Snowmamas Answer: Are Family Ski Vacations Worth the Money--Especially In This Economy?

Krista Parry
Posted by Krista Parry on October 15, 2009

The one thing my parents valued was traveling as a family, even when money was tight.  We skied every winter--were always first in line for those discounted passes at the local grocery store!  I never had new gear but it didn't matter. Those trips to the slopes are some of my fondest childhood memories. My children are still young but we're continuing the tradition and have already had some fantastic ski vacations replete with laughter, learning, hot chocolate, hot tub-ing and snuggling up to a fire.  My parents were right. The memories we're making are worth the money.

I’ve loved snow since I was a child and can't imagine raising my children without it!  Skiing is a great family sport, something we can all learn together.  And ski vacations let us get out and experience nature in a new way with the kids--the scenery from the lift, the quietness of the mountains.  One of our favorite things while sitting on a ski lift is to look for animal tracks in the snow!

I'm thankful that my parents got me out on the slopes at age five. I still remember the biting cold and the thrill of flying down the beginner hill unassisted. I'm glad I've been able to share that same experience with my kids.  Spending the day together, skiing or riding under a famous Utah bluebird sky....there's no better family adventure! It's the stuff vacation memories are made of. And all that fresh, crisp air somehow makes everything taste better afterward - from that cozy cup of hot chocolate to the warm bowl of chili apres ski. Sure, ski trips are a lot of work. but once you're on the mountain, that's all a distant memory.

I can't think of a family vacation that's more work--or more fun--than ski trips. We'd lug them to ski school and then carry them back exhausted at the end of the day where they'd fall asleep before they'd finished their mac and cheese.  But all too soon, they were out-skiing me, heading for the steepest, toughest terrain they could find, too busy conquering the mountain to stop for lunch, much less a family photo at the mountain top.  Now, they may be grown and nearly grown, off on their own adventures. Still, they're always eager for a family ski trip--that unfettered time together that we never seem to have any other place or any other time of the year. Yes, these trips are worth every penny.

Memories of snuggling together with a cup of hot cocoa are precious, indeed. Even more special are the conversations of the days' adventures on the slopes! For the parents, there's the joy in seeing your child's eyes sparkle as they retell the fun they had on a particular run as well as enjoying some well deserved "we" time. For the kids, there's the feeling of accomplishment after heading down a challenging run. Moms and Dads having fun on the slopes knowing their kids are enjoying the day, too? Priceless.


You've heard why our snowmamas take family ski vacations and now it's your turn. Tell us why they are important to you and your family. 


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Comment posted by Beth van Amerongen on November 11, 2010 8:06 AM MST

I whole-heartedly agree with the Snowmamas and Vanessa that a ski vacation is worth EVERY penny. Skiing is universal. We have lived all over the world and skiing is a fabulous way to enjoy a new country, take in the scenery and get to know the people and the culture. Anyone who has shared a midday hot chocolate or an apres ski drink at the summit, and had a chance to speak to a "local' (or a foreigner if you are the local) knows exactly what I mean.

Our children (ages 15, 17 and 20) have thanked us countless times for having spent the time and the funds on skiing. Ski vacations really do bring families together. Even if your kids are in ski school during the day, the joy of that last run together to show you what they learned or where they skied that day just can't be beat. And, then everyone is good and hungry for a family meal and a puzzle or a game together, as we rest up for the next day. It doesn't get much cozier than this!

Yes, the economy is rough right now and money isn't easy to come by, but the memories truly are priceless and well worth it.

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Comment posted by Vanessa on January 7, 2010 10:35 PM MST

Absolutely! I can remember every family vacation. I can't recall the "things" my parents bought me but the sights, sounds, smells and taste of every family vacation is embedded in my memory! My family has been skiing at Park City since the late 60's. I started there when I was 6 and now I'm 41 and we have never missed a ski season. We just got back and for the first time my two sisters and I and all of our kids (9 of them)(ages 5-19), husbands and our dad (a total of 16 of us in one house) enjoyed a week in Park City. There is no doubt it is an expensive vacation and a lot of work, but SO worth it! So here are some tips to stay on budget and have fun. #1 Eat at home (breakfast, lunch and dinner.)#2 stuff your ski jackets with hot cocoa mix, a water pouch and a power bar)#3 Buy your tickets at Sea and Ski in Salt Lake(you can save almost$35/ticket/adult/day)#4 Book rental equipment online for deep discounts.#5 Drive there if possible. It cost 5 of us under $300 roundtrip in gas from the OC and we made it there in 10 hours. Even if you rent a van and carpool most likely the rental will be cheaper in your home state than renting in Salt Lake (it's high season). #6 Ride the free bus once you are in town #7 Behind the original highschool(on 13th Street) there is a homemade sledding course that is free, fast and fun!BYOS #8 Assign a family photographer each day you're there, so you might actually get to be in a picture :) #9 Rent movies from the Red Box. #10 Take the trolley on Main Street(free) #11 Go ice skating at Park City Ice Arena (see website for pricing and open skate times) #12 Jump off the high dive at Ecker's Middle School (minimal entrance fee). You will laugh so hard you will almost feel like a kid again. Your kids will dare you to do it! #13 Borrow ski clothes from family and friends. There is nothing wrong with hand me down ski clothes (mostly likely they are brand new).#14 Save all your lift tickets and journal on the back of them, who skied and the daily events. They make great little tokens from your vacation and you won't have to spend money on souvenirs. Enjoy every minute!

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