Considering a family ski vacation this winter? You'll want to choose a kid-friendly resort with dedicated beginner's areas and lifts, ski and snowboarding instruction for all ages and abilities, and lots of exciting stuff to do together when you're off the slopes. Check out our top picks (plus smart ways to save) -- then pack up your snow bunnies and get ready for mountains of fun!
How to Save on Skiing Swishing down the slopes is a great way to spend your family vacation (all that fresh air, gorgeous scenery and exercise!) but it can definitely get pricey. Before you book your trip, check out these money-saving tips: Time it right. Skiing early or late in the season is way less expensive than going during school breaks. But you're still likely to nab better airfares by leaving a day or two before your kid's break or returning a couple of days after.
Shop for deals. Check resort websites for special packages, then call directly and ask if they have anything better. Use Ski.com to find well-priced packages at top family resorts (they often bundle in lift tickets, rentals and air too); and Liftopia.com for bargains on lift tickets. Local supermarkets in big ski towns are also a great place to find cheap lift tickets.
Look for Kids Ski Free packages. Most family ski resorts offer them with the purchase of adult lift tickets. They often have "kids stay free" and "kids fly free" policies, too.
Rent a condo or house. You'll have a kitchen for eating in, which helps cut restaurant costs. Ski resorts often have their own condo/vacation home listings; and you can also search through VRBO.com or FlipKey.com. Register on coupon sites. Sign up for alerts at Groupon.com and LivingSocial.com before you leave, so you know about upcoming restaurant, spa and excursion deals. And consider buying an Entertainment Book filled with coupons for restaurants, excursions and other activities in the area you're traveling to.