A Brave Ski Mom Interview with Jessica and Andrew, the parents of two adorable young skiers (and one on the way!) and the owners of Bring-The-Kids.com.
There are certain places in Colorado that seem to be stuck back in time. Places where technology and renovations are on the back burner, to allow the soul of the mountain to permeate. A-Basin is one of those places, and that’s why we love it.
When we were growing up, it was known as the hippie resort. A-Basin was the place where people would live in the parking lot for the season and where you could always find someone grilling burgers out of their trunk. Arapahoe Basin was also where families more concerned about spending time together than spending money, could ski.
Luckily, it’s still that way today!
What makes Arapahoe Basin a great place for family skiing?
The first thing that comes to mind is great terrain and friendly people! If you were to drive up to A-Basin, you might be tempted to keep going and not stop. The old A-frame lodge and scraggly beards might be enough to scare you away. Don’t be deceived.
When our son was born, skiing changed for us. No longer could we ski all day and eat lunch on the lift. We started to spend a lot of time in the lodge as we took turns watching our baby. We wanted a resort where we could feel comfortable staying with him all day in the lodge, if necessary. And we wanted a place where employees wouldn’t be asking us to buy something else if we were going to take up space.
A-Basin doesn’t care if one of us is babysitting, while the other one skis. The first time we went in the lodge, we found ourselves surrounded by other families like us: Families trying to maintain their passion for skiing and care for young kids at the same time. Not only that, but there were things set up by the resort for the kids to play with.
And, unlike at some larger resorts, we don’t have to take multiple chairlifts to get to the good skiing, so it’s easy to trade-off kid duties. For example, the Palavicini Chair serves expert terrain, but its right next to both the parking lot, the beginner lift and the magic carpet. When our son started skiing, everything we wanted was right in one place. This is HUGE for us. Double blacks and a magic carpet all starting in the same place…what more could a family ask for!
What would you suggest to make A-Basin even better?
I think that the hardest part of each day is getting a tired kid from the beginner slope back UP the hill to the lodge. I know that it’s not a huge hill but when you’re carrying 2 pairs of skis and an exhausted 2-year-old, it might as well be a mile. I’m sure that making getting rid of that slope would have to take some sort of miracle, but we can always dream! Maybe they could throw out some of those oh-so-fancy rubber mats there…these are beginners after all!
Any “secrets” to share?
Skiing Pali is blissful. Steep, steep, steep, with a few cliffs thrown in there. Follow the ridge down to Gauthier where you’re sure to find some nice powder to cushion your landings.
Also, don’t be afraid to stake out some space in the A-frame lodge. Everyone else does it and it’s a great way to set up a “home base” for your family.
Any advice for families coming to Arapahoe Basin?
Head upstairs in the A-Frame. It’s an awesome place to hang out and you’re sure to meet lots of other ski families up there. We usually head up there first thing and stash our stuff at a table while we head out to play. Then we always have a great place to hang out for all our hot chocolate breaks.
Where do you like to eat at A-Basin?
We like to bring our lunch and there is a microwave in the lodge. To beat the I-70 rush out of Denver, we usually take off pretty early and eat breakfast up there. They have lots of breakfast combos that always seem to hit to spot. The food prices are reasonable and won’t clean out your bank account.
If you’re looking for some food that’s a little more gourmet, head up to the Black Mountain Lodge for some wonderful soups or savory crepes that will make you wanting more!
What about lodging?
There’s none there. Maybe that’s why we like it – SIMPLE!
What makes Arapahoe Basin unique?
When they say that they cater to families, they really mean it. They have adopted a ‘back-to-basics’ approach with the way they run the resort and it really shows. They’re not concerned with the latest innovation, but rather with providing high quality skiing and riding for everyone.
What is your favorite memory of A-Basin?
The day I took both my kids skiing by myself for the first time. Since our kids are 2 and 4, this was no easy feat. Before I went I had to be confident that both of them would be fine on the bigger hill (the 2-year-old got lots of help) since I can’t ride on the beginner hill with both of them (the lift only seats 2). I’ve been dreaming of the day that I could just take off and ski with my kids and now it’s starting to happen (even if we’re skiing greens all day).
Do you have any family skiing tips to share with other parents?
Skiing with your family is not a competition, we’re all in this together. Don’t stress if your kids are the ones who want to drink hot chocolate all day sometime or if your kid has a meltdown on the trail. Everyone’s been there so don’t compare yourself to others. Just get out there and go at it again another day!
What is your favorite family skiing memory from when you were young?
I started skiing around 4 or 5. Every winter, our family would go out to Utah for 2 weeks to ski with our extended family. There were lots of ski trips with all 20+ cousins and Grandpa and Grandma would come with us on most days. It was about as fun as life gets!
What is your favorite thing about family skiing?
I love that we get to just go and be on our own. It’s pure uninterrupted time together that I just love. I know that as our kids get older, I’m going to cherish lift rides and lots of one-on-one time to talk.
The Brave Ski Mom adds…
Jessica and her husband Andrew met each other on a chairlift and have skied together ever since. They write about their families adventures over at Bring The Kids. They are the proud parents of Mason(4) and Chloë (2), with a baby on the way.
Portions of this interview were adapted from a post originally published at Bring The Kids, on November 14, 2011.
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