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  • Great Family Packages for 2007-08

    by Mitch Kaplan

    A lift/lodging package makes most ski vacations easier. Easier to book, easier to handle logistically and, often, easier on the wallet.

    Here are some shining examples of the family-friendly ski packages out there during this 2007-08 season.

    West

    Destination Hotels & Resorts Mountain Collection (www.mountaindestination.com, or 866-831-3222). This upscale group property group offers its:

  • Fun Family Winter Vacation at the Resort at Squaw Creek, CA. Included are four nights’ accommodations, a complimentary recyclable disposable camera, free grocery delivery service with groceries stocked in advance of arrival and a souvenir snowman-making kit. Lodging at the Resort at Squaw Creek is in deluxe guestrooms for two adults/two children. Price: from $329/pn for two adults, based on quad occupancy. Children under 17 are free. Valid from January 6 – April 8, 2008. Packages also available in Aspen and Vail. Mention promotion code FUN.

    Four Seasons Resort Whistler, BC (www.fourseasons.com/whistler; 604-935-3400). Yes Four Seasons is a luxury property, but they’ve gone out of their way to accommodate families in a high value way. Consider:

  • Family Plan: from January 2, 2008; children under 18 can share their parent’s guestroom at no extra charge, or take advantage of the family plan 50% discount for a second guestroom. Blackout dates do apply. Daily offerings include Teen Concierge, Poolside Hot Chocolate Shots and Warm Chocolate Brownie Sugar Cookies, and S’mores by the Firepit.

    Yellowstone National Park (www.YellowstoneAssociation.org; 307-344-5566). Get into the park to ski and learn.

  • The Family Winter Holiday is offered Jan. 18 and Feb. 15, 2008. Geared for families with children eight to 12 years old, the package includes tracking animals, watching wildlife, taking photographs, skiing and snowshoeing, and a snowcoach trip to the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. During the program, children can become Yellowstone National Park Junior Rangers. The group size is limited to 14 and includes expert instruction by an Yellowstone Institute naturalist guide, four nights’ lodging with private bath at Mammoth, breakfasts and box lunches, in-park transportation, snowshoe rentals, welcome gift, hot tub rental and skating at Mammoth. Price: adults from$615 pp/pn/do, $765/so and $425 per child. These packages must be booked by phone.

    Gunnison-Crested Butte, CO (www.GunnisonCrestedButte.com or 877-326-1467; click on "Stay & Play Deals"). The Butte handles families just as well as they handle extreme skiing.

  • Kids Fly & Stay Free. Flying on American Airlines, into Gunnison-Crested Butte Regional Airport packages start at $2,050 per family, based on two adults and two children (ages 12 and under) and include four nights’ lodging in a two-bedroom condominium in Mt. Crested Butte, three days of lift tickets for Crested Butte Mountain Resort, roundtrip airfare from Dallas-Ft. Worth (DFW) and roundtrip ground transportation per person from the Gunnison-Crested Butte Regional Airport from Jan. 6 – Feb. 15, 2008. Travel must be into Gunnison-Crested Butte on Sunday through Wednesday, with a return flight out of Gunnison-Crested Butte on Tuesday through Friday. One child, age 12 and under, flies free and stays free with each paying adult.

    On United Airlines packages start at $1,807 for two adults and two children (ages 12 and under) and are valid from Jan. 4 – Feb. 14, 2008. Other lodging options and packages featuring flights originating from other cities are available.

    Big White & Silver Star Resorts, BC (www.bigwhite.com or 800-663-2772; and 800-663-4431 or www.skisilverstar.com; mention booking code EA). A Kids Fly, Stay & Ski Free opportunity from two of British Columbia’s most family-friendly resorts - and this one’s good during Presidents Week. When you fly from the U.S. on Alaska / Horizon Airlines until April 5, 2008, get one free child’s fare and lift ticket for each fully-paid adult, 19 or over. Minimum two-night stay (three nights during Presidents Week).

