It’s a new year and so that means it’s time to try new things. So, why not take up a new sport. While many people think that Southern California is just about sun and surf, it’s also got some fantastic mountain resorts. Head up to Big Bear Lake, Calif., for some of the area’s best snow sport opportunities.
To kick off the New Year, Big Bear Mountain Resorts is inviting beginner skiers and snowboarders to come up and enjoy the snow during the month of January with free rental equipment for anyone who purchases a beginner lesson package. The offer is valid any day during the month of January, excluding holiday periods. Packages must be reserved at least one day in advance online at www.bigbearmountainresorts.com or by phone at 909-866-5841.
For the little tykes there is Little Bear Camp and Little Bear School at Snow Summit, where kids as young as 3 years old can get started on the bunny slopes. At Bear Mountain there is Riglet Park, where kids from 3 to 6 years old are introduced to snowboarding on miniature park features, using Burton’s innovative Learn-to-Ride Technology.
And why not make it a family affair. The ski resorts offer adult classes too. The classes are for persons age 13 and older. Some adults that have skied before but who want to want to learn how to snowboard can do so through the adult lessons. Big Bear’s qualified instructors will show anyone who wants to learn the ropes of having fun on the slopes. One of the great things about learning a new snow sport is it is never too late to learn.
I have skiing and snowboarding on the brain right now as we are about to head out on our annual family ski trip (just have to get through Christmas). This year, we are staying closer to home, but I was excited to learn that January is “Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month” in Colorado Ski Country USA (CSCUSA). What does this mean for families? Deals of course. Resorts are offering a variety of deals and discounts to entice kids and adults to come to the mountains and give skiing and snowboarding a try, sharpen their skills or pick up a new discipline. In addition to CSCUSA’s First Class program, which provides a free beginner lesson and equipment rental to qualifying fifth graders in January, resorts are offering significantly discounted lessons and Learn to Ski and Snowboard packages that include lift tickets, equipment rentals, and lessons taught by highly trained professional instructors. So, if you are headed to Colorado this January, it’s an ideal time to take up the sport.
Below is a list of the Learn to Ski and Snowboard offers from CSCUSA resorts:
Good for kid or adult first timers only, the Super Sunday Special package includes a lift ticket, equipment rental, and a beginner lesson. Guests who purchase a Super Sunday lesson will be entitled to discounts on future lessons. Prices for adults are $99 for skiing and $107 for snowboarding, while prices for kids are $79 for skiing and $84 for snowboarding. The items in these packages can be purchased individually; Super Sunday lessons will be $59. Adult ski rental: $20; adult snowboard rental: $28; kid ski rental: $10; kid snowboard rental: $15; Beginner-area lift tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for kids. 2014 Super Sunday Dates are January 5, 12, 19, 26; February 2, 9, 16, 23. Valid for morning, half-day lessons only (10am-12:30pm).
Free One Run Lessons
Guests are matched up with instructors who learn the guest’s ability level and goals during a Black Mountain Express chairlift ride. During one run down the mountain on terrain accessible from the Black Mountain Express lift, instructors coach relatively minor movements that make major improvements to guests’ skiing. Sign-up is day-of, first-come, first-served from 10:00 am – noon. 2013-14 Dates: December 7, December 15, January 4, January 26, February 9, March 9. For more information, visit www.arapahoebasin.com.
Beginner’s Magic For Adult Skiers And Snowboarders
Learn the basics of skiing or snowboarding from professional instructors who practice a teaching method that promotes peak performance and confidence and educates about the right equipment and mountain awareness. Available at Snowmass and Buttermilk every day, this program is best for adults who are first time beginners or who are only comfortable on beginner terrain. Lessons start at $199 inclusive of lift ticket, equipment rental, and full-day lesson when booked at least seven days in advance.
