|Panorama from the Roundhouse at Whistler, looking towards the Blackcomb side. Site of the 2010 Winter Olympics.|
It's almost ski season here in western Canada, depending on when the snow starts to fall of course. Before we had kids, my husband and I went skiing every winter, either on the local hills around Vancouver: Grouse, Cypress, or Seymour Mountain, or up at Whistler/Blackcomb.
Since the kids came along, we haven't made it to the ski hill once, but we do keep talking about it every winter and I think this might be the year when we finally get around to it.
Here are six ski hills I would love to visit with my kids, and introduce them to the fun of downhill skiing (or snowboarding, if they so desire: but in that case I'd have to learn right along with them!).
1. Whistler/Blackcomb, BC, Canada
This ski resort is located about two hours drive north of Vancouver. The skiing there is spectacular: lots of runs, lots of variety, and usually really good snow. The two mountains at this resort offer some of the best skiing I've ever experienced, but the prices are a bit steep, though I guess you can argue that at least you get a lot for your money!
There are various types of lessons for kids and adults, and childcare is also available for visiting families.
2. Mount Baker, Washington, USA
Located just across the border from where I live in British Columbia, this is another mountain my husband and I used to love going to in the winter. Best powder I have ever experienced was right on Mount Baker: so deep and fresh and just plain fluffy that it was hard to believe it was real. It's still the best day of skiing I've ever had!
There are skiing and snowboarding lessons available for kids, adults and families on Mount Baker.
3. Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada
The Lake Louise ski resort is located in the Canadian Rockies, in the province of Alberta. The Rockies and the area around Banff is a beautiful place to visit any time of year, and in the winter the skiing is excellent. Don't miss out on a dip in the hot springs pool in the town of Banff after a day of skiing! Sitting in that hot water while the snow is falling is a great way to relax.
There are lessons for all age groups, and childcare is also available at the ski resort.
4. Big White, BC, Canada
This ski resort is located in the Okanagan, just outside Kelowna in the interior of BC. I have never skied there myself, but have heard very good things about the resort, and that it is family friendly.
There are snowboarding and skiing lessons offered for all ages, and also various family activities every week.
5. Silver Star, BC, Canada
Just like Big White, Silver Star is located in the Okanagan, but close to the town of Vernon. I haven't tried out this resort, but the prices are supposed to be cheaper than the skiing in Whistler/Blackcomb, and the snow is supposedly plentiful.
Lessons are offered for all ages, and there is also the Star Kids program which offers daycare for kids 18 months to 5 years old, with various indoor and outdoor activities.
6. Hemavan, Sweden
If I was going to take my kids skiing in Sweden (I might!), I'd love to take them to Hemavan, located in the north of Sweden, in the mountains between Norway and Sweden. When I was a kid, I'd go here with my family, and this is pretty much the place where I learned to ski. It's a beautiful part of the country, and the skiing is great.
You can learn how to ski or snowboard, and there are also lots of trails for cross-country skiing. If you've never tried cross country skiing, I'd highly recommend it. It's a great way to experience this part of the world in the winter.