriented mountain, clans come to ski—together and separately, and in every sort of class, including ones for parents and kids. Families also come to join in the weekly fireworks, winter science program, and kids' night outs (during which kids eat dinner, watch movies, and decorate T-shirts—while their parents cut out). For pre-skiers, ages six weeks to three years old, a new day-care center opens this December with a staff of 20. And starting this season, even four- and five-year-olds can sign on for the snowboarding camp. For teens there's tree skiing, and two teen centers—no parents allowed.
Snowmass, Colorado; 800/525-6200 or 970/925-1220; www.aspensnowmass.com. Young skiers start off on the Family Zone's adventure trails and terrain park. Snowmass sponsors weekly races, parties, and barbecues; its teen program has additional evening activities. Extreme Camps are for advanced to expert skiers, ages 10 to 19. Group lessons start at age three; children as young as 2 can enroll in private lessons.
Whistler/Blackcomb, British Columbia; 800/766-0449 or 604/932-3434; www.whistler-blackcomb.com. North America's largest resort has three children's base centers. There are special learning stations throughout the ski area. Two- or five-day Adventure Camps for kids 3 to 12 emphasize consistency, with the same group and instructor each day. Adrenaline seeking teens can join the Salomon Freeride Camp, taught by the resort's own freeride team.
Winter Park, Colorado; 800/979-0332 or 970/726-5587; www.skiwinterpark.com. The Children's Center lodge organizes ski and snowboard programs for children 3 to 15, who can spend the day at the 25-acre learn-to-ski area. Besides group lessons, classes are also offered for whole families. There's even a specialized kids' rental center, and a dedicated kid-cuisine cafeteria that serves (what else?) chicken fingers, mac and cheese, and hot dogs galore.