Skiing Spring Break
Who says you have to head to the beach for spring break? Spring break also falls during prime skiing season at the country's greatest winter resorts. Beyond alpine skiing and boarding, there's a world of winter fun for the entire family.
Bretton Woods, New Hampshire
Located high in New Hampshire's White Mountains, Bretton Woods is the state's largest ski area with 101 trails and glades and 4 terrain parks. An unusual addition to the outdoor fun is the mountain's extensive canopy tour, made up of several treetop zip-lines and suspension bridges. The grand finale is the Williwaw Racing Zip, side-by-side zip-lines that fly above the snowy slopes before returning riders to the ski base area.
Okemo works hard to accommodate skiers on a budget. Kids under 6 are always free while older kids may ski free on select days with a paying adult. The first hour after opening is free on the slopes every day, giving skiers the opportunity to sample the snow and forgo buying a lift ticket on the rare occasion that conditions aren't ideal. But with over 200 inches of average snowfall on the mountain every winter and 632 acres of winter wonderland, there's rarely a bad day at Okemo.
Lake Placid, New York
As host of the 1980 winter games, the Lake Placid region has 6 million acres packed with facilities made for wintry fun. There's alpine skiing at Whiteface with the greatest vertical drop east of the Rockies. Then the entire family can enjoy ice-skating, bob-sledding and old-fashioned toboggans. Explore the snowy acres on cross-country skis or snowshoes or hitch a ride on a fast-moving dogsledding tour.
Beaver Creek, Colorado
There's no roughing it at Beaver Creek, a high-end Colorado ski resort in the Rocky Mountains known for its luxurious hotels, great restaurants and 1,815 acres of impeccably groomed slopes. Beaver Creek is family-friendly with quality ski programs and gentle runs for beginners. The other side of Beaver Creek, known as BC-EX, features extreme terrain for the most accomplished and daring skiers with chutes dropping up to 600 vertical feet, the Talons Challenge with double-black-diamond runs and the pro-sized Rodeo Terrain park with rails, jumps and boxes.
Aspen has a well-earned reputation as a glitzy resort town popular with big spenders and Hollywood A-listers. There are the fancy shops on Galena Street and even Aspen Fashion Week every March. The town takes its skiing just as seriously as its style with the 4 peaks that make up Aspen Snowmass. The longest run on Snowmass is a whopping 5.3 miles long while the peak called Buttermilk is lauded for having the best terrain park and pipe facilities. During the ski season, there are competitions, big-ticket concerts and lots of great dining.
Crested Butte, Colorado
Crested Butte, or CB as it's known among the cool kids, is an extreme spring-break destination for college students with a super-pipe and 2 terrain parks. As the home to many elite winter athletes, ski bums may find themselves shredding alongside skiing greats on the 2.6-mile-long Peak to Treasury Run. For a different kind of adrenaline rush, the Prinoth Snowcat Driving Experience gets participants behind the wheel of a snowcat to learn the basics of grooming the mountain and to navigate the ice-driving course. The nightlife is equally fun, and the Eldo is a great choice for aprés-ski beers and live music.
Whistler, British Columbia
Whistler Blackcomb is made up of 8,100 acres of ski terrain spread out over 2 mountains. Travel between the mountains is simplified with the Peak 2 Peak Gondola. Blackcomb is the spot for extreme skiing with 3 parks, 1 super pipe and a snow-cross track. For a true alpine adventure, sign on for a Whistler heli-skiing experience. If you can comfortably navigate intermediate trails, you can handle this adventure, which involves a helicopter ride to the top and skiing through untracked alpine powder and even some glaciers.
Mont Tremblant Resort
Mont Tremblant offers an Old World ski spring break without a trans-Atlantic flight. As the tallest peak in the Laurentian Mountains, Tremblant has 95 ski trails spread out over 4 mountain peaks. While the skiing is fantastic, part of the fun is experiencing the charms of this picturesque French village. After intense ski sessions, soak those weary bones in the eucalyptus steam baths, Nordic waterfalls and Finnish wood-burning saunas at Scandinave Spa. Then refuel with a cozy dinner of traditional fondue and raclette at La Savoie located in the village.
Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
Teton Village, Wyoming
Jackson Hole is a ski resort for experts, with over 90 percent of the trails falling into intermediate to expert categories. The mountain reaches a summit elevation of 10,450 feet with a vertical drop over 4,000 feet. In addition to the 2,500 acres of groomed ski terrain, the resort allows skiers and boarders to exit the ski area boundary and explore thousands of miles of backcountry skiing. Personal guides are available to help adventurers find the best untracked slopes and secret runs.
Park City Mountain Resort
Park City, Utah
Park City Mountain Resort has all of the ingredients for a perfect family vacation. The signature kids ski school limits classes to just 5 children, making for lots of personalized attention. The slope's tiniest skiers can enroll in the Signature 3 Program, with just 3 children aged 3-1/2 to 5 years old. Once the kids are worn out from their 2 75-minute sessions, it's inside for crafts, reading and playing on the indoor jungle gym. While the kids enjoy ski school, adults can explore the 3,300 acres of fun spread out over 7 snowy peaks and 9 bowls.