Make us a awesome first ski trip
January 26, 2016 6:19 AM   Subscribe

After this question, we are headed to the Canyons in Park City for our first ski trip. Kids ( 5 and 7 ) and wife have never been skiing. Give me all your tips on how to make this a awesome trip. Kids and wife are enrolled in lessons. I realize they may not like it. Answers could include stuff about apparel, safety, logistics, etiquette, things to pack, things to do in Park City, etc. Help us have a awesome trip and get the most out of Park City.
posted by jasondigitized to Travel & Transportation around Park City, UT (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Assuming you are renting gear for at least some of your party and if that is the case please go get it the night before your first day. You don't want to be rushed and deal with the crowds before the ski day starts. Depending on where you rent from, there could be an option to store your skis/poles and perhaps boots overnight near the base of the hill. This may be an included in the price of your rentals or it might be a small fee. You may think it a worthwhile expense not having to trudge across the village in ski boots while wrangling two kids in ski boots. At the very least if you can store the skis and poles you should strongly consider that.

Next door to the Canyons (although you will have to drive to it) is the Olympic Museum. Unless your kids are super special I doubt they would get a lot out of the museum proper but the museum is on the grounds of the ski jump and bobsleigh centers. There would be a decent chance of seeing people practice the ski jumping. The tour will take you up to the top of the ski jump tower (which has a terrifying view) as well as to the top of the bobsleigh course. They do send civilians down the bobsleigh course but your kids are too young for that.

I don't have strong advice to offer for apparel except to say the obvious thing that a happy beginner skier is a dry and warm skier. Only you and your family know how sensitive to cold you are and what particular parts of your body gets cold fastest. Personally, my legs don't get cold on the slopes so in the eyes of some my legs are criminally undercovered (I typically wear a pair of shorts under my ski pants whereas some of my friends wear tights and long underwear etc.). Personally I do feel the cold most in my hands and toes. For the toes, I find that good socks (I wear long hiking socks but only 1 pair...don't wear multiple pairs) and proper fitting boots is usually enough. If it is particularly cold I can add the foot warmers. For hands, I don't have a good solution other than to make sure I am wearing really good gloves.

Lastly, if you do get some ski time with the kids and your wife, don't push them over their heads unless that is absolutely a known fact about their personalities that they enjoy.

Have fun!
posted by mmascolino at 7:05 AM on January 26, 2016 [2 favorites]

Bring extra mittens and socks for the kids. When my kids took lessons, they frequently got theirs wet and a quick retreat to the lodge for cocoa and dry socks/mittens was the only thing that kept them from from being miserable. (I also brought a bag with snacks, coloring books, etc. to keep the littlest one occupied when she decided that she was done with lessons for the day and refused to ski anymore.)
posted by belladonna at 7:44 AM on January 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

I can't give any advice specific to Park City, but much of mmascolino's advice is very good. I would add, in addition to being warm, make sure you drink enough water. You're picking up a fair bit of altitude from Austin, and that lovely powder is created by dry air. If I'm skiing for more than a couple of hours I carry a camelback with me, because I get headachey and cranky once I get dehydrated, and skiing can be a lot of work. Bring snacks too.

Also, be sure to listen to your bodies when you're out there. If someone wakes up on day 2 super sore and not jazzed about skiing, don't go skiing, even if you have a lesson planned. Skiing is fun but it takes some time to build up the muscles and skill to be able to ski day after day consistently.
posted by craven_morhead at 7:45 AM on January 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

The most important thing to remember is, "It's supposed to be fun."

If you are used to skiing with an experienced and older group, reset your expectations for skiing with novices and young children. Even if the amount of skiing you do is small, they will have a great time.

Don't try to challenge them or push them. Many entire ski careers are, "We went down the bunny slope once, then they took me to the top..." You are unlikely to graduate from the magic carpet with a 4 year old.

Don't expect the kids to ski all day (or even more than a couple hours). Kids love condos; I loved condos when I was kid you loved condos when you were a kid. No one knows why. They will be very happy to spend time in the condo. If the condo has pool, be sure to spend time at the pool.

It will be project to get out in the morning so don't expect that to go fast. Don't be upset when it takes a long time. I like to bring bagels or such to eat for breakfast in the condo.

Kids loves treats; bring some in your pockets but expect to buy a number of expensive treats in the lodge. They won't drink their entire hot chocolates so don't buy one for yourself. They also have a tendency to fall over on the tray so carry them by hand.

Lots for water for everyone; make sure every drinks lots of water back at the condo.

You need to subvert your desire and act as a tour guide. It actually takes very little for novices to have a great time. Unfortunately it also takes very little for them to have a terrible time.

In all likelihood you'll be able to get away for a few hours to ski yourself for an afternoon or two. But you might not; hopefully because you are having a great time with your family.

If an adult isn't in good shape, skiing will be physically difficult, especially if they a novice. As above, don't try to push them. Let them dictate how much skiing they can handle.
posted by lowtide at 8:21 AM on January 26, 2016 [3 favorites]

I skiied for the first time last year, in my twenties, and somehow liked it enough to go back this year despite a suboptimal experience (skipping the bunny slope... yeah, don't do that). I fell a LOT both times, and I'm flexible/fit/decent at ice skating.

For iteration 3 I plan on taking a lesson, which I will recommend to you because experienced skiers usually have no idea how to teach beginners, in my recent experience. Example: snowplow is about more than just pointing your skis a particular direction.
posted by serelliya at 9:22 AM on January 26, 2016

I came to say - don't expect a full day of skiing every day from anyone. My husband is an accomplished skier - I went skiing for the first time in my life after we got married. My husband was very patient and an awesome teacher - but the best thing he did was suggest we get some hot chocolate after two or three runs down the mountain to allow me to rest and not get frustrated with falling/not being as good as he is. So building in relaxation time at the lodge - and taking breaks helped encourage me to ski more. But i was still done for the day around 3 o'clock or so - 5 hours from beginning to end?

Also - what made skiing WAY more enjoyable for me in the beginning - my husband would ski behind me to be a bit of a barrier between the guys going very fast down the green slopes and to prevent people from cutting too close to me as i did my slow zigging and zagging across the mountain. It gave me a lot more confidence to focus on me and my skiing and not having to worry as much about people running into me as a got the hang of things.

The other thing we did (on mostly empty hills) was play follow the leader to help gain confidence. So i would try to follow his path with my paralleling/french fries/pizza which gave me a better handle on when and how to turn to follow a path.

hope you have fun!
posted by Suffocating Kitty at 10:18 AM on January 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

I don't know about that specific resort, but in my experience there can be huge delays getting food at resort restaurants, especially if you happen to be there when the weather is perfect and lots of people in driving distance make an impromptu trip. Make sure that you have some plenty of snacks with you (something with chocolate and nuts is good) to stave off meltdowns if you end up waiting half and hour or more for food. If you ended up going for accommodations fancy enough to have a mini kitchen, I'd suggest just trying to do most of the food there rather than going out.

Don't forget sunscreen. Do the kids have good and comfortable sunglasses/tinted goggles?
posted by Candleman at 10:29 AM on January 26, 2016

The right kind of socks (thin merino wool types) and face protection (buffs) can seriously make or break a beginners day on the mountain. If it's freezing or sub-freezing, don't skimp on these items!
posted by pwally at 11:07 AM on January 26, 2016

Hothands hand and foot warmers.
posted by Dansaman at 2:02 AM on January 27, 2016

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