Park City area prides itself on how easy and fun it is for families to visit. Dan Harrelson
Savvy parents know: A family ski trip is one of the best things you’ll ever do. But, if not planned properly, it can be a bit of a logistical hairball. That’s why it’s supremely important to do your homework in advance, iron out the trickier parts of the trip, and choose a destination that lends itself to families. One thing the Park City, Utah, prides itself on is just how easy and fun it is for families to visit with minimal hassle and maximum fun. The town vibe is relaxed and unfussy. Couples, friends, and families from all over the world stroll the town’s historic main street, sip cocoa or wine at the end of an incredible day out, and generally just enjoy hanging out with loved ones in a laid-back mountain setting.
Getting to Park City and its two major ski resorts is a relative snap. You can fly straight to Salt Lake International Airport and arrive in Park City an hour later. There’s no prolonged road trip with tired kiddos—just a quick hop into a pre-arranged shuttle or rental car, and you’re on your way. In Park City, it’s very possible to get away without having a rental car. In fact, parking can be quite the task in the middle of town during the busy season. So consider kicking back with the free public busses, a taxi, or even free transport arranged by your resort lodging.
Make plans in advance to maximize your time on the slopes. Dan Harrelson
When it comes to rentals, take advantage of the many online services that let you pre-rent your gear—some even deliver it to your room before you arrive. (There are few things more complicated than traveling with skis, boots, and poles for multiple adults and children all at once.) Take it easy and check with your resort rental shop, with a locally owned rental shop, or with a service like SkiButlers.com, who will facilitate things in advance.
There are a myriad of lodging options that suit a family just perfectly. Both Deer Valley and Park City Mountain Resort make lodging a breeze, and reservation staff (and a quick online exploration) can help you determine some of the most kid-friendly options. A heated pool, game room, hot tub, and fireside s’mores can go a long way to entertain kiddos after a ski day. Many of the resort lodging staff can tip you off to reliable childcare options for either daytime or evening, which frees adults up to have a night out or a few extra ski runs knowing their kids are in excellent care.
Each local resort has an excellent ski school, but since this is a well-known fact, reserve any ski lessons your family will need far in advance. Think of what your kids may need lessons-wise, and what the adults might benefit from, too.
Park City caters to families, with lots of opportunities for the little ones. Dan Harrelson
Speaking of fun on the hill, there’s plenty you can do to make the day as smooth as possible. It helps to stuff a small backpack with anything the family could need throughout the day. Bring extra layers (and leave room to stow unwanted and shed layers). And bring lip balm, snacks for bribery, a bottle or two of water, sunscreen, tissues, etc. Even a thermos of warm cocoa can soothe young ones who need a little extra energy for their last run of the day. By being prepared, you can maximize your time out playing and minimize extended breaks in the lodge.
Plan lunches and après-ski around the busiest times if possible; mid-mountain lodges are a great place to snag a delicious lunch with a killer view. But, word gets out fast. If you show up around noon or one, you may be jostling for a table or spending a lot of time in line, which ain’t so easy for impatient young ones. Time your lunch and après a little early, and you’ll luck out with a prime-time table, timely food service, and quick transition back to skiing.
And finally, pre-plan meals out. If your trip is long enough to merit grocery-shopping and cooking in a condo, great. But most travelers will want to book at least a few meals out, if for no other reason than the Park City restaurant scene being so famously fantastic.
Treat the kids to Java Cow Ice Cream. Sarah Biggart
Take your kiddos to local favorite Java Cow Ice Cream, which has delivered its delicious namesake product to generations of skiers. Dip into the Eating Establishment for a home-cooked breakfast, grab Tuesday Tacos at Windy Ridge Cafe and Bakery, or pick up a ready-to-eat crowd-pleaser from the Deer Valley Grocery and Cafe. Or try some of the best pizza you’ve ever had (and pizza is the ultimate unifier among generations, isn’t it?), head to Este Pizza, which serves New York-style pizza done to perfection.
And if you ever need a recommendation, locals and resort staff are happy to lend a hand. They often have an insider scoop on what should be least crowded—and most delicious.
Originally written by RootsRated Media for Visit Park City.