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2012's second travel challenge: Take a ski vacation

By Hilarye Fuller

For the Deseret News

Published: Wednesday, March 21 2012 11:46 a.m. MDT

ToddlerTravels building a snowman.

Reid Fuller, DottingTheMap.com

February seemed like the perfect time to take on our second of 12 travel challenges and enjoy a ski vacation. We have been particularly enthusiastic to complete this challenge, as snowboarding is a recreational activity we both enjoy and are eager to pass down to our children (when they are old enough).

We opted to keep it local because, let’s face it, going anywhere else would be betraying our state and Utah truly does have the best snow on earth. However, we couldn’t just phone it in and head up the mountains for the day and leave the babies with a babysitter. The challenge is, take a ski vacation (ironic since neither of us actually ski), not leave the kids for a day to snowboard and then return home. We had to do it right.

After a lot of research, we decided to vacation at Snowbird. As travel bloggers, we often write reviews of the places we stay. We reached out to Snowbird and were given the opportunity to review the Cliff Lodge and were provided lift tickets.

When it comes to taking along kids, the ski-in ski-out accommodations were helpful. We could periodically check in on the girls throughout the day, which made it feel like more of a family vacation. Also, being able to come back to the room easily came in handy when it was time to feed BabyTravels, since she is nursing. And when we were craving a mid-day snuggle with our babies, they were that much more accessible.

We brought a nanny, because we weren’t sure how to make it work otherwise. If BabyTravels had been two months older we could have left her in the daycare along with ToddlerTravels. We felt our 2-year-old and 4-month-old were a little young for their turn on the slopes, so they stayed inside the condo, playing, watching movies and cheering us on from the balcony. ToddlerTravels thoroughly enjoyed playing in the snow and enjoyed even more the hot tub located on our balcony.

There was a point during a run when I stopped zig-zagging down the mountain and paused to breathe it all in. The view was stunning and I could barely catch sight of my husband, Reid, ahead of me as he was blissfully trudging his way in and out of the trees. The air was crisp and although it was mid-February I could feel the warmth in my cheeks. The only other thing that made this day perfect was the thought of heading back to scoop up my two girls.

Some tips for those taking young children on ski vacations: Make special accommodations for your children to ensure they will also have a good time while you hit the slopes. Pack some fun activities, a new movie or video they will be excited about, and carve out some special time with them during the day. It’s the perfect excuse to take a break and build a snowman or take them to the pool. Make sure to pack some goodies and treats that will make the vacation a little more special. Getting a condo with a kitchen helped us out a ton, and we brought along our own food we were sure our little ones would enjoy.

Utah has many great options to choose from when it comes to ski resorts to bring your family to. Park City Mountain Resort and The Canyons also offer ski-in and ski-out accomodations and have activity and ski lessons tailored for children.

There is just something so satisfying about spending time with your family in an atmosphere where nothing can get in the way. You have no other priorities but to enjoy time together, eat good food, take in a few runs on the slopes and forget your everyday cares. ToddlerTravels adored every minute we were in the “mountains” and has asked to go back every day since.

The memories we are making with our challenges this year are priceless.

Hilarye Fuller lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, where she stays at home with her two young daughters and pens the travel blog DottingTheMap. For more information on 12 in 2012 Challenge, and for tips and reviews visit http://www.dottingthemap.com.