Planning a spontaneous family ski vacation might seem like a challenging feat, but a few tricks can simplify your preparations, from packing your gear to finding just the right lodging.
Choosing Your Resort
Choosing the right resort is the first step in ensuring a fun vacation for the whole family. If you can only get away for a week or an extended weekend, a location close to a major airport often makes the most sense. Utah is a great option, with six resorts located less than 45 minutes from Salt Lake International Airport. Tahoe also offers close airport proximity, with five resorts located less than an hour away from Reno-Tahoe International.
Whichever resort you choose, consider the variety of terrain for beginners and intermediate skiers, so everyone in the family can explore the mountain. Deer Valley Resort, for example, features one of each kind of ski run (green, blue and black) from five of its six mountains, while Park City Mountain Resort offers a green run that spans from the summit to the base for good beginner practice.
Flights and Lodging
When securing a last-minute flight, sign up for alerts from your favorite airline to get the best value for your dates. This can take some patience, but a week’s worth of waiting can make all the difference in how much you spend to fly. Resorts near international airports will offer the best value.
For family-friendly lodging, consider a condo or private ski home with a kitchen, washer and dryer, entertainment room and enough space to keep the peace among siblings. Private homes are a particularly valuable option if you are traveling with multiple families. Many luxury options, such as The Laughing Ranch or Bellevue Home at Deer Valley Resort, offer accommodations for up to 16 guests and include amenities like theaters, kids’ play rooms and outdoor hot tubs. For the ultimate in convenience, look for a provider that includes daily housekeeping, concierge service and shuttle service in the nightly rate.
Planning the Details
Once you have chosen your resort and lodging, reserve your place in ski school as soon as possible, as popular dates can quickly sell out. Even if your kids are comfortable on the mountain, a refresher in ski school can give them the confidence to safely explore new terrain.
Packing is a final challenge in planning a last-minute family ski vacation, but it doesn’t have to be. Shipping your gear ahead of time through your concierge can save you time at the airport and in line at the rental shop. If you choose to rent your gear, a delivery service like Skis on the Run will bring the shop right to your ski home.
The most important factor to remember when booking a last-minute ski trip is to keep your vacation fun and flexible. If you can’t secure ski lessons for every day of your trip, consider taking a break to enjoy tubing, ice skating or even dog sledding. If you find that last-minute air fare cuts into your budget, make dinner at your ski home and enjoy a family night in. When you keep an open mind and embrace spontaneity, a spontaneous family ski trip will be one to remember.