Have you ever taken a vacation with another family?
The thought can either make you…
- Super EXCITED or
- Super SCARED.
Traveling with another family is a great to way to change the dynamic of a vacation, plus it allows you to have a shared experience that usually strengthens your relationship.
(And it’s nice to save a few dollars plus by splitting the cost of a vacation rental.)
But, what about a ski vacation with another family? That takes it to whole different level. Especially, when one of the families is learning to ski. It’s risky! What if you love skiing and they hate it? What if being together 24-hours-a-day-in-the-same-place not only ruins the vacation, but your friendship?
As a person who has traveled with families multiple times, here is my advice and 7 Tips for Taking a Ski Vacation With Another Family, So You Remain Friends When You Get Home.
7 Tips For Taking A Ski Vacation With Another Family
1. Pick the right family.
This is the most important tip, period. If you choose the WRONG family, it can ruin your hard-earned vacation.
We took this ski vacation with my friend and fellow blogger, Kristen from Dine and Dish to Keystone, CO. We are fortunate because our families get along splendidly. (Including our husbands.) Kristen’s kiddos and my kiddos are the same ages (or within a few months). And while they don’t see each other every week, they have hung out enough to not feel “weird” around each other for the first couple of days.
2. Pick a location with lots of different activities.
I’ve discussed why Keystone Ski Resort is a great value before…but it comes down to the number of activities available for different ages and ski levels. This was especially important because my family had been skiing before, Kristen’s family (minus her husband) had not.
I was very sensitive to the fact that if her kids hated skiing, they would have other things to do, like snow-tubing, riding the gondola, going to the world’s largest snow fort, ice skating, creating pottery, snow shoeing, or shopping. (No joke, you can do all of this and more at Keystone.)
Plus, at Keystone, kids ski FREE. If you stay in a Keystone owned and operated lodging, kids 12 years of age and under are allowed to ski and snowboard free every day. I love this fact about Keystone, because it makes skiing less risky. You are able to give skiing a shot and not pay an arm and leg to do it.
3. Have a mini-meeting so everyone is on the same page.
About two weeks before we left for the mountains, Kristen and I had a mini meeting and discussed the condo, food, travel times, and expectations. We mapped out a snack and meal plan and divided responsibilities. Talked about driving together. Discussed what wine we wanted to drink. You know, important things!
In all seriousness, these meetings are so important because you are able to get on the same page or voice concerns before they become an issue during the vacation.
4. Find activities the kids can do by themselves.
It’s the bomb. It’s an investment, but it is the surest way that kids (and adults) will learn to ski and love the mountain.
Look at this crew! This is the second year my kiddos have been in Keystone’s ski school and I’m pretty sure my son is going to out ski me by the end of next year.
There are several reasons why I think Keystone has the best ski school in Colorado. First, the instructors are PRIMO. They love kids and they love teaching kids to ski. Second, Keystone has four children’s ski areas to help them master their skills, including the Schoolmarm green run which meanders then entire length of the mountain for 3.5 miles. (And believe me, kiddos think it is wicked cool to ride the BIG lift to the top and then ski all the way down.)
Plus, ski school is from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm, which allows adults to ski on your own, shop, have lunch, grab a beer or take a nap.
5. Find activities the parents can do by themselves.
Since the kiddos are having their “time”, it means parents get to have some “time” too.
(You know, adult conversation that doesn’t include words like, “We are leaving in 15 minutes, EAT YOUR BREAKFAST and get your SHOES ON now.”)
We were lucky enough to grab a Sunday Champagne Brunch reservation at The Alpenglow Stube. A little bit about the Alpenglow, it’s a 4-diamond rated restaurant that sits atop North Peak at 11,444′ feet. Hubs and I skied all morning and then arrived at The Alpenglow Stube cold, snowy and ready to eat. We were greeted with a coffee and Bailey’s and warm slippers. WARM SLIPPERS people!!
It was such a great way to spend a Sunday morning…with friends, a few glasses of mimosas, amazing food, spectacular views, and laughter. Lots and lots of laughter. Followed by a quick ski run before picking up the kids.
6. Embrace splitting up.
One of the surest ways to ruin a vacation with another family is spending every single moment together. It’s okay to split up. Split up as families, as men, as women, as spouses, swap kids, whatever.
Because Keystone Ski Resort has so much going on, we were able to split up with out much effort. One afternoon the husbands ditched the wives and kids and skiied hard runs. One afternoon the wives ditched the husbands and kids and had lunch at a pub. One day we skiied as a family. One night, Kristen’s husband, went night skiing (Keystone is one of the only resorts with night skiing till 8:00 pm on most days.)
7. Have a least one special night as a group.
I think it is important to have a couple of special events planned for the entire group.
We had the opportunity to have a group dinner at Der Fondue Chessel. Der Fondue is located at The Outpost on top of North Peak at 11,444 feet. We had a two gondola ride up to the top of the mountain, followed by a four-course fondue dinner (appetizer, cheese, meat and dessert) with Bavarian music and dancing.
The cheese and chocolate courses were amazing. The S’Mores chocolate course at the end was so much fun for the kiddos. Where else do you get FLAMING CHOCOLATE that acts like a fire for roasting marshmallows? Dip your marshmallow, add a graham cracker and you have an INDOOR s’more.
The only downside to Der Fondue was the timing. We did our “special night” after the first day of ski school and the kiddos were EXHAUSTED. We actually had two that fell asleep at the table between courses. Mental note…make an earlier reservation or pick a different restaurant for our first night on the mountain.
We also had the chance to do Adventure Point Tubing. This is extreme snow tubing and it was AMAZING-sauce. Seriously. It was wicked fun to go down a groomed sled/snow-tube hill, spinning around like a mad-man, and we could do it all together. (Which is no small feat with ages ranging from 5 to 42.) All of the kids loved the experience and I think the adults had a good time too. Or at least this adult did.
So What Is Family?
Family is who you make it. Sometimes our families are blood relatives, sometimes we marry into them, and sometimes we create them. And a family vacation, regardless if it is the beach, camping or skiing is just one way, to strengthen the relationship long term.
When you vacation with another family, you get to show them (and they show you) all of the details that makes you a family. If those people still like you after it is all said and done, well, you’ve gone beyond just being friends, to something more. You are family.
Disclosure: This was a media trip and many of the expenses were paid for by the folks at Keystone Ski Resort. However, it was not a free trip and there were expenses that were incurred by my family including lodging, some meals and travel. With all of that being said, these opinions, pictures, and thoughts are my own. And we have already made the decision to go back for the next ski season. Want more information – check out my full full disclosure statement.