Spending a family reunion on skis is one of the most fun excuses I can think of for getting the gang together. And while my cousins like to travel around to other canyons while they’re here, our family ski days are centered at Deer Valley.
Well, as “centered” as our brand of multi-generational mayhem can be.
As this was our second year—with a slightly shifted cast of characters (minus one cousin and his family, plus my dad)—we had some aspects of it dialed, and other aspects where we still have room to improve.
1. Book lessons and gear rentals as soon as you confirm your trip. While there are generally rentals to be had at shops around town, the busiest weeks mean you may have to assemble your gear kit from multiple shops if you haven’t confirmed your rental package ahead of time. Week long rentals, even if you’re not skiing every day of the week, can be a sanity saver.
2. Buy lift tickets online the night before.
Speaking of sanity savers—Deer Valley Resort sold out of daily lift tickets multiple days between Christmas and New Year’s weekend. But my out-of-town cousins discovered the fact that tickets can be purchased up to 11:59 p.m.
something this season pass holder wouldn’t have thought to check. My dad was happy we didn’t have to get out of the house at some crazy-early hour just to buy his ticket.
3. Stay Flexible—and carry candy.
We had a rough idea of what activities would happen when, but we rolled with it when someone needed to make a change on the fly. We defer to the following: skier comfort, skier ability, parenting hacks, frozen pipes. Okay, that last one was just me—but we did have to cancel a morning of skiing to defrost a hot water pipe in my bathroom. As for the parenting hacks: when my cousin told me that she had to bail on lunch because they knew if they met us in Snow Park, the girls would likely beg off skiing afterward, we all just rolled with it. (And had lunch with her parents.) When my kids wanted to ski with their cousins on terrain my dad didn’t wish to tackle, I let them go and hung back for some mellow green runs with dad. I wouldn’t have traded any of it.
4. Push each other—a little.
You don’t want to talk a beginner into taking a black diamond ski run, but my kids managed to talk their green-run-happy cousin into trying Last Chance ski run, which she loved. And when my dad had a few good runs down Success ski run one day, I suggested we let the kids go ahead with the rest of the group, warm up, and then head up to meet them for an Ontario ski run. He loved it.
5. Treasure the Little Moments
Watching my kids ski with two 73 year-olds—my dad and his cousin. Skiing with the septuagenarians, myself. Seeing the littlest cousins (who are not so little, at 16, 12, 12 and 8) loving skiing together. Watching my kids patiently explain to their grandfather the value of going over the rolling bumps on Wide West ski run. Celebrating the New Year with an early dinner—because we were all exhausted from the week’s activity—and then Skyping with the absent cousins to complete the week. These moments were just a few of my faves. I can’t wait until next year.