Where there is snow, there is fun to be had. We have compiled a list of the best places to sled and learn to ski with the whole family!
Image courtesy of Tahoe Mountain Realty
Tahoe’s major resorts have expert instructors which gives parents the opportunity to fly down the black diamond runs while kids learn snow-play skills and mountain etiquette. Each resort has programs directed towards different age and ability levels – and lessons for the parents too!
Squaw Kids and Alpine Kids are two programs offered by the resort that set out to entertain and teach children in a supportive and secure atmosphere. Full day lessons with lift tickets and rentals run at $289. The base of Squaw Valley is also home to SnoVentures Activity Zone for snow tubing and fun. A 55-minute session is only $39 and tickets are sold on a first-come, first-serve basis, so be sure to arrive early to grab a spot. New sessions start every hour, on the hour. Don’t forget to stop by the SnoVentures Lodge afterwards to warm up.
Children’s lessons are offered at the Bowl at both the Judah and Village base areas. They focus on small class sizes, with three students per instructor. Half-day lesson, ticket and equipment packages cost $230.
Northstar’s Minors Camp is the only resort licensed Child Care facility on Lake Tahoe’s north shore, for the 2- to 6-year-old age range. Minors Camp is $219 for all day and comes with snacks and lunch. They also offer lessons as low as $106 for a group half-day.
The Mt. Rose Rosebud program is open to 4- to 10-year-olds and provides with a lesson, ticket and equipment rental package for just $115, while keeping class sizes small. Drive past the resort to the Tahoe Meadows area just off of Mt. Rose Highway to sled endlessly all day. There’s no charge for parking, but you will need to bring your own equipment for the fun.
Heavenly’s motto is that they are “pros when it comes to training tiny rugrats all the way to moody teens.” Group lessons cost $210 for the full day and they teach kids how to explore the mountain safely. There’s also tubing hills, with a 500-foot long run to thrill as you speed down the mountain. The best part is that there is a magic carpet to bring riders back to the top – no drudging up the hill through the snow after a fun ride down. The tubing hill has magnificent views and is close to the top of Heavenly’s gondola. An all-day pass is only $35.
Head on down to Easy Street for lessons, a specially sloped area designed to help skiers learn. They offer a three-day kids ski school package for $130/day that comes with lunch. You can also catch thrills at Blizzard Mountain with a tubing doughnut. Use the tow rope to help you get back up to the top and there is plenty of space at the bottom to come to a complete stop. Tubing is only $30 for a two-hour session.
Kirkwood is one of the larger resorts in the area, but it is located more off of the beaten path so that means that lessons are less crowded and less expensive than the more “tourist-y” resorts. Rates are around $106 for half-day lessons, but can vary based on peak times.
You may be asking yourself why it’s so important for kids to take lessons. Sandra Smith has been teaching at Kirkwood since 1995 and she emphasized the importance of professional lessons when learning to ski.
“Kids respond differently to instructors then they do to their parents, and while we are teaching the kids, the parents get their own time to ski,” Smith said. “Taking a lesson gives kids the chance to learn proper technique right up front.”
Once the kiddos learn the basics, then they can spend some time skiing with the whole family. Another great option is to take a family lesson! The benefits are tangible to both the parents and the kids.
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