Bargain Ski Resorts for Families


Skiing can be an expensive endeavor for families. One way to save money is to take advantage of exchange rates and ski in Canada.

Whistler Blackcomb.

There’s no doubt about it: Skiing and snowboarding are fun, but also expensive, sports. That’s especially true if, in addition to lift tickets, you factor in lodging, rentals, lessons, and meals. To stretch your mountain budget, head north.

With $1 U.S. currently buying about $1.31 in Canadian dollars, skiing and snowboarding in Canada is a welcome budget-stretcher for Americans. Both Whistler Blackcomb, north of Vancouver, and Mont Tremblant, north of Montreal, offer exceptional skiing and snowboarding for kids and adults.

Whistler Blackcomb

, British Columbia

Whistler Blackcomb is big. The two mountains, Whistler and Blackcomb, joined by a gondola, feature a whopping 8,171 acres, making the resort North America’s largest. Situated 75 miles north of Vancouver, Whistler Blackcomb wins high marks for its varied terrain, kid-friendliness, good instruction, and lively pedestrian village. Part of the resort’s $8 million investment for 2016-2017 is earmarked to expand beginner terrain and regrade certain runs to make them more novice-friendly.

Classes and Mountain Fun Parks

Whistler Blackcomb offers private ski and snowboard lessons for families with kids as young as 2.5 years. The Snow School has group ski lessons for ages 3 to 4, 5 to 6, and 7 to 12, as well as snowboarding classes for ages 4 to 6 and 7 to 12. Slow-skiing family zones make practice fun and grommets will appreciate the not-too-difficult features and family-certified snowboarding routes at the Nintendo Big Easy Terrain Park.

Ages 10 to 12 enjoy Park Freeride, a program for advanced boarders. Divided into personalized groups of 1 instructor to 3 students, snowboarders tear up the mountain, tackling terrain parks, half-pipes, and runs. Since Whistler Blackcomb has former Olympians on staff, advanced skiers, including teens and adults, can perfect techniques with a private ski or snowboard lesson taught by the experts. You can prep for your Olympic pairing by watching the Snow School’s online video series.

Après Ski

Stroll the pedestrian village, go tubing, ride snowmobiles, glide on a zip line, and watch the free Sunday evening “Fire and Ice” show, a spectacle of Snow School pros jumping through a ring of fire.

Mont Tremblant.

Mont Tremblant

, Quebec

Situated some 80 miles north of Montreal in predominantly French-speaking Quebec Province, Mont Tremblant has bilingual instructors as well as a family-friendly pedestrian village plus good instruction.

Classes and Mountain Fun Parks

Kids as young as 3 receive an introduction to skiing as well as snowboarding at Tremblant Snow School. Grommets ages 3 to 6 enrolled in classes get exclusive access to Burton Riglet Park, a snowboarding park for young beginners. The school also has ski and boarding classes for kids 5 to 12 years. Students 12 and under receive a Flaik GPS armband that tracks their location and tallies up their distance, speed, and vertical feet covered.

Parents can see their kids’ mountain adventures and youngsters can relive their mountain moments. Adults 13 and older can also sign up for group lessons. The Tam-Tam Trail engages kids with cutouts of deer, bear, and other animals that deliver safe-skiing tips. The trail also entices youngsters with a tree house, footbridges, and a slide. Three terrain parks offer 30 acres of banked turns, ramps, and jumps.

Après Ski

Go winter mountain biking, snowmobiling, dog-sledding, ice climbing, and ice-fishing. Adults can try their luck at Mont-Tremblant Casino.

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