Family Ski Vacations Keep the Focus on Fresh Air Fun
Friluftsliv. Americans might have a hard time pronouncing it (free-loofts-leev), but they are increasingly embracing it. Translating literally to “free air life,” friluftsliv is a Nordic idea that’s all about enjoying the outdoors no matter what the weather brings. And, at a time when many people feel safer gathering outdoors than in, more families are taking a friluftsliv approach to winter vacations and heading for the hills for a fun-filled ski adventure.
A ski getaway may conjure up visions of skiers and snowboarders schussing and carving turns down well-groomed runs, but it’s not all downhill from there—those who prefer their fun on level ground can get their fill of adventure on ice skates, snowshoes or cross-country skis. And few things are more universally appealing for winter wonder-lusters of all ages than teaming up to build a snowman then enjoying cocoa and s’mores by a firepit under the stars.
Here are nine great ski getaways from East Coast to West that are well worth bundling up the kids for:
The Equinox Golf Resort & Spa (Manchester, Vermont)
Winter in the Green Mountain State means world-class skiing and classic New England towns straight out of a Currier & Ives print. And with 914 acres of trails right in its backyard, The Equinox Golf Resort & Spa in Manchester is the perfect place for families to experience it all. The resort’s Snow Excuses promotion makes it easy with discounted accommodations, complimentary breakfast to fuel a day of adventure, and a s’mores kit for a sweet treat by the firepit in the evening. Families enjoy easy access to the slopes of Bromley and Stratton Mountains, sledding and ice skating at the resort, and shopping designer outlets downtown. Kids can build their own snowman in the Equinox’s enchanting snowman garden and leave mysterious prints in the snow with Monster Trax snowshoes.
The Essex Resort & Spa (Burlington, Vermont)
The storied slopes of Smuggler’s Notch, Bolton Valley, Stowe, Sugarbush and Mad River are all within easy reach of The Essex Resort & Spa, nestled between the Adirondacks and Green Mountains. Families will find endless fun in this winter wonderland, from downhill skiing and snowboarding (the resort’s concierges are happy to match guests with the best trails for their skill levels), to cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, ice skating on Lake Champlain, and dogsledding and snowmobiling in the back country. And throughout ski season, guests can enjoy 20% savings on premium accommodations, plus an additional 20% off weekday spa services. The resort’s culinary creds make dining at The Essex an event in itself, and kids will love the nightly hot cocoa and s’mores offered by the fire pit.
Manor Vail Lodge (Vail, Colorado)
Vail is legendary for its 5,317 acres of skiable terrain, and Manor Vail Lodge is the ideal choice for a family ski adventure right in the heart of Vail Village. Just steps from the slopes, the lodge features all the comforts of home plus the amenities of a full-service hotel, from cozy studios to three-bedroom condos and three- and four-bedroom luxury penthouses—all with fully equipped kitchens, making family meals a breeze. Two heated outdoor swimming pools and four hot tubs beckon for a relaxing soak after a day in the snow. This winter, the longer guests stay, the more they save, starting with 10% off a one-night stay and up to 20% off stays of five or more nights. The offer includes complimentary ski valet, 20% off ski rentals and daily provisions like breakfast, hot cocoa and cookies.
Tivoli Lodge (Vail, Colorado)
Just one block from Vail’s new 10-passenger gondola “One” (complete with WiFi and heated seats) and a five-minute walk from Vail Village, Tivoli Lodge is offering 10% off ski season stays in the heart of the action. After a day on the slopes, families can head back to the lodge for complimentary fresh-baked cookies, hot chocolate, hot cider and tea—an afternoon tradition. And they’ll find a wide array of other winter fun nearby, from snowshoeing to tubing and ice skating. Tivoli Lodge’s offer also includes daily membership to Dryland Fitness & Spa with fitness classes.
Snow King Resort (Jackson Hole, Wyoming)
Famous for its “cowboy powder,” Jackson Hole is a dream destination for serious skiers and novices alike, with three world-class ski resorts and an average annual snowfall of more than 500 inches. The Teton town’s Snow King Resort is offering 15% savings on accommodations, breakfast for two and hot cocoa kits on arrival, plus ski-in/ski-out access to Snow King Mountain—the “town hill” with one of the steepest sustained pitches in the lower 48. Beyond Alpine skiing, thrill-seekers can get their adrenaline fix at King Snow Tube Park while little ones have fun searching for hidden “snowmen” back at the hotel in a scavenger hunt complete with prizes. Sleigh rides through the National Elk Refuge, dogsledding and snowshoeing round out an unforgettable family adventure.
YotelPAD Park City (Utah)
From its perch high in the Wasatch Mountains, the historic mining town of Park City, Utah, beckons families for Alpine thrills in the largest ski area in the U.S., with 7,300 acres of terrain and more than 330 trails. And there’s “snow” better place for families to enjoy it all than YotelPAD Park City, with its smartly designed accommodations complete with kitchen walls and space-optimizing fold-away beds. A Grab & Go pantry makes meal prep easy while the Game Room keeps kids happily entertained. Spend the day downhill skiing, snowboarding, winter ziplining and Main Street shopping, then wind down in the mountain-view pool and hot tub.
Forest Suites Resort (South Lake Tahoe, California)
Just steps from family-friendly Forest Suites Resort, the Heavenly Village Gondola whisks guests to Lake Tahoe’s largest ski area, with 34 miles of wide-open cruisers perfect for young and novice skiers balanced by double-black diamond canyons with 1,600-foot plunges for adrenaline junkies. And starting January 2, guests enjoy 40% off their 2022 ski season stay, plus a winter adventure welcome kit on arrival and a hearty American breakfast daily. Off the slopes, families can spend endless hours tubing, sledding, snowshoeing, snowmobiling and ice skating, or gather in the Game Room for pool, foosball, arcade-style video games and an XBOX game center.
Lake Arrowhead Resort & Spa (Lake Arrowhead, California)
Hit the slopes or the shops in Lake Arrowhead—a winter wonderland in the San Bernardino Mountains just 90 minutes from sunny Los Angeles. The resort’s Snow Valley Mountain Resort is ideal for families seeking a laidback ski getaway. It offers lessons and trails for all skill levels and ages, from the steeps of Slide Peak to cruisers to the best beginner terrain in the region—plus chairlift service to a dedicated sledding area. Stay at Lake Arrowhead Resort & Spa to reap the rewards of a Ski & Stay offer complete with overnight accommodation and two direct-to-lift passes to Snow Valley Mountain. After a day of outdoor fun, slip away for a relaxing massage at Spa of the Pines, then rejoin the family for roasted s’mores.