Hand warmers (check). Tons of tissues (check.) The right attitude (check.) Yes, you can ski as a family and keep your sanity in a safe place when all the right elements align. Don’t let “La Nina’s” warm winter put a damper on your plans- your ninos want action- so head to one of these top family-oriented ski destinations within a few hours drive from home. (Did we leave you wanting more options? Check out some more cold-weather favorites here.)
This family-friendly ski mountain boasts 4 lifts, over 10 trails and a terrain park.
Family friendly features include: FREE first time skiing and snowboard lessons for beginners (with purchase of a lift ticket, weekends and holidays only) and a Tiny Tots program for kids ages four and under, which takes place at the base of the hill to familiarize young kids with equipment and balance.
Distance from Bergen: 1 hour drive
(Mt. Peter, 40 Ski Lane, Warwick, NY, 845-986-4940)
With 86 trails, 20% of which are for beginners, Whiteface Mountain in Lake Placid is a great place for a family ski-weekend. And to mix it up, Gore is a nearby neighbor.
Family friendly features include: “Kids Kampus” Ski school for every age category and level as well as their “Bears Den” nursery program for kids too young to hit the slopes. Indoor and outdoor ice skating facilities, snow tubing, cross country and their “Skeleton Experience” for your daredevils ages 13 and up who want to sled at 30 mph.
Where to Stay: Newcomer Whiteface Lodge was built in classic Adirondack style, but has luxurious touches like an upscale spa and fine dining, hence it’s #10 rating in the 2011 Conde Naste Travelers’ Readers Choice awards. An indoor/outdoor heated pool, ice rink, nightly s’mores and a movie theatre will keep the kiddos happy (and occupied) too. (Rates begin at $479 for a junior suite)
Distance from Bergen: 4.5 to 5 hours drive
(Whiteface Mountain, Wilmington, NY)
Crowd-pleaser Smugglers Notch in Vermont is one of the best east coast ski resorts for families, with three interconnected mountains and 78 trails with terrain for every skill level.
Family friendly features include: Smugglers’ award winning “Snow Sport University” starts kids as young as 2 ½ on skiis and 3 year olds on snowboards with full day programs that include lunch, instruction and exploration. The mountain’s Burton Riglet Park was developed with Burton as an on-snow play area to expose young children to boarding and includes a “Treehouse” as its focal point and ramps to help kids practice getting on and off lifts.
Where to Stay: One of the resort’s condos which include kitchens and up to four bedrooms. Try to snag one right on the mountain with access to the outdoor heated pool. (Rates upon request)
Distance from Bergen: 5 to 6 hours drive
(Smugglers’ Notch, 4323 Vermont Route 108 South, Jeffersonville, VT)