There isn’t a better destination for a multi-generational ski vacation than Salt Lake City. Bold claim? Indeed. However, it is the clear winner when you consider the ease, flexibility and affordability – the essential elements of a successful family vacation – of what Salt Lake has to offer on and off the slopes. So, grab the grandparents, the kids — heck, even teenagers won’t complain — and the rest of the extended family and head to the mountains this winter…or spring.
Here are five reasons, from start to finish, why Salt Lake City is the best destination for a multi-gen ski vacation.
Moreover, like individual family members, each resort has its own character and vibe. Staying in Salt Lake City allows you and your crew to select or explore. Ski one resort or, if you’ve purchased one of a variety of multipasses, Salt Lake City is the center of the multipass universe. Ski as many as your family — and your legs — can manage.
Another feature for traveling families is that Salt Lake City is a major, metropolitan city with nationally-ranked hospitals, first-class amenities, popular stores (Trader Joe’s or REI? There are two each here), and entertainment attractions. Over one million people call this place home. So, put your worries aside. If you didn’t bring something or discover you need something else, this town has it all.
Because the ski resorts are so close to downtown and a major airport (see below), Salt Lake City is an ideal destination for a weekend getaway or week-long vacation. For multi-gen families, whose biggest challenge is, arguably, arranging schedules, a place that is easy to get to and easy to get around means less travel time and more time together.
Even getting through the airport is a breeze. Arriving and departing families can take advantage of the recently-launched SkySquad, whereby one of its vetted assistants meets passengers at the gate and, for example, assists parents with car seats, strollers or just about anything else to help them relax until they leave the airport. For seniors, a SkySquad companion can similarly guide and assist them from the plane to baggage to curbside and, conversely, through security until departure providing seniors and their families peace of mind. SLC is one of a few airports offering this concierge-level service.
Another popular feature for traveling families, SLC provides on-site rental cars from most major companies saving you time and providing convenience (no long walks or waiting for a shuttle) at pick-up and drop-off. It’s just one more way SLC is making air travel easier and less stressful for guests.
From five-star hotels to short-term home rentals, Salt Lake City is a metropolitan city with a neighborhood feel. Want an urban, downtown setting with skyline views? A home in the suburbs? A luxury resort or condo at the base of the mountain? Whether your budget is less than $100/per night or $1000, Salt Lake City offers it all.
Salt Lake City gives families room to spread out and explore. Not everything has to be a group activity. As famed ski filmmaker Warren Miller famously mused, “The family that skis together, b&!4hes at each other.” Don’t try to herd cats on the mountain. If they don’t like it, and someone will lose an eye. Ski instructors don’t assemble large groups or groups of varying abilities for a full-day lesson. Families shouldn’t do so either!
How do you make great memories on a multi-gen family trip? A grandparent can take a few runs with their adult child or a grandkid. Hint: the moments on the lift together are the best part. Remember to take a few selfies. Parent-spouses can use this kid-free time to catch up and remember that they enjoy “playing” together, too. Definitely, take a few couples selfies here (including a “kiss cam” shot; the kids will demonstrably wretch but secretly love it). Siblings — young or old — can enjoy hot cocoa or something stronger together.
Consider allowing the antsy teenager or parent to take a few runs independently. Like active pups, they’ll appreciate being off-leash and come back with excitement from their adventure. Depending on the age, ability and maturity of the teen (or parent), most can feel comfortable skiing solo within the resort, where boundaries are well-defined and most runs funnel to the base. Have a defined meeting place and time (centering around food or hot cocoa is recommended). Tip: cell phone service within most Salt Lake City resorts is typically good (because locals are often “working remotely” on a powder day).
Skiers and snowboarders can hit the slopes for a half-day (or in the evening at Brighton) and do something off the mountain with any non-skiers, as well. With art, music, shopping as well as dinosaurs, Olympic, professional basketball and hockey competitions and much more so close to the lifts, Salt Lake City offers something for everyone. Tip: Shred in the Cottonwoods all morning, and take grandma and the kids to the ever-popular luxury afternoon tea at The Grand America downtown.
The beauty of the mountains is not exclusively for skiers, though. Hiking and snowshoeing are extremely popular in Salt Lake City and nearby hikes like the stunning Millcreek Canyon Trail. Both are family favorites. Tip: Bring a sled and hot cocoa.
The goal of a multi-gen family vacation is to bring loved ones together – kids, parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents and even great-grandparents – to create happy memories. Salt Lake City offers the widest array of on and off-mountain activities and accommodations and, importantly, the ease and affordability to make the trip and the memories actually happen.