Best family ski resorts

The Top 5 Ski Resorts For Families In 2014

What makes a ski resort great for families? The factors range from easy access via the airport to the quality of ski schools to what we think is most important: how well a mountain is suited for li’l skiers, and all of their pole-less, hemet-bobbing, grunting, huffing, tumbling and cocoa-slurping behaviors.

First thing about a mountain that appeals to us when it comes to family skiing: mountains where the commute from the car to the slopes isn’t a killer. There are a few things that one might do on a so-called vacation that are more excruciating than schlep your ski gear, along with two other, smaller peoples’ ski gear across distances meant for a camel. In some cases, these little people may need some schlepping when it comes to their own persons, as they’re often wont to complain about walking any farther than 20 paces in any direction.

After the trip to get to the slopes, which we hope is as short as mercifully possible, what matters most are the slopes themselves: how far from the bottom of the mountain must sweaty parents further lug equipment and children to a chairlift that services some nice, big, wide groomers? Not far, we hope. Most mountains have a bit of a tapering run-out at the bottom, which creates a natural spot for slow green runs and mild terrain parks—a great situation for families.

There are more than a few mountains, however, where the big green groomers aren’t located right at the bottom of the hill. Or perhaps some greens have been placed down low, but they’re stubby little runs that don’t even merit a real chair lift. In addition to the difficulty of reaching family-friendly terrain at some mountains, there’s also the even larger issue of an acute dearth of true lower-intermediate terrain.Alpine skiing with kid Some mountains dress up cat-tracks (roads that criss-cross the mountain, used by snowmobiles and groomers in off hours) as green runs and include them prominently on the trail map. That can fool plenty of people who haven’t skied the mountain before, thinking they’ve found

We hereby demand that cat-tracks, even if they’re easy skiing, be reclassified on trail maps as purple bananas. They’re not worthy of being green circles, those magical zones where kids learn to turn, fall, get up and, ultimately, love skiing as much as their backwards-skiing, instructions-barking parents already love it. We expect those purple bananas to show up on trail maps next year; we know you’re reading this, resort people.

The best family resorts have long runs. The longer a run can be, the better. The more time you can spend skiing down at once, the fewer chairlift loadings and un-loadings are required by parent and child, and this is a blessed thing. Anybody who has skied with a tot or kid up to about 8 years old knows that both the moments of loading and unloading can bring on a fair amount of trepidation for both the older and the younger person.


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