We are thinking about taking a family ski trip this year, but as a non-skiing unit, we have no idea where to start! Fortunately, my Facebook friends helped me out with three Northern California spots to try skiing for the first time. Our criteria are simple – good ski program for the kids, alternatives to skiing (tubing, sledding, ice skating, snowshoeing) and places for mom to hang out while waiting for the troupe to emerge from the icy wilderness.
Category: Skiing & Snowboarding
We spent Christmas Vacation in South Lake Tahoe and ever since my kids have been begging to get back to the snow. South Lake Tahoe is the perfect place for a snow vacation. It’s a quiet little town with a lively city center. Families can head to the movies or go ice skating. If you are ready for some upscale skiing Heavenly Ski Resort is right up the hill. My family and I were on a budget however and headed to the more affordable Sierra-at-Tahoe about a thirty minute car ride from South Lake Tahoe.
My six year old enjoyed the ski lessons at Sierra-at-Tahoe. The day care would have been a better choice for my five year old. He only made it through one and a half days of his three day ski pass. The resort was small enough that my ten year old could do some skiing on his own. The ever patient ski instructors even managed to get me down the slopes!
Sierra at Tahoe is offering discounted 2010-2011 season passes through April 30th so this is a great time to go test out the resort and see if you would like to enjoy several ski trips next winter.
We also enjoyed driving around Lake Tahoe. The view was absolutely breathtaking. We were able to build snowmen outside our room at the South Lake Tahoe Holiday Inn Express. The kids were delighted by the doughnuts for breakfast.
If you are looking for a fun and family friendly snow getaway, South Lake Tahoe is an appealing ski destination. We are already dreaming of a return trip. Hope we see you on the slopes!
Ponderosa State Park fits neatly into a peninsula jutting into Payette Lake, near McCall, Idaho. Activities and attractions in Ponderosa State Park come in all shapes and sizes, from a sandy beach to Nordic winter skiing and wildlife sightings.
Famous for: Nordic skiing and snowshoeing on groomed trails.
Admission: $4.00 per vehicle and additional grooming fees ($2.00 per person) in winter.
Families with young kids will like: North Beach area with a large sandy beach for swimming and picnics, with boating and water-skiing on Payette Lake. The Park also runs ’learn to Kayak’ programs for kids. If you have time for some environmental education, head for the McCall Outdoor Science School (MOSS) located in the Park.
Families with teenagers will like: Biking on the Loop Mountain bike trail, whitewater paddling on the Payette River, and hiking to the top of the lookout area at the end of the peninsula, from where you can see the lake with a bird’s eye view. In winter – Activity Barn tubing hill, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.
Other travelers will like: Fishing and wildlife sightings including bald eagles, deer and moose, and a drive along the Payette River Scenic Byway.
Easy site seeing: Take a tour of the State Fish Hatchery, and visit the ghost town and hot spring in Burgdorf. A guided tour of the park is offered by Backwoods Adventures, LLC.
Best lodging in the park: For families – the Lakeview Cabins at Payette Lake shore. Student groups might find the bunkhouses, cabins and yurts at MOSS more to their liking, where you also get home cooked meals in the dining lodge, along with a lakefront beach for swimming and sunbathing.
Best campground in the park: Peninsula Campground (for RV Owners – the RV Group Campground)
Best months to visit for weather: Dec-Feb (time your visit to coincide with the McCall Winter Carnival)
Best months to visit to avoid crowds: April-June
Best Hotel: The Hunt Lodge Holiday Inn Express
Nearest major cities: McCall, Idaho (2 1/2 hour drive from Boise)
More info can be found on the Idaho Parks website: www.parksandrecreation.idaho.gov
Photo credit – MOSS
In 1999 the Big Tupper ski area located near Tupper Lake in the Adirondacks was forced to close due to shifts in demands which brought on financial difficulties.
A few years later, a large development project was proposed for the mountain yet stalled due to the process of getting a permit from the state Adirondack Park Agency. The Adirondack Club and Resort planned to replace and upgrade all the lifts and buildings at the ski area on Mount Morris and add about 600 housing units, a restaurant and a marina on the land around it. The lack of skiing facilities forced many to visit neighboring areas including Whiteface Mountain for their winter fun. Read More »