Our ski trip was incredible! I am convinced that everyone needs to take a ski vacation at least once. EVEN if you don’t ski! We experienced all that Beaver Creek has to offer, and it did not disappoint and was great for families. Which is why I’m so excited to share with you all of my tips on how to plan a ski trip for your family so you too can have an incredible ski experience with your family.
Planning a ski trip for the first time can be a bit of a head scratcher. Wondering where to start, what you need, and where to go. It can be overwhelming and you may be half tempted just to do what you know; hit the beach. I want this post to help you with planning your ski trip.
I am going to share my full review of Beaver Creek and how to prepare for your ski vacation.
When it comes to learning how to plan a ski trip for your family, this part can be tough figuring out where to go and what is the best ski resort for you. We have only been skiing in Colorado, but many also visit Utah, New Mexico, Wyoming, and more! I love skiing in Colorado because it is an hour and 50 minute flight from Dallas. Last year we went to Keystone Resort, which was amazing and great for families you can read about the experience here. This year we decided to try out Beaver Creek which is in Avon, Colorado.
Is it kid friendly? Having 3 kids I needed a place where the kids felt comfortable, and family oriented. Beaver Creek and Keystone both were great for families and had many family activities.
Are there non-skiing activities? Unless you only plan to ski you want to have a resort that offers other amenities. Beaver Creek had Ice Skating, and even snowshoeing. My mom is not a skier so it is nice to give other options. Some resorts will also have tubing.
Is there nearby Lodging? The resort will house several different lodging options. You can have options that have a ski in/out where you are at the footsteps of the mountain, some that are in the village, and others that a short walk away.
We loved staying at St. James Place because it was within the village and it was a short walk to our ski rentals and the mountain. You want to stay somewhere in close proximity to the mountain. Walking far in ski boots with your equipment is not fun.
Compare skiing costs? Price compare your favorite resorts.
Will there be snow? Most ski resorts make snow, but still consider if the resort has gotten significant snow. Most resorts share on their websites how much snow has fallen.
Airfare expense? We love flying into Denver because it is pretty affordable airfare. If you don’t have a preference in ski location, consider looking at the airfare expense for each location.
Airport Transfers – This will be dependent upon the resort you choose. If you are flying into Denver airport most resorts are about an hour and a half away. We use Epic Mountain Express which met us after getting our luggage and drove us directly to our resort.
Lodging – I would recommend finding a place that is close to the mountain. It is a lot of work walking in ski gear.
Ski Rental – You will need to rent helmet, skis, poles, and ski boots. We used Beaver Creek Ski Rentals and they sized us so you will not need to know. I recommend setting up your reservation online in advance.
Lift Tickets – This is to get you up and down on the mountain. Book this in advance to get a cheaper rate.
Ski Apparel – You will need ski apparel to help keep you warm. I will share next week a full packing list.
Food/Drinks – There is great food in the village. We also went grocery shopping as our condo had a full kitchen. You can also find food places on the mountain when you want a quick break from skiing.
Ski Lockers – This is to store your skis closer to the mountain. It was an added bonus that our hotel St. James Place had lockers included with our stay.
Non-Ski activities – Each resort will have other activities you can partake in. It is always fun to get a break from skiing and doing different activities.
This is our 2nd ski season of lessons. For me, I feel like ski lessons are essential even if you just take 1 day of lessons. We grew so much from our lessons. Most lessons will start at about 9am and conclude at 3pm, with a break for lunch.
Private Lesson – We did a private lesson the first day as a family. To be honest it was probably the best lesson we ever had. To be fair our instructor was on his 45th season of teaching so he was basically a pro. He instantly connected to Calvin. Calvin started the day being timid and by the end of the lesson was cruising down a Green Hill. The private lesson was perfect because it catered to the needs of our family. I would recommend this if you want to make hefty progress, but it is more expensive than the group lesson.
Group Lesson – There are adult and children group lessons. The adults are divided up by ability, don’t worry if you are not sure they will do a quick assessment to ensure the group you are in is the right fit. Children lessons look at age and ability. The children group lessons are great because the instructors make it so fun for the kids, to keep them interested the entire day.
Beaver Creek had amazing ski schools, I hadn’t met an instructor that wasn’t thorough. They give you tips that you can execute and give you confidence as a skier.
I am not going to lie if you are not in shape be prepared to be a little sore. Skiing after all is a sport, and like all sports it will feel like physical work. We were beat up after the first day, and not from falling you just feel it in your legs. Even though it is a physical activity it is a lot of fun, and to do it as a family. Just mentally prepare yourself.
When skiing make sure you are putting yourself on courses that you are physically ready for. I stay in my lane and don’t try anything to daring. Find what course is safe and fun for you!
*Extra tip – Give yourself time walking in ski gear. The boots can feel heavy and will be work as well. Always give yourself extra time getting on your gear and walking to where you need to be.
Also, it is recommended to not ski the first day as you are acclimating to the altitude so you can avoid altitude sickness. We have done that each trip, and never experienced any altitude sickness.
Calvin started skiing when he was 4, and did amazing. I will say at 5 he is like a pro and took the instructions even better. I saw SEVERAL tots out there and always asked their age, since I was trying to figure out when to start Cyrus. Many parents say 1 1/2-2 1/2. It is the cutest thing to see little tots our there. I will say most times when I saw children that little they were skiing with their parents, that looked very secure. We will be starting Cyrus next year at age 3. I think this will vary for each kid and when you as their parent think they are ready.
