November 12, 2015

Best Ski Resorts Out West (US)

Megan Gates is an active blogger who provides written work to the blogosphere pertaining to NYC Apartments, Hamptons Homes, home improvement and the latest architecture, design, fashion and travel.  Follow her on twitter @MEGatesDesign.

Skiing is a fantastic sport for old and young alike. Whether you head out on a romantic couples retreat or a family ski holiday, you will find some amazing ski resorts in the West that will fulfill all your snow needs. Skiers and snowboarders alike can find the perfect trails and powdery off-trail hills to get the adrenaline going. The many different resorts can offer you pampered luxury or a budget family holiday at its finest.

Vail, Colorado:
The second largest ski resort in North America is located in Vail, Colorado. With 33 lifts and 193 trails, it's quite obvious why. You can also find four terrain parks and seven powdery bowls here for your snow adventure. Vail averages almost 350 inches of snow yearly which makes for some great rides. Vail village has all the excitement you seek off the mountain. Shopping, dining, spas and nightlife will keep you from getting bored on your ski getaway.

Grand Targhee, Wyoming:
With an average snowfall of 500 inches of fluffy powder snow per season, Grand Targhee is an excellent choice for skiing. The Nordic skiing trails are awesome, and you can also check out some snowshoeing or even take a sleigh ride. Two mountain peaks boast over 2,500 acres of awesome slopes. Beginners or advanced skiers can enjoy the variety of difficulties. Ski in-ski out accommodations are available at many of the fine resorts.

Bridger Bowl, Montana:
For the advanced skier looking for a challenge, Bridger Bowl offers a lift for expert skiers only. To be admitted to the lift riders must have in their possession an avalanche transceiver in case of being buried in the snow. Having a partner and a shovel with you would also be a wise investment. With open bowls and cliff drops, there are plenty of challenges for you to take on. Prices are quite reasonable compared to other resorts. Plenty of events and races take place here, and they even have childcare for your convenience.

Taos Ski Valley, New Mexico:
Once barren of snowboarders, Taos is now welcoming snowboarders as well as skiers to its mountain. 110 trails total are available, with half of them being expert slopes. Over 15,000 skiers per hour are brought to the top of the mountain on lifts. There are some amazing hiking areas that will bring you to a fantastic ride and awesome views. Tubing is also available for some great family fun. A variety of restaurants and bars are available offering everything from pizza, burgers, authentic German fare and even low carb specials.

Mount Bachelor, Oregon:
Skiing, snowboarding, tubing and sled dog rides are just a few of the exhilarating activities offered at Mount Bachelor. With the highest ski elevation in all of Washington and Oregon, 71 runs and an average snowfall of 387 inches, you will definitely get the most of your ski experience. Excellent opportunities for beginners to learn the sport, and the beginners lift is free. Kids also ski free with paying adult. The views from the top of this volcanic peak are breathtaking.

Mount Baker, Washington:
This awesome mountain holds the world record for snowfall in a single season at 1,140 inches, which fell in the season of 1998-1999. The yearly snowfall averages about 641 inches, the highest in the world. 38 trails and a 1,500 foot vertical rise will give you some awesome terrain to hit the slopes on. Snowmobiling, snow bikes and tubing are among many other sports you can engage in.

October 4, 2015

A Personalized Luxury Holiday Getaway

If you are looking for the best Holiday getaway this year for you and your spouse or your entire family, look no further. Below are some ideas for getting away in style for this holiday season, all while pampering yourself and finding some time to relax.

The mountains of Park City, Utah offer a great luxury getaway that includes not only some of the best skiing in the world, but also some of the best accommodations. You can rent a ski-in, ski-out house on the mountain in Deer Valley for a family, or pick one of the many five star hotels in the area for a romantic couple getaway. The area is full of nice spas and other ways to pamper yourself while also enjoying the beautiful views of the Wasatch Mountains as you stroll around Main Street's high-end designer shops. It truly is a magical place during the holidays.

If you are looking for a warmer getaway this year, consider a cruise in the Mediterranean Sea. Cruising into the Greek Isles, along the shores of Italy's Amalfi Coast, or over to Spain, any Mediterranean Sea cruise will not disappoint. Many of today's cruise ships come complete with a balcony view, spas galore, and more gourmet food than you can imagine. It is a great way to leave behind the day-to-day life and concentrate on celebrating you. Families and couples alike will enjoy a cruise.

