Family vacations make memories in the Mt. Washington Valley, NH

We know how hard it is to get away as a family. Between the demands of sports teams, school work and oh yes, Mom and Dad’s job, gathering the family for a vacation can be tough.  Yet we agree, it’s the memories made during family vacations that are the stand outs.  As we approach February vacation, consider a place where fun adventure options are so plentiful, the kids just may put down those phones and electronics long enough to have some fun together as a family.  Don’t get us wrong – there’s still free wi-fi available to connect to the Internet, but there are plenty of distractions to lure them away from the electronics for some fun, family-style.

tubingEach of the region’s ski resorts and XC centers offer up a variety of options for family skiing and riding joy.  At Cranmore Mountain in North Conway Village  it starts with a whimsical mascot, C-More the Penguin, who’s there to greet the entire family for a weekend or week full of fun. Every Saturday, Cranmore hosts Cranapalooza where kids and adults can enjoy s’mores by Zip’s Pub, family entertainment, face painting and hugs from C-More. During February Vacation week, Cranapalooza will also present a special fireworks display on February 21st at 6:00pm.

For non-skiers or those who just can’t get enough adventure on the mountain, make your way up and down Cranmore Mountain tubes, mountain coasters, a Giant Swing or a  zip-line at the Cranmore Adventure Park. . Guests can purchase individual Giant Swing tickets for $13.00 per person or consider a pass for unlimited mountain adventure including access to the Giant Swing, the Soaring Eagle Zip Line, Mountain Coaster and a two hour tubing package for $45.00 per person.

As a premier destination for family fun, King Pine Ski Area has a lot of great ways to get the family together on the slopes. Consider adding a little competition into the family getaway with the Kids Fun Race held every Saturday at King Pine. The course begins at the bottom of Open Slope and is free to all with a lift ticket. Make a game out of it and see who can beat who’s time with a hot chocolate prize at the end for the winner. The mountain also features an ice skating rink and tubing park to help create a trip itinerary that won’t soon be forgotten. Access to the ice rink is complimentary with a King Pine lift ticket and for those staying at Purity Spring Resort or can be purchased for $4.00 mid-week or $6.00 on weekends from guest services. Skate rentals are also available from the rental shop at the mountain. Tubing passes are $18.00 per person for a two hour session.

kp-winter-kidsKing Pine is also hosting a Winter Carnival during February vacation week from February 16 through February 27. Enjoy activities such as sleigh rides, snow shoe tours, a silly slalom and belly race on February 17,  fireworks on February 19 and a special kids light parade presented on February 27. Each day offers a different activity sure to bring a smile to everyone’s face and some great moments perfect for capturing family photos. For more information on King Pine’s event schedule, call guest services at 800-373-3754 or visit King Pine’s events calendar, here. 

Kids can learn to ski and snowboard in an exciting atmosphere geared just for kids with King Pine’s Ski and Snowboard Camp from February 16 through February 21. The camp staff includes a mixture of college students and parents interested in providing a fun week of learning and activities for the campers. This program is geared for boys and girls ages eight to sixteen and is an overnight, week-long experience with rooms available that the King Pine Lodge and Purity Spring Resort.

Wildcat Mountain presents  the best of both worlds with more than 2,000 feet of vertical drop for advanced skiers looking for a thrill plus excellent learning terrain.  Wildcat offers New Hampshire’s longest, summit-to-base, novice trail, with a user-friendly conveyor belt surface lift, perfect for beginner adults and children.

During February vacation week, Wildcat offers up some wildly fun and unique events. Plan to take wildcat_kitty_litterpart in the“Kitty Litter Cardboard Race” on February 17. To take part in this February Vacation Wildcat tradition kids need to build their own “vessel” out of cardboard boxes and go head-to-head in a series of heats held at the base of Wildcat. It’s a free event, but supplies for your vessel are up to you. For more information on registering the event and how to build your own outstanding vessel clickhere. This is a great way to collectively harness the creativity of the whole family. Put all the family’s energy into building one cardboard box or organize a friendly competition amongst the youngsters and watch as they try to outsmart and outreach each other in design and on the course.

