By Kristen Lummis
Sometimes, you just need a break.
Family, job, friends, house…it’s a balancing act.
And it’s good to get away every once in awhile.
Enter: the family ski vacation.
Sure, there are logistics involved in getting the whole gang outfitted, prepared, and situated at a ski destination like Park City Mountain Resort (PCMR)—and as the mom, the planning often falls on you—but once you’re at the resort, the mountain is yours, if you’ll let it be.
So go ahead and take that well-deserved break.
And don’t feel guilty about it.
Since we know that every busy mom appreciates the inside scoop, here are some tips for planning your ski escape at Park City.
Before you can take care of you, you have to take care of the kids.
Here’s a quick rundown:
Kids’ lessons at Park City fall into one of two groups: Signature 3 classes for kids ages 3.5 to 5 meet at the Kids’ Mountain School on the lower level of the base plaza; Signature 5 classes for kids ages 6 to 14 meet at the Kids’ Korral on the snow.
Both are full-day programs, although Signature 3 classes spend time indoors playing on the resort’s jungle gym and enjoying other activities.
Signature 3 classes get their gear at the Kids’ Mountain School, while everyone else, ages 6 and up, rents gear in the rental shop on the lower level of Legacy Lodge.
As for your teens, if they are between 15 and 17, PCMR offers Teen Select.
Less of a lesson than independent exploration, it's a low-key pairing of teens and instructors.
There is no onsite daycare at PCMR, although there is licensed care at Canyons, Guardian Angel, and Mother Goose of Utah.
With the kids covered, it’s finally your time.
If a lesson is on your agenda, choose from full- and half-day private or group lessons.
Or, join the daily Ladies Club ($70) from 10 a.m. to noon and brush up on your skills with a female instructor.
Early riser? Charge Dad with getting the kids to lessons and check out the All Mountain Club, which meets at 8:15 a.m. for three hours every day (advanced skiers and snowboarders only, $135).
Your guide will lead you to hidden powder stashes, share the best routes, and arm you with tips and tricks to conquer the mountain.
Can you say first tracks?
Park City is a big mountain, but it’s conveniently divided into seven Mountainzones, each clearly described on the trail map.
Most guests start in the Crescent Zone, taking the Crescent quad lift up to mid-mountain and then continuing up on the Bonanza six-pack lift or skiing back down on one of Park City’s Signature Runs, of which there are thirteen across the resort.
Always groomed, these runs transition skiers and riders from blue to black runs—and yes, they come with bragging rights.
At the top of Bonanza, pop into the Summit House for big views and warming fare.
The chicken tortilla soup is a must.
You’ll also find the Summit Demo Center, where you can do a little speed shopping and test new skis from Rossignol, Volkl, Blizzard, and Salomon.
For the best views, head to the McConkey’s Mountainzone and catch breathtaking panoramas of the Wasatch Range and Guardsman Pass.
Another unique option—something that might not be possible if the kids were with you—is a free history tour.
These skiing tours, which cover the area’s rich mining and Olympic heritage as you traverse the mountain, leave twice a day: at 10 a.m. from the Eagle statue at the base, and at 1 p.m. from the Summit Demo Center.
When lunchtime approaches, make your way to the historic Mid-Mountain Lodge near the McConkey’s and Pioneer lifts.
A former boarding house, the lodge is decorated with historic photos and graced with a wrap-around deck.
The kitchen churns out big portions of comfort food; don’t leave without indulging in the three cheese grilled sandwich, or the fan-favorite teriyaki lettuce wraps.
If the Town Lift is open, ski right down to Main Street, and take your pick of Park City’s many eateries for lunch before taking the lift back up to squeeze in a couple more laps before picking up the kids.
You deserve it.