Ski and snowboard resorts have been shedding the macho image of years gone by and shifted their orientation to families. After all, when young skiing couples begin having children, lifestyle changes come rapidly. And so the resorts reasoned, it’s best to bring the kids along and create the next generation of skiers, than lose the parents. To give the youngsters and parents the best experience, here’s how and where.
Age appropriate programs are hallmarks of most winter resorts, but some go the extra mile. Closest to Philadelphia, Spring Mountain offers a pair of programs for children who have never skied or snow surfed. “Snow Play” is designed to get 2 & 3 year olds comfortable playing in the snow as a preface to learning downhill techniques. “Ski Bees” is crafted for 4 & 5 year old, gets them into boots and skis and starts the learning process. You’ll find more information at: http://www.springmountainadventures.com/skibeeslessons.php
At nearby Bear Creek Mountain Resort near Macungie in Berks County, The “Discovery” programs for children between 6 and 12 puts them on the mountain in a secure setting where a dedicated beginner slope avoids concern about faster through traffic. The two-hour lesson programs also include beginner lift tickets and rental equipment. It’s all spelled out at: http://www.bcmountainresort.com/winter/winter_schoolburton.aspx
Camelback Mountain Resort near Tannersville in the Pocono Mountains has long been an innovator in children’s ski activities and launched one of Pennsylvania’s original all-day lesson programs for kids. The Camelback Ski School this year has created a new “Camelcare Adventures” program for the 3 to 5 year old set that combines time on the mountain with indoor activities and lunch designed to stoke interest in the sport. A variety of all-day plans for kids up to 12 and geared to their ability levels, give parents plenty of time to ski solo, and totally immerse the youngsters in their own world of fun. Check it out at: http://www.skicamelback.com/SkiCamelback/Learn-to-Ski-or-Ride/Childrens-Lessons.aspx
Competitive youngsters between 6 and 12 will thrive in the Elk Mountain “Cruisers” program. It’s one of the most highly regarded junior racing programs in Pennsylvania. Elk’s terrain high in the Endless Mountains near Uniondale offers a racing opportunity that rivals the challenge of New England . The Cruisers program runs throughout the season and prepares youngsters for the dynamic world of ski racing . Elk Mountain racing has sent many young men and women off to northern skiing academies and planted a few on the U.S. Olympic team. Find information on sessions and pricing at: http://www.elkskier.com/
If there’s a 4th or 5th grader in your life, they have an opportunity for a season of free skiing and riding through a program run by the Pennsylvania Ski Areas Association. The program offers up to 67 days of free skiing and snowboarding for 4th and 5th graders at any of the 22 participating member winter resorts in Pennsylvania. The processing fee is $20. For complete information and registration forms, go to: www.skipa.com
Finally some tips on skiing with children:
– In renting equipment for a child, don’t forget a helmet.
– Dress children in layers that include long underwear, a turtle neck shirt, waterproof pants and parka .
– Gloves are fine for average winter temperatures, mittens are better for below freezing days.
– Carry spare dry clothing.
– Learn the signs of frostbite. On colder days, check kids cheeks and noses frequently.
– At signs of discomfort, bring then inside for a rest and warm-up.
Reported By Jay Lloyd, KYW Newsradio