    Park City, UT (www.parkcityinfo.com; 800-453-1360). Park City ranks among the most complete destinations in the U.S., and offers a seemingly infinite collection of packages. Among them:

  • QUICKSTART (Ski Today and Ride Today) Program: Visitors flying into Salt Lake City International Airport may exchange their boarding pass and a voucher and receive one complimentary lift ticket valid the day of arrival at any one of Park City’s three—The Canyons Resort, Deer Valley Resort and Park City Mountain Resort. To redeem their complimentary lift ticket, guests must visit the Park City Chamber’s website for program rules and restrictions and to download the required voucher. Remaining availability dates for the program are Jan. 2 – Feb. 14; and March 24 – Resorts’ Closing Dates, 2008.
  • Silver Passport: The Canyons Resort, Park City Mountain Resort and Deer Valley Resort offer the an interchangeable lift ticket good at any of the three resorts when visitors stay at least three nights at participating Park City lodging properties, reserving at least 14 days in advance. Adult and child passes can be pre-purchased from the lodging properties when making advanced lodging reservations. The Silver Passport is available Jan. 2-April 13, 2008.
  • Ski Free Lodging Packages at The Canyons Resort: Ski for free when lodging at The Canyons Grand Summit Hotel or Sundial Lodge; each adult gets a free lift ticket for every night they stay. Prices start at $264 per night for 2 adults at the Sundial Lodge and $334 per night at the Grand Summit (Blackout dates: Dec.22-31 and Feb. 16-24). For details: www.thecanyons.com; 866-604-4171.
  • Park City Mountain Resort’s Kids Ski/Ride Free Package: For two adults and two children 12 and under. Four nights of lodging in a two-bedroom, fully equipped condominium located at the base of Park City Mountain Resort, round-trip airport transfers from the Salt Lake City International Airport, three days of lift tickets to Park City Mountain Resort for two adults and two children (12 and under) and four passes to ride the Alpine Coaster at Park City Mountain Resort. The condominium property features an outdoor heated plunge pool and indoor hot tub, exercise room, laundry room, ski storage and is adjacent to free in-town shuttle. Price: $399 per adult per night based on two adults. Details: (www.parkcitymountain.com; 800-331-3178).

    Big Sky’s River Rock Lodge, MT (www.riverrocklodging.com; 866-995-4455). This Montana-style lodge set in the middle of Meadow Village in Big Sky offers a Ski Value Package that includes an all-day lift ticket to Big Sky or Moonlight Basin, luxurious guestroom accommodations, a generous continental breakfast and even access to the outdoor hot tub. Price: $84 pp/pd/qo or $111/do, and kids age 10 and under stay and ski for free.

    Angel Fire, NM (www.angelfireresort.com; 800-633-7463). Angel Fire in New Mexico is southwestern skiing in a laid back but beautiful atmosphere. They allow kids to stay and ski free when you lodge at the slopeside Angel Fire Resort Hotel. Reservations must be made by phone at 800-633-7463.

    Schweitzer Mountain Resort, ID (www.schweitzer.com; 877-487-4643). Way up in the Idaho panhandle stands this gem of a mountain resort, which lures families with their classic Ski Week in which you pay as little as $64 pp/qo for six or seven days and nights of skiing and lodging

    Steamboat Springs Resort, CO (www.steamboat.com; 877-237-2628). Steamboat innovated Kids Fly Free in the ski industry, and kids ages 12 and under can still fly free to Steamboat with a qualifying parent purchase. Steamboat packages include Snowsaver Packages which include four nights’ motel accommodations and three days of lifts from $315/pp.

    Keystone Resort, CO (www.keystoneresort.com; 800-468-5004). Keystone packages include a ton of extra activities. Their Geo-Caching Vacation Package offers a high-tech scavenger hunt for a real adventure on- and off-mountain. Ski, snowboard, or snowshoe and search high and low for three unique "caches" hidden in and around Keystone. The package includes one free GPS unit and an Adventure Passport that gives access to free activities such as snowshoeing, yoga classes, wine tastings, snowbiking, etc. Everyone who finds all of the caches is eligible to win the Grand Prize - a guided snowcat tour into Keystone's Independence Bowl. Price: starts at $189pn with a four-night minimum stay and quad occupancy for a two-bedroom Forest Neighborhood condo.

