Insider’s Tip: Teen Time vs. Family Time
By Tammie Thompson
Taking a family vacation with teens? Want some family bonding time, but don’t want to face “the look” all week long? You have two choices, take a friend along for your teen, or find a resort that offers specific teen programs.
The friend option has its caveats – the biggest being that this is your family vacation, and if a friend tags along it becomes an, “us versus them” excursion. If you ditch the friend idea, opt for a destination that offers teen activities so that you can get your bonding time, but they can also meet new friends and actually enjoy the process.
Which is worse – dropping a thirteen-year-old in a group lesson with a bunch of eight year olds screeching around the mountain; or dragging them through the day with a bunch of thirty-somethings who keep talking about their shrinking portfolios? Hello… teens are not kids; nor are they adults. They need their own program.
If you are traveling with teens – look for a resort that offers teen programs on and off the mountain. Questions to keep in mind: Lodging: Can you teen come and go without you? Is the resort accessible to the mountain? Is there a recreation room or place to hang out? Wireless Internet?
Ski or snowboarding lessons: Who teaches the group? What are the ages of group participants? Age of instructor?
Specialty programs: Does the mountain offer any special lesson programs or camps like park & pipe; extreme skiing; etc.? Teens gravitate to the edge of the sport faster than you can say, “Geez, what does steez mean?”
Apres Ski: While you’re thinking a hot toddy near the hot tub, teens are conspiring for an afternoon “meet & greet” with new friends. Is there someplace to go? Ice rink, tubing, heated pool?
Evening activities: If the resort offers evening fun, what is the supervision like? Organized fun or just a place for hangin’? Arcades break the ice, as do whacky games or Karaoke.
What exactly is a teen? Some include tweens (11 &12 year olds); while others want kids 15+. If both ends of the spectrum are grouped together, someone will be unhappy. Look for programs for tweens and young teens; and semi-organized fun for older teens (16+) that can’t sneak into the mountain bar scene.
While your teen may look for the quickest escape route from your tight knit family activity; they also appreciate that very family time spent together, though they’ll never cop to it. Schedule some one-on-one with both parents, as well as a family afternoon ski, ride, XC or snowshoe excursion. It will keep the family unit together, whining and all.
For more from those in the know see:
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...... Tammie Thompson gets out with her teens as much as possible. It still doesn’t mean there aren’t any “lame” moments. Enjoy ‘em while you got ‘em!