There is nothing quite like bundling up the family in winter gear and spending some quality time in the snow. Whether it's the wind rushing past as you speed down a snowy slope or the peaceful crunching of cross-country skiing and snow shoeing, there is some kind of magic in that mixture of fresh cold air and hot chocolate. It can be a weekend getaway to the mountains or an afternoon of throwing ourselves against a nearby hill; skiing, snowboarding, sledding, and pretty much any other winter sport are some of the best re-boots around.
One of the things that makes Boston a great place to live with kids is you don't have to travel far to find family outdoor activities. Whether you head to the ocean or the mountains, many of these destinations are perfect for day tripping. For skiing, Boston families have their choice of three local ski areas: Blue Hills, Nashoba and Wachusett. While a good snowstorm can happen at any time, the mountains are making as much snow as they possibly can. Please be sure to check hours and conditions before heading out. Beginner and intermediate skiers will find that the terrain at these ski areas is manageable, and while advance skiers may find few challenges, the convenience and proximity more than make up for it. All offer numerous lesson, rental and ticketing options. Here's a rundown of the closest family ski centers near Boston.
Have the winter Olympics inspired you to get out there in the snow and test your mettle against gravity and the elements? While it’s easy to find both indoor and outdoor spots for figure skating and ice hockey in Westchester, people are often surprised to learn that that it’s possible to experience many of the Olympics more obscure events without venturing far from home.
Winter Olympics may come only every four years, but winter and snow sports are available to our California kids every year, almost year round. Even so, while figure skating, skiing, and hockey draw fans fairly reliably each winter, there's nothing quite like the excitement of Sochi (or Vancouver, or Salt Lake) to get kids interested in speed skating, ski jumping, freestyle snowboarding, ice dancing, and even curling. These are the sports that only get our attention when broadcast from exotic locales every fourth year; but this may be just the chance you're looking for to experiment with - and perhaps embrace - a new and off-the-beaten-path winter sport.
Had enough already? Unlike the last couple of years, when we were thankful for even a few inches of the fluffy white stuff, the winter of 2014 has shaped up to be one of the more memorable in terms of snow. Which means it's been a memorable winter for cross country skiing, too.
The first time we took our kids cross country skiing was in child carrier sleds that we strapped around our waists and pulled behind us - great fun for them, and a great workout for us. While they’ve since grown too big for those carriers and now prefer the speed of downhill, they are still willing to spend some family time together cross-country skiing. We usually go to a local forest to ski, although we also go to Great Brook, Farm State Park, in Carlisle. Great Brook is dependent on natural snow coverage, but when it’s good, the groomed trails are fun. For near-guaranteed coverage, Weston Ski Track has snowmaking on a 2K, lighted loop as well as additional groomed trails when the weather cooperates.
Read on for the details about these and other places to ski. (Looking for downhill ski areas? You can find details on three close-by mountains here.)
Whether you jump the moguls like an Olympiad or hang on for dear life traversing the bunny hill, 'tis the season for all things skiing and we Jersey folk just happen to live next to an entire state of amazing resorts. We love to let you know about cool stuff, and the incredible travel and winter recreation opportunities of the 21 sports areas in the Pennsylvania Ski Areas Association (PSAA) fit the bill; from a special program that lets 4th and 5th graders ski for free with their parents, to midweek skiing deals, read on to find out about all the locations and opportunities in the Keystone State!
Don’t let the lack of a car keep you from hitting the slopes this winter. Nearly all of the big (and small, for you first-timers) local ski resorts offer bus and train package deals from New York City. These packages are convenient and wallet-friendly, and they often include discounted lift tickets and equipment rentals so you don't have to lug your own skis. Even if you own a car, these deals are worth considering: After a hard day on the slopes, it's wonderful to kick back and relax while someone else battles traffic back to NYC. Here are six ski resorts in New York and New Jersey that offer ski packages to get your family on the mountains in no time.
While we've written plenty of posts about downhill skiing with NYC kids, we've never covered cross-country skiing. Also known as Nordic skiing, cross-country skiing is a great winter sport for families. Children as young as five can ski alone, and parents can tow tots in a sled or carry them in a backpack while on the trails. You can't do that while swooshing down a mountain!
Cross-country skiing is a fun way for active kids to burn off energy in the colder months and spend time outside. While you use most of the same equipment that you'd need for a day on the slopes—skis, boots, bindings, poles, goggles, helmets and warm clothing—cross-country skiing is nowhere near as dangerous or as expensive as downhill skiing. You won't be at risk for slamming into a tree at full speed, and trail passes usually cost about $20 per person.
After a good snowfall in New York City, you can cross-country ski just about anywhere. I've seen people doing it in parks and even right down the middle of Fifth Avenue before the snow plows cleared the street. But if you're looking to go cross-country skiing in a more scenic (and less bumpy) environment, there are tri-state area destinations that offer many miles of well-groomed trails, as well as amenities like warm lodges where you can sit back, relax, sip on hot cocoa and enjoy a family meal.
Unlike traditional ski resorts, most cross-country trails aren't in the business of making their own snow. So you're going to have to wait for the white stuff before you can get out there. Once that happens, here are six spots where families can enjoy cross-country skiing, most less than a two-hour drive from New York City.
We're glad you're here at Mommy Poppins Boston, your free online resource for everything for families and kids in the greater Boston area. We'd love to hear from you with any questions or suggestions! — Tara