January is national “Learn to Ski and Snowboard” month and with all the new snow coming down around the world there has never been a better time to plan a ski vacation To The Mountains! Learning to ski or snowboard isn’t just for kids or those who have never been on the mountain before – everyone can learn to improve form and technique, no matter the level or age!
If you’ve ventured on a ski trip with a beginner or attempted a learn-to-ski mission yourself, you’re well acquainted with the highs and lows that come with navigating the mountains. Yet, there’s an undeniable joy in the effort as it allows you to share your love of the mountains with others. Nothing beats the smile of someone who just learned how to connect a turn or the giggle of a child who caught their first snowflake on their tongue.
We spoke with Ski.com Mountain Travel Expert veteran Sara Thomas, a long-time Aspen local. She shared her favorite properties that will have you or newbies linking turns and hitting the blues or blacks in no time!
MEET THE MOUNTAIN TRAVEL EXPERT:
Sara is a seasoned maestro of crafting ski vacations, with a dedication that has spanned over 25 years. She spent her childhood summers in Aspen which eventually led to calling the area home. Her passion for the slopes inspired her to enroll her children in ski school from the tender age of three and on. Her son is now a local ski instructor who continues the tradition of instilling a love for the snow in the next generation. Having explored ski destinations worldwide, Sara is Ski.com’s go-to Expert for advice on the best properties to visit for an unparalleled and memorable learn-to-ski getaway.
Following a recent $15 million renovation, the Grand Summit stands out as Sara’s top recommendation for families traveling to Park City, Utah for a snowy adventure. “This property is located at the base of the Canyons area and is ideal for families with children that will be in ski school during their stay,” Sara told us. Families will find the location unbeatable. “The ski school is located a mere few steps from the hotel’s doorstep, making pick-up and drop-off stress-free!” said Sara. One of the best perks of ski school in Park City? “Park City’s Green Run Guarantee will have you learning to ski or snowboard a qualifying green run in three lessons, or your fourth lesson is free!” said Sara. The new learning terrain at High Meadow Park will enhance the ski school experience for guests and provide an unrivaled setting for beginner skiers and snowboarders to improve their skills and spend more time on the snow than on the lift
Nestled right at the foot of the orange bubble lift, the hotel offers a prime ski-in ski-out location, eliminating any hassles associated with getting to the lifts early in the morning. Convenience is the pinnacle of service at Grand Summit. Getting to the lifts is made even easier with a dedicated ski valet, allowing a seamless transition to early morning powder turns after dropping the kids at ski school. For families with younger children not yet ready to hit the slopes, the hotel offers the added convenience of daycare, complete with outdoor and indoor play activities. The great amenities of the Grand Summit don’t stop at their convenient access to ski school. Sara shares her favorite “The heated pool, maintained at a hearty 90 degrees, provides daily fun if you need a break from the slopes. And of course, they have the perfect slopeside hot tub.” Guests at the Grand Summit have the options of many room configurations including two and three-bedroom suites and chalets that come with full kitchens.
“January is Learn to Ski and Snowboard month and there might not be a better place to spend it in the entire world than Aspen-Snowmass,” exclaims Sara. Their Ski and Snowboard School has a dedicated team of Pros that offer a comprehensive range of class levels. From group clinics designed for those taking their first turns to private lessons, the school caters to every age, ability level and ski or snowboarding style. “I took some advanced-level classes by myself, and my form improved greatly! I recommend lessons and/or private lessons for all my clients” Sara shared with us.
Crestwood Condos makes accessing the school an absolute breeze. The Ski School offers several meeting points and one happens to be out the backdoors of the Crestwood. The property is ski-in ski-out and if you can ski blue or green terrain, you can ski back to the property from any point on the mountain. “The staff is outstanding at Crestwood and provides amazing attention to detail making all my clients stay totally hassle-free. Guests can pick up rentals and lift tickets on property, and store equipment with a ski valet. This makes the logistical aspects of a ski vacation streamlined,” shared Sara. What truly makes Crestwood special is the exceptional customer service provided by all staff members. From meeting guests at the airport, driving folks to the village for ice skating or restaurant reservations, or making sure your anniversary trip is something extra special. “They excel and cater to every guest’s needs on a whim,” Sara stated.
