Mid-Atlantic Ski resorts with childcare - post-covid advice?
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Jersey Lisa
4 months ago
Member since 03/9/2023 🔗
6 posts

For 2024, does anyone know of any ski areas that will allow me to put my 2 year old in childcare/babysitting while I work with my 3 year old on the bunny slopes?  Most resorts won't allow me to put the 3 year old in lessons except private lessons which are cost prohibitive for us.  Even once she's old enough for group lessons, I'll still want to go out and work with her a bit after lessons.  Not to mention it would be nice if I got to take a few runs myself since I usually have to buy an adult slope use ticket to get their slope use tickets included.  

It seems like my only option is to wait until they're both over age 4 or 5 before trying to get them on the slopes and that makes me sad.   My son won't be over age 4 until the winter of 2025-2026 so that means I miss this winter and next winter unless I can find a solution.  It seems penny wise pound foolish for these resorts to refuse to pay some high school kids $20/hr to watch some toddlers so parents can spend a couple hundred dollars a day to get ourselves and our other kids on the slopes.  

marzNC - DCSki Supporter 
4 months ago (edited 4 months ago)
Member since 12/10/2008 🔗
3,263 posts

I was an older parent and waited until my kid was 4 and old enough for ski school at Massanutten.  She was skiing the blacks there (only 2 back then) by age 6, based on 8-10 days on snow the next few winters.  We live 4 hours from Mnut and always stayed overnight.

For Massanutten, I'm guessing they would rather pay high school students to be trained and then work as instructor assistants for the child group lessons.  Those who start as assistants become good instructors later on.  I have a feeling that the requirements for a licensed daycare are more stringent than for part-time instructors who are still in high school.  Especially for kids under 4 who are not potty-trained.  (My daughter is a 20-something college graduate who works at a private daycare/preschool.)

In the southeast, unless parents have a season pass, I rarely see kids under 4 on the slopes.  Was more obvious before most of the resorts moved to RFID for lift access.

For lift tickets in the future, are you aware of the Indy Pass?  It's good for 2 days each at Bryce, Massanutten, and Canaan Valley.  Indy sold out quickly last spring.  Usually available starting in March.

marzNC - DCSki Supporter 
4 months ago
Member since 12/10/2008 🔗
3,263 posts

Jersey Lisa wrote:

For 2024, does anyone know of any ski areas that will allow me to put my 2 year old in childcare/babysitting while I work with my 3 year old on the bunny slopes?  Most resorts won't allow me to put the 3 year old in lessons except private lessons which are cost prohibitive for us.  Even once she's old enough for group lessons, I'll still want to go out and work with her a bit after lessons.  Not to mention it would be nice if I got to take a few runs myself since I usually have to buy an adult slope use ticket to get their slope use tickets included.  

It seems like my only option is to wait until they're both over age 4 or 5 before trying to get them on the slopes and that makes me sad.   My son won't be over age 4 until the winter of 2025-2026 so that means I miss this winter and next winter unless I can find a solution.  It seems penny wise pound foolish for these resorts to refuse to pay some high school kids $20/hr to watch some toddlers so parents can spend a couple hundred dollars a day to get ourselves and our other kids on the slopes.  

Just realized you may be in NJ, not the DC/NoVA area.  What are the ski resorts closest to you?

You might see if the Ski Divas have any suggestions.  Check out TheSkiDiva.com (for women only).

 

Jersey Lisa
4 months ago (edited 4 months ago)
Member since 03/9/2023 🔗
6 posts

I leaned to snowboard in the Poconos because I grew up in NJ.  We're in Maryland now.  We just came back from Massanutten this past weekend.  Same thing, they won't take kids under age 6 for group lessons.  I would have had to pay $134/hr to have her in a private lesson, and no child care so I had to bring my mom so that I could work with my 3 year old on the snow while grandma watched the 2 year old.  It's going to limit our ability to get out and practice the next two winters.  I guess I just need to be patient. 

I just priced out an all day (one 2 hour lesson in the AM and one 2 hour lesson in the afternoon) group snowboarding lesson for ages 4-6 at Liberty Mountain for Feb 19 2024.  It's going to cost $600 including the rental equipment and that's even with a free lift ticket for kids 4 and under.   Makes me nauseous.  And that's with me sitting with the 2 year old in the lodge all day because what am I going to do with him for that duration.  I'll try that other group, thank you.

teleman
4 months ago (edited 4 months ago)
Member since 07/8/2005 🔗
186 posts

My daughters are four years apart, and I taught them both to ski without lessons.

they were both about four years old when I started.  I still think it’s better to start them at five when they are in kindergarten.  That’s about the age that they have the strength to be proficient at learning.

my strategy; I only took one with me at a time to teach them.  Neither one seem to be interested in being put in ski school.

