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My Return to the Slopes: A Ski Adventure with the Family

🏔️ My Return to the Slopes: A Ski Adventure with the Family ❄️

Embarking on this ski journey with my family brought back a rush of memories from my childhood. Although I hadn't hit the slopes myself in a whopping nine years and have encountered a couple of ski accidents over the years, the anticipation was palpable. I grew up with a deep love for skiing, and I am thrilled to pass on these same memories to my boys.

Two of Erin's 3 boys skiingA photo from Erin's trip to Vail with her family

🚗 Day 1: Denver to Vail - A Drive Down Memory Lane

We flew into Denver and chose to drive directly to Vail. The two-hour drive has breathtaking scenery, but can be a bit treacherous in inclement weather. Luckily we lucked out with great weather on the way to Vail and landed early enough to drive in the light. Pro tip: Rent a four-wheel drive SUV to make the journey smooth and worry-free for mountain roads.

Erin's son and husbandA lodge in Vail

🏨 Arriving at Hythe Hotel in Lion's Head - Where It All Begins

We checked into Hythe Hotel, located in the Lion's Head section of Vail (about a .8 mile trek from Vail Village). Nestled close to the ski lift, it was the perfect spot for a family ski vacation because we could walk the kids directly to ski school. The Hythe, with its modern charm, cozy fires, and nightly s'mores, hot tubs galore and heated swimming pool provided the ideal setting for our family getaway. 

Pro tip: get your kids’ lift tickets, skis and equipment the night before so you miss the morning rush. We walked from the Hythe into Lionshead and handled everything right there at the ski school and the rental company across the street. 

Dinner at Alpenrose, with its refurbished gondolas and Swiss-style dining, was not only nostalgic but a perfect start to our family adventure. The kids loved making their own fondue and it was very cozy!

Erin and her husband in front of their hotelFondue nightDinner at AlpenroseDinner at Alpenrose

🎿 Day 2: Ski School Kickoff - Passing on the Legacy

We dropped the kids off at ski school around 9 and picked them up around 3:30. I had a wonderful massage at the spa at the Hythe and Bill skied on his own. A quick bus ride from the Hythe to Vail Village brought us to Pazzos for a family-friendly pizza night. You have to wait line line, but it moves quickly! There’s a cute kids toy store right next door.

Erin skiingErin's boys before heading to ski school

⛷️ Day 3: Adult Ski School and Culinary Delights - Overcoming Challenges

As the kids delved into ski school and Bill took off on his own again, memories of my own ski days flooded back. It was time to recapture the joy. Deciding to join adult ski school, I faced my insecurities and challenges head-on. With a small class and a supportive instructor, the experience was both invigorating and empowering. We had dinner at Bully Ranch in Sonnenalp, a place filled with memories from my past was the perfect way to celebrate overcoming personal hurdles that day on the slopes. I was EXHAUSTED but we enjoyed a cozy drink in the bar and then dinner in the restaurant.

Erin and her husband at a fire pit in VailErin's husband and son in Vail

⛷️ Day 4: A Tranquil Day in Beaver Creek

Our retreat to Beaver Creek began with a break from skiing as we drove the short distance from Vail to Beaver Creek, relishing the scenic 20-minute journey. Upon arrival, we immersed ourselves in the heart of Beaver Creek village, treating the kids to a delightful ice skating session on their iconic outdoor rink. The village's cozy charm immediately set the tone for our getaway. We then enjoyed a satisfying lunch at the Golden Eagle, where the elevated American fare exceeded our expectations, setting high culinary standards for the rest of our trip. 

Afterward, we checked into our new hotel, the illustrious Ritz-Carlton at Bachelor Gulch. The ski concierge efficiently assisted us with our ski and equipment arrangements,to prepare for the following day, allowing us to seamlessly transition into relaxation mode. 

Following a comforting cup of hot chocolate, we indulged in the lively atmosphere of the hotel's hot tub, where the kids quickly made new friends. The evening culminated in a cozy dinner at Buffalo's, the hotel's upscale Colorado-style restaurant, where we savored the ambiance and cuisine.

We also spent every evening having a cocktail in the Great Room where there’s live music and lots of kids dancing around and making s’mores right outside. That was probably our favorite part!

Erin's kids at a fire pit in VailErin's son in Vail

🎿 Day 5: Family Ski Lesson and Reunion with Friends

The day commenced with a private family skiing lesson, a decision that proved to be immensely rewarding. Under the guidance of our skilled instructor, Gabriela Bardizban (look her up if you’re ever in Beaver Creek!, we honed our skiing skills and enjoyed a memorable experience on the slopes. Gabriela's patience and expertise, coupled with her intriguing background as an expert waterskier from Bulgaria, added a unique dimension to our lesson. As night fell, we reunited with old friends in the hotel's Great Room, where live music filled the air and hearty pizzas and appetizers were shared amidst laughter and camaraderie.

Erin and her friend in VailErin's sons in Vail

⛷️ Day 6: A Blend of Relaxation and Adventure

Our final day in Beaver Creek was a blend of relaxation and adventure. While the kids eagerly participated in ski school, Bill and I seized the opportunity to enjoy a couple of hours on the slopes together as well as in the Ritz’s amazing underground spa that includes a co-ed grotto.

 The highlight of ski school in Beaver Creek, for both kids and adults alike, was the delightful tradition of chocolate chip cookies served promptly at 3 pm. 

Conclusion: Reflecting on our time in Colorado,I wholeheartedly endorse both Vail and Beaver Creek for family-friendly ski trips. Despite their higher-end price point, the exceptional instructors, well-groomed slopes, diverse dining options, and luxurious amenities make them well worth the investment. The Ritz-Carlton's charming atmosphere, reminiscent of a scene from Yellowstone, added an extra layer of enchantment to our stay, while the Hythe in Vail served as a convenient hub for accessing ski school and exploring Vail Village's myriad attractions.

Erin's husbandErin's two sonsErin in VailErin's two boysA hotel lobby in VailA hotel lobby in VailA hotel lobby in VailSnowboarding in VailA hotel lobby in VailA hotel lobby in VailErin in VailA fun chandelier at AlpenroseErin's son at Alepnrose in Vail