October 27, 2011

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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