Family Ski Trip to Park City Mountain Resort
Be sure to plan your day so you can catch a ride on the Alpine Coaster (open from noon to 4:00, weather permitting). Access is right beside the Crescent lift, a short walk up from the resort base. Put this rollercoaster in the snow on your must-do list for Park City. Each toboggan-like car has brakes (we chose not to use them!) and wobbles down the track in a way that's just dangerous enough to illicit both terror and joy. With Lucas secured in my lap, Matterhorn style, we flew around bends and whizzed down the hill, giggling and whooping the whole way! At $20 a ride plus $7 for the kid in your lap, it's steep; but, as Lucas told everyone on the whole shuttle bus, it's a "sweet" ride!Hit the Park
Après Ski was another family activity for us: tubing and snowmobiling at Gorgoza Park. This tubing hill is a short drive from Park City Mountain Resort (also accessible by shuttle). By the time we arrived it was almost dark, but the lights were on and the place was teeming with kids of all ages. A conveyor belt-style lift took us straight up to the tubing run, excellent for those with tired skiing legs. We started small on a beginner lane, but it was plenty steep enough to send us flying down the hill in our rubber saucers. By the time we left, the boys (husband included) were tackling the hairy tubing runs at the top via a rope lift.
The boys also zoomed around a track on two miniature snowmobiles, which my 7-year-old declared was his "dream come true." As a mother, I'm not sure I can endorse small children driving snowmobiles; on the other hand, it's a very controlled environment, the machines are well balanced with wide skids and the kids are bungeed to the kill switch to ensure the machine stops if they fall off.
We briefly visited the Fort Frosty play area with our one-year-old, plopped her into a tube and sent her down a mellow slope. It seemed to work for other babies, but she was much happier staying in the warm-up yurt with Grandma and Grandpa.
All this fun comes at a price: $10 for the snowmobile ride, plus tubing pricing based on one ride (never enough), two hours (perfect) or four hours (overkill).
While it's always hard to end a vacation, packing up and leaving Park City is easy. The airport is close by and the roads are easy to navigate, despite the insane amount of snow that had fallen during our trip. While I wished the trip had been longer, I know that there's plenty more to do if we go back next year!
Good to Know:
If you want your kids in ski school, remember to make a reservation before you trip. It fills up, especially during holiday times.
If you're nervous about ski school, have a chat with longtime Kids Mountain School Manager Mary Flynn, who is passionate about the top-notch kids programs she has developed at Park City. Even her description of the protocol for lost kids (yes, it does happen in ski school) made me feel at ease.
Helmets are required for all participants in ski and snowboard school under the age of 18. You can buy or rent them at the resort. I'd strongly recommend you set a good example on wear one yourself. I've found mine to be as comfortable as a hat, plus it keeps my ears warm!
Park City Mountain Resort does not have an on-site daycare facility for non-skiiers. There are a number of near-by daycare options. (We brought Grandma and Grandpa along to help out!)
Sensitive skin suffers on ski trips. Bring lots of lotion and lip balm for the kids (plus sunscreen, even when it's cloudy). If your condo is equipped with a humidifier, use it!
If you're up for it, you can ski for free the day you arrive! Present your airline boarding pass at Park City Mountain Resort, and you get a free same-day lift ticket.
If you're looking for an alternative to skiing, there's an ice rink at Resort Center than rents skates by the hour.
Have a question about planning a family trip to Park City? Ask a Snowmama, one of Park City Mountain Resort's snow-loving moms. This online community of parents offers everything from packing advice to tips to get your kids to ski school on time.