… That let parents play too

By Becky Stirling

The mountains in Montana and Wyoming are home to phenomenal ski areas. And many ski hills have family-friendly events such as a Christmas and New Year’s celebrations, or epic Easter egg hunts. But which activities will hold the kiddos’ interests?

These resorts offer unique experiences for our kids – the secret is the bonus for parents. When you plan your family ski vacation, consider what the kids will do while you’re lapping the tram. Here are the top five unique programs to entertain your little ones at our regional ski resorts.

Lone Mountain Ranch Winter Outdoor Youth Adventures Program

PHOTO COURTESY OF LONE MOUNTAIN RANCH

PHOTO COURTESY OF LONE MOUNTAIN RANCH

During Christmas and New Year’s, Big Sky’s Lone Mountain Ranch has the ticket for kids’ winter fun. The Winter Outdoor Youth Adventures Program at LMR allows the adults to enjoy their preferred outdoor activity, while the kids partake in their own adventures such as snow-cave building, snowshoeing, Nordic skiing, animal tracking and sledding, and finally hot chocolate and s’mores by the fire. Part of LMR’s Holiday Discovery Package, the program includes authentic Montana lodging, adult Nordic ski and/or snowshoe tickets, three meals a day, yoga, live music, and a family sleigh-ride dinner you won’t forget.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Big Sky Resort Kids Club

PHOTO BY LONNIE BALL

PHOTO BY LONNIE BALL

Big Sky Resort’s Kids Club engages your child with daily themes such as Mask Making Mondays, Tie Dye Tuesdays, Wild Montana Wednesdays, and Slimy Sundays, plus special events that involve a bungee trampoline, climbing wall, games, dinner and movies all while the adults take to the slopes on their own. Big Sky Resort boasts “The Biggest Skiing in America,” and offers the Kids Club along with free skiing to children 10 and under staying with their families at Big Sky Resort-managed properties. Additionally, the “Lost Frontier,” a family-friendly adventure area off of the Pony Express Lift, has just opened this season.

 
 
 

Grand Targhee Tubing Park/Kids’ Night Out

PHOTO COURTESY OF GAND TARGHEE RESORT

PHOTO COURTESY OF GAND TARGHEE RESORT

After hitting the slopes – or even instead of skiing – take a magic carpet ride up and whiz down Targhee’s specialized tubing park on a huge inner tube. Riders must be at least 42 inches tall and hours are limited. Ready for a break by week’s end? At Targhee, parents and kids can each have their own special night out on Saturday evenings from 4:30-8:30 p.m. Targhee’s Kids’ Night Out provides children ages 2-12 with dinner, gazing at the evening sky, crafts and all around fun. Parents can take in an evening snowcat tour, treatment from Anew Massage, a soak in the heated outdoor saltwater pool, or fine dining at the resort.

 
 
 

Whitefish Mountain Resort Kid’s Center, Ski and Ride School

PHOTO BY NOAH CLAYTON

PHOTO BY NOAH CLAYTON

Whitefish Mountain Resort offers programs to get your kids proficient on the snow while you enjoy the mountain. The Kid’s Center provides a Child Ski/Board and Play. The option of a half or full day includes an on-snow lesson with tickets or indoor activities. Alternatively, children can be dropped off for daycare if they’re not ready to rip up the slopes quite yet. Young ones can also join the Ski and Ride School, which offers everything from private lessons to kids groups that receive “Adventure Card progress reports” with a Montana Mountain Animal theme, letting you know what terrain your child can handle.

 
 
 

Bridger Bowl Playcare, Torchlight Procession and Fireworks

PHOTO BY JENNIE MILTON

PHOTO BY JENNIE MILTON

Bridger Bowl Ski Area offers Playcare, a slopeside, sunny facility with qualified caregivers who encourage your children in creative play, snowman building, and sliding in an outside arena. Playcare also has a ski lesson option or a Snowsports School for more advanced kids. You relax and enjoy an adult day of skiing. Just in case you start to miss the kids, some fantastic family fun awaits. On December 30, Bridger Bowl celebrates New Year’s Eve a day early with a spaghetti dinner and festivities starting at 4 p.m. Watch the torchlight procession and fireworks with your family as the sun sets, and enjoy live music in the Jim Bridger Lodge.

 
 
 

A creative and freelance writer, Becky Stirling splits time between Big Sky, Montana and Kauai, Hawaii, working and playing hard to experience life to its fullest.

This story was first published in the winter 2016 issue of Mountain Outlaw magazine.