A third suggestion for a luxury getaway this holiday season is in Northern California's wine country. Romantic for a couple, this area of the country features many quaint vineyards and wineries that are sure not to disappoint. Spend some time navigating the hills of San Francisco, or drive on down to Half Moon Bay, just south of the city, to enjoy some of the most romantic and dramatic views of the Pacific Ocean that you cannot even imagine. Behold the magic of the Pacific Northwest this holiday season.

Finally, if none of these other destinations strikes your fancy, perhaps renting a flat to spend a week in New York City real estate is more your style. New York City is a great place during the holidays in that it is full of fun Broadway shows, horse-drawn carriage rides through Central Park, as well as many fantastic shopping districts that will surely keep any fashionista entertained for days. New York City is quite possibly the most romantic city during this festive season.

Wherever your spirit takes you this year, may it be brightened by all that the holidays have to offer. Happy Holidays to you and yours.

This information is written by Ken Torrino, web relations for Elliman, brokers for NYC, Queens Real Estate.

September 16, 2015

How To Furnish A Vacation Rental

Why Furnishing Is So Critical
When Guests of your vacation rental book a reservation, often times they are focusing not only on price or location, but on photos of that property that they find somewhere within your listing. Because certain types of potential renters seek out an overall atmosphere that they are looking for (i.e. Mountain, Contemporary, Modern, Historic, Etc..), furnishings can be a make-or-break between whether they choose to rent your property, or go with another rental in the same price range that they perceive to be "better" because the Owner of that vacation home has created a unique atmosphere. So how can you ensure that your rental won't go overlooked in the growing vacation rental industry?

Consistency is the Key
When it comes down to it, most renters want a comfortable yet memorable vacation experience. You don't have to go all out and purchase top-of-the line furnishings to meet their wants or expectations. In fact, it is a good idea to purchase the least expensive furnishings that you can find that are tasteful and that complement your home's attributes. Try to be as consistent as possible when creating your vacation rental's atmosphere or overall feel. For example, if you own a log-cabin style mountain home, it would be in your best interests to stay consistent with the location and exterior attributes and furnish the interior with log beds, quilts, and woodsy colors to create a rustic atmosphere. Nowadays, you can find tasteful furnishings at most department stores or even second hand stores that are inexpensive but add greatly to your vacation rental's overall atmosphere.

If you are marketing your vacation rental as a luxury rental, however, you may need to go out and spend the extra cash up front to solidify your rental success and encourage repeat visits, referrals, and positive word of mouth. If you plan on charging rental rates that are on the high end of the rental spectrum, your Guests will most certainly expect the best. It's a good idea to go for high thread count linens, high end appliances, and the latest and greatest electronics and entertainment options.

Make it Comfortable And Remember The Kids
It is highly recommended that you sleep one night on every bed in your property. It may sound like a bit much, but as a rule of thumb if the beds in your vacation rental aren't comfortable enough for you to sleep on, they are most likely not acceptable for your Guests. Discomfort is most certainly not the way to encourage repeat visits!

It is also highly recommended that you create a kid-friendly environment. Remember that the majority of your rentals will be families, and it is likely that the family that is renting your home, or their Guests, will have a child or children. Try to steer clear of glass coffee and end tables with sharp corners and breakable decorative furnishings within a child's reach.

August 25, 2015

Top 10 Vacation Destinations

Each year, Frommer's editors, authors, and experts from around the world sit down to talk about the best cities, islands, beaches, and other vacation destinations for the coming year. They aim for a list that steers clear of too-hot spots or places that are so under the radar you'll find yourself lost.To tell you about their choices, they turned to experts in the field: authors and editors who live in the destinations or who travel there on the regular. We think the best people to share about a city or a region are those who can't stay away from them for too long.

