Let’s Go Skiing

WORDS Bob Robinson
IMAGES courtesy Angel Fire, Red River Ski and Summer Area, Katie Young (Keystone), Sarah McLear (Breckenridge), Vail Resorts

Feb 1, 2024 | Featured, Travel

Spring break is one of every family’s favorite time of year and it’s quickly approaching. For a truly memorable adventure, consider packing up and heading to the mountains, snow-covered mountains, that is. Create memories gliding down snow-covered slopes at a picturesque mountain resort that everyone will fondly reminisce about for years to come.

Better yet, invite others to join in the fun on your family vacation. The more people in your group, the more likely everyone will have someone of their own skill level to buddy up with on the slopes. No one will be held back by less experienced skiers or pressured by advanced skiers to run risky slopes above their paygrade. This makes the outing a more enjoyable activity for both parents and children.

My first ski outing was over a three-day holiday weekend. I joined forces with twenty-eight close friends to charter a sleeper bus, driver included. We boarded the bus on a Friday evening and following several hours of games and socializing, it was lights out. Everyone curled up on their comfy bunks ready to be rocked to sleep by the rhythmic swaying of our cradle-on-wheels.

We awoke the next morning just as the bus arrived at the resort. Not wanting to waste a minute, first- time skiers joined their prearranged ski classes and others clipped into their skis to head for the nearest lift. After three fun-filled days of skiing, we loaded back on the bus and following another good night’s sleep, we pulled into Fort Smith, fresh and alert, just in time to make it back to school and work. It was so much fun the group repeated the escape for two additional years.

There is a wide selection of ski resorts to choose from that will fit all levels of ability. For those with minimum ski experience, Angel Fire Resort is a great destination. Located in northern New Mexico, you don’t have to worry about crossing any major mountain passes like you have when driving to Colorado resorts.

With twenty-one percent of its eighty-one trails dedicated to beginners, fifty-six percent to intermediate, and twenty-three percent to advanced, it is a great resort for a family of novice skiers. March traditionally being one of the months with the deepest snow base, the timing is a perfect choice for a spring break adventure.

If you check off all the Angel Fire trails and are still hungry for more, make the thirty-minute drive to Red River Ski Area where sixty-four additional family-friendly trails await to challenge your improving skillset.

For those looking for a true Rocky Mountain ski experience, book a stay in one of the ski-in/ski-out condos at Crested Butte Mountain Resort. The drive is a little longer, and there is one mountain pass separating you and your ski getaway. But Colorado road crews are accustomed to heavy snowfall and are prepared.

With fifteen lifts operating across the resort’s 162 trails, skiers can spend more time exploring the 1,500+ acres of terrain rather than standing in long lift lines.

At the end of a day of skiing, celebrate at one of many fine dining restaurants along the main street of this quaint 1800s mining township. End the evening with a magical stroll down Elk Avenue to visit a variety of locally owned specialty stores, retail shops, and art galleries.

Another great ski destination to consider is Summit County, Colorado where the towns of Breckenridge, Keystone, and Copper Mountain accommodate four of the state’s legendary ski resorts – within a half-hour drive from one another.

You can’t go wrong choosing any of these fantastic ski areas. However, Breckenridge is my favorite. The lifts originate in the immediate downtown area, so the start of your day of skiing is just a short walk from the condo. And at the end of the day, restaurants and entertainment venues are also within easy walking distance. This is truly a destination where you park your car upon arrival and leave it until the end of your stay.

Upon entering the valley at Breckenridge, you are greeted by five massive snow-covered peaks that surround this township. Each peak offers something unique for skiers to explore the 3,000-acre mountain range. From the Fresh Start peak, with mellow learning areas and beginner slopes to the Sensory Experience peak, a gateway to dreamy, high alpine bliss, Breckenridge provides an environment to create lasting memories for every skill level.

As an added treat, consider scheduling your trip to coincide with the annual International Snow Sculpture Championships. You can finish off each day on the slopes with a stroll through the evolving venue and view the progress of world-renowned artists as they transform twenty-foot blocks of snow into beautiful, intricate works of art. This event is free of charge.

Whether you book your trip direct use a local agency, reserve your dates as soon as possible. I also recommend purchasing an Epic Pass prior to departure. Epic is the most economical method I have found for lift tickets. Woodsman Company in Fort Smith is a wealth of information and can help you with any necessary ski attire and cold weather items for your trip. Find your mountain, book your trip, and don’t forget the camera!


Base layers or long underwear
Ski/Snowboard specific cushioned socks
Ski gloves to insure warm digits
Beanies, neck gators, ear bands

Insulated ski pants for beginners, softshell/shell pants for intermediate or experienced
Insulated ski jackets or component jackets to allow for layering
Insulated boots for warmth & fall prevention

most can be rented, but some choose to wear their own
Ski helmet for potential falls or collisions
Ski goggles for mountain clarity & sun filters
Sunglasses for mountain activities to prevent UV damage at high altitudes
Garmin watch or device to contact Response Team in case of an emergency

Hand warmer for snowmobiling or sledding activities
RFID wallet to secure personal information
Small backpack or hip pack for necessities

Do South Magazine

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