For Kids & Teens – Experienced professional instructors share their wealth of knowledge and instill an appreciation for the mountain environment. Their passion is contagious and kids enjoy perfecting their skills while they develop a love for the sport. Beginners learn in a supportive and fun environment while developing confidence and life skills. They will explore the mountain, try new skills, terrain and snow conditions based on appropriate skill development and experience the thrill of the pipe and park and/or race course with expert coaches. Available at Snowmass and Buttermilk every day, kids will be in groups with other kids or teens of similar ages. Lessons start at $111 for a full-day lesson when booked at least seven days in advance. For more information, visitwww.aspensnowmass.com/schools.
Free Skiing and Riding for Beginners During Ski and Ride Month and All Winter Long
All season long beginners can access and learn for free on the Easy Rider carpet located in Center Village. Once basic skills are learned, a ticket for the Pitchfork chairlift is $15, allowing beginners to master getting on and off the lift while perfecting turning and stopping.
Woodward at Copper Barn – Great for Newbies and Beginners
This past summer the Woodward at Copper Barn underwent a half-million renovation project which opened the door far beyond snowboards and skis to now include skateboards, BMX and slopestyle mountain bike . All synthetic snow surfaces were replaced with a surface designed for wheels. Families and amateurs alike are invited to experience the renovations expanded offerings for never-evers with additions including a new beginner foam pit with two-foot and four-foot jumps, a pump track designed for the development of park skills, and new programming to bridge the gap and see results on snow. For more information, visit www.coppercolorado.com.
$59 Beginner Ski or Ride Package.
For Learn to Ski Month this January 2014, Crested Butte Mountain Resort is offering a $59 beginner ski or ride package. The package is available for adults to learn how to ski or snowboard at a 63 percent discount. This package is for first-time skiers and snowboarders, age 15 and up only. It includes an Adult First Time Beginner Adventure Ski or Snowboard lesson and a 1-day adult lift ticket valid for limited lift access on the day of the lesson. Participants can also receive a 50% on rentals when they redeem their Liftopia voucher at the Adventure Center. Visit www.skicb.com/learn for more information and to book this package through Liftopia.com.
Free Unrestricted Season Pass for Qualifying Kids
All children (ages 4-14) regardless of ability, who pre-purchase or complete 3 full day lesson packages, receive a free unrestricted season pass to keep practicing their skiing or snowboarding skills for the rest of the season. Children’s full day lesson packages include lesson, lift access, rentals (ski or snowboard) and lunch. Full day lessons are from 10am through 3:30pm daily. Phone reservations are available or register at the Loveland Valley between 8am and 9am. Pre-purchase price: $315 for ages 6-14 skiers & snowboarders (Includes Season Pass) $345 for ages 4-5 skiers (Includes Season Pass) (4-5 yr old program includes early drop off beginning at 8:15am). For more information, visit www.skiloveland.com.
First Timer Lessons
First-timer lessons at Monarch are conducted in a group setting and provide first time, basic, beginner instruction to get new skiers and snowboarders comfortable, moving and having fun on their equipment. Packages include all-day lift ticket, equipment and helmet rental, 2.5 hrs. of group instruction, and a snack. Lesson begins promptly at 9:30 or 11:30 and are $89 for new snowriders aged 7-12 and $99 for ages 13 and older. For more information, visit www.skimonarch.com.
Learn to Ski and Ride Season Pass Program
Powderhorn Mountain Resort and the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel join forces to bring back the Learn to Ski and Ride Season Pass Program for the 2013 – 2014 winter season. Designed for first time skiers or snowboarders ages eight and up, the Daily Sentinel’s Learn to Ski and Ride Season Pass program features three consecutive ski or snowboard lessons at Powderhorn Mountain Resort with the Intensive Series, which includes a full day group lesson with an hour break for lunch.
Lessons run from 10am – 12pm and 1pm – 3pm and focus on weather precautions, changing snow conditions, etiquette on the mountain and the Skier/Rider Responsibility Code. Participants emerge from the series with a great foundation in their chosen snow sport, and are able to put new skills to the test on-mountain. Upon completion of the three-lesson program, participants receive a free season pass for the remainder of the 2013 – 2014 season.
