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Taking the Kids: Wisiting ski country in summer when it more affordable

By Eileen Ogintz, Tribune Content Agency on

I love ski country in summer, whether in Vermont, New Hampshire, Colorado, Utah or Lake Tahoe. For one thing, there's a lot to do that doesn't cost any money -- swimming or hiking, for example.

For another, lodging can be a lot cheaper -- you might even be able to splurge on a luxury hotel like the Four Seasons Vail Resort, which seemed family central when we were there, perhaps because they are offering a Vail Getaway (40 percent off room rates). Families love the Four Seasons here because they seem to anticipate every need -- complimentary snacks at the pool; water and granola bars for a hike, free supervised kids activities and even tents in the room for the kids. It's "glamping for the kids," joked Brent Martin, the general manager.

"You get a lot more for your money," said Melissa Bauman, here from Denver with three kids, as she enjoyed the Four Seasons pool, the mountains as the backdrop.

You'll also likely find a lodging deal, whether you want to be waited on in a luxury hotel or spread out in a condo. The Woodstock Inn & Resort in Vermont is touting a family package with the second room at 30 percent off. Aspen's Limelight Hotel is touting 25 percent off of stays four nights or longer. has an entire list of lodging options offering 20 percent off this summer. Rates start at just $129 a night at Northstar in Lake Tahoe with their Great Summer Break deal, while Keystone, Colorado, has rates from $109 -- up to 40 percent off.

The kids shouldn't get bored, you either. Wherever you go in ski country, you're likely to find ziplines and alpine coasters, disc golf (as well as plenty of regular courses), bungee trampolines and climbing walls, mountain-biking clinics and all kinds of hikes. (The Aspen Center for Environmental Studies, for example, offers several free hikes daily at the top of Aspen Mountain, with a naturalist who can talk about wildflowers and wildlife, as well as Aspen's mining history, fishing opportunities and, depending on where you are, rafting and tubing. Check out the Taking the Kids Summer Fun guide for more ideas.

It won't be as tough to get a restaurant reservation or a spa appointment either. And there's plenty to do that won't cost much -- if anything. For example, there are free concerts in Snowmass, Steamboat and Vail, among other places. Pick up picnic fixings at a local farmer's market!

Keystone Resort, just about 90 minutes from Denver, has several complimentary Kidtopia activities daily -- from making and flying kites to a family-guided hike, face painting, Super Snake River Science (when was the last time you looked for water bugs in a river?)

Waterville Valley's lodging deals at the New Hampshire resort include a Freedom Pass that allows access to a wide variety of activities, including mountain bike rentals, boating, tennis, Curious George story time and more. Don't you love deals that are really value added for families?

What do kids think is the best part of their stay in ski country in summer?

"Everything!" said Kate Le, 7, in Vail with her family.

As it should be on vacation!


(For more Taking the Kids, visit and also follow "taking the kids" on, where Eileen Ogintz welcomes your questions and comments.)



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