Family Skiing in The Adirondacks
Downhill Skiing with the whole family at Whiteface Mountain
The Adirondacks offer an excellent opportunity to downhill ski with the entire family. From skiing with toddlers to the grandparents we have you covered! Whiteface Mountain opened this year prior to Thanksgiving Day boasting excellent cover and some fresh powder to boot. Whiteface host’s extensive terrain for beginner skiers and unique glade options for those of us who are, shall we say more seasoned skiers. Part of their beginner terrain includes a fully interactive Kids Kampus and specialty programs for children of all ages.
As an advanced skier and mother of three, including toddler twins, convenience and tangible recreation is a must. We find the Kids Kampus has a great set up for the children and us parents looking to get in a little powder time. With its separate parking area, loading and unloading of gear is a breeze saving the you the dreaded ski day trek from car to lift and meandering children in the parking lot.
One Stop Shop
Once at the Kampus, lift tickets are available on site, offering half day or full day options. Kids under six are FREE anywhere on the mountain, and if you only plan to stay in the children's park midweek Whiteface offers a lower lift ticket rate. Kids Kampus comes complete with a magic carpet instead of a J-Bar. Toddlers enjoy the magic carpet as makes first time skiers more at ease and adds an element of playfulness to the uphill experience too! For me the magic carpet is a lifesaver preventing my usual J-Bar entanglement and not so graceful escape. Lessons are available, as well as childcare options. The Cafeteria is geared towards kids; with hot cocoa and snacks on site the whole family can be in snow bunny heaven.
Kids Gear Guide and Mountain Fashion Too
Deciding what to pack for a family ski vacation often depends on how much room you have in the car! Have no fear for those who are already overloaded in luggage bags- there are plenty of gear rental shops available to meet everyones needs. You can chose to pick up all rentals at the mountain or try one of the local ski and board shops. Kids under 12 must have a helmet, these usually come with the full rental package. If you have room for gear I have found ski swaps and Facebook posts a great way to rally equipment instead of buying full price new.
Warm outdoor socks, goggles and snow suits are a must. Turtle furs fit under the little ones helmets nicely and provided much needed warmth. Don’t forget a small sunblock and Chapstick. For the adults North East fashion is in order; prepare to don your best Burton, Patagonia and Northface gear and save the Aspen fur for West Coast skiing. When we ski with the kids we wear our coats with inside zip pockets: here we stuff natural juice bags (will not explode in a wipe out) and granola bars. Kids of all ages are always thirsty and hungry… this saves us a boot walk back into the lodge.
Boot Sizing Mondo Vs. US and Ski Length
Mondo sizing verses US sizing can make things a little tricky, but there are tons of online size guides to keep you on track. This goes the same for ski height. We find in boots it’s important to go a step up in size making room for bulky socks and an easy slip in and out. Most children's boots come in rear entry; often I wish mine did too! The rental shops will also take care of all fitting needs saving you the guess work. If you do have the toddler boots in advance try them on at home and let the kids walk around both inside and out. Ski boots can be a little tricky and it will help to familiarize them with the feel.
It’s Your Turn
Ready to sneak a few of your own turns in? The Kids Kampus offers childcare and snow school for all ages leaving you a chance to play. Whether you choose a half day program or just an hour the full mountain is right there ready to be explored. When we are looking for a quick solid hour we ski from the Kampus direct to the Gondola. From there you can take Mountain Run or Excelsior and slip down to the Look Out Mountain Triple Lift. This lift takes you to the top of Lookout Mountain and onto the Wilmington Trail, one of my favorites for amazing High Peak views and diverse ski terrain. There are a few spots you can unclip and hike in to Adirondack Chair sweet spots. This is an extra treat if you bring the older kids with you and makes for an awesome memory. Glide down the rest of this log meandering trail to where it meets with Boreen. There you bare left and hit the Silver Glades which pop right out at the Kids Kampus with out missing a beat! Mom and Dad are tired as are the kids and everyone is ready for a post ski day meal and hopefully a nap. Try R.F. McDougall’s Pub for an easy yet delicious stop on the way back to your lodge.
- Schedule childcare or ski school in advance
- Try a Ski and Stay Package
- If renting off site reserve your equipment and pick up the night before your ski day, often there is no charge and you will save a little time in the morning
- Magic Carpet is fun for grown ups too
- Kids Kampus parking is the best if your skiing from there, not so much if your just trying to land a spot
- About 1/3 of the way down The Wilmington Trail there is a look out spot on your right. Follow the short trail to the sweet spot and soak in the view
- Have your camera ready the views are spectacular