Cost for the program is $269 for youth and pre-teen participants (ages 8-17), $320 for adults (18+) and $299 for full time college students. Visit www.powderhorn.com for a list of regular season rates and details on the Learn to Ski and Ride Pass pass program.
Discounted Basic Beginner Packages
Purgatory at Durango Mountain Resort is pleased to announce two new low cost packages during January 2014 for children and adults who want to learn how to ski or snowboard. The program includes two new packages plus a discount card for future skiing or snowboarding.
The Basic Beginner Packages include full-day ski or snowboard lessons for adults/children, basic rental equipment, and lift tickets. Offered Jan. 6 – 31, 2014, the two-day package is $158, $100 off the regular price while the one-day package is $79, a savings of 39 percent.
Upon completion of the 1-Day or 2-Day beginner packages, participants will receive a card good for discounts on lessons, lift tickets and rentals for the remainder of the season through March 30, 2014. These discounts are valid for use of the LSSM participant only and include lift tickets at $50 for adults, $40 for young adults, and for $30 kids; lessons are $39 for a half-day group lesson, $59 for full-day group lessons; ski or snowboard rentals are $20 for adult basic, $17 kids. Blackout dates apply: 2/15/14 – 2/16/14 and 3/8/14 – 3/15/14. For more information, visit www.durangomountainresort.com.
Ski Granby Ranch
Get On The Snow Season Pass for Qualified Beginner Skiers and Snowboarders
For $199, complete two ski or snowboarding lesson days and graduate with a “Get On The Snow” season pass to Ski Granby Ranch, as well as a 20 percent discount coupon valid for a retail merchandise purchase. Get on the Snow is for level one, never-ever beginners ages 10 and up.This program is available from January 6 through March 6, 2014.Lessons do not have to be on consecutive days. Not valid with any other offers or promotions.No discounts offered for having equipment or passes.Black-out dates apply: January 17 – 20, 2014 and February 14-17, 2014. Reservations required. For more information, visit http://www.granbyranch.com/.
Learn to Shine Program For First Time Skiers And Snowboarders
The Learn to Shine package includes three days of lessons, equipment rental and lift tickets. Plus, participants receive a free 5-Day ski pass once they’ve completed the lessons – all for $365. The three lessons can be taken on the dates chosen by the student, whether those dates are consecutive or not.
Skiers and snowboarders that participate in the Learn to Shine program are matched with top-notch instructors that will have them navigating beginner terrain by the end of their first day. For more information, visit http://www.sunlightmtn.com/.
Winter Park’s Family Easy Start
Learning to ski or snowboard is more fun as a family, and the Winter Park Ski + Ride School offers a great program that allows families to learn together, creating shared memories for one all-inclusive price. For $679 for a half-day or $859 for a full day a family of four gets four lift tickets, four equipment rentals, a private instructor, and access to all the amenities of the Private Lesson Center, including lockers, equipment storage, and a cozy lounge. For more information, visit www.winterparkresort.com.
First and Second Day Beginner Packages
These package is ideal for those who have never skied/snowboarded before. The First Day package ($60 for skiers, $66 for snowboarders) includes an all-day lift ticket to the Nova Lift and four hours of professional instruction (from 10am to noon, and from 1pm to 3pm) for new skiers and snowboarders ages 9 and up. The Second Day package ($70 for skiers and snowboarders) includes an all-day lift ticket to the Nova and Raven Lifts plus two hours of professional instruction. This package is designed as a follow-up to the 1st Day Beginner Package, although the 1st Day package is not a prerequisite. For skiers and snowboarders ages 13 and up. Prices quoted for the First and Second Day packages do not include equipment rental.
