• Where Rugged Meets Retreat

    From Snowmobiling To Dog Sledding (Plus Zip-Line Canopy Tours!), Find A Winter Wonderland The Whole Family Can Enjoy

    By Veronica Torok

    This month, the focus is on winter weather havens for the
    whole family. So pack your earmuffs because outdoor adventures come with
    mountains of snow and chilly winter fun!

    Banff-Lake Louise (Alberta,
    Immerse your family in the beauty
    of snow-covered nature in Banff National
    Park, one of Canada’s
    UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Three resorts share the breathtaking views of this
    alpine landscape in Banff-Lake Louise. The area recently won the Neilson Marque
    of Excellence for its family-friendly ski school for the fifth year in a row,
    so you can be sure of its expertise on family skiing. Snow play and childcare
    programs are tailored to even the youngest of tots, and special programs teach
    little ones as young as three and four the basics of skiing. Kids can build
    confidence and hone their skills in The Minute
    Maid Wilderness Adventure Park, a supervised kids-only park, while adults take
    advantage of pristine slopes and world-class skiing. Visit Ski Banff for an
    unforgettable vacation—the kids will thank you later.
    Banff Avenue,
    Banff, Alberta,
    Canada, 1-877-754-7080,

    Creek Resort
    Avon, Colorado)
    Picture your family in the Rockies,
    snowshoeing beneath the stars across glittering slopes. Rosy-cheeked, you all
    head inside for hot cocoa and stories around a fire. At Beaver Creek, this can
    be your reality. The resort’s motto is “Not exactly roughing it,” a modest
    statement when you consider the nearly endless amenities of the three
    on-mountain villages that comprise the destination. Beaver Creek specializes in
    creating the idyllic family vacation, with programming every night of the week,
    daily Cookie Time with fresh-baked treats for kids and creative activities like
    fireworks and storytime. Add the indulgence of spa treatments and world-class
    shows at Beaver Creek’s own performing arts center for an experience that
    spells paradise for the whole family. Lessons for young skiers of every level
    and attentive childcare for your little ones is also available. Don’t miss
    “Beaver Creek Loves Kids,” a special two-week showcase at the end of February
    that highlights family deals and the best that kid-friendly Beaver Creek has to
    offer. 137 Benchmark Road,
    Avon, CO,

    Big Sky Resort (Big Sky, Montana)
    Aptly-named Big Sky, this Montana
    resort is the perfect place for kids to learn how to ski or snowboard. Kids
    ages 10 and under ski and stay free, and the variety of lessons offered will
    have your children mastering the slopes in no time. The Lone Peak Playhouse
    combines childcare with ski instruction and will even dress your children for
    their lessons. Daily activities like family movie nights, s’mores around the
    campfire and old-fashioned sleigh rides make for cozy evenings after busy days
    spent enjoying the great outdoors. Go zipping across the snow at the tube park,
    take the carpet lift instead of trudging up the hill, and then head in to take
    advantage of the spa and Big Sky
    Wellness Center.
    For a truly matchless experience, spend a day at nearby Yellowstone
    National Park, only 48 miles away.
    Families can take a ranger-guided snowshoe hike or snowmobile tour and explore
    one of the country’s most interesting landscapes for a true only-at-Big-Sky experience. 1 Lone Mountain Trail, Big Sky, MT, 800-548-4486, bigskyresort.com

    Smugglers’ Notch Resort
    (Smugglers’ Notch,
    Worried that the smallest family member may be
    too young to delight in winter fun at Smugglers’ Notch? Special learn-to-ski
    programs cater to little ones as young as two and a half, and the innovative
    Sir Henry’s Learning Hill introduces beginners ages three and up to the joys of
    snowboarding. Smugglers’ Notch takes family recreation to a whole new level
    with everything from dog sledding to snowmobiling to zip-line canopy tours of
    the resort. Kids can
    try airboarding, the
    next generation of snow tubing, and even build their own sleds. After a full
    day of
    family races or personalized ski lessons, thrill-seekers will be more than
    ready to wind down with a steaming cup of hot chocolate. Any extra energy can
    be burned off at the indoor family recreation center or state-of-the-art video
    game room.
    4323 Vermont Route
    108 South, Smugglers’ Notch, VT,
    1-802-644-8851, smuggs.com.

