From the Empty Nest to Utah’s Slopes

From the Empty Nest to Utah’s Slopes

Paula Colman

By Paula Colman \ February 26 2024

You schlepped them to faraway mountains. You dropped (or dragged) them to ski lessons.
You took them to summits.
And then, one day, you watched them fly…down the mountain…and away from home.

Finally!

Parents wait for years (when their eldest hits adolescence) and dread the moment (as the youngest walks out the door) when the door shuts and their home becomes as silent as a tree run at your favorite Utah ski resort.


It’s Time for These Empty Nesters to Fly!

Congratulations! Parents and caregivers, married, single or somewhere in between, you’ve done your job well: the littles have jumped from the nest, flown the coop - whatever avian analogy you like. You are officially ‘Empty Nesters,’ able to seasonally migrate outside of school holiday schedules or preteen preferences.

Translation: This year, you can enjoy the easiest, cheapest and best ski vacation (or two) of your lives.

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Easier Than Getting Skis for Three Kids from the Condo to the Lift

Imagine waking up…whenever, enjoying a leisurely breakfast at the Montage Deer Valley, then heading out to the Empire chairlift at Deer Valley Resort to ski fresh powder on X-Files

No getting kids dressed, fed and readied for mountain school. No searching for that one d@*n mitten. No negotiating trails, meals and stop times.

We love our little groms and have cherished the memories from every ski trip, but most kid-wranglers needed a day or two (multiplied by the number of kids, divided by their ages, times the number of days) to recover when they get home.

When Less is Just Less

Ski vacations can (but don’t have to) be expensive. Flights, lift tickets, mountain school, food, clothing, shelter — it all adds up when taking a family vacation. But for one or two people, the cost of a ski trip can drop in many and sometimes unexpected ways

Airfare is less expensive with fewer people in tow, but it can be a downright bargain when those traveling aren’t constrained by school holiday schedules (Christmas/New Year, MLK, Presidents’ Day, March Spring Break and Easter), forcing parents to scramble for seats and pay peak fares. Hot tip: late spring skiing is a whole lot of fun.

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Empty Nesters, on the other hand, can find last-minute and even bargain airfares to Utah almost any other time during ski season. Moreover, with a Delta Air Lines hub at the new Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC) serving the Northern Utah resorts, and airports in Las Vegas (LAS) and St. George (SGO), serving Southern Utah resorts, the choices for flights, times and prices are vast. It’s also much easier to score an upgrade to first class for one or two travelers.

The same surge or peak pricing applies to lodging at or near ski resorts. If you can plan a trip outside of traditional school holidays, you can save a lot. Oh, and without the kiddos, you can rent a smaller condo or reserve just a single hotel room. 

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One additional tip: many vacationing families choose ski-in/ski-out accommodations to make a parent’s trek as pack mule (carting four kids’ skis to the mountain or one sleeping child back to the condo) as short as possible. Empty Nesters can save hundreds or thousands of dollars by staying nearby in some unique lodging and will have greater access to local dining and entertainment off the slopes.

Although the Ski Utah Passport and resort programs have made lift tickets more affordable for families, even parents who gave up teaching their kids math after 4th grade know that <=2 + no kids = less $.

Oh, and then there’s the whole care and feeding thing that Empty Nesters aren’t responsible for until they take the grandchildren on their first ski trip.



Whew, We Still Like Each Other

The best reason for Empty Nesters to take a ski vacation to Utah is to enjoy a vacation. Together or solo, traveling without the kids — and not calling, coordinating and worrying about them the entire time you’re away — allows you to appreciate the scene and the setting, the skiing and so much more. 

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If you and/or your partner were fortunate enough when the kids were growing up to enjoy a date, girls’ or guys night or a long weekend away, you discovered it takes about 48 hours before the children cease to be mentioned in every conversation. At that point, you start talking — and listening — to each other.

On the slopes, you ski runs that YOU want to ski, as many times as you want, and venture together to exciting and new places. It becomes “your” vacation, your adventure, even your rom-com. Your Empty Nest ski trip can be very romantic.

Watching the baby fly the coop can be melancholic for a moment, but like watching them go off to kindergarten, getting their driver’s license or walking in a cap and gown, Empty Nesters can smile. You've done your job well. And now, finally, you can plan a new journey together…talking, walking, playing and even skiing in Utah.

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