For more decades than I care to admit, I’ve been skiing with my family.
I started skiing with my parents at age three. A few years later, my brother joined in.
For the last 18 years, my husband and I have skied with our sons.
Over these many, many years, I’ve come to believe a few things.
First, there is no better family sport or activity than family skiing.
Truly multi-generational, skiing and snowboarding liberate us to unplug, reconnect and enjoy physical activity in some of the most beautiful places on earth.
Second, when families travel on ski vacations or holidays, there are three primary things that they want.
These aren’t plush accommodations, gourmet food, off-mountain diversions or even endless dumps of powder (although we’ll take those every time we can).
No, what makes a family ski vacation truly special are these three things: Time together. Time to relax. Time to make memories.
And now, I’ve got a fourth element to add to my list: Time to build family traditions.
Snow Day Traditions
The video was one of a series produced by Visit Montana.
Last week, Visit Montana posted another beautiful #MontanaMoment video about family skiing.
I’m happy to share it today, because it perfectly captures so much about why so many of us love winter.
Crystal Young, the ski mom featured in the video, explains family skiing this way.
“It’s those times that you’re enjoying with your family and developing a passion for something. It’s so great to be able to share that passion with our kids.”
Nick Turner, father of the tribe, appreciates how skiing is already bringing his young family closer together.
“It really builds a deep bond between (our children) that will last for the rest of their lives.”
In addition to celebrating family traditions, this video captures the spirit of a small, independent ski area called Showdown Montana.
Showdown is the oldest, operating ski area in Montana, established in 1936. Showdown doesn’t have abundant condos or elaborate off-mountain activities.
What it does have is spirit, a welcoming essence shared typical of many small ski areas.
An all-day adult lift ticket is $45, while kids 6-10 pay $25.
Even better if you’re the parent 4th or 5th grader, your child can receive a full 2017-2018 season pass for just $10, with proof of age (current report card, copy of birth certificate, or a school ID).
One of my favorite money-saving tips is to take lessons at small ski areas.
Why? Because instructors at smaller areas hold the same certification as those at larger, more expensive resorts. This means that at Showdown, and other family ski areas, you and your kids receive PSIA/AASI instruction at a fraction of the cost of lessons at a big name resort.
Showdown is located in the Little Belt Mountains of central Montana, sixty-six miles southeast of Great Falls and 111 miles north of Bozeman.
What About That Hot Springs?
While Showdown has a base lodge with a grill and bar, there is no lodging at the mountain.
If, like me, you’re wondering about the steamy hot springs lodge shown in the video, it’s the Spa Hot Springs Motel, located about 30 miles away in White Sulphur Springs, Montana.
The Showdown website has an extensive listing of nearby lodging partners, offering ski and stay packages.
Sometimes Smaller is Better
Small ski areas are where many of us learned to ski, where our kids learned to ski and are the places we still call our home mountains.
There’s just something special about a local mountain, where everyone knows you, your kids, and possibly, your business (in the best way, of course!).
And, sometimes when you just want to get away with your family, to have carefree time together, to relax, to make memories and to build traditions, places like Showdown are just the ticket.
Or as George Willett, President of Showdown puts it, “When you come to Showdown, you got to slow down.”
And he means that in the best way possible.
More Montana Ski Areas
Montana, aka The Treasure State, has a wealth of fantastic ski areas and resorts, 15 if we’re counting.
And, while I can’t back up this up with data, Visit Montana claims that the state has “more acres per skier than anywhere else in the U.S.”
Among the state’s ski areas are big names like Big Sky and Whitefish, as well as smaller ski areas like Showdown, Red Lodge Mountain and Blacktail Mountain.
If you’re a Montana skier, we’d love to learn more about where you ski and why.
Please leave a comment.
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