Next week the kids are out of school. With no snow in your yard for them to play in, you may go out of your mind keeping them entertained. Not only is there snow on New England's ski slopes (albeit mostly man-made), there are also deals and events for Presidents' week.
February vacation is usually a sellout at ski resorts, but not this year. Blame the lack of natural snow and mild temperatures for this if you wish. The good news, slope side lodging is still available and ski resorts have added events to coerce you into making a trip to the mountains, even if its just for a few nights.
Sunday River has ski and stay packages for $159 per person in the Jordan Grand and Grand Summit hotels including lodging, lift tickets, and a Perfect Turn clinic. Lifts are open for 12 hours of skiing and riding Feb. 17-25, until 8pm on the Chondola and South Ridge Express, and lodging guests can night ski for just $5 from 4-8pm upon your arrival. Sunday River will shoot off fireworks on Saturday and Thursday nights of vacation week. During the week, The River will host snowshoe and skating parties, Kids Night Out events, and great après ski bands at the Foggy Goggle for adults.
Sugarloaf has a similar roster of activities next week, with ski and stay rates of $109 per person in a condo or the Sugarloaf Inn, including use of the Sugarloaf Sports Center with indoor pool and outdoor hot tub. Sugarloaf will have fireworks Monday night, an acrobatic show Tuesday, and a Family Festival on Thursday. Of course, Amos the Moose and Blueberry Bear will be out and about during the week too.
Saddleback has some of the lowest holiday ticket prices in New England, $59 for adults, $49 for juniors, for big mountain skiing on 2,000-ft vertical. For vacation week, Saddleback has fun après ski activities like a torchlight parade and Bob Marley comedy show on Thursday night, and a Park Shark Rail Jam under the lights Friday.
Mount Snow in Vermont has a torchlight parade Wednesday Feb. 22 at a family-friendly hour of 5:45pm, and a Roller Coaster Family challenge on Thursday Feb. 23.
At Sugarbush, your kids can ski in a torchlight parade on Wednesday Feb. 22 (advance sign up required), and they should be excited about the No Parents Allowed Movie and Pizza Nights Sunday and Friday, which coincide nicely with après ski bands at Castlerock Pub and wine tasting events at Timbers. Other fun family events at The Bush include snowshoe tours, sunset groomer rides, and fireworks.
Killington has a fourth night free deal, arrive Monday Feb. 20 and stay four nights, your Thursday night lodging is free. For special events, Killington has snowcat-drawn sleigh rides at sunset, snowtubing, Yurt dinners, and mountain tours with Olympic Gold medalist Donna Weinbrecht.
Stratton is celebrating their 50th over Presidents’ Week with a decade each day, starting with the 1960s on Saturday Feb. 18, with themed music, trivia and ski outfits. Sunday you can tie-dye for the 70s, and Monday you should rock your best neon one-piece for the 80s, you get the progression. Your kids will probably be more excited about daily hot cocoa with the Stratton Bear than the retro themes throughout the week.
You get the picture; ski resorts are offering last minute deals and fun events for families during this vacation week. If you want your kids to experience some winter (skiing, snowboarding, sledding, snow angels) you are going to have to bring them to the snow.
Photos by Greg Burke
Eric Wilbur is a lifelong recreational skier who spends most of his winter and spring in the mountains of New England. He does not ski in jeans. You can read more of Eric's work here.
Heather Burke is an award winning ski journalist with over a decade of ski news coverage. As a former ski instructor and a ski parent, she knows the ski biz from the inside out. She and her family visit New England ski resorts, as well as the West and Canada, to report on the latest trends and their best family finds. Her husband Greg takes all the accompanying photos, and their work can be seen at www.familysktitrips.com and www.luxuryskitrips.com.