Skiing is a sport people love – unless you’re me – and your skill level is “drinking hot chocolate” (I’ve come to terms with it, I’m ok). I married a skier who doesn’t get to go very often (see above) who swore he’d raise our kids to be skiers. But when is the right time to bring a kid on their first ski trip? Luckily that question was answered when we were invited to the Momtrends Winter Break at Camelback Mountain last weekend. The time in now, people!
Ironically I grew up going to the Camelback area annually, just never skiing, so it was a fitting location for my family’s first ski trip. The kids were beyond excited; it was barely containable in the car. Not only did we promise them a day of snow activities – like skiing and snow tubing, but a grand finale at Aquatopia – the largest indoor water park on the East Coast.
The Kids 90-Minute Beginner Lesson Package had everything we needed – including a full day lift ticket and equipment rental. We followed the easily marked, fool proof “step” system to get boots and skis, then headed right outside to the private Children’s Learning Area (aka minimal things to complain about for a first time ski boot wearer who wants to carry their own skis like a big shot).
Perfect for kids aged 4-12, they learned how to put on equipment, stand, balance, walk, get up and glide. This self contained area was drop off, so parents (read: my husband) could enjoy a few runs while the kids were in ski school. I was simply happy to sit and watch the big waves and smiles coming from the “magic carpet”.
We not only lucked out with the weather (50 degrees!) but met the nicest staff, making our first ski experience a positive one.
My daughter loved it and was good! As soon as the lesson ended she wanted to go on the bunny slope with my husband. He happily took her.
My little guy – like his mom – decided the hot chocolate trail was the right one for him. I can respect that. We headed into the bright, window filled dining area of the main base lodge to rock our Après–ski.
The first half of our day came to a great close.
On to the second half – Aquatopia!
We headed to our car – parked in preferred parking (well worth the upcharge, the same price as a locker but you get proximity and storage) – and made our way over. Although Camelback offers a shuttle we opted to drive so the kids could take a quick nap.
Excitement grew as we approached Camelback Lodge and saw colorful slide tubes going in and out of the building.
We entered – wow.
Besides Aquatopia (the 125,000 square foot, two level, indoor water park), Camelback Lodge offers Arcadia Entertainment Center – filled with an indoor ropes/adventure park, “win a ticket” games galore, a paint your own pottery place, a huge candy store, mini-golf, laser tag, and bowling! Yes, all under ONE roof!
At only three, I was curious how my son would do and WOW did he love it. Spending the majority of his time at Kartrite Quest, he zoomed down slides big enough for a thrill (and me – to nervously trail behind him!) but not too scary. We went approximately three million times before he conceded to a break in the Penguin Play Bay.
My daredevil daughter, on the other hand, was ready to climb the stairs to the eight over 48” ride area with the kind of slides a water park enthusiast dreams of (including the Venus Slydetrap, the only slide of its kind in the world)! My personal favorite was the water roller coaster Storm Chaser. I would have gone on a hundred more times if my husband let me. I mean if there was more time…
As the day ended, we quickly showered the kids (so they were bed-transfer ready) and headed out. As we drove off, the little snores we heard – almost immediately – confirmed that we had one heck of a great day.
Only a two hour-ish drive from Long Island made Camelback a great first stop to my kids becoming the next (enter name of a famous skier here). We will definitely return!
A few tips from The Mint Chip Mama for your fire and ice vacation!
- Get to the mountain an hour before your lesson to allow for a relaxed equipment rental experience.
- Be cool with your kid not liking skiing. Drinking hot chocolate is slated for the 2020 Olympics. Maybe they’ll like it next year.
- “Bad ski weather” aka warm, misting rain, etc., is an awesome time for beginners because it keeps the crowds away.
- Keep the tags on your new ski stuff so you can return if not used.
Water Park Tips:
- Bring 2 sample size bottles of body wash/shampoo so you and your spouse can divide and conquer your post water park wash down.
- No need to bring towels, they’re included (yay!).
- Bring a plastic bag for wet suits.
- Bring a puddle jumper if your kids can’t swim. Although life vests are available, kids can’t wear them on the slides and holding your breathe while your three year old goes down a slide into a shallow pool is a veeeeery long trip. PS – it was fine.
- Pack separate bags for skiing and the water park; just grab the one you need.
- Pack water bottles; refill them every time you have the option.
- Pack 10x the snacks you think you’ll need. No, make that 20x.
- Bring a chair, oh- just keep one in your trunk. It comes in handy more often than you’d expect.
- Never underestimate a powernap to keep your kid and/or husband melt-down free.
- Leave your baby home with your mom even if your husband says no. What? Did I say that?