Warning: Skiing with kids is a lot of work. But I’m here to tell you that skiing with kids is also a great way to get outside and have fun when everyone has had enough of being cooped up indoors. We are lucky to live near a lot of local, family-friendly mountains. Whether you are getting out with kids for the first time or looking for some new places to try, skiing can make a great day or weekend trip!
What You Need
Before you head outside and hit the slopes, it’s good to set reasonable expectations and be prepared. For starters, let’s talk about the gear.
Skis and Outdoor Equipment
There is no doubt about it: skiing is expensive. But ski rentals for the season for kids can run about $100-$150. This is worth it if you are planning to head out a few times during the season. It also saves you from waiting on long rental lanes at the base of the mountain. If you rent at the mountain, you can expect to pay between $40-$50 for the day for kids and $50-$60 for adults (this will include boots, skis/board, and poles).
You’ll also need to have warm snow gear: coats, snow pants, snow boots, gloves, ski/snowboard helmets, and goggles. It pays to have warm equipment because then everyone will enjoy being outside longer. With most lodges closed or with limited seating this year, it’s essential to make sure everyone is warm enough for a day outside.
Also, note that all skiers must wear masks and ride with their own party on the lifts.
Skiing this year is unlike any other. Make sure you check online before you head to the mountain and make reservations for your crew. With limited spaces available, you need to have reservations before you head to the mountain.
Food and Snacks
Many ski mountains have limited food and lodge options available this year. Mountains vary in what they offer skiers – some have outdoor vendors and food trucks, while others allow for indoor eating with a reservation. Again, check before you go. Our family usually finds it best to pack snacks to keep our crew going. We’ve seen some families tail-gating at their cars to eat a packed lunch. We usually find that “pocket candy” can be a great motivator to keep younger kids going when they start to feel cold.
Where You Should Go
An important thing to consider while you plan your trip is how long you plan on skiing and whether or not you want to deal with travel restrictions. There are several mountains in CT and NY that can be done as a day trip. One of my favorites growing up were Mohawk Mountain in Cornwall, CT, which offers lights for night skiing until 8 p.m. in the week and 10 p.m. on weekends! Tickets range from $32 midweek and $67 weekends and holidays for adults ($32-$59 for kids, respectively, and children under 4 are free). I have friends who have also enjoyed skiing and lessons at Thunder Ridge in NY and Mt. Southington and Powder Ridge in CT.
If you’re interested in a longer trip, Vermont has some great family-friendly mountains as well. These mountains are more expensive, with lift tickets costing upwards of $75 midweek and over $100 on weekends/holidays for adults. Children’s tickets generally run about $15-$30 less than adult tickets depending on age, with some mountains offering free tickets to children under 6.
We have taken our growing family skiing at Okemo in Ludlow, VT for the past several seasons. The mountains in VT are definitely a weekend trip (it takes us a little over 3 hours to travel to Ludlow from our house in CT), but the mountains are considerably larger than those in CT. We ski at Okemo because the magic carpet is FREE for EVERYONE. Yes, FREE! We can do 2 runs and break for hot chocolate without getting frantic that we paid a few hundred dollars for lift tickets if the kids want to quit – ok! If they want to keep going, even better!
I also have a soft spot for Bromley Mountain, where I grew up skiing as a kid. Prices are slightly lower than other mountains in VT (closer to $75 than $100 on weekends for adults), and the mountain tends to be less crowded, making it a great option for families. Other family favorites nearby include Stratton, Killington, and Mt. Snow.
Again, it’s important to remember to plan. For mountains outside of CT and NY, you will have to check CDC guidelines for quarantining and testing before and after traveling.
Should you take lessons?
Many mountains are still offering ski lessons for all ages and skill levels. Again, you will have to reserve in advance as spots are limited.
With a little preparation, you can really enjoy a winter day on the slopes with your family. It feels so good to spend the whole day outside…and the hot chocolate (or beer) at the end of the day isn’t bad either! Below is a quick list of nearby ski mountains. Always check their websites for the most up-to-date skiing conditions and pricing.