Following this fun event the “Nine Lives Lunch Tray Luge”  takes place the next day on February 18th at Wildcat Mountain.This is the one time during the season where the young and young at heart can test their speed on the “track” at the base of Wildcat in a series of head-to-head heats on a lunch tray. Based on number of participants, the two fastest “lugers” will move on to the next heat until the finals.

Wildcat’s sister mountain, Attitash Mountain Resort not only offers two big mountains that can entertain with endless hours of skiing, it’s also a hot spot for après-ski entertainment. With multiple options for listening to live music all over the mountain, you will be able to delight any audience with acoustic music at Bear Peak with Den Sessions or classic, New England bands in Ptarmigan’s Pub. Live music is offered every weekend from 3:00pm to 6:00pm.

Both Attitash Mountain Resort and Wildcat Mountain are also the hosts of the Peak Resort Airbag Stunt Tour. From February 18 – 21, 2015 make your February vacation all about trying to gain extreme air and trying a new trick. Your tween and teen-aged skiers will love this. Gain speed from the entry slope and hit a fourteen foot kicker before launching over and onto the 60 by 60 foot airbag that provides a soft surface to land upon. Create stories that no one back home will have when you bring the whole family to try out this professional grade skiing element and try some adventure. Tickets are $15.00 for three jumps, $20.00 for five jumps and $30.00 for an unlimited single day ticket. Airbag tickets must be used on the same day they are purchased and are non-transferable. Helmets and a valid lift ticket or season pass are required along with a signed waiver. If you are under the age of 18, you MUST have a parent or guardian sign your waiver.

Family fun is what Shawnee Peak specializes in with their Family Fun Day, an all-day event on February 19. Registration begins at 9:00am with face painting and crafts following at 10:00am. You can also participate in a scavenger hunt and snow sculpture contest or enjoy a BBQ lunch or Blueberry Pie eating contest throughout the day. Activities are free and open to the public except for the BBQ lunch, which is $12.00 per person. Make sure you don’t miss a thing, by getting to the mountain for first chair and enjoying a day of skiing and all-day fun.

Shawnee Peak also offers extreme tubing onto the Big Air Bag. Huck onto an inflatable pillow used by professional stuntmen and gain air as you launch off an eight foot kicker. You can choose to ski all morning and launch all afternoon, either way Shawnee Peak is a great destination for a variety of activities to make sure everyone in the family is entertained and enjoying their vacation.

Bretton Woods always has something going on perfect for families on vacation. Spend a day skiing at the resort that has been rated “Best Snow and Grooming in the East” by readers of SKI magazine and remains among the best in Kid Friendly offerings or choose to go on a Canopy Tour or dog-sled ride, your options are endless at this one resort. If you choose to take on the thrill of the three-hour Canopy Tour that features miles of zip-lines that descend over 1,000 feet, be aware that the tour is only available to participants ages twelve and older. Families with younger children, should consider taking a ride on the resort’s Snow-deos.

bwoods_snowdeosComplete with plenty of banked turns, children will be able to operate their own miniature snowmobiles or snow-deos rather, in a contained course at the base of the ski resort. Full-face helmets are provided and children are supervised at all times. Guides will conduct a brief orientation on how to safely operate and shut-off the machine. The park is open weekends and holiday periods from 10am to 4pm and rides are $20 for fifteen minutes.

Here at Bretton Woods, après ski isn’t just for adults, although there are nice options for them to enjoy too. Regularly scheduled kids après-ski events and parties are held every Saturdaywith special dates throughout Februaryinclude live entertainment, games, activities, and refreshments for kids. Parents are welcome to leave their kids at this supervised program and enjoy their own style of entertainment at the Slopeside Lounge, making it easy for everyone to enjoy the end of their skiing and riding day at the mountain. Click here for more information.

