It’s no secret that family ski trips take a lot of work. There are lift tickets to purchase and poles to carry, chair lifts to navigate and trail maps to argue over. And if you’ve ever tried to help a bundled-up child rush to the bathroom, you know skiing with kids has its challenges. So why do families do it?

“Bonding. It’s as simple as that,” says Lois Friedland, co-author of Frommer’s 500 Adrenaline Adventures and a grandparent of 6-year-old twins. “It’s a type of togetherness you don’t find on other trips.”

That’s because on a ski vacation, you’re not merely seeing something exciting; you’re actually doing something exciting together. And few activities are as accessible to people of all ages and abilities as skiing and snowboarding. “It’s a true multigenerational experience with options for everyone,” says Kristen Lummis, author of adventure blog braveskimom.com and a mother of two.

Whether you’re on a budget or ready to splurge, traveling with intrepid skiers or bringing a crew of adrenaline seekers, there’s a ski resort for you. And if goggles and gondolas just aren’t your thing, these destinations also offer plenty of activities off the slopes.

Amusement for Adrenaline Junkies

If plain ol’ skiing isn’t exciting enough for your crew, choose a resort that understands your need for speed. At Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in Jackson Hole, Wyo., you’ll find guided backcountry skiing, night skiing on nearby Snow King Mountain and Corbet’s Couloir — a cliff-start chute some call the scariest in America. “If you have hotshot teen skiers, Jackson Hole is the coolest place in the world,” Friedland says. Off-mountain adventures also abound: Ride a horse-drawn sleigh among thousands of elk at the National Elk Refuge; take a snowmobile into Yellowstone; or hike the trails at Grand Teton National Park. At day’s end, unwind in a Wild West­–style restaurant such as the Silver Dollar Grill in the historic Wort Hotel.

If your family enjoys a little friendly competition, head to Sun Valley Resort (sunvalley.com), Idaho, home to a moderately challenging, all-ages cross course. On multiple skiing and snowboarding terrain parks, the whole family can zip around obstacles. Afterward, try cross-country skiing or snowshoeing at the Nordic Center, then soothe your sore muscles at the Sun Valley Lodge, featuring a year-round outdoor heated pool and hot tub with cocktail service.

In Whistler, Canada, skip the lift lines and make your own tracks. The advanced skiers in your group will never forget a heli-skiing or cat-skiing adventure in which you access backcountry terrain via a helicopter or snowcat grooming machine. You can also try zip lining (yes, even during the winter), bungee jumping, ice fishing and dog sledding. And don’t forget the helicopter tour of the local ice caves. “Whistler has so many incredible options for adventure,” says Iseult Devlin, skiing columnist at The Record in Woodland Park, N.J. After you work up an appetite, head to Dusty’s Bar & BBQ, a Whistler institution known for its friendly service and mouthwatering ribs. If your kids are 19, buy ’em a beer — it’s legal in Canada.

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Published by Allison Entrekin, USA TODAY Go Escape magazine | Nov. 25, 2017 

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