Doha, Qatar

Doha doesn't attract the hoards of beer-swilling British tourists or the sheer number of hotels that the U.A.E.'s Dubai does, but its beaches are more beautiful and its gourmet restaurants are less crowded. The Al Jazeera news network is what put Doha on the map a decade ago, although a different sort of camera -- the movie kind -- is what's drawing tourists for the Doha-Tribeca Film Festival. Next year marks its third installment. Doha is concentrating on beefing up its presence on the international stage by following up its world-class, I.M. Pei-designed Museum of Islamic Art with a bid for the Olympics in 2016 and the Fifa World Cup in 2022. Plus, the city is hosting professional soccer's Asian Cup in January.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Although hardly a secret destination, Rio de Janeiro is shedding its image as a sun, sea, and samba town and going for glamour and sophistication. Join the friendly Cariocas for an innovative 10-course Amazonian dinner at Rio's top Le Pré Catelan restaurant or some delectable "brapas" (Brazilian tapas) at hip eatery Oui Oui. Even Rio's magnificent beaches are better than ever before; from Leme to Leblon, new outdoor cafés boast fabulous seaside patios with comfortable bathroom facilities. As host of the 2014 Soccer World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics, the city is abuzz with exciting developments that will be sure to attract huge crowds. Beat the rush and see how the Girl from Ipanema is all grown up.

Stockholm, Sweden

Best-selling writer Stieg Larsson has rocketed Stockholm to the top of the list of most popular European cities through the exploits of computer hacker Lisbeth Salander, better known as the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. It's high time: Stockholm has always been a city of under-appreciated surprises and discoveries. Every visitor should see the main sights (like the Royal Palace and the winding cobbled streets of medieval Gamla Stan), but then hop on the 1900 steamboat that takes you past hidden creeks and marshland to the royal family's palace on Drottningholm. Swim in a restored 1904 Art Nouveau pool, tuck into reindeer or arctic char in a gourmet food market, or try a distinctly different guided walk over the rooftops. And of course, follow in the footsteps of Lisbeth Salander on the former working-class island of Södermalm.

Atlanta, Georgia

As the gateway to the New South, Atlanta has certainly come a long way since it burned to the ground during General William Tecumseh Sherman's March to the Sea in 1864. And while remains of the Civil War are still a big draw for visitors -- the Kennesaw Mountain / National Battlefield Park and Cheatham Hill specifically, there is much more to this great city than 150-year-old confrontations. Atlanta boasts the world's largest aquarium, the World of Coca-Cola museum, a world-class zoo, an impressive botanical garden, and Federal parks highlighting the life and works of native son Martin Luther King, Jr. Reinvigorated neighborhoods scattered throughout the city, such as Virginia-Highlands, Midtown and Buckhead, are easy to navigate on foot and boast great shopping, dining and nightlife. Progressive yet rich in history, Atlanta truly has something for everyone.

Kent Coast, England

Less than two hours from London by train, the Kent Coastline offers long stretches of clean, sandy beaches, secluded coves, and bustling seaside towns. There's plenty to keep visitors going over a long weekend, from quirky independent shops to worthy eateries to stylish boutique hotels. A focus for visitors is the area from Whitstable to Ramsgate, taking in the colourful beach huts of Herne Bay and the traditional seaside resort of Broadstairs, with many beaches to be discovered along the way. Walkers can take off on a bracing cliff top ramble whilst exploring the 27-mile-long Viking Coastal Path, taking in smugglers haunts, and some of the oldest churches in England.

Hokkaido, Japan

The northernmost island of Hokkaido was the final frontier for the citizens of Japan, so it's only fitting that it's the final frontier for visitors as well. Hokkaido confounds expectations at every turn. While the mainland of Japan has a reputation for being tiny and crowded, Hokkaido is expansive and sparsely populated. While the mainland features typically Asian architecture, the major cities of Hokkaido have a distinct, almost European feel. And while Japan is known as a technological paradise, Hokkaido overflows with natural wonders, from fields of alpine flowers in the summer to breathtaking ice-scapes in the winter months.

Cesme Peninsula, Turkey

The picturesque villages with crumbling Greek facades and enormous stretches of sparsely populated beaches that were once the hidden playground of Izmir's working class have developed into a veritable international holiday sensation. Today, relaxation can be found at more than a dozen deluxe thermal spas and visitors can find lodging at opulent bayside resorts, romantic boutique hideaways, or even a stately Pasha's manse. Step back in time at Erytrai, the city of antiquity peeping out from under the Mediterranean brush, and pass into the medieval era in Çesme's hybrid Genoese-Ottoman fortress before returning to the 21st century in one of the many elegant streetside cafés of Alaçati or the white-glove restaurants at Dalyan cove.

