For anyone who knows me, I’m always searching for the perfect wave (not literally), but that “wave” that translates into “vacation” — one that works for my three kids and me. And I mean me. My husband’s busiest time of the work year begins prior to Thanksgiving and ends shortly after the New Year, so I am often on my own with the kids when they get the most time off during the school year.
So, when some of our friends suggested they were going to Northstar California Resort minutes from Lake Tahoe just prior to Thanksgiving, I jumped at the chance to tag along. I didn’t mind being the fifth wheel at all since my three kids are at different ski levels, and I often need expert skiing friends to accompany my 7-year–old daughter, Dayne, whom on her very first time on skis, skied black diamond runs. No one in our family has been able to keep up with her downhill skills since.
My 10-year-old, twin boys, Drake and Dominick, often transfer between snowboarding and skiing, so there is always an adjustment for a few hours and many, many, “Mom, wait up…ski with me!!”
What is the secret to being on your own and skiing with three kids?
1) As I mentioned, tag along with others. Particularly if you have a kid who is very advanced and there is no possible way you will ever keep up with her. You need that parent(s) whom your kid can ski with.
2) I always start with ski school for all of my kids (first hour on the slope) so they can get their ski legs back, and I have more confidence that they can ski on their own.
3) Once my kids are situated, I then put myself in ski school. I am not good if I get hurt or make this all about my kids. After an intense work year with lots of international travel, I deserve some time too. Northstar California’s Ski + Snowboard School offers “4Her” ski lessons. It’s a semi private lesson that is all about “me” time, advancing my ski technique and learning equipment expertise, as well.
4) Make sure everyone is properly dressed: gloves, helmet, goggles, face mask in really cold temperatures, etc. If your kids are not properly dressed, you will be stressed.
5) Most importantly: Stay at a place that caters to and supports families. I have found no better place than Northstar California Resort. The area is contained, full of families that look out for one another, and constantly offers “kid activities” on and off the slopes. My kids made candles at The Village Candle Shop, which also offers ceramics when the kids need a break from skiing. There is the ice-skating ring, a movie theatre and complimentary S’mores Time every day at 3:30 p.m..
Truth be told, my son, Drake, was missing for an hour during a heavy snow storm in the late afternoon on our first day. The rescue team was “ON IT” in minutes, and the entire ski staff (hundreds of people) were out looking for my son. They knew exactly what lift he was last on due to his EPIC Pass, which has a bar code on it and is scanned every time you go up on a lift. The EPIC Pass also tracks all the runs, your ski level and photos of your kids out on the slopes, so you can put together a diary and history of their skiing throughout the years. My son was just fine, and had decided to ski down to the Village at Northstar looking for his twin brother, which didn’t require a ride on the chair lift.
Lastly, take advantage of “El Nino” this year. They say that El Nino 2015 could be the strongest ever, and could pose the best ski season for Lake Tahoe. This past week, I skied on the BEST powder I have ever encountered. I forgot what it was like to ski on powder and my technique was far better than it has been in years.
All in all, it was a ski trip that worked for my kids and me!
Offering numerous different types of accommodations spread throughout Northstar, all minutes away from Northstar Village.
100 Northstar Dr, Truckee, CA 96161
SKI SCHOOL (for me and the kids)
Northstar California’s Ski + Snowboard School & Burton Academy
Pizza, pasta and other comfort food. Perfect location right near the skating ring and an opportunity to allow kids to play in the snow while you await your food.
Phone: (530) 562-2199
S’mores by the fire pits around the ice skating ring– everyday at 3:30pm and free!
Daily bubbles on the slopes with our complimentary Champagne tōst at 2:00 p.m on East Ridge Run. (21 and over for the bubbly with cider and hot chocolate for the little ones!)
In the comments section below tell us: what is your favorite family getaway that you and your kids can both enjoy together?