January is the height of ski and snowboard season, so if you’ve been meaning to try one or both of these sports, now is the time to start making plans.
But there’s more to putting together a successful ski vacation than just grabbing your battery heated clothing and booking rooms at the cheapest resort you can find. Instead, you’ll have a better chance of making your outing a successful one if you follow these five tips for choosing a ski resort:
- Assess the skill level of everyone in your group. Not all mountains are created equal, of course, which means you have to choose one that has terrain to match your group members’ abilities. This could mean small and gentle slopes for beginners, or longer runs with fast and steep descents for advanced skiers.
- Investigate childcare options and activities for younger children. If you are traveling with younger children that aren’t quite ready for skis, it would be a good idea to find out what kind of childcare options are available (and what it will cost you). Some resorts provide basic indoor nursery-style care with snacks and meals, while others might offer sledding, sleigh rides, and similar outdoor activities.
- Take into account the “off-snow” amenities. Even the most diehard skiers and snowboarders won’t be on the slopes 24/7, so think about what else you’d like to do while at the resort. Do you want spa treatments? Are shopping and fine dining choices a must? Is a vibrant nightlife part of your vacation formula? Check around to find a resort town that has everything you need.
- Consider the size and popularity of the resort. Some of the largest, most popular ski resorts in the country can easily see a million skiers or more in a single season, which means their slopes are usually always packed. If you love being part of a crowd, then these renowned resorts are for you. But if you want a low-key holiday, try to stay off the beaten path.
- Save money by taking advantage of package deals. Just like other vacation destinations, many ski venues offer discounts to guests that purchase package deals. A typical package for a day trip might include lift tickets, lessons, and equipment rental, while overnight packages might also include special room rates and discounted meals.