Plan Your Winter Travels Now with 5 "Must Ski" Resorts!

Sat, Oct 10, 2015 @ 08:10 AM Mary Ann Eckberg Travel Tips, Military Life

Explore some new ski locations this winter.

Winter is coming.

Rather than dread the winter blues and frigid temps, why not daydream of family-friendly snow play with skiing, snowboarding, and snow tubing? Picture a crackling firepit luring you to make melty s’mores and enticing you to sip hot cocoa from oversized mugs. I've got several suggestions for your winter daydreams! 

Sound good? Then consider these 5 locations for a winter wonderland getaway!

 1. Stowe Mountain Resort

Flickr user futuremar768

Visit because:

The Green Mountains are the tallest mountains in Vermont and stretch into The Berkshires of Massachusetts.

Nicknamed “The best of the East,” the well-groomed slopes offer spectacular views of woodsy Underhill State Park and Putnam State Forest

Two mountains are available for skiing and snowboarding:

  • Mount Mansfield for those with more experience
  • Spruce Peak for the intermediate and beginner

Additionally, Stowe Mountain offers:

  • A competition hill for racing
  • Cross country skiing
  • Snowshoeing
  • Adaptive equipment for those with disabilities to ski or ride
  • Dog sled rides
  • Guided mountain tours
  • Adventure Program with lessons

Powderhound tips:

  • Scan lift ticket at turnstile--this convenience creates shorter lines.
  • Arrive early--ice sets in around noon.
  • Wrap up early--not well lit in the evening.

At the base of Spruce Peak, you’ll find Spruce Camp with:

  • An ice rink and community park
  • Shopping
  • Dining
  • Performing arts center
  • Entertainment options such as live music, ice carving competitions, and a variety of activities for children

Fly into:

Burlington International Airport, Vermont

2. Whiteface Mountain Resort

Flickr user Marco

Visit because:

The Adirondack High Peak region offers incredible views and the greatest vertical drop in the East.

Nicknamed “The Olympic Mountain”-- hosted the 1980 Winter Olympic Games and two notable Olympic medalists have trained on its terrain.

Boasts steep glades, challenging moguls, long trails, and chute-style skiing.

Additionally, Whiteface Mountain offers:

  • Back country skiing, Telemark skiing, Slide skiing, and Cross country skiing
  • Ice climbing
  • Snow shoeing
  • Snow tubing
  • Guided mountaineering
  • Cloudsplitter Club with lessons

Powderhound tips:

  • Search online for lift tickets and rental deals to avoid the lines.
  • Consider half day tickets and arrive early.
  • Nickname is “Iceface”--windy and freezing cold at the top, snow melts after noon and gets icy.
  • Enjoy downhill runs created for Olympic Winter Games!

A few miles from the base is the Olympic Village at Lake Placid featuring: 

  • Lake Placid Olympic Museum
  • Olympic Center--games and events in the arena
  • Olympic Sports complex--bobsled, luge and skeleton track, jumping complex, speed skating oval
  • Biathlon shooting range
  • Toboggan chute
  • Dog sled tours
  • Ice skating
  • Shopping
  • Dining
  • Wide variety of entertainment in the Lake Placid area

Fly into:

Albany International Airport, New York or Burlington International Airport, Vermont

3. Crystal Mountain Resort

Flickr user MarLeah Cole

Visit because:

  • Secluded Northwest Michigan enclave
  • Ideal location for Midwest skiing and snowboarding
  • Well-groomed slopes overlook the Betsie Valley

Additionally, Crystal Mountain offers:

  • Night skiing
  • Snow biking
  • Snowmobiling
  • Snow shoeing
  • Cross country skiing
  • Totem Park with lessons

Powderhound tips:

  • Arrive early to beat the crowd.
  • Splurge at the spa on a massage or aromatic bath. Unwind in the spa meditation lounge, private hot tub, sauna, or steam room.
  • Gather at the park for a bonfire with unlimited marshmallows, and
    • Horse-drawn Surrey rides
    • Ice skating
    • Hockey
    • Shopping
    • Dining
    • Family-friendly entertainment.

Fly into:

Traverse City Cherry Capital Airport, Michigan (American, Delta and United fly into this Northern Michigan Regional Airport)

or Ford International Airport, Grand Rapids, Michigan

4. Solitude Mountain Resort

Vasily Merkushev/Dollar Photo Club

Visit because:

  • Generous amount of light, dry, fluffy powder graces the Big Cottonwood Canyon
  • Hidden gem with less crowds and more family-friendly terrain
  • Optimum place to re-acclimate to skiing and snowboarding

Additionally, Solitude Mountain offers:

  • Alpine skiing, Telemark skiing, Nordic skiing
  • Snowshoeing
  • Guided mountain tours
  • Snowsports Academy with lessons and specialty clinics

Powderhound tips:

  • Use the handy shuttle system with transport to/from vehicle.
  • Enjoy the private resort feel without crowds or long lines.
  • Practice techniques for those at “beginner” or “intermediate” level.
  • Grab a cup of hot cocoa at the base where you’ll also find
    • Community fire pit with s’mores
    • Ice skating
    • Shopping
    • Dining
    • Activities for family fun.

Fly into:

Salt Lake City International Airport, Utah

5. Heavenly Mountain Resort

Flickr user USDA

Visit because:

  • Bordering California and Nevada, Heavenly has the highest elevation with the longest vertical drop in the West
  • Open to both skiing and snowboarding, the back country trails offer scenic vistas of the Sierra Nevada mountain range
  • With Lake Tahoe below, the steep slopes have stellar views of the largest Alpine Lake in North America

Additionally, Heavenly Mountain offers:

  • Terrain parks
  • Snow tubing
  • Sledding
  • Epic Promise conservation program
  • Epic Mix Academy with lessons

Powderhound tips:

  • Use care around the heavily wooded trails.
  • Be aware that the steep slopes pick up speed quickly.
  • Look for weekday discounts.

Enjoy the hot cocoa bar at one of the slope side lodges, as well as

  • An 8-plex Cinema
  • Ice skating
  • Shopping
  • Dining
  • Variety of entertainment and nightlife in the Lake Tahoe area

Fly into:

Reno Tahoe International Airport, Reno, Nevada

Make sure to check for military family travel discounts before you book 

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Main image credit: Flickr user Trysil