    Taos Ski Valley
    Taos Ski Valley, New
    is dedicated to wholesome family fun in a big way. Children have their own
    terrain park and ski area with pint-sized lifts to make sure snow sports are a
    safe and comfortable experience for everyone. There are snacks and creative indoor
    activities for the tiniest family members as well as lessons for those eager to
    explore the slopes. Taos is “the
    un-resort resort;” no ostentation; just pure fun for all on the spectacular ski
    runs and state-of-the-art facilities. Families will enjoy the unique experience
    of skiing in the Southwest, with easy access to cultural activities in the
    historic Taos adobe pueblo at the
    base of the mountain and nearby Santa Fe.
    Taos Ski
    Valley is an extraordinary
    destination for families looking to expand their horizons, as the resort
    combines high-quality ski and snowboard instruction with rugged vistas and the
    distinctively creative atmosphere of New Mexico.
    Taos Ski Valley, NM,

    Woodloch Resort (Hawley,
    In need of a soul-soothing escape? Head to the Poconos for some relaxation at
    this pristine mountain sanctuary. A family-run business since 1958, Woodloch
    Resort knows how to put a personal touch on R&R. With over 30 activities
    scheduled every day, this all-inclusive destination has something every family
    member can enjoy. You don’t have to ski to have a blast in the snow; Woodloch
    offers ice skating, snowshoeing, snowmobiling and winter hayrides, along with too
    many other activities to mention. Inspired by the beauty of their surroundings,
    young artists can attend arts and crafts workshops, and families have the
    opportunity to engage in healthy competition with everything from scavenger
    hunts and bumper cars to a mini Winter Olympics. Check out midweek deals where
    kids stay free, with the option to ski at many nearby slopes. At just two hours
    outside of New York City, Woodloch
    is the perfect destination for those looking for a peaceful, hassle-free
    getaway. 731 Welcome Lake Road,
    Hawley, PA,
    1-800-966-3562, woodloch.com.

    Top of Form


    Belleayre Mountain (Highmount,
    New York)
    Conquer the Catskills at one of the
    Northeast’s finest learn-to-ski mountains, two and a half hours outside of New
    York City. Belleayre
    Mountain offers numerous lessons,
    holiday race camps during winter break and an Adaptive Snowsports Program for
    kids with special needs, making snow sports fun for everybody. Belleayre
    Mountain Road
    , Pine Hill,
    NY, 845-254-5600,

    Hidden Valley Club (Vernon,
    New Jersey)
    If you want to avoid crowds, consider
    membership at Hidden Valley Club. This New Jersey
    destination is about an hour from the city and focuses on creating an
    environment perfectly suited to family skiing and boarding. Hidden Valley
    features two learning centers, as well as a snow sports school and youth racing
    program. 44 Breakneck Road, Vernon,
    NJ, 973-764-4200,

    Hunter Mountain (Hunter, New
    Mountain is just over two hours
    away from the city and has 14 trails specially designed for families and
    beginners. The resort offers Playcare for those too young to ski, as well as
    Explorers and Mountaineers lesson programs for novices of different levels.
    Hunter also offers a Burton
    learn-to-ride program for little boarders, a snow tubing park and winter break
    camps. Hunter Mountain, Hunter, NY, 800-486-8376,

    Shawnee Mountain Ski Area (Shawnee
    Delaware, Pennsylvania)
    Shawnee Mountain Ski Area is one of
    the most beginner-friendly ski areas around. At one and a half hours away from
    the city, it is a doable day trip. Childcare at Camp
    Wigwam is available, as well as
    many weekend ski training programs and lessons suited to every skill level. I-80 Exit 309, Hollow Road,
    Shawnee on Delaware, PA,

    Tuxedo Ridge (Tuxedo, New
    Tuxedo Ridge is just 35 miles from
    the George Washington
    Bridge and boasts eight trails as
    well as a snowboarding park and tube run. Just gather the gear and pile the
    kids in the car or on the train and head out for a day of winter fun. They’ll
    even pick you up at the Tuxedo, NY train station with three-day notice! 581
    Route 17A West, Tuxedo, NY,

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