Skiing with kids in Beaver Creek
Skiing with kids in Beaver Creek was something I had never done until a few weeks ago. For years, I had only taken on the higher end ski resorts with other adults, with Hubby or on a girls trip. I decided to take Junior (age 14) on a long weekend ski trip just before Christmas. It was a chance to have some alone time with my teenager. Junior hadn’t been on the slopes for the last two years, thanks to surgery for a broken arm. He was anxious to get back on a snowboard and have some fun.
Staying at the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek was one of the best decisions we made for this trip. The location of the Park Hyatt is one of the best on the mountain. You can check out how I booked this amazing hotel in a previous post. Their ski valet is awesome, and included with your stay (room rate+resort fee+parking fee). Just be sure to keep some bills handy to tip them at least once a day. It was so nice to ski down to the hotel, pop off your skis and hand them over. They scan a sticker they’ve applied to your skis to keep track of them. Then you head inside to the indoor ski valet desk where you can hand over your ski boots. They’ll hand you back your city shoes so you can head up to your room. Then you do it all in reverse the next day. The ski valet and location are just two of the many reasons to love the Park Hyatt.
Ski school is about a 2 minute walk from the back door of the hotel. I can’t tell you how great that was in the morning. Sleeping in just a few more minutes is key for a teenager. Junior was a little rusty, so he decided to join snowboard school for two days. Registering him online saved a lot of time at morning check in. They had his packet ready, attached his lift tickets and ski school pass and sent us next door to pick up his rental gear. What’s nice is that he could attend snowboard school for 2 days, but rent his gear for 4 days. The rental gear from ski school can be stored in bins at the end of the day in front of ski school according to the first letter of your last name. I think this tidbit is crucial if you are staying further down the mountain. I certainly don’t like lugging my kids gear through town, so this saves you the trouble. Now you only have to carry your own.
Even though Junior is 14, he can still attend snowboard school in Beaver Creek. In an interesting wrinkle, children’s ski school is through age 14. But a child lift ticket at the window is only through age 13. However, there is only one option when you add a lift ticket online to children’s ski school…and one price. Which is $58. An adult lift ticket is $145 during peak season. Therefore, you are saving $87 on the lift ticket price at the window. Maybe they’re giving us a break since we are spending so much on ski school? Maybe it is a glitch in their online system? Whatever the case, I’ll take it. Junior is almost 6 feet tall. So one lift ticket scanner at the lift did give him a hard time the first day. But he was with his snowboard instructor Juan, and they let him pass. He didn’t have any trouble the 2nd day. I don’t know if they thought he was 16 and lying, or they suddenly understood the computer glitch too? I do have a state ID for him, maybe I’ll send it with him next time.
Junior spent 2 days honing his snowboard skills with his instructor Juan and 2 other kids. So with a class of only 3 kids, I felt like we got a lot for our money. Junior said that Juan was great about managing the class. If one kid was practicing S curves, he’d show the other 2 kids a trick move and get them to try that while he was occupied with the other kid. Junior couldn’t wait to go back to snowboard school with Juan the second day, and that is pretty rare for us. The tripod trick he was learning might have had something to do with it.
While Junior was in snowboard school, I hit the slopes to check out the terrain. One of the reasons I like my kids to go to ski school for at least one day is so that I can get the lay of the land. Especially when it is someplace new, or that I hadn’t visited in 10 years. I challenged myself on a few expert slopes and figured out where not to take Junior when we ski/snowboard together. I had to take a deep breath when I paid the adult ticket price for Junior to ski for another two days since he wasn’t in ski school anymore!
Our first morning together was a beautiful day with light snowfall. When the afternoon skiing conditions turned into a hard snow and almost white out conditions, I was definitely glad I had a good feel for the mountain. I was a able to guide us to the slopes closer to the bottom of the mountain that weren’t so windy, cold, and punishing. Amazing mom came to the rescue with a combination head and neck gator that I had hidden in my coat just in case. Getting a huge smile and a lot of thank you’s from him were a highlight of the trip! If you are thinking of introducing your kids to skiing for the first time, I’d do it in the spring. Nothing will stifle a kids love for sport more than frost bite, or just being too cold. Thankfully, Junior’s love of snow sports was solidified long ago, so we kept on going. The only thing we stopped for was the chocolate chip cookies passed out on silver trays at 3 o’clock at the base of the mountain.
I’m not sure the cookies were necessary since we took a long lunch at a terrific place that I had scoped out the day before. But I’m getting ahead of myself. I’ll review my favorite Beaver Creek restaurants from this trip and a few I can do without, later this week. Until then…stay warm!