Nahanni National Park, Canada

If there's such a thing as a quintessential Canadian wilderness experience, paddling down the Nahanni River may be it. While the remote Nahanni National Park in the Northwest Territories has always had a degree of recognition -- it was the world's first-ever UNESCO World Heritage Site -- its profile increased dramatically in 2009 when the park underwent a massive expansion to become more than 11,500 square miles of protected land (nearly the size of Switzerland). While the park's remote nature means that this is not a budget trip, you also don't have to be a grizzled outdoorsman to enjoy it -- warming in the north means that the season gets a little bit longer every year, and many people choose to float comfortably down the river in a whitewater raft, enjoying the abundant wildlife.

Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

A tiny town fronting a small protected harbor on Costa Rica's Caribbean coast, Puerto Viejo offers up a laid-back environment, spicy food, palpable tropical heat, and streets filled with the rhythmic lilt of patois and reggae music. From the shore right in town you can watch surfers tackle Salsa Brava, a steep reef break reminicent of Hawaii's treacherous Bonzai Pipline. Just south of town are white sand beaches backed by thick rain forest and protected park lands. If you decide to do more than sunbathe, you can hike the trails of the nearby Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge and Cahuita National Park. You'll almost certainly hear the roar of howler monkeys, and watch parrots fly by.

Ponza & the Pontine Islands, Italy

The principal island in Italy's Pontine archipelago is one of the most naturally gorgeous and downright fun islands of Italy, and just far enough from the mainland to be an impractical destination for mass tourism. So much the better for those who do go to the trouble of making a trip here, because what you'll find is a rare Mediterranean gem that has kept its Italian identity intact and undiluted. It's not that Ponza is "undiscovered." On the contrary, it's a summertime escape that enjoys feverish devotion among the bella gente of Rome and Naples. If you want to avoid the holiday scene altogether, just come in the gorgeous shoulder months of May, June, and September -- locals will tell you this is when their island really shines.

July 8, 2015

Vacation Rentals: The Smarter Choice!

What is a Vacation Rental?
Vacation rentals come in all sizes and types: townhouses, condos, large ski houses, lake houses, lodges, chalets, cabins, and more. Vacation rentals are privately owned, so you when you rent one you have the luxury of enjoying your own private amenities. A good vacation rental will provide amenities like towels, linens, cookware, and dishware so you can pack lightly and enjoy similar conveniences to that which you are familiar with in your own home. Many vacation rentals even come equipped with fireplaces, hot tubs, pool tables, foosball tables, hot tubs, and second living areas for added comfort and entertainment.

Vacation Rentals vs. Hotel Rooms
Why pay for a single hotel room when you can rent an entire vacation home? From affordable rentals to luxury estates (and everything in between) you can find a vacation rental that meets your needs. Staying in a vacation rental allows you to choose the type of vacation you want. Would you like to be on the mountain right in the heart of the action during the ski season? Would you prefer to be situated downtown walking distance to area restaurants or be on a convenient shuttle route? How about a more secluded or quiet location, possibly on the water, so you can squeeze in some quality family time when your not visitng the area's main attractions?

Vacation Rentals Save Money
When you stay in a vacation rental you get access to comfortable amenities you won’t find at a hotel. Take advantage of the fully equipped kitchen to cook meals at home, instead of spending your cash to eat out every day. If you visit a particular location frequently enough, you may even consider splitting the cost of a house rental with friends or another family for the entire summer or winter season. When considering the added amenities and the space per square footage, it becomes obvious that vacation rentals are you best bet!

June 1, 2015

Vacation Rental Agencies: The Benefits

The Many Benefits
Working with an established Rental Agency offers great benefits for both Owners and Guests of vacation rentals. Owners can take advantage of professionally managed services such as rental marketing, advertising, inquiry reception, and reservation booking that allow for greater probability of producing year-round rental income. Guests will find it easier to locate and book reservations by working with vacation rental specialists who are knowledgable about the area and focused on customer service. There will be greater consistency for both Owners and Guests when it comes to housekeeping & maintenance, and both parties can be reassured of a comfortable check-in / check-out process with Rental Agents available locally. Professionally managed rentals also offer the peace of mind of 24/7 on call service should any issues arise.