Children’s Camp Robber Clinic – January 11, 25; February 1, 8
This four-week program (Saturdays only) is designed to introduce 5 to 8 year olds to skiing or improve on the skills they already have, all in a fun environment. Children are grouped according to ability and ski with the same children and instructor each week to foster socialization and friendship. Activities include terrain garden, fun races, and mountain safety. Lift ticket, ski rental, four hours of instruction, lunch and snacks are all included each week. $210 for season pass holders; $240 for non-season pass holders. For more information, visitwww.wolfcreekski.com/.
It’s beginning to look a lot like winter and what does that mean — that’s right, the ski season is here. It’s time for families to start planning their winter vacations. Here in Southern California, we have to wait a little longer before it’s cold enough to head to the local mountains, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t plan an early-season trip to Colorado, where family-friendly resorts are gearing up to welcome young skiers and snowboarders.
From magical Ullr Nights, train rides to ski trails just for kids and kids-ski-free deals, families are welcomed in Colorado ski country, and there are seemingly endless options from which to choose when planning a winter family vacation. Take advantage of this Colorado.com list of family-friendly options at the following resorts:
Aspen/Snowmass. Plan the ultimate family winter getaway this season with plenty of unique offerings at Aspen and Snowmass. Friday nights during ski season, families are invited to Elk Camp, the new mid-mountain restaurant at Snowmass, which transforms on Ullr Nights into a nighttime winter wonderland. Ullr Nights include winter outdoor activities like Ullr’s Ghost Ship made of snow with lights and a slide, a Viking sledding hill, snowshoe tours as well as s’mores and hot chocolate by the bonfire. For little chefs, Little Nell in Aspen is hosting a series of cooking classes for kids ages four and older that will teach kids how to create savory and sweet items along with skills like measuring, mixing and chopping. Classes will be held on November 20 and December 18. Families can also book the Perfect Holiday package where kids ski, rent equipment and eat lunch free with the purchase of an adult lift ticket, equipment rental and lunch at select on-mountain restaurants (book by Nov. 15 for travel Dec. 20-25).
Copper. Copper Mountain takes winter fun to the next level with Woodward at Copper’s Barn, a 19,400-square-foot indoor playground with year-round ski, skateboard and bike programs. The Barn features mini ramps, foam pits and Olympic fly-bed trampolines for athletes of all skill levels to practice their tricks for their next trip down the slopes. For some friendly competition, Copper Mountain also presents the Alpine Rush Zip Line where two riders can soar side-by-side 30 feet above the West Lake ice skating rink, reaching speeds of up to 30 miles per hour along the 300-foot line. Currently at Copper Mountain, guests can book the One. Two. Free! package and book two nights of lodging and two days of rentals to receive a third night of lodging free, a third day of rentals and group ski lessons free as well as free skiing for kids 12 and younger.
Crested Butte. This winter, Crested Butte brings lots of new activities for kids to explore and discover. Crested Butte Mountain Resort (CBMR) has created three new trails for kids, including a trail that winds through the trees for a forest-like experience. The resort will also introduce its own mini Elk Avenue (Crested Butte’s Main Street) with façades along the trails for kids to ski through and play. Additionally, kids will be able to ski through a bear cave, U.S. Forest Service Lodge and gold mining building with interactive activities. CBMR also features the Adventure Park with a Zero Gravity BagJump, rock-climbing wall and bungee trampolines. The Grandest Christmas package ties the whole experience together with stays fromDecember 13-26, including four nights at Grand Lodge, three days of skiing and three days of Adventure Park access, starting at $999 for a family of four.
Durango. Families are in for a magical experience this winter with the return of the Polar Express on the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. The Christmas-themed train ride invites kids to get in their PJs and enjoy hot cocoa and cookies along with a reading of the Polar Express. At their destination, the kids will get to visit the “North Pole” where they are greeted by Santa and his helpers who join for the return trip, sing Christmas carols and give each child a special Sleigh Bell gift, bringing the story to life. Heading to the slopes at Durango Mountain Resort, a new offering from the Durango Dog Ranch includes dog sledding with hour-long, hands-on experiences where riders are whisked along the Old Flume Trail by Siberian and Alaskan huskies. Durango Mountain Resort also presents the Kids Ski Free package where four nights of lodging and four days of lift tickets for adults gets kids’ lift tickets for free, starting at $299 per family, per night.
