Whether you are a beginner or expert, boarder or skier, this week’s podcast episode will help you plan your next family ski trip. Tamara shares her adventures in North Idaho and we chat with Amy Whitley from Pitstops for Kids and pick her brain on the best ski resorts in the U.S. for families.
ON THE PODCAST
00:32 – Talking about Tamara’s trip to Idaho
01:50 – Schweitzer Mountain Resort
05:40 – Lookout Pass
08:30 – Silver Mountain
14:45 – Talking with Amy
18:20 – What to look for
24:33 – Favorite resorts in the Pacific Northwest
28:42 – Western favorite resorts
32:07 – Eastern favorites
37:43 – Amy’s all time favorite for beginners
41:44 – Mountains for advanced skiers
47:55 – Ski vs Snowboard
50:09 – Packing for our trip
52:40 – Renting gear
55:53 – Amy’s favorite ski gear
1:00:45 – Upcoming trips for Amy
1:01:45 – Follow Us!!
ABOUT AMY WHITLEY
Amy Whitley, founder of Pit Stops for Kids, is a family travel, outdoor adventure, and gear writer based in Southern Oregon. A lifelong lover of the outdoors, Amy helps families get outside with their kids in all seasons. Follow Amy on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.
BEST SKI RESORTS FOR FAMILIES
- If you are planning a ski trip to North Idaho, Schweitzer Mountain Resort is the biggest when it comes to acreage. At the base of the mountain there is a small cute town that has some places to eat and great views of the lake.
- Keep in mind that if you are going to ski at Lookout Pass, that the mountain is on the border of Idaho and Montana. You will be able to ski in both states! But because of this you will be in two different time zones. Inside the lodge you will see clocks for both. But if you are traveling with a group and are going to seperate be sure to make sure you know which clock to go be or be sure you wear a watch. Your phone will automatically keep switching between the time zones unless you can change your settings.
- If you plan on visiting Silver Mountain be aware that the terrain is a little more challenging. So if you and your family are pure beginners you may not want to visit this mountain until you have had more experience. But the mountain also has snowshoeing, a water park, and snow tubing.
- When you are deciding where to go for your ski vacation, you have to make your decision based on what you want to get out of your trip. For instance if you are a group that will mostly be on the mountain, you will want to make your choice by the terrain that the mountain offers. If your group wants to do more that just what is offered on the mountain, then you will need to look into what the resort offers in other adventure options to make your decision. You also need to assess the stay you want to experience. Whether it’s your own lodge or a room in a small village/town or resort stay.
- Hoodoo Ski Area is a great place to go in the Pacific Northwest if you like the small family focused resorts.
- Mt. Baker Ski Area is also a great option for family-focused resort. They are very chill and don’t have as much of the craziness that you will find at a lot of the big resorts. Lift tickets are also usually between $50 – 60 a day.
- Mt. Bachelor is a mountain that always seems to have a consistent amount of snow every year. Which can be a big deciding factor.
- Whistler is a great resort if you want the options to ski and out and there is a town at the base that you can explore. They have some good long runs and you can definitely find some beginner runs as well. And if you find it, they have a kids snow fort on the mountain.
- Utah seems to have the best snow consistently, and it is so easy to get to being that it has a hub airport.
- There are some great resorts for everybody like Deer Valley which has some great groomed runs, then there is Alta Ski Area that is more of a european feel to your experience. Though they only allow skiing at Alta no snowboarding!
- There is also Solitude Mountain that is similar to Deer Valley in that they have that village feel while Alta is set up with all-inclusive lodges.
- Smugglers Notch Ski Resort is a great option on the east for families. When in comes to child care it has a great set up to keep your kids entertained after you are finished on the mountain.
- Jiminy Peak is also a great option in the east for families. The resort is not too large but it has a great value.
- Sunday River Ski Resort which is located in Maine has a unique ticket lift system. They have a pass that is just for beginner terrain so you are going to spend less money if you are not going to use the whole mountain. They also have a few other outdoor adventures besides skiing/snowboarding.
- Squaw Valley is a great resort for beginners as well as some great long runs. They also have their ski schools up at the top of the mountain instead of being stuck at the bottom by the parking lot. Because of this you get to really experience the sights of being on the mountain.
- Northstar Resort is also a great option for beginners especially if you family has multiple levels of experience.
- If you are looking for a mountain that has some really great terrain parks Boreal ski resort is one of the first mountains that started with snowboarding and it has a Burton terrain park that is really advanced. They also have indoor training facilities for snowboarders and tricks gear which is called Woodward. There are also some mountains that have good boarding terrain like Breckenridge, Solitude Mountain, Brighton, and Sierra at Tahoe.
- When picking your resorts/mountains keep in mind that if you have snowboarders Deer Valley, Alta Ski Area and Mad River Glen are the only three that do not allow snowboarders!
- Packing for your ski trip can get a little cumbersome and everyone has a way they like best. That being said make sure to bring extra items like gloves, socks, hats, etc. in case the ones that were worn the day before are still wet or even if one gets lost.
- Whenever possible try to get your rental gear the day/night before the day plan to be on the mountain that way you can get all time you want out of your mountain time without the wait for just the gear.
FAVORITE TRAVEL GEAR
Amy loves to wear base layers either Smartwool or Hot Chillys are her favorites. Then her Columbia ski jacket and pants. She may also wear a Patagonia shell jacket over a down jacket to keep with the layers, rather than wearing one big jacket.
MENTIONED ON THE PODCAST
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