Owners, Consider This
Connecting Rentals has represented a great number of Owners who have gone the route of renting on their own. This is not a bad option - advertise your property on a vacation rental listing site, get a lock box with a key, and have someone in the area that can perform maintenance and clean. Easy enough, right? Maybe as an Owner everything is working relatively well, but ask yourself this: Is there a chance that I may have missed opportunities by not getting back to people fast enough? Have people been turned off because I seemed uneasy or un-knowledgeable about the reservation process? How many people are there out there that I am missing out on that have had bad experiences with someone else's RBO (Rental By Owner), and now choose to work exclusively with professionally managed rentals to avoid inconsistencies. Remember, if you are serious about maximizing your rental potential, it is always in Owners best interests to work together with an Agency. It is not to say that you cannot book reservations on your own as long as you keep your rental manager informed, but why close yourself off to such a large segment of the market?

Guests, Consider This
Perhaps you may feel that by working directly with an Owner renting on their own you may be able to save a few dollars. However, that is in most cases more a perception than a reality. Generally speaking, rentals offered by a Rental Agency may even cost less than an RBO. A good Agency can offer property Owners a higher volume of rentals which helps to offset any management fees and allows the Agency to price competitively. So not only do you get a fair price, but you also get valuable professional rental services including easier reservation booking and confirmation, consistent check-in and check-out procedures, and someone local on call during your stay in case of a lockout or emergency. You also have the added reassurance that an established business is handling collection & disbursement of securities and rent.

Whether you are a property Owner, Guest, Or Tenant, there are numerous reasons of why it makes sense to work together with a Rental Agency to assure a successful rental. Connecting Rentals encourages Owners and Guests to visit the Bethel Agency website at to learn more about your rental possibilities in Bethel Maine and the surrounding Sunday River area.

May 5, 2015

Top 5 Best "Hidden Secret" Beach Vacations

The sun on your skin, the breeze blowing through your hair – who doesn't love a great beach vacation? With resorts popping up left and right there are more choices than ever for couples, families and even singles looking for that perfect beach getaway. From bustling urban shores to remote islands, there's something for everyone at these 5 best beach vacation destinations that you can't miss in 2012.

Best Beach Vacations: Leblon Beach, Rio de Janeiro
If the impending World Cup and Olympic excitement are any clue, Rio is set to take the world by storm. For the chic side of this notoriously sexy city, pass on by the more popular Rio de Janeiro beaches, Copacabana and Ipanema, for Leblon beach. This inlet is stocked with the same beautiful people, stunning views and breezy waves as the other Rio beaches, but surrounded by high-end shopping boutiques and trendy restaurants. On weekends, enjoy a stroll through the pop-up markets that collect in Leblon's parks.

Best Beach Vacations: St. Croix, USVI
Adventure seekers will dive head-first in love with St. Croix and the 30+ fantastic scuba diving spots around the island. Divers come face-to-face with natural wildlife, amazing coral reef and even sunken ships. Other water sports abound, too: take a jet ski across the crystal waters or go snorkeling in the shallow reefs. Landlubbers can take in a beachside yoga class or spa treatment to soothe their sunburned skin in this relaxing beach destination.

Best Beach Vacations: Paseo Maritimo, Spain
With all the comforts of a traditional North American boardwalk and the exotic flair of the Mediterranean, Paseo Maritimo is one of Spain's best beach vacation spots. Just 25 minutes outside of the infamous culture of Valencia, and following along both Las Arenas and La Malvarrosa beaches, there's great people watching to be done in this rejuvenated port area: roller skaters, traveling kiosks and unique fashions abound on the trendy promenade. When you've tired of blue skies and blue waters, shack up at discounted boutiques in this up-and-coming nabe.

Best Beach Vacations: Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt
Most visitors to Egypt spend weeks exploring Cairo's majestic historical sites and miss one of the country's best resources, its beautiful beaches. Take a beach vacation where pebbled beaches of the Red Sea meet total urban sophistication -- Sharm el Sheikh, affectionately nicknamed 'The City of Peace'. Five-star hotels like the Four Seasons and Ritz Carlton overlook the coast while traditional Bedouin stands line the beach and offer meals and unique souvenirs of perfume bottles, jewelry and linens.