I can assure you, I spent a lot of time at Canaan Valley on timber Trail, and at Timberline on salamander.  I viewed it as an investment in my future.  If your personal situation allows, I suggest taking one kid at a time.  You won’t get much skiing in yourself, but I always enjoyed the time with my kids. 

I also was a passholder and bought my kids their equipment. It is fairly cheap if you can find it used or do a seasonal rental through Alpine ski shop.  I usually got the kids out on the snow from 10 to 15 days a year.  

It is cost prohibitive, if you’re only willing to pay the walk-up rate.  Committing to season passes is the only way it becomes affordable.

Jersey Lisa
4 months ago
Member since 03/9/2023 🔗
6 posts
I get it.  Having free or cheap childcare for the younger one is key for a lot of people who have success with this.  I'll keep trying to find such a unicorn.  When I was little, ski resorts provided the childcare at the lodge or nearby.  I guess no one needs it anymore so they figured it's an easy way to cut costs.  Most skiiers come from two parent households I suppose.
Bonzski
4 months ago
Member since 10/21/2015 🔗
652 posts

Snowshoe has a Pre-Ski School Playcare program for ages 2-4. Very popular so book ahead.

marzNC - DCSki Supporter 
4 months ago
Member since 12/10/2008 🔗
3,263 posts

Jersey Lisa wrote:

I leaned to snowboard in the Poconos because I grew up in NJ.  We're in Maryland now.  We just came back from Massanutten this past weekend.  Same thing, they won't take kids under age 6 for group lessons.  I would have had to pay $134/hr to have her in a private lesson, and no child care so I had to bring my mom so that I could work with my 3 year old on the snow while grandma watched the 2 year old.  It's going to limit our ability to get out and practice the next two winters.  I guess I just need to be patient. 

I just priced out an all day (one 2 hour lesson in the AM and one 2 hour lesson in the afternoon) group snowboarding lesson for ages 4-6 at Liberty Mountain for Feb 19 2024.  It's going to cost $600 including the rental equipment and that's even with a free lift ticket for kids 4 and under.   Makes me nauseous.  And that's with me sitting with the 2 year old in the lodge all day because what am I going to do with him for that duration.  I'll try that other group, thank you.

 Ah, too bad I didn't know you were at Massanutten last weekend.  The family I was with didn't ski on Sat or Sun.  Their kids had Thu-Fri off and we all arrived on Wed for a timeshare trade stay.  They spent the day at the waterpark on Saturday and wanted to get home early on Sunday.  I could've have met up with you for a bit.

The situation for group lessons at Mnut, and other small resorts, has changed quite a bit in the last 5-10 years.  Mnut used to have a full-day program, 9:30-2:00, that started for 4 year olds.  Lack of instructors and needing more room for a better gear rental program, only partially because of the pandemic, meant the full-day program went away.

Have you checked on what Bryce has to offer for younger kids?  Bryce has 3 short magic carpets.  Those may be more open for public use than the teaching area magic carpets at Mnut.

The 7yo in the family loved the Banked Turns in the Meadow last week.  She can ski blues, after lessons in VT and elsewhere.  But preferred to lap the long magic carpet for Meadow,  Partially because there are no fast skiers since it's a completely separate area.  It's hard to see from the ski lodge.  It's between the teaching area and the snow tubing hill.

Did you find the Massanutten thread?  I'll be headed back a couple times in February.

marzNC - DCSki Supporter 
4 months ago
Member since 12/10/2008 🔗
3,263 posts

Jersey Lisa wrote:

I get it.  Having free or cheap childcare for the younger one is key for a lot of people who have success with this.  I'll keep trying to find such a unicorn.  When I was little, ski resorts provided the childcare at the lodge or nearby.  I guess no one needs it anymore so they figured it's an easy way to cut costs.  Most skiiers come from two parent households I suppose.

 Plenty of parents would use childcare in the Mid-A at a ski resort.  But these days the resorts have to prioritize having enough staff for fundamental tasks such as lift operations or ski school or food service.  Not having to deal with state licensing requirements for a daycare is a bonus from a management standpoint.

Even if skiers/boarders are in two parent households, you may be surprised how many of those families only have one parent who wants to slide on snow.  My husband is a non-skier.  He stopped going with me and my daughter to Mnut in the winter by the time she was 5.  We went with friends if one of her pals was available and the other family was willing to pay for ski school.  The father of the NC family I was with at Mnut last week also has no interest in skiing.