Beaver Run Resort is a skier and rider’s haven, offering convenient access for those ready to dive into snowy adventures in Breckenridge. “This ski-in ski-out property has its own Beaver Run chairlift which provides direct access to slopes,” said Sara. What really sets the property apart is the mountain plaza that hosts on-site Breckenridge ski resort services, such as a lift ticket and season pass office, a ski and ride school and even a Breck Sports ski and snowboard rental shop. “Having Breck Sports on property is so convenient because if you are anything like my family, it’s possible someone forgot to pack their gloves or goggles!” Sarah laughed as she explained the prime location to us. For children not quite ready to hit the slopes, Breckenridge provides daytime childcare services that are located at Beaver Run.
The Beaver Run property offers many different room configurations that range from hotel rooms, studios and one and two-bedroom condominiums to spacious executive suites. “They provide hotel-level amenities, but you still get the unique charm of staying in a unit that is individually owned,” Sara explained to us. Guests have all the conveniences they could ask for on the property. “There is on-site dining, a resort spa, housekeeping, mini golf and access to two pools and nine hot tubs!” said Sara.
Nestled in the Tarentaise Mountains of France near Les Trois Vallées, this all-inclusive property takes learning to ski to a whole new level. Sarah shares her favorite highlights of the property with us, “The ski school meeting spot is right outside of the ski locker room for kids and adults. It’s easy to find, with clear organization for skiers and snowboarders, along with numbered sections based on level of riding ability. Your group number, assigned on arrival, makes it simple to figure out where you, or your kids, need to go. The instructors are so incredible and are akin to good friends by the end of the trip.” Accessing the lift after drop off is made easy as the ski lift is just ten yards from the back door of the property. The resort is especially beginner-friendly, offering green slopes and a comfortable environment for learning to ski for all newcomers.
Sara continues to tell us that the fun extends beyond location to an impressive ski school. “They offer an extensive child-care program that provides constant entertainment for your kids. They offer daytime and nighttime care, giving parents freedom for date night. Sending your children to the nighttime care options means they will have the chance to view a live play where caretakers perform popular favorites like Frozen and Encanto. The property goes the extra mile and not only provides excellent skiing facilities, great dining options, and comfortable rooms, they make sure the experience is enjoyable for everyone in the family.
Are you thrilled by the mere thought of deep powder in the land of the rising sun? Yet, do you find yourself feeling a bit overwhelmed when contemplating the allure of endless powder while trying to manage your little ones? Sara has the perfect solution for you. “Club Med Kiroro is your answer,” Sara winks. She told us the ski school meeting spot is conveniently located in front of Kiroro Peak, a mere 20 steps from the gondola and property. And if your children are a bit apprehensive about the gondola, there is a shuttle bus option that provides an easy alternative to the resort.
Kiroro Resort in Japan is blessed with an impressive annual snowfall (like the rest of Japan) but is a standout when it comes to resorts that are not quite as crowded. Sara explains what sets Club Med Kiroro apart from other properties in the area “Of course, the surrounding area is beautiful, but what keeps me sending clients to Club Med Kiroro over and over again is their dedicated and helpful staff. They have a brand-new property that is exceptionally curated. They hire amazing staff that are committed to ensuring a memorable stay and always make sure guests are well-taken care of.” For those seeking a more personalized experience, private lessons and powder tours available through the property your Mountain Travel Expert can help you set up.
BOOK YOUR BEGINNER-FRIENDLY SKI ADVENTURE TODAY
Does thinking about hitting the slopes make you giddy? Is this the season you learn to tackle the terrain park? Ready to start planning a mountain getaway of your own? Ski.com’s 60+ Mountain Travel Experts have traveled across Ski Country scouting the most convenient properties for your needs – contact Sara or any Mountain Travel Expert to get started.