Best Beach Vacations: Caye Caulker, Belize
Caye Caulker is the very definition of laid-back island life. Often thought of as a last uncharted frontier of Belize, this island is available by water taxi from other areas of the country, but tends to be overlooked for more popular resort-style beaches. Because of the peaceful seclusion, this white coral sand beach in its intimate setting has attracted musicians and artists from across the globe. Caye Caulker is for those who prefer Belize's boutique hotels to resorts, and fresh seafood over gourmet tasting menus.

April 7, 2015

Vacation in Bethel Maine!

Bethel, Maine is the quintessential New England town - the perfect combination of sophistication and history, all wrapped in a quaint, picturesque village that seems as untouched by the outside world as it was 200 years ago. Initially, Bethel was a farming community, but in 1851 a railroad was built that connected Portland, Maine and Montreal, Canada. Tourists began discovering the many treasures Bethel had to offer, and the travel industry had found a new destination. The surrounding area, filled with natural wonders, provides outdoor lovers an endless playground of opportunities. You can spend your days hiking, horseback riding, whitewater rafting, fly fishing, swimming, boating, cross-country skiing, and of course downhill skiing!
Begin your Bethel holiday by taking a stroll around the Village Common, a centrally located square surrounded by all manner of shops, restaurants, and historical buildings. The square is lined with 19th century homes that look like they stepped right out of a postcard. Stop in the Bethel Inn & Country Club for a meal and to play your favorite board game, readily available in the main sitting room. Shop for antiques and hand-made crafts. Visit the Dr. Moses Mason House, built in 1813, for a glimpse back in time. Now a museum, the home has been totally renovated, and is a wonderful example of Victorian architecture.
A great way to see the Bethel Maine area is by donning a pair of hiking boots and venturing out the front door. One of the best spots is Grafton Notch State Park, located along the Maine-New Hampshire border. The most famous footpath in the world, the Appalachian Trail, passes through the park on the way to its terminus in Mt. Katahdin. Throughout the park you will see waterfalls, caves, and incredible mountain vistas. One of the popular trails is the Grafton Loop, a 21-mile round tripper that can be tackled in sections, depending on your skill level.
More outdoor adventure can be found in the nearby White Mountain National Forest. Hiking enthusiasts love the forest for the trails catering to every skill level. One of the most popular trails takes in the scenic splendor atop Franconia Ridge. All told, there are over 1200 miles of trails that ramble through the forest. Fly fishing the many rivers, brooks, and ponds is also a popular pastime. In winter, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are hot ticket items.
When the snows hit the mountains, Bethel's citizens make the most of the event. Sunday River Ski Resort, located about 6 miles from Bethel, has over 120 trails that connect eight different mountain peaks. 18 lifts serve 660 acres of skiable terrain that has runs for every taste and ability. Snowboarders have 4 different terrain parks, including a super pipe and a half pipe. The Sunday River Learn-To-Ski Program is designed to get even the most novice of skiers or boarders up and moving.
Also nearby is Mt. Abram Ski Area and Family Resort. If you are looking for an unpretentious, non-factory, skier and rider centric experience with ripping terrain then discover the Mt. Abram Resort, 5 miles south of Bethel, Maine Village. Mt. Abram offers a full range of amenities, and the "come as you are culture" has been providing memorable downhill experiences since 1960.
The mountain boasts 44 trails of all ability terrain, five lifts, jib park and Maine's first "Boundary to Boundary" ski policy which sky-rocketed the skiable and rideable area from 250 acres of trails to 550 acres of trails, glades, tree lines and powder stashes that humble some of the most experienced skiers and riders. The mountain's 1,150-foot vertical drop ranges from gentle novice slopes to double black diamonds and exciting tree runs with over half the trails here are ranked intermediate or up, and expert riders and skiers will find plenty of challenges.
Bethel is the perfect spot for enjoying a vacation in Maine. Make sure to visit the Sunday River Bridge, also known as "Artist's Bridge," one of the most photographed of all the covered bridges in Maine. The golfer in your group can tee it up at the Bethel Inn and Country Club, or the world class Sunday River Golf Club. Canoers and kayakers can enjoy their sport in the Androscoggin River. Try something new such as the growing sport of ice climbing, which is popular in the nearby Mahoosuc Mountains and New Hampshire's Mount Washington Valley. Bethel makes an ideal spot for a vacation filled with outdoor fun, so get out there and experience the fun of the mountains of Maine!