We brought my mom so did not need to utilize the resort childcare program. However, if bringing help is not an option many resorts do offer childcare while you ski.
Make sure you are hydrated, drink tons of water. We started hydrating even before the trip. Also, unless you are used to the altitude be prepared to be a bit winded. It’s normal. If you start to feel faint definitely ask for help!
The village is by far one of my favorite parts. You will feel straight in a Hallmark Christmas movie. There are restaurants, shops, and activities. Beaver Creek had even a ice rink in the center. Fun for exploring and doing something different for skiing. You can also find a general store if you have forgotten something.
Let me start by saying WOW! This place exceeded all expectations. This hotel is in the village, which is convenient to step out and be right in the village. The lobby and staff were amazing. Last year we stayed at a place that was a townhouse and didn’t have any amenities. I loved that even though we were in a condo we had turn down service, maintenance come in to shovel our balcony, and being able to call the front desk whenever we needed it. My mom worked out in their facility, and the boys swam. Another added bonus was there were ski lockers which made it convenient to store our skis after each day.
Our condo was breathtaking – Head to my Instagram Story highlights to check out the entire tour! It was a 2 story 4 bedroom, 4 bathroom. It had 1 room that had bunk beds for the kids. Full kitchen, amazing view, and washer/dryer. What I love is it gave you that rustic flare but with a luxurious feel. Perfect for someone that wants to look like they are roughing it but not really. It was an added bonus that our condo had just been renovated!
I would highly recommend this place.
Oh and their Hot Chocolate in the lobby is delicious.
Over the course of the entire trip we were able to try different types of dining and all gave us a different experience which I loved.
Blue Moose Pizza – Great pizza joint that was right next to you hotel. Great price point and gave us a variety of pizza, appetizers, and pastas! This is a good option if you need a quick option. We dined in the first day, and ordered pizza to go the last day.
Toscanini – Italian is one of my favorite cuisines so I was excited to see this in my itinerary. It is right in the village making it easy to get to. I would say this is more upscale, but still had a kids menu, and where you could dress casual. I loved that it gave an upscale twist to some of your favorite Italian dishes. Our server at this restaurant was so bubbly and nice! Definitely one of our favorite staff encounters the entire trip.
Allie’s Cabin – What an experience!!! We took a sled up the mountain to get to Allie’s Cabin, and it did not disappoint. The views as you are riding up the mountain are breathtaking, leading you up to a 3-course meal. Please note this dining is more of a splurge but so worth it. They also offer a kids buffet making it easy for the kids to get exactly what they wanted. There drinks also were so original and the entire family loved it!
Spruce Saddle – This was convenient restaurant on the mountain that we visited during lunch while taking our ski lessons. It is cafeteria style, but the food is yummy. They offer a variety of cuisines to fit your budget and time frame. If you are going during lunch hour it will be a bit busy as most skiers are breaking for lunch so be patient when finding a table.
Ice Cream Parlour – Hands down the best grilled cheese sandwich EVER! I am sure you are wondering what I am talking about based on the name. It is a restaurant on the mountain that offers grilled cheese sandwiches, soups, and multiple options of ice cream. It was delicious, and I loved their hot chocolate! We ate here our first day during our private lessons.
Cookie and Candy Cabin – Depending on what part of the mountain you are skiing on you can get to experience these tasty cabins. I got to experience both of these, and their cookies are delicious. Both sit on the top of the mountain on different parts of the mountain.
**Also each day at 3pm they have Cookie time!! Fleets of staff come out to serve everyone warm cookies!
As mentioned previously my mom did not ski so it was important to find activities that weren’t ski related. We were able to explore the village which is a lot of fun. There are also many fire pits around the village that were great to sit by the fire and chat. We did this, and watched the boys come down the ski hill.
Another fun activity is ice skating! While we did have a couple falls it is a lot of fun, and enjoyed that it was right in the middle of the village.
My mom was supposed to try snow-shoeing but it ended up being Rick and I! We took a lift to go on an hour snowshoe trail on the mountain. Our instructor gave us fun facts on the journey, and it was so scenic. It was a bit tough when you had to go uphill, but our instructor gave us ton of breaks. We never tried it so was a nice break from skiing.
Beaver Creek did not have tubing, but the previous resort we visited had tubing and a snow fort, which was also a fun experience.
I loved every part of the trip. It was amazing experience. I will say we did 4 days 3 nights, and I felt that was too short. I did that based on scheduling. However, I wish we had an additional 1 or 2. After skiing we were a bit sore and it would have been nice to have a day in between to just explore the village and enjoy the cabin. With having such a short trip we had to pack everything in. Plus also factoring in the 2 hour commute to/from the airport. If your schedule allows I would make your trip at least 5 days.
We loved Beaver Creek, another thing I loved about the resort was that it was never too packed and made it easy to navigate. Another sticking point was how well their ski school was. Every instructor knew what they were doing and how to teach each student. From teaching my aunt that has never skied to my 5 year old.
I recommend everyone try a ski trip at least once because it is such a fun experience. Stay tuned for the Ultimate Ski Packing Guide that will be coming up next week.
Do you have any tips on how to plan a ski trip for your family? Let me know in a comment below!