Taking the Kids and Learning a Snow Sport
Learning to ski at Northstar at Tahoe resort
"Nice turns," my handsome ski instructor says, as I ski up to him, taking in his reassuring smile and the million-dollar view of the mountains of
It's early December and my first day out on the slopes this season. For the first time, I'm starting a ski season by taking a lesson instead of trailing behind my kids -- expert skiers all -- each beseeching me to, "Ski faster, mom!" (That's my payoff for all those years of schlepping them to ski school).
No wonder I'm smiling. If you thought heading to the slopes this winter would be a budget buster or no fun for mom, think again. Large and small resorts across ski country are pulling out all the stops for families, featuring increased programming off the slopes as well as on, free or discounted lift tickets and even free flights. Look for family snow festivals around the country like Kidtopia at
There's also the chance to soak in hot springs (Steamboat, Colo., www.steamboat.com) and for the kids to ride mini-snowmobiles (www.stratton.com), try out a pint-sized climbing wall (in
January is National Learn a Snow Sport Month and more than 200 resorts are offering free or discounted ski, snowboard, and cross-country ski and snowshoe lessons for beginners. Find packages and deals at www.skiandsnowboardmonth.org. You can also follow on Twitter and
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Kudos also to Okemo (www.okemo.com) where first-time skiers and snowboarders can take part in the free program that includes a lower-mountain lift ticket, beginner group lesson and rental gear -- available for ages seven and up every Monday through Friday. (Check out the Featured Destination area at www.takingthekids.com for a comprehensive list of family offerings at 30 resorts.)
If any in your family face special challenges, there are many affordable adaptive programs around the country, including the
Cheapflights.com has created a list of the Top 10 Ski Destinations in the U.S.,
If everyone in your gang is a beginner, consider smaller mountains near where you live --
Several states also offer "passports" all season for kids of certain ages, allowing them to ski free -- once you have filled out the paperwork and paid a small processing fee. Check out the list at http://www.kidznsnow.com/7954. The passports are available for fourth-graders in
Just be forewarned: the kids will beat you down the mountain before you know it.
Ready for that lesson now?
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It's vacation and the teens are awake and ready to roll before 8 a.m.! The 22-year-old White has come down to Grand Cayman, his parents and sister in tow, to inaugurate Skate Cayman an 11-week summer program
Taking the Kids Camping & the Great Outdoors
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The overwhelming number of travelers I spoke with said kids should be able to fly in first class if their parents could afford to pay the freight. But they were quick to add that they expected the children to behave.
(c) 2009 EILEEN OGINTZ DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.
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