March 17, 2015

Family Ski Vacation Ideas

Virtually all ski resorts these days welcome families, and offer kids' programs and ski and snowboard schools. Many go farther, with special features such as child-care centers, nurseries, and cool programs for teens. See a selection of family ski resorts, below.
Top Family Ski Resort Suggestions (alphabetical)

Alta Mountain, Utah
This skiers-only mountain is one of seven ski resorts within 40 miles of the Salt Lake City airport and Salt Lake City skiing, which offers great snow and a fast track to the slopes. Stay at the Alta Lodge: an old-style ski lodge kind of place where guests meet over meals.

Aspen, CO
The legendary Colorado ski resort Aspen (now part of Aspen/Snowmass) has been synonymous with status and wealth for decades. It's also got beautiful Victorian buildings, top shops and eats, and kids programs. One lift ticket buys access to four different mountains (Snowmass, Aspen, Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk).

Beaver Creek, CO
Beaver Creek is an upscale Colorado ski resort that's known for kids programs: kids have their own gondola and restaurant, handily located near the spot where warm chocolate chip cookies are served by chefs at the base of the main chair lift every afternoon. Beaver Creek is just a few miles from Vail: lift passes are good at both, and also at Keystone and Breckenridge, which are also owned by Vail Resorts.

Big Bear Lake, CA
Big Bear is a mid-sized ski resort, which is two hours from LA and four from Las Vegas, and offers a family-friendly atmosphere with terrain for all levels.

Breckenridge, CO
Multiple peaks, charming historic town, and plenty of fun for kids, including terrain parks and pipes-- and Snow Sculpture Championships (in January).

Bretton Woods, NH
This good-for-beginners family-friendly ski resort jazzed up its image with new areas with black-diamond trails. Lodging includes the classic (and family-friendly) Mountain Washington Hotel. 100 km of cross-country trails, too. Kids programs and nursery.

Copper Mountain, CO
This popular ski resort in the Colorado Rockies has our mountains, tubing hill, sleigh ride with dining in the woods, snowmobiling, a snow-skate park, and more.

Crested Butte, CO
Crested Butte is off on its own with its location 230 miles southwest of Denver; the nearest airport is Gunnison. Visitors find great snow, uncrowded slopes, and a quaint former mining town restored into shops and restaurants.

Deer Valley, UT
One of several great ski options within an hour of Salt Lake City, Deer Valley (Near Park City) is skiers-only, and is known as a foodie's paradise and for top-of-the-line services. Deer Valley has luxury lodging and a striking amount of vacation real estate on the slopes. Sign up early for kids programs!

Lake Placid, NY
In the Adirondacks, Lake Placid has an Olympic Center (-try the bobsled), and old-fashioned town toboggan run. Nearby Whiteface Mountain has 3430 vertical feet, kids program, Teen Experience.

Keystone Ski Resort, CO
Keystone is one of several ski resorts in the Colorado Rockies owned by Vail Resorts: lift passes are good at all. Keystone's annual Kidtopia features a Snow Fort and a torchlight parade and other fun activities.

Mammoth Mountain, CA
Mammoth Mountain is, well, mammoth: over 11,000 feet at the summit. Mammoth is a top destination for spring skiing, and sometimes stays open right through June. Location is 300 miles north of Los Angeles, and 264 miles east of San Francisco.

Northstar-at-Tahoe, CA
Nice-priced ski resort with kids programs and child care; tubing park; Adventure Parks for kids, lots more.

Okemo VT
Okemo earns the name "family ski resort" with excellent kids' programs, lots of intermediate runs, many different types of lodging, and activities such as family New Year's Eve celebrations. Kids six and under ski free.

Salt Lake City, UT
Seven very different mountains, all within an hour's drive of a major airport: Park City, Deer Valley, The Canyons, Soliltude, Brighton, Alta, and Snowbird. Utah's motto is "The Greatest Snow on Earth."

Sunday River Ski Resort, ME
Sunday River is a four season resort in the mountains of Maine offering great deals and the best skiing, snowboarding and golf in New England. Sunday River offers a daycare for children and family friendly activities year-round including tubing, ice skating, and ski & snowboard schools. Christmas and February Vacation are highlights.