Family Ski Trip to Park City Mountain Resort
Later in the trip, we enjoyed dinner at Squatters Roadhouse Grill, a great family joint on Park Avenue. Their menu had plenty of choices, including pizza, burgers and beer, and it was packed with enough people that we didn't have to worry about our noisy baby.
Another night, we stumbled upon Good Thymes Bistro at Newpark Center for a late dinner. What a find! As soon as we sat down, the friendly server delivered fresh baked biscuits with honey butter (yum!). The menu had well-priced kids' meals and an appealing mix of southern comfort food (chicken pot pie!), interesting burgers and salads.
Preschool Ski School
Of course, our main event was hitting the slopes, and on the first morning we were up early to check the boys into ski school. Lucas (almost 5) was scheduled to be in the Signature 3 program, which I can only describe as a well-planned winter wonderland for kids ages 3 1/2 to 5. Check-in is done in two separate groups (9:00 and 9:45) to minimize chaos. Kids are fitted with their rental equipment right there (included in the price, although helmets are extra). Once checked in, each kid has a cubby to contain jackets, hats, gloves, etc. and the staff makes every effort to keep track of all that tiny gear.
The area for Sig 3 kids includes a playroom, reading room, a lunch room where an entrée is served (along with plain pasta or PBJ for picky eaters) and a gross motor room, including slides, climbing frame and a netted trampoline, plus the dedicated magic carpet and skiing area outside. Kids ski with an instructor in groups of three (wow!), and can progress to the "first time lift" if they are ready for a challenge. They spend all day in the facility, with two 75-minute skiing sessions.
For little powder hounds who can handle more skiing, there's a new "Superstars" program that takes children out to the big lifts for two 2-hour skiing sessions during the day - with the same incredible three to one student to teacher ratio! Lucas would have loved it…Ski School for Older Kids
But, we had a wrinkle in our plans. Our oldest son, Peter (age 7) was nervous about his first ski school experience and refused to do it without his brother. Luckily, at his check-in to the Signature 5 program, the supervisors were flexible and allowed us to keep the two boys together. The Signature 5 program is designed for skiers and snowboarders ages 6 to 14. There's also a Sig 5 Freestyle program, which focuses on etiquette and safety, along with park and pipe skills. The key differentiator of Park City Mountain Resort's ski school is the class size--one instructor is paired with a maximum of five kids.
At check-in, they do a quick level assessment based on parent input (which can be tweaked later, once the skiing begins). They do their best to group students by both ability and age (so teens can hang with other teens instead of skiing with a bunch of 7 and 8-year-olds). Despite high anxiety from the boys, our check-in went smoothly (primarily due to the rule that parents were not allowed past the check in rope!).