For most of us with young children, vacations aren’t really vacations at all. It is a lot of work to pack up a family and relocate. On top of that, you are dealing with schedule changes (especially for little ones under 5) and unfortunately most of the time you likely end your days with screaming children and a big pounding migraine.
A ski vacation is braving it especially with subzero temperatures, lugging ski equipment, getting the children to and from the car and answering the endless chorus of are we there yet from the back seat. Most sane people would avoid this at all costs. Even though it’s a whole lot of work, (and more if, like the AM team, you choose to head to the mountain mid-week, packing 4 kids in one car, while your husbands stay home to work, meeting you for the weekend) you will have fun at Waterville Valley.
After a whole lot of huffing and puffing, and equipment lugging, Waterville Valley Resort made it all worth the trouble, placing smiles on all of our faces (including the husbands who joined us at the end).
Check out Waterville Valley with your family:
Only a 2 hour ride from Boston, this quaint mountain resembles an idyllic vintage-esque ski mountain and village. With 50 trails, this mountain has it all. Most of its trails are attractive to the intermediate skier, about 15% is dedicated to beginners and 22% is geared towards the advanced skier. There really is something for everyone. Best of all, lift lines move at record speed, eliminating the long waits that you’ll find at larger mountains in the north east, and allowing you to do what you’re there for-ski.
The mountain is extremely manageable with children. Drive right up to the base of the mountain and leave your car for a few minutes while you get your ski gear and family situated. Everything that you need is located at the base of the mountain-lift tickets, kids camps, daycare, lodge, ski shop, and bar. It is very easy to navigate to and from the buildings there with entrances that allow you to set up your gear closest to the lift you are interested in riding.
There is a real community and family feel to this mountain. You won’t find a bunch of hot shot 20 something’s buzzing down the mountain after a few too many; instead you’ll find yourself surrounded by parents just as eager to keep their kids safe as you are with yours. Everyone is helpful, and lifts on the lower mountain are slowed regularly to assist new skiers as they get on and off.
The staff at this mountain is incredible and really adds to the experience. Everyone is very friendly and always showing a smile on their face (hard to come by anywhere now a days). Even when the temperature plummets to -34 with the wind chill, everyone is happy to help.
I most likely should not bring my phone skiing, but it is always by my side and is my lifeline when my kids are not. Of course, each day I had phone issues that the staff of Waterville pleasantly helped me with.
Day 1 – My phone was running low on battery and the wonderful staff at the bag check/info desk were kind enough to let me charge my phone up to full power as my son was in ski school and I really wanted power in case of an emergency.
Day 2 – While managing my hungry kids and husband, I misplaced my phone in the cafeteria. Again the wonderful staff really came to the rescue to help me locate my phone. Even after I gave up hope, they came upstairs to find me to offer another suggestion. Luckily, I found it; in a pocket that I had previously checked (thanks mommy brain).
Two mom’s who have not seen skis in 3 and 5 years = rusty skiers in need of a full day to regain some confidence. So, we put our boys (ages 4 and 5) in a full day of ski school and let them have fun without us (while we did the same). It was wonderful. They really enjoyed skiing with their instructors, hot chocolate in between runs and meeting/playing with the other kids in their ski group. They were actually asking to go back to ski school for the rest of the trip. I personally despised ski school when I was younger, I couldn’t wait for my parents to pick me up. So the fact that 2 boys wanted to go back to Waterville’s school even after skiing on the coldest day of the year was proof enough for me.
One name, Mike Furgal! Mike was rated top 100 ski instructors for ski magazine. This is the second time that I have done a private lesson for my 2 year old with him. Seeing as how 2 year olds do not have much of an attention span at this age, it is a miracle that Mike can keep her engaged and happy for an hour session. Introducing her to the sport and allowing her to get comfortable on skis at a young age is allowing us to get out of the house for a fun family winter activity.
We popped into the rental shop so Jess could rent skis for her 2 year old. Everyone was super helpful and quick. We were in and out of the shop in 10 minutes.
Apres Ski Entertainment – All Ages
Head to Buckets for Apres Ski, especially on Saturdays when the live band allows the adults to unwind with a few spirits and snacks while kids can grab a seat in the adjoining room for complimentary movie night as well as s’mores on the deck overlooking the mountain. Our 2, 4 and 5 year olds were splitting their time between the movie and the dance floor. After a long day of skiing, our kids were happy and distracted instead of miserable and tired. Allowing us to hang out until 7pm when we could pop them in the car without worry of sleeping en-route home. And we all know that happy kids = happy parents!
Check out some fun deals that Waterville Valley is featuring in the month of March and April.
Saint Patrick’s Day, March 17th – $17 lift tickets.
April Fools Day, April 1st – $1 lift tickets (and this isn’t a joke).
– Helping you find some family fun outdoors even in the middle of winter, Thia