This is the year—your kids are finally old enough to hit the slopes, and you’re eager to get them on the skis. Which resort should you visit? Put them in lessons or teach them yourself? What equipment do kids need to ski? Your questions may be endless, but if your destination is Park City, Utah, Deer Valley Resort is the answer.
Deer Valley® is well known for world-class service and palm-sized chocolate chip cookies, but for parents, the kid-friendly ski school and welcoming terrain are the real standouts. The snowboard free slopes and limited daily lift tickets make Deer Valley the perfect place for littles to fall in love with sliding on snow.
Before you buy a shiny new set of kid’s skis and send junior down the slopes, figure out if your mini me is ready to learn to ski. Assess their eagerness, maturity, and fear factor, and if you’re still unsure, go with the ski instructor guideline of 5 or 6 years old. If your little grommet seems ready before then, they can get started sooner. Deer Valley allows 3-year-olds in private lesson/day care combos—if they’re fully potty-trained. On the flip side, if your 5-year-old isn’t ready for ski school yet, that’s OK, too.
Even if your kids don’t ski yet, don’t let that stop your Deer Valley visit. The resort’s Children’s Center welcomes infants and children up to 12 years old who spend the day crafting and playing while you have a grown-up adventure, skiing Deer Valley’s legendary terrain.
If you’re a skilled skier, you may be tempted to take the reins and teach your little how to make pizza wedges and french fries down the bunny hill. But if you both want to enjoy your Deer Valley day, leave the on-hill intro to the experts. It’s too easy for kids to whine and give up when mom or dad are in charge, so they’ll be less likely to succeed than with an experienced instructor at the helm.
Plus, Deer Valley’s enthusiastic Children’s Ski School instructors know how to fuse learning with fun activities like hot cocoa breaks, snow cone parties, obstacle courses, and on-mountain scavenger hunts. Lessons are taught with low instructor-to-child ratios, to focus on personalized learning, with just two kids to one instructor for 4-year-olds, four kids to an instructor for 5- to 6-year-olds, and six kids per instructor for 7- to 12-year-olds.
For some kids, getting on and off the lift is the scariest part of skiing. Deer Valley Resort assures that ski school students first master the basics before riding the chairlifts, with three conveyor lifts that shuttle them to the top of the beginner slopes. From there, kids ski around small cones and obstacles on a gentle slope to get comfortable with navigation and turns.
Once your kids are good on green runs, grab a Children’s Adventure Area Map and take them to explore fun trails through the trees like the Enchanted Forest, Oompa Loompa Land, and Bucky’s Front Yard. Small bumps and turns challenge kids, and seeing Deer Valley’s four fuzzy mascots roaming the trails makes the learning more fun.
When kids are starting out, the size of the resort is less important than the availability of beginner terrain. Thankfully, Deer Valley Resort has both the space and the green circle runs needed to learn. Twenty-seven percent of Deer Valley’s slopes are for beginners with plenty of slow skiing zones. Plus, Deer Valley’s policy of capping daily lift tickets prevents overcrowding, so there’s more space for kiddos to explore and perfect their turns down the mountain.
Once your kids get the hang of skiing greens, take them on some of Deer Valley’s long, signature groomed runs like Success on Bald Eagle Mountain, Ontario on Flagstaff Mountain or Homeward Bound on Bald Mountain.
Nothing can make a kid hate skiing more than being forced to go, go, go, when they’re tired or hungry. While you may want to ski the corduroy and powder stashes all day long, you’ll have to slow your roll with the little ones along. Take frequent breaks for snacks, and hot cocoa or chocolate chip cookie treat time. Filling lunches like Deer Valley Turkey Chili or hearty burgers give everyone’s legs a rest and prevent the whole family from getting hangry.
Deer Valley’s Ski School programs are popular, meaning you’ll want a reservation to ensure your kids have instructors during your visit. This is especially true during the December holidays, Martin Luther King weekend, Presidents’ Day week, and the month of March. For more information, visit deervalley.com. To make a reservation, please contact Skiers Services at: 435-645-6648 or firstname.lastname@example.org.