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Top 5 Ski Resorts for Families

photo courtesy: GreenMountainInn.com
photo courtesy: GreenMountainInn.com

Heading to a ski resort is a favorite family vacation in late winter.  Travelocity Senior Editor, Genevieve Shaw Brown, shares her top family-friendly ski resorts and what each ski area offers so you can choose the best one for your family.

Park City (Utah):

· Family-friendly Park City Mountain Resort is just 35 miles from Salt Lake City airport. You can catch an early morning flight from the East Coast and be on the slopes that afternoon.

· 50 percent of the mountain is intermediate terrain.

· Their ‘Kids Signature Five’ Program is a great for parents who want their kids to have more instructor attention without the cost of private lessons.

· No more than five kids in ski school and no more than three kids for kids under 5. Kids can all ride on the six-person lift with the instructor.

· They even have a section of their web site called Snowmamas where you can ask ski moms all your questions about your upcoming vacation with the kids.

· Accommodations are plentiful. For a family getaway, it makes sense to stay in a condominium (there are plenty nearby) for the extra room and the kitchen.

· The Park Avenue Condos are a great choice and feel more like a home than a hotel. There’s a free shuttle bus to take your family to and from the slopes.

Beaver Creek (Colorado):

· Beaver Creek is known as a more upscale family ski resort. In fact, their tag line is “not exactly roughing it.”

· Lots of family activities nearly every night of the week. Ski with a Ranger for an educational tour about the environment; twilight snowshoe tours with hot coco and cookies when you return; disco skate night on the village rink.

· Child care for all ages, including infants.

· Emphasis on safety: awarded Best Overall Safety Award from the National Ski Areas Association.

· Beaver Creek offers complimentary door-to-door shuttle service to all guests traveling from Beaver Creek Village to Bachelor Gulch, Avon, and Arrowhead.

· An unforgettable experience is dinner at Beano’s Cabin. Take a Snowcat up the mountain at night for to access the restaurant and then take it home after your dinner. The Aspen trees are magical in the moonlight – prefect for a romantic night out or a family outing.

· Beaver Creek Lodge is a good choice for families because it is an all-suite hotel, giving parents and kids a little more space than a typical hotel room. It is located right in Beaver Creek Village and easily walk-able to everything you’ll want to do on your vacation.

Keystone /Breckenridge (Colorado):

· The teens and ‘tweens will love the night skiing – Keystone has the biggest night skiing operation in North America.

· Breckenridge, meanwhile, is known for having amazing terrain parks – five in all. Perfect for the aspiring daredevils.

· When the kids have had enough skiing, there’s plenty more to do – sleigh rides, snow biking, tubing and ice skating on the five-acre lake, and even taking the day away from the snow to explore a authentic mine.

· One pass lets you ski both mountains — they’re only about a 20 minute drive apart, so you can enjoy both.

· Choose which mountain you want as your home base and select lodging there. You’ll find fewer luxury resorts and lots of budget-friendly hotels and condos in this area.

· The Pine Ridge Condominiums in Breckenridge are a great value. Each unit has a fireplace, full kitchen, dining room and more. The free town shuttle stops right outside and the heated outdoor pool is sure to be a hit with the kids.

· In Keystone, River Run Village is really convenient located at the base of the mountain and with lots of dining and shopping nearby. All rooms have fireplaces and full kitchens and there are laundry facilities on premise.

Lake Placid (New York):

· A good choice for Northeasterners looking for a driving ski vacation.

· Host of the 1980 Winter Olympics – a particularly fun place to visit to get into the spirit of the games as we approach the 2010 Winter Olympics.

· Whiteface Mountain has the greatest vertical drop east of the Rockies.

· The Olympic Sports Complex, plenty of activity off the slopes like the bobsled, skeleton, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.

· Free Shuttle Service operating seven days/week links Lake Placid and Whiteface.

· The High Peaks Resort is on the edge of Main Street and overlooking Mirror Lake is the newest resort in the region.

· The “Road to Vancouver” Package is a great way to get into the spirit of the Games and includes 2-nights accommodations and VIP admission to all Lake Placid Olympic sites for all members of the group.

Whistler/ Blackcomb (British Columbia, Canada):

· Extensive and varied ski and snowboard terrain that appeals to a variety of levels, regarded by many as North America’s premier ski resort.

· Access by flights to Vancouver or Seattle, Washington. If you choose to fly to Vancouver, the Sea-to-Sky drive on the way to the resort is spectacular.

· A tube park at Blackcomb lets the family take a break from skiing. For the teens, a week-long ski or snowboard school (holiday weeks only) led by teen pros ensures they’ll get the skills they need and also make friends — the kids in the class stay the same all week.

· All eyes are on Whistler is the site of the downhill skiing and other major events at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games — bragging rights for the whole family.

· The Peak 2 Peak gondola connects Whistler and Blackcomb mountains — very easy to ski both.

· In fact, you can stay at a luxury hotel for less. The Fairmont Chateau Whistler has lots of old-world charm, is at the base of Blackcomb Mountain and walking distance from the village center.

· If all you require for accommodations is the basics, the Holiday Inn Sun Spree Resort Whistler is a great value and an amazing location just steps from the lifts and right in the village.

Genevieve Shaw Brown, senior editor at Travelocity, is the go-to travel expert for virtually all industry-related topics. Whether discussing the impact of recent industry events, tips on maneuvering through new policies and baggage fees, popular destinations of the season, or how to save money in the current environment, Brown can provide answers. You also can find Brown’s information within Travelocity’s popular travel blog, The Window Seat www.windowseat.travelocity.com.

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