A guest post from Rachael Stockwell, a brave ski mom from South Carolina.
The years go so fast. One day you’re a child and the next day, you’re not.
Luckily, childhood memories are often sparked again as you raise your own children. I look at my kids and I remember doing the same things, and feeling the same way.
I grew up in Nova Scotia, Canada. There was so much snow, I can’t think of a memory that did not involve ice skating, sledding and skiing.
It would take forever to get all bundled up and out into the yard, but once the fun began, it was worth it! Cheeks became rosy, sweat began to break out under the layers, even if my hands still felt like icicles. I loved being outside and playing in the snow. All of the kids from our neighbourhood would bundle up and play outside for hours. It was a magical time!
Years later, when my husband and I moved just outside D.C., I was reminded of those winter days. There was not as much snow as when I was little, but the smell, and crisp mornings brought me right back to when I as a kid. We enjoy skiing and snowboarding and after the birth of my first daughter, we began a tradition of annual family ski vacations.
Snowshoe, West Virginia: Big, Convenient and Fun
Our first adventure started when my first was only 15 months old. We went with two other couples with young babies, and headed to Snowshoe Mountain.
Snowshoe is still four hours away from D.C but it is the biggest, and best destination near the city. We stayed at Allegheny Springs in a 3 bedroom suite. We each got our own room, and shared a common area and small kitchen. I loved how close the accommodations were to the dining and family pools. Allegheny has several pools and the family “split rocks” pools were a hit, even with the little ones.
To take advantage of the slopes in the morning, we left the little ones at daycare. Child care at resorts can be tricky, especially when getting to the children’s center requires a shuttle ride. And while I was somewhat reluctant to leave my baby daughter, the activities offered for bigger kids are enticing. I think that if we went back to Snowshoe now, our daughters would love the ski school and bounce houses in the Big Top Kids’ activity center.
Sugar Mountain Resort, North Carolina: Small, Friendly and Super-Attentive
Our next adventure was a bit closer to our current home in South Carolina: Sugar Mountain Resort. If you are looking for the typical ski resort, this is not the place for you.
There is no main lodge or village area, and all of the condos are privately owned so finding a place to stay can be a bit confusing. We signed our kids up for the Sugar Bear ski school half-day program. My little one loved the mascot that came onto the slopes and the instructors were knowledgeable and the classes were small.
My best advice is that if you’re accustomed to the typical big ski report this place is not going to impress you. On the plus side, this place is the perfect mix of hospitality and family-friendly.
The Talisker Club, Deer Valley, Utah: Members Only With Activities Galore
Last year, we had the privilege of staying with a relative that owns a property at Deer Valley Resort through the Talisker Club. Talisker operates several outstanding properties at Deer Valley, and we chose Tuhaye because of it’s fantastic location.
Being a club, you have to own property — or stay with someone who does — to take advantage of the many amenities, in addition to the world-class skiing.
The Wildstar Rangers Club is for kids ages 5 and older and is a perfect mix of learning and exceptional fun. Led by “adventure guides” who focus on experiences, rather than instruction, kids are split into groups, not by age, but by experience. I think, to get the most out of the day, kids should be at least intermediate skiers.
One day, my kids decided to stay in for the morning while I hit the spa and my husband went skiing.
All morning, they were thrilled and entertained with arts and crafts and stories the other available activities. While many of the families at the resort come here every year, winter and summer, the other kids quickly welcomed my daughters. Soon, the kids all knew each other and were hanging out together. When we left, my kids had new Facebook friends and a passion for the outdoors that I don’t think they would have gotten from your typical ski community.
I was a great experience to see our girls enjoying the snow with the these new “neighborhood” friends, much as I did when I was a girl. Those rosy-cheeks and crispy-cool hands are a great memory from our experience at Talisker.
Even more so, my husband and I are thrilled that in skiing, we have found a family activity that brings smiles to our kids’ faces and places warm memories in our hearts.
- Fun Family Times at Utah’s Deer Valley Resort, March 5, 2014.
- Snowshoe, West Virginia: A Southeast “Secret,” December 10, 2012.
- Why We Love Cataloochee Ski Area in North Carolina, March 8, 2012.
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