Ask an Expert: Family skiing for less
Q. Which are the best options for beginner skiers on a budget? We're a young family who would like to do a bit of sight-seeing too.
A. Our best options for family-friendly skiing where there are plenty of other activities in the vicinity are Silver Star Mountain in Canada, Copper Mountain in the USA or Hakuba in Japan.
Silver Star is a gem of a ski resort. It is a ski in, ski out resort – no struggling with ski gear on buses – and kids 12 years and under ski free. The exchange rate in Canada at the moment is almost dollar for dollar with New Zealand. If you need a rest day, you can head to Tube Town where you can take a horse-drawn sleigh ride, go ice skating or even ten pin bowling.
Copper Mountain offers free skiing if you have a Ruapehu or Cardrona Season/Lifetime Pass. It is another ski in, ski out resort with family friendly condos and laid-back and affordable dining options. Evening activities include a kids' night out programme, where mum and dad can take some time out while the kids are entertained. A popular side trip from Copper Mountain for many families is a day at Disneyland in Anaheim.
Finally, Hakuba still retains its authentic Japanese charm and it is easier than ever to get to Tokyo. Take either a direct transfer from the airport or experience the Shinkansen (high speed) train. Often overlooked are the Japanese-style family rooms, which tend to be more spacious. The kids will enjoy the novelty of sleeping on futons and daily breakfast is included. Hakuba also has an English speaking daycare (18 months to six years) and ski school with learn to ski programmes.
Sarah Headifen, House of Travel Ski (Parnell)
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