A family ski trip is one of the hallmarks of winter, but with gas, lodging and lift ticket prices what they are these days, the cost of a mountain vacation can quickly become astronomical. Cataloochee Ski Area is bucking that, having teamed up with local lodging partners to help ensure families can get away and have some fun, without breaking the bank. This winter, when families plan a visit to Maggie Valley and Waynesville, North Carolina they can rest assured of two things: they'll have a great time and the kids will stay and ski for free. 

The Kids Stay Free, Kids Ski Free program allows children 17 and under to get free accommodations at participating lodging throughout Haywood County on any non-holiday, Sunday through Thursday night. This kids then receive a free lift ticket to Cataloochee valid any non-holiday, Monday through Friday (Must be accompanied by a parent purchasing a full price adult day, twilight, or night lift ticket). Reservations at a participating Haywood County accommodation are required to receive lift ticket voucher.

Holidays are Monday, Dec. 17, through Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013; Friday, Jan. 18 through Monday, Jan. 21 and Friday, Feb. 15 through Monday Feb. 18, 2013.

Cataloochee offers 100% snowmaking on 16 lighted slopes including their Cat Cage Terrain Park. Beginner to expert terrain spreads across 50 acres, nearby tubing and a huge equipment rental fleet.

In addition, to help curb the cost of eating out with a full crew, restaurants and merchants in the area are offering giveaways and special deals. Playing, staying and dining mile high in the Smokey Mountains has never been so economical. 

More info and a complete list of participating accommodations can be found at http://blog.visitncsmokies.com/.