    Copper Mountain, CO (www.coppercolorado.com; 888-678-0277). Copper presents the full range of ski/ride, entertainment, apres-ski and children’s programs. Try their Regular Season Ski Free Stay Free: from Jan. 7 - March 30, 2008, arrive on a Sunday or Monday and stay for four nights, when you buy three or more nights’ lodging and lift tickets, you get an additional night of lodging and one day of lift tickets for free. Based on quad occupancy in a silver two bedroom, pricing starts from $115 pp/per day plus tax and includes a Beeline lift line cutting privileges.

    Midwest

    Lutsen Mountains, MN (www.lutsen.com; 218-663-7281). This Minnesota resort with the biggest vert offers myriad packages. Among them:

  • $99 Packages that include two nights’ lodging and two days lift tickets from $99 pp plus tax, based on quadruple occupancy in standard motel room. Room upgrades including; fireplaces, jacuzzis, kitchens or premier resort amenities are available at higher rates.

    East

    Okemo Mountain Resort, VT (www.okemo.com; 800-786-5366). One of the east’s most family-friendly resorts offers many Ski & Stay Packages. Among them:

  • The Lo-o-ong Weekender: for two adults and two juniors, this costs from $121.30 depending on lodging choice, and is available on Thursday, Jan. 24-Sunday, Feb, 10.
  • Okemo Midweek Family Values: for two adults and two juniors, this costs from $92.55 depending on lodging choice, and is available Sunday, Jan. 27-Friday, Feb. 15; and Sunday, Feb. 24-Friday, March 7.

    Okemo rates are per person, per day/night including tax and the Guest Protection Plan (VCIPP) and vary with unit occupancy and date of stay. Sample packages include either a Jackson Gore ski-in/ski-out Inn room, a 1BR Okemo Mountain Lodge condominium, a 2BR Kettle Brook mountainside condominium, or a 3BR Winterplace mountain condominium.

    Smugglers’ Notch, VT (www.smuggs.com; 800-419-4615). The ultimate family destination offers the Club Smugglers' Advantage Package, which includes lodging in a fully-equipped, mountainside condominium, lift tickets, all-day Ski or Snowboard Camp with lunch for ages 3-5, daily youth ski or snowboard group lessons, daily beginner adult group lessons, daily two-hour Winter Walking Program, welcome party, snow tubing, outdoor ice skating rink, nightly entertainment, torchlight parade, fireworks, unlimited use cross-country/snowshoe trails, free 2006-2007 season lift pass with stays of five nights or more and discounts adult advanced group lessons and use of high performance demo skis or snowboards.

  • SuperSaver Value Weeks: Adults, $109; Youth (3-17) $95—Jan. 6-17, Jan. 21-26, Mar. 14-20, Mar. 24-Apr. 6, 2008.
  • Heart of Winter: $129/$115—Jan. 18-20, Jan. 27-Feb. 14, Feb. 22-Mar. 8, Mar. 21-23, 2008
  • School's Out Celebration: $149/$135—Jan. 1-5, Mar. 9-13, 2008.

    Want more on winter family fun? Be sure to sign up for our e-newsletter to get the latest on winter family travel & gear deals, plus tips to make your life easier! Ollie in!

    JOIN THE RIPPIN' RIDERS TEAM!!! . If you rip.. or want to... be a product tester. Join the Rippin' Riders Team for deals, discounts, and first shot at testing new product.

    ...... Mitch Kaplan is the author of The Unofficial Guide to the Mid-Atlantic with Kids, The Cheapskate’s Guide to Myrtle Beach and The Golf Book of Lists. He is a contributor to The Unofficial Guide to New England & New York with Kids and to the annual guide Ski America & Canada.

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