Snow angel or snowman?
However you like to have fun in the snow, January is a great month to grab the kids, your best friend or your honey and try a new snow sport. It’s Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month, and it's not too late to latch on to great programs and deals around the country.
Each of Utah’s 14 resorts that are famous for their powder offer special discounts and deals for beginners.
In Vermont, they're touting $29 packages, including professional lessons, equipment rentals and a beginner lift ticket at resorts all over the state. Colorado resorts are rolling out the red carpet for newbies with lesson packages as much as half off. You can even take your skills to the next level, tackling the extreme terrain Crested Butte Mountain Resort is famous for (a fave with my family) with a pro.
You won’t bust the budget because January is a good time to snare a lodging bargain in ski country, where you can have as much fun off the slopes these days. Do things like dog sledding, ziplining, snowshoeing, playing in a giant ice castle and pampering yourself in gargantuan spas. Look for deals from Wyndham Vacation Rentals that can save you as much as 30 percent and check out fly-stay-ski deals from Ski.com.
Also from TakingtheKids.com: A family guide to fun in the snow
Here are three of my favorite places for fun in the snow this winter:
Park City Mountain Resort is a favorite because it is the home of Snowmamas.com, who can offer you advice on how to cajole your child to go to ski school or what to cook for dinner in the condo. You can also meet up with local and visiting Snowmamas and ski with them. Or join a Ladies’ Club group and get the skinny on where to go for dinner, as well as how to make better turns. Did we mention Park City Mountain Resort limits the number of kids (and adults) in their lessons to five and it also boasts an awesome mountain coaster and tubing area. Let's not forget that the resort is in the middle of a terrific historic town full of great restaurants and shopping.
Keystone Resort, just 90 minutes from Denver International Airport, introduced kids ski free programs this year and is piloting healthy kids menus in its mountain restaurants for the other Vail Resorts. Keystone boasts a giant snow castle complete with a throne on top of the mountain and Kidtopia activities every day, from s’mores to fireworks. Did we mention the huge tubing hill, the chance to try backcountry skiing, the largest night skiing operation in Colorado -- which teens love -- and a five-acre outdoor skating rink?
Bretton Woods, N.H. is New Hampshire’s largest snow sports area. It's just down the road from the Appalachian Mountain Club that families call "a college dorm for parents and kids," because you share baths and farm-to-table meals and can borrow much of the gear you need, from snowshoes to snow boots and pants. (Have you ever hiked with micro-crampons in the snow?) We also love Bretton Woods because of its awesome Canopy Tour -- zipline, rappel and cross sky bridges high above the snow -- the chance to go dog sledding and the fantastic, historic Mount Washington Hotel, a fixture here since the early years of the 20th century.
Make a snow angel for me.
Eileen Ogintz is the author of the syndicated column TakingtheKids and the new "Kid’s Guide to New York City" and "Kid’s Guide to Orlando" from Globe Pequot Press.