It wasn’t the best day to go skiing. It was freezing cold and the lower mountain had large patches of mud and grass. This is a reminder that it was still fall in Vermont, and not winter. My 11- and 14-year-old sons both knew that there weren’t many trails open, but you wouldn’t have guessed it from their giddy excitement.
We took a quick photo at the top to capture their excitement, then it was off. Feeling the snow under our skis and enjoying every moment of being together. Our lift rides provided an opportunity to share our techniques and discuss Pokemon Go at the end of each run. for the winter track season. My husband, sons and I couldn’t stop smiling.
We were in Vermont for my extended family’s traditional Thanksgiving, a vacation that we love every single year for all its simple pleasures of seeing family and dear friends, making snowmen and playing touch football in the yard. In 2016 there were trivia games, a jigzaw puzzle and a family viewing of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. After eating turkey, we talked about pie and laughed more.
But without question the highlight of the weekend was our day on the mountain enjoying snow, scenery, speed and the pleasure of sharing an activity we all love. As I watched the snow-covered pines glide past me, I realized it was worth the effort to get our ski gear organized and put the box on the car before packing it up for the long trip from Delaware. Ski vacations for families are like that. They can be difficult to plan, but they bring out the best in my family.
Skiing + Family = Connection
Our Thanksgiving trip happened to be in Vermont, but it could easily have been anywhere that there are mountains, say Colorado or California. My family has enjoyed many vacations at ski resorts across the country over the years and we always feel a sense of connection. I have written about why my family loves their family ski trips before. Over the years, I have been fortunate enough to visit many different Vail Resorts along with my family. I’m not a travel mom, but our trips to Keystone, Colorado, and Northstar in California are some of the most memorable.
At Keystone, we rode a horse-drawn wagon to a ranch cabin where a singing cowgirl serenaded us. We snow tubed through the bluebird skies and climbed over a huge snow fort. Gondola rides allowed us to not only admire the mountains, but also to plan our runs. The boys, who were both young and still learning to ski, were pushing each other to take on more difficult terrain.
And at Northstar I swooped down pine-scented trails, my older son and I whooping with the sheer pleasure of spring skiing. We didn’t have to worry about the snow getting too heavy in the afternoon sun (they don’t call it “Sierra Cement” for nothing). We simply went for the rink at the village center, hopped on our roller skates and danced to some great tunes. We went to Lake Tahoe, and we saw a bear. My younger son spent so long on the bungee trampoline, that I wondered if it would be a memory of the trip as being upside-down.
These ski resort visits were just like our Thanksgiving trip. They were filled with simple pleasures such as hanging out in our condos and playing games outside. This is time that we don’t take home because school, work, and daily life all get in the way. We don’t have mountains beyond our doors. It’s not always possible to take long lift rides with my children to discuss their thoughts.
The entire winter is before me now, and I would be happy to return to either one of these resorts or to visit another one – perhaps in a state like Utah that my family has never visited. Because family ski vacations are a unique way to bond with your family.
This conversation was written by me on behalf of Vail Resorts, who compensated me. All opinions and stories are my own.