Instruction for beginners, childcare for little ones, options for non-skiers, and kid-friendly après ski activities – all must-haves for a family ski trip. The following resorts offer age-specific lessons and children-only ski areas for beginners. Day care services, with costs ranging from $5–16 per hour, are de rigueur and most take children from 2–3 years old.
In Pennsylvania, Camelback (www.skicamelback.com) in the Poconos has almost as much to do off the slopes as on, including an indoor water park, scheduled to open in March. In western Pennsylvania, Seven Springs Mountain Resort (www.7springs.com) has a full range of ski options, plus a terrain course for snowboarders. Non-ski activities include an indoor pool, mini golf course, and bowling alley, plus sleigh rides and horseback trail rides.
Hunter Mountain (www.huntermtn.com) in New York’s Catskills has the option of half-day ski, half-day childcare on weekends and 14 beginner trails. It boasts the largest snow tubing park in New York, with 18 chutes and special kid-only lanes.
In the Berkshires of Massachusetts, Jiminy Peak (www.jiminypeak.com) focuses on families with lots of lesson options, a terrain park, and a “snow coaster,” a driver-controlled roller coaster. Day care is available from 6 months old.
Vermont’s Smuggler’s Notch (www.smuggs.com) is consistently voted the top family resort in the east, with activities for kids from 6 weeks to 17 years and programs for children with special needs. Its winter zip line tour is not to be missed.
In Virginia, Bryce Resort (www.bryceresort.com) is a cozy resort in the Blue Ridge. With eight runs (mostly intermediate), a Kinder ski school, and a separate snow tubing park, it’s makes a refreshing change from the mega-resorts. Massanutten Resort (www.massresort.com) has skiing, snowboarding and tubing, with ski lessons from age 4 and snowboarding lessons from age 7. It also has a spa and a massive indoor water park where the temperature is a steady 84 degrees.