“This is our 19th year visiting Alta as a family,” Carolyn shared with a wide smile, “the youngest of the original kids is now a junior in High School, and this year our 4-year-old grandson learned to ski. He even showed up to the breakfast table in PJs, ski boots and goggles this morning!”
It was clear from her excitement that many happy family memories had been built during Carolyn’s visits. I have a lot of these conversations on the lift. Why? Because I make a point of talking to everyone I ride with to learn their story. I meet both vacationers and locals. A repeating theme among visitors skiing in Utah is tradition. Most I meet have been here before, often for many years as a family. Naturally I was struck by conversation with Carolyn who also explained that the lodge employees have become friends and have watched their children grow-up and have children of their own.
As I skied down the mountain, I felt nostalgic for a family gathering of my own. I live 2,000 miles from my people now, how I would love to have them all here, even for just a week.
So what is it about Utah resorts that attracts return visitors? Sure our dry fluffy snow would be an easy answer, and it is a factor, but my conversations revealed something more - an emotional connection.
Visitors comment that they feel at home in the resorts…comfortable. They note how activities for the whole family allow parents couple-time, in addition to skiing with their kids. They also mention the consistency of lodging staff year after year.
Utah resorts vary from a casual family atmosphere, to luxurious accommodations. This means that every visitor can find a place that feels like home, or “I wish this was my home,” for a week or two.
My advice is to spend time researching resorts and accommodations that fit your style and budget. If the options feel overwhelming, reach out to our crew at Ski Utah for some suggestions. We live-eat-breathe the Utah ski resort scene all year, even in the summer when resorts become a haven for mountain bikers and hikers. Yes, Utah ski resorts are great summer destinations too!
With so many of us living far from loved ones, maybe it’s time to grow the tradition of extended family vacations again.
I’d like to thank all of the visitors and locals who share their stories with me day after day on the lifts you make my ski experience rich and joyful!
Photo courtesy Snowbird Ski Resort, Matt Crawley
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