Glenwood Springs. Just a few miles south of Glenwood Springs, Sunlight Mountain Resort covers 680 acres of skiable terrain with 67 trails, including one of the longest runs in the state. The friendly and affordable ski environment is great for families looking for a spacious locale to hone their ski skills. Starting at $99, Sunlight’s Ski Swim Stay package is a favorite for families, offering a lift ticket, admission to the Glenwood Hot Springs Pool, slope-side or in-town lodging and free skiing for kids 12 and under with a paying adult.
Keystone. Taking children’s programming to the next level, Keystone Resort offers a Kids Ski Free program with no blackout dates, no lift ticket requirement for adults, availability on all weekends and Holidays and only a two night minimum stay required. This season the Resort is introducing the first-ever family ski trail. The Schoolyard will debut on Keystone’s signature green cruiser, Schoolmarm. The Resort is also introducing Free Family Front-Row Parking in its main parking lot, just steps from Keystone’s gondola. Other family-oriented amenities will include convenient wagons and gear chauffeurs available throughout the resort to help guests easily transport skis and snowboards to and from the lifts. Throughout the season, visitors can enjoy special family programming including a weekly Kids Après gathering, a Sunday morning Ripperoo Brunch, a mountaintop Snowfort and the fourth consecutive year of the resort’s popular Kidtopia programming.
Steamboat Springs. Known as Ski Town U.S.A., Steamboat Springs has built itself over the past five decades as one of the best family ski resorts in North America. With a focus on award-winning family programs, the resort offers a variety of options on and off the slopes. Steamboat provides the perfect environment for kids and families learning how to ski with kids-only lifts in the form of beginner magic carpets, private full- and half-day lessons for the whole family and Sunshine Family Trail, complete with Snow Monsters, Steamboat Olympians and other characters along the way. To make a trip to Steamboat Springs even simpler for families, when a parent/grandparent purchases a 5-or-more-day regular adult lift ticket or rental, one child/grandchild age 12 and under receives a free lift ticket and rental.
I am so happy to hear that one of my favorite ski destinations is celebrating 60 years and that June Mountain will be reopening this season. With so much going on in Mammoth this year, it makes me wish we had purchased season tickets. Regardless, we will definitely be spending a lot of time in the Eastern Sierra when the snow starts to fall…Let the condo searching begin.
In addition to the reopening of June Mountain, Mammoth’s winter air service now includes L.A., San Diego, San Francisco and Orange County. The mountain will also be a training ground for U.S. Freeskiing and U.S. snowboard teams, which means that youngsters heading to the mountain have a chance to see some amazing athletes in action – it also means that Unbound and Adventure Zones will be in top form.
Guests will have an enhanced experience at the Mammoth Mountain Inn as well as new culinary adventures. Both foodies and winter sports enthusiasts alike are treated to an array of new options including celebrated chef Mark Estee’s CAMPO restaurant in The Village at Mammoth. Estee’s original CAMPO, located in Reno, was recently named one of Esquire’s best new restaurants in America. The Lakefront Restaurant has a new chef as well and has partnered with local, organic farms to offer a new seasonal menu.
Late-night entertainment will also be renewed with the opening of the Underground Lounge. Music is the focal point of the Lounge, which accommodates a live music venue along with a bar, lounge, and VIP area. A contemporary menu features signature cocktails and Provencal comfort food highlighted by “tappatizers,” Chef Frederic Pierrel’s unique blend of tapas and appetizers.
Had a fabulous New Year’s weekend in Mammoth Lakes, Calif. I loved the Krystal Village East condo complex and its fantastic location next to Old Mammoth Road and Main Street. The best part, my favorite brunch place — the Good Life Cafe — is right next door.