Resorts are fairly safe places, so it's typically OK to let your teens do some exploring on their own, and find out where the local kids like to hang out. Towns like Vail, Aspen, Crested Butte, and Breckenridge In Colorado, are easy to get around, and full of fun restaurants and shops.
Crested Butte is a perfect example. There is a free shuttle service from the mountain that takes kids to the ice rink, movie theatre, and down the main drag, which is Elk Avenue. Allison Alfone lived in Crested Butte for eight years. She says her teenage son and his buddies always hung out at Teocalli Tamale for burritos, and the Brick Oven for pizza. "They're safe as can be. Crested Butte is so small and everyone is always watching out for everybody."
Alfone says the kids like to take their snowboards or sleds to the skate park at the Nordic Center and drop into the bowls, on the snow. The skate park is right at the base of the local sledding hill. Sleds are available for free at the Nordic Center.
The Crested Butte hockey rink is fun as well. "Go to Public Skate at the outdoor ice rink so you really get the winter experience of skating in the snow."
Many of the bigger destination resorts like Aspen, Keystone, and Breckenridge have skating rinks in town, some on frozen lakes. It's a great activity for the entire family.
Another idea is to find out where the local high school is. Get the basketball schedule and go to a high school basketball game. Your kids would be in an environment with other kids their age.
A new option at Copper Mountain is Camp Woodward. It is part of the multi-million dollar Woodward at Copper facility which is scheduled to open in early February. They've built "The Barn," which is a 20,000-square-foot structure full of indoor jumps, ramps, foam pits, and trampolines. It's used for fun as well as indoor ski and snowboard training. It is just like the terrain parks that are so popular. Kids and teenagers are going to go nuts over this place.
Have a teen driver who needs to improve his or her driving skills on ice and snow? Send them to the Bridgestone Winter Driving School in Steamboat Springs. The driving school focuses on what "not" to do. An ice track is set up just outside of Steamboat, in a farmer's field, with cars and teachers instructing on every aspect of safe winter driving, from braking, cornering, correcting, and avoiding a collision.
Matthew Johnson is one of the instructors. He's a Rally Race Car Driver and X-Games competitor from North Carolina. He says the course is especially great for teenage girls because, "When they first hear they'll be sliding cards around, they are the most terrified. They have no ego associated with knowing about driving. They are a complete sponge for everything we say and teach and they learn tons."
Johnson says that by the end of the day, girls are comfortable sliding cars around. "They've learned about being a safe driver and they feel like rock stars."
Parents also can take the course. Call 970-879-6104 or 1-800-WHY-SKID to set up a visit to the Bridgestone Winter Driving School.