Jersey Lisa
4 months ago
Member since 03/9/2023 🔗
6 posts

Bonzski wrote:

Snowshoe has a Pre-Ski School Playcare program for ages 2-4. Very popular so book ahead.

Thanks for the heads up.  Snowshoe is so far for us (5 hours each way), but I'm willing to bend over backwards if they have amenities that can make or break the trip. 

Jersey Lisa
4 months ago
Member since 03/9/2023 🔗
6 posts

marzNC wrote:

Even if skiers/boarders are in two parent households, you may be surprised how many of those families only have one parent who wants to slide on snow.  My husband is a non-skier.  

In my mind, having a not-a-lover-of-winter-sports parent sounds ideal because the winter-sports-enthusiast parent could leave the too-young-for-winter-sports kid with the not-a-lover-of-winter-sports parent.  In theory.  I'm winter-sports-enthusiast-single parent with no other option except grandparents who live far away.  I'm probably going to try to wear him in a backpack carrier while I'm working with the 3 year old on the bunny slopes.  I'll try to bring a lot of pocket snacks.  I guess ski resorts are hit hard with the warm temps around here so they aren't as flush with cash as they used to be.  Families growing up with little exposure to snow sports in this area is just going to be a reality of the climate situation.

wgo
4 months ago
Member since 02/10/2004 🔗
1,667 posts

My kids are 15 and 18 now but we certainly struggled with this when they were younger. I remember one trip to snowshoe where my wife and I took turns skiing while the other one stayed in the room. That was not ideal. Once we used the daycare at Snowshoe (which I am not sure is even offered any more) and did not have a good experience with that. The only good daycare situation we ever had while skiing was at Smuggler's notch up in Vermont, where we put our  then-18 month old daughter in their excellent daycare and our then 4 year old son in their excellent ski school. That doesn't help you locally, of course.

Jersey Lisa
4 months ago
Member since 03/9/2023 🔗
6 posts

wgo wrote:

My kids are 15 and 18 now but we certainly struggled with this when they were younger. I remember one trip to snowshoe where my wife and I took turns skiing while the other one stayed in the room. That was not ideal. Once we used the daycare at Snowshoe (which I am not sure is even offered any more) and did not have a good experience with that. The only good daycare situation we ever had while skiing was at Smuggler's notch up in Vermont, where we put our  then-18 month old daughter in their excellent daycare and our then 4 year old son in their excellent ski school. That doesn't help you locally, of course.

This is good to know.  At least I have somewhere I can check to see if they still offer service like this.  I'm coming to the conclusion that I'm going to need to plan longer trips further away where the resorts are serious about snow sports.  Canada or Colorado or New England.  I was thinking initially it would be better to plan shorter weekend trips so we could have short, but more frequent trips.  But maybe we can't do that until they're older and even then only if there is any snow in this region anymore.  Ideally the goal is to get them consistent/enjoying it enough that they can ride with me on the big hills out west and up north.  Also, when learning to snowboard it's better to get bruised up one day then take a week off for your bruises to heal.  Trying to do back to back days when learning snowboarding is not for the meek.   I haven't skiied in 30 years so I was hoping to jump them straight into snowboarding.

marzNC - DCSki Supporter 
4 months ago
Member since 12/10/2008 🔗
3,263 posts

In the southeast, there are plenty of parents who board but start their little ones on skis.  The learning curve is quicker to have fun on skis without falling.  Learning to board is easier when a kid already has some clue about edges and following directions while sliding on snow.

For getting started, may not need to go all the way to NY or New England.  Montage near Scranton has good beginner terrain.  It's more for locals.  Just far enough from Philly that it's not as crowded on weekends.  My friends (couples with no kids) who live in Philly have season passes for Montage.

Bonzski
4 months ago
Member since 10/21/2015 🔗
652 posts

Jersey Lisa wrote:

Bonzski wrote:

Snowshoe has a Pre-Ski School Playcare program for ages 2-4. Very popular so book ahead.

Thanks for the heads up.  Snowshoe is so far for us (5 hours each way), but I'm willing to bend over backwards if they have amenities that can make or break the trip. 

 Lessons can be included if you do the all-day option. I just so happened to be at ski-school last weekend and got to see the toddlers in action. So darn cute.  Ski-school is now located in the ground floor of Mountain Lodge so you might consider staying there for the convenience. These guys are helpful Moutaintop Condos

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