|Heated chairlift at Canyons|
An extensive track record you might say but we have just discovered that we have been missing out on an entire ski state and some great family ski resorts - in Utah. After spending a week there, we literally fell in love with Salt Lake City skiing and it is definitely not just a holiday romance.
|Emerging from the glades at Sundance|
Families have the choice of staying right on the hill at Canyons, Deer Valley or Alta, for example, or staying in the valley at Salt Lake City - the Grand America is a must for a five-star splurge or Little America for family fun - or in a smaller city such as Ogden. Everything is so compactly located in the canyons surrounding Salt Lake City that you can easily plan a ski safari to encompass a wide variety of wintersports' experiences in the same week.
Salt Lake City is a Delta hub so there are lots of direct flights from all over North America. If you plan an early flight arrival, you can be skiing the same afternoon and, on departure day, an evening flight adds an extra day's skiing at the end of your stay. Ski-mad New Yorkers take the red eye in order to squeeze a wintersports weekend into their busy cityslicker schedules.
|Snowbasin on Thursday|
Utah's Family Features include:
- high quality customer service at all Ski Utah resorts
- ski variety: 11 very different ski hills within one hour's drive of Salt Lake City
- delivery ski gear rentals direct to hotel rooms with Ski Butlers at Park City
- free ski buses in and around resorts
- kiddie carts at Canyons Resort
- ski hosts who help unpack the car at Snowbasin and Deer Valley
- iFly (virtual sky diving experience) at the Salomon Center in Ogden
- kids' snowshoe tours at Snowbasin
- bobsledding, skeleton and luge camps at Utah Olympic Park at Park City
- chairlift ride to top of 7,130 ft ski jump at Utah Olympic Park at Park City
- chocolate exhibition at Natural History Museum of Utah, Salt Lake City
|Career-play at Discovery Gateway Children's Museum|
- luxury self-catering condos at the Park City Waldorf Astoria at Canyons Resort
- great terrain parks for skiers and snowboarders at Canyons and Snowbasin
- specialist ski tuition at skier-only resorts of Alta and Deer Valley
- night skiing at Sundance
- Western history, food, culture, arts, eco-tourism and film festival at Sundance
- Alpine chalet-style communal dining at Alta Lodge
- raclette and chocolate fondu at Empire Canyon Lodge, Deer Valley cooked at the fireplace
- horse-drawn sleigh rides at Deer Valley
- affordable lodging/ski packages at Summit Hotel, Ogden accessing Snowbasin and Powder Mountain
- daycare at most resorts from 6 weeks old - eg Canyons
- free ski passes at some resorts if you ski on your arrival day on presentation of boarding card
- kids 6 and under ski free at Snowbasin
- smaller, easily navigable acreage and cheaper ski passes at Sundance
|Alta-tude: pounding the pow on Tuesday|
- children's art and pottery classes at Sundance
- snowmobiling at Deer Valley
- zipline at Park City
- kiddie spa at Sundance
- 5th and 6th grade free passport to ski one day at each of Utah's 14 resorts and Yeti pass for parents
- for families with older kids - Ski Utah Interconnect Adventure Tour - 16 or older
There's so much more I could write about Utah's skiing but no time right now. So stay tuned to One, Two, Ski to hear more about our experiences over the next few weeks.
Talking about families, it's Family Day Weekend in British Columbia (Feb 8-10). With the Alberta equivalent following next weekend (Feb 15-17), it is a really popular time for skiing and snowboarding in Western Canada.
Family Day ski events include:
Kicking Horse, BC, Canada - reduced tickets, Box and Rail Jam workshop, dual races, barbecues and live music. To read more about Kicking Horse's culinary scene, check out my Food High article in Eat.Drink.Travel magazine.
|February Skiing at Red Mountain by F. Marseille|
Red Mountain, BC, Canada - reduced lift tickets on Feb 10 and lots of snow promised in the February forecast .
Check out the full list of half-price lift tickets in BC collated by Canada West Ski Areas Association.
|Family Fireworks at Panorama Mountain Village|
Although actually in BC, Panorama is celebrating Alberta Family Day weekend with a fireworks display on Feb 15. The resort is almost fully booked already due to a new Family Day Flex package which allows visitors to customize their stay. They also get up to 15% savings even during this peak period. The new Pano-Pass is also helping sales as it gives unlimited tubing, tobogganing, night-skiing and cross-country skiing, as well as the usual downhill day.