You don’t have to be an avid or expert skier to totally enjoy a winter vacation in a ski resort town. Relaxing by the fireside in a cabin or lodge with beautiful views can ease the winter blues for the entire family. A ski resort town trip can help us appreciate winter and actually look forward to the cold season that so many people dread. They also make great winter holiday trips with all the decorations, food and drinks.
Following are six suggested family-friendly ski resort towns to consider visiting this winter.
#1. Bend, Oregon
Bend, in central Oregon has milder winter temperatures than some places and plenty of winter fun for the whole family. Try Seventh Mountain Resort or Mount Bachelor Resort for great skiing, snowshoeing, ice-skating and tubing surrounded by beautiful peaks and valleys. Seventh Mountain has sled-dog rides and professionally guided snow-boarding. Choose a roomy one, two or three bedroom condo with breath-taking views and cozy fireplaces. Mt. Bachelor Resort has special programs just for kids.
#2. Taos, New Mexico
Taos is a town with a rich and interesting history, and you can feel the spirit of the southwest here while enjoying skiing and snowboarding. Two artists stopped here once at the turn of the century to get a broken wagon wheel fixed. They never left. Other well-known artists like Georgia O’Keefe and Willa Cather were introduced to the area by socialite Mabel Dodge Luhan. Adobe inns with Kiva fireplaces are scattered among art galleries and local museums. The Palacio de Marquesa in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains is kid-friendly and has lots of amenities like Jacuzzis and pueblo-style fireplaces.
#3. Stowe, Vermont
With a church steeple rising over the quaint colonial town of Stowe, the scenery here in winter looks like a picture post card. Mount Mansfield, Vermont’s highest peak makes it the perfect ski resort town. Stowe Mountain Resort has plenty of beginner runs and six distinctive ski areas. Besides sking, tour the Ben and Jerry’s ice cream plant and Shaw’s old-fashioned general store.
#4. North Conway, New Hampshire
North Conway is in the midst of New Hampshire’s huge White Mountain National Forest. It is a very picturesque town with its pastel Victorian architecture. Thirteen ski resorts are located within a half hour of town. This is a great town for the ski-loving family. There are a total of 250 trails here with very affordable rates. Get a Black Mountain Family Passport for four people for $99 during the week and $119 on weekends and holidays all winter.
# 5. Truckee, California
Truckee, in North Tahoe has eight cross-country and 12 downhill resorts within 10 miles of town. Popular Squaw Valley ski resort was the host of the 1960 Winter Olympics. The area gets an average of 400 inches of natural snowfall each year. Try a guided astronomy hike and a winter lake cruise with the family. Stay at or visit the historic Truckee Hotel which has one of the nation’s oldest ski lodges.
#6. Aspen, Colorado
Aspen is the grandfather of all the ski resort towns. Aspen Mountain and its black-diamond terrain offers some of the most challenging skiing of all. It has been famous since 1947. Not to worry, there is plenty of beginner skiing. Family activities and kid-friendly facilities are available at Buttermilk and Snowmass. A winter playground for the rich and famous, there are lots of vacation options in Aspen, making it more affordable than you think.
Chances are, if you don’t ski, you will want to after watching the experts glide gracefully downhill at all of these resorts. You won’t find it difficult to find a gentle instructor and novice-size slopes at them. You will want to make a winter vacation a family tradition.