Black Mountain is celebrating its 80th season. Already a family favorite for skiing and riding, the mountain also has live entertainment and weekly specials and discounts all over the mountain. Beginners will enjoy a friendly and comprehensive ski school for those looking forward to building confidence in their skiing and riding skills. Those looking for more challenging terrain will find it at the summit as they chute down the Upper Maple Slalom trail. Black Mountain invites you to rest and relax after a day of skiing at Lostbo Pub, where you can warm-up as a family with après-ski specials and live music.

Great Glen Trails has a wide range of choices when it comes to planning family-friendly winter activities.  Try group cross-country ski lessons, go on a snowshoe trek or tube right on the grounds of the center, all perfect for family memories. Or take a winter sightseeing trip together on the SnowCoach. This trip takes you more than four miles above tree line up New England’s highest peak, Mount Washington. Riding in a four-track, all-wheel van, you will be transported into sub-arctic conditions that give you a whole new perspective on the Mt. Washington Valley and winter weather. The kids may even learn something about winter climates, but don’t tell them it’ll be instructional; the guides will sneak in lessons without their even knowing it.  SnowCoach treks are weather dependent so always call ahead. Seats are filled on a first-come, first serve basis and tickets are $49.00 for adults and $39.00 for Juniors ages five to twelve. Call 603-466-2333 for more information.

If you’re hoping for an instructional and educational element for the kid’s vacation this winter, Great Glen Trails invites first through eighth graders to the Bill Koch League Club. This is a weekly program that emphasizes the fun of skiing as well as learning skills. Bill Koch is the first US Olympic medalist in cross country skiing and the namesake of this regional youth ski program. The Club meets Sunday afternoons at 1:30pm and activities include games on skis such as tag, capture the flag and ultimate frisbee; trail explorations, challenges that promote ski skill improvement; relay races and more. Upcoming dates are February 8 and 22,  2015 club dues are $30 for the first child and $25 for each additional child. Be sure to call guest services ahead of time to reserve your child’s spot in this program.

Jackson Ski Touring Foundation, (JSTF) provides miles of trails with a variety of terrain from beginner to advanced to keep you entertained all day. You can even Alpine ski for a half-day at any of the seven ski resorts thenbring in your lift ticket and get a half price trail pass. You’ll have the best of both worlds and make sure your vacation dollars go even further at Jackson Ski Touring Foundation.

snowshoeingSnowshoe Magazine named Jackson Ski Touring Center the #1 Family Friendly Snowshoe Nordic Center in the country in 2014. Consider joining JSTF for a Snowshoe Nature Tour, scheduledevery Friday and Saturday and every day throughout February vacation. Enjoy comfortable outdoor adventure where guides will show snowshoers places along the trails and off the system that most people would never get to find. This is a fun and interesting tour led by snowshoeing experts who will also give technique tips along the way. Tour are $10.00 per person and start at 10:00am and 1:00pm and last for two hours.  Rentals available for $12.00. Registration is suggested and can be made by calling guest services at 603- 383-9355.

Don’t forget to bring all members of the family on your cross-country ski vacation. Even your four-legged loved ones are welcome at all Nordic Ski centers. Bear Notch Skiing prides itself on welcoming your well-behaved furry companions on the center’s entire trail network. You’ll enjoy picturesque views, scenic waterfalls and a range of terrain from flat meadows to challenging hills at Bear Notch. This Nordic ski resort is a great way to take a break from reality and enjoy all that nature has to offer with every member of the family. Other Nordic centers also offer partial access to trails at different parts of the network for all-inclusive family fun.

Now that you’ve learned all that Mt Washington Valley’s 13 ski resorts and XC Centers offer, we think you’ll agree that it’s safe to leave the electronic devices at home.  There’s so much to do, the kids won’t miss them! Make a great connection with your family this winter and February vacation, by spending time with your family outdoors. Mt. Washington Valley specializes in family fun and the Alpine and Nordic ski resorts are excited to welcome you and your entire family for a whole vacation of memories and adventure.


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