My husband and I grew up skiing here at Sunday River. Of course, we didn’t meet until I started working here, but it’s interesting to note that we both drove our families into this sport AND we both decided to dive head first into this industry professionally. Now, we’re pulling our kids along, pretending to know something about this thing called adulting and parenthood.
His story is that he told his parents that he wanted to learn to ski. The next thing he knew, his father bought a condo at Sunday River so that the whole family could come up on weekends and learn together. (Side note: I’ve always been curious as to what would have happened if he had asked for a pony instead.)
My story is similar: I grew up nearby and came to Sunday River as part of a learn to ski free class trip. Like most beginners, I struggled down Broadway for most of that cold, wintry day, but from the moment I linked my first turn, I was hooked and requested a season pass for every birthday.
Now we both work here and have kids who ski here, and weekends have become delightfully chaotic. The alarm clock is set for the same time seven days a week, which is about the only thing constant in our lives. Between school, daycare, practices, events, more practices, play dates and birthday parties, meetings, recitals and holiday concerts, business trips, and now weekend ski and competition programs, carving out family time can be a challenge…but it can be done! Here are five ways you can make it happen even if you don’t live/work/eat-and-breath life at a ski resort 7-days a week like we do.
The Fabulous Five
1) Give them an opportunity to show off. If you’ve invested in your kid’s skiing as we have—whether through lessons or a season-long program—give them the opportunity to show off their skills. Go skiing with them after their lesson and let them tour you around the trails here as they experience them. Chances are they’ll be psyched to show you what they’ve learned. (Just DO NOT follow them down one of the little single tracks off of the sides of some trails. Those little luge courses are intended for kid-size humans and not adults for a reason.)
2) Take a break for something sweet. Get a hot chocolate together or split a cinnamon bun from the Peak Lodge or a basket of fresh mini donuts from Coffee Hound in the South Ridge Lodge. If your kids are healthier than mine and prefer salads instead, make those greens yours! Just find something that you can all delight in together and voila—a tradition is born.
3) Let someone else do the cooking. There is a time and a place for a family meal and believe it or not, Sunday River has such a time and place. On select nights throughout the winter, guests can book Family Peak Dinners that includes a round-trip ride on the Chondola, a family-style buffet dinner at the Peak Lodge, plus a meet and greet with Sunday River’s Eddy The Yeti. Camp is also a great place for families and has a wonderful buffet just for kids (on select nights). Our kids love dinners at Camp and never once have they complained about what’s actually for dinner.
4) Let someone else do the entertaining. There has never been a better deal in the history of family ski area entertainment than the Black Diamond Entertainment Series. Repeat after me: Never. Not only are the various performers legit entertainers that even parents will enjoy, but the acts range wildly from fire dancers to wildlife specialists, while tickets only range in price between FREE and $8. Bargain.
5) Opt for easy. Sure, you could pull together all the pieces of a fantastic vacation yourself, like the Mr. or Mrs. Martha Stewart you surely are, or you could let the professionals do it for you and save both time and money. Children’s Vacation Week (Jan. 8-12, 2017) is that shining vacation “Twilight Sparkle” of a unicorn, where, for an entire week, deals and events are geared towards families. Best part? Kids ages 12 and under ski, rent, learn, even eat breakfast for free, when staying with a paying adult. Not only will this one-hit vacation wonder make you look like a rock star, but book at either of Sunday River’s ski-in/ski-out hotels and you’ll also look like a superhero when you tell your kids that your accommodations also boasts an outdoor heated pool.