Have kids slid into the management of Park City, Utah? The latest program upgrades at the resort sure seem to indicate so. "We have a reputation of being a family resort, and now our main focus is turning even more kid-friendly," says Krista Parry, spokesperson for the resort.
The resort, which already has kid-attractants such as the alpine coaster and tubing down the road, has now designed Adventure Alleys specifically for kids. The alleys lead on trails through glades. "The alleys will privde a great experience in the trees," adds Parry.
Park City's popular Signature Five all-day instruction program continues for kids ages 6 to 14. No longer do parades of 15 kids snake down the slope behind their instructor, for the Signature Five program guarantees no more than five students in a ski or snowboard lesson program.Park City's adult programs are now copying its kids' programs, with five people maximum in a lesson group. Younger tots in the 3.5- to 5-year-old age group also benefit from the Signature Three program, which limits class sizes to three students for more accountability and personalized instruction.
The smaller classes have paid off. Children found they were in classes more akin to their age group and made friends faster. Instructors discovered they were teaching rather than counting heads, and they could ride a six-pack chair lift with their entire class rather than farming young kids out to ride alone or with other adults willing to share their chair.
The Signature Five program also moved from a set menu lunch in ski school cafeteria to dining in any restaurant on the mountain with kid-friendly menus. Classes stop for lunch closest to their ski zone, and kids get to pick their faves, whether it be a veggie burger, salad, or pizza. "I've talked to parents that are coming back because the kids so enjoyed Signature Five program," says Mary Flinn Ware, Kids Mountain School Manager. "They really like the food option rather than eating in a ski school cafeteria like their regular school."
Moms, however, still make the key family decisions about vacations, not kids. Park City has added an innovative Internet resource to aid parents in planning vacations, especially first-time visitors. "We want to make it easy from the planning stage on," adds Parry.
The new Web site includes preplanned mountain tours, interactive trail maps, blogs, and a vacation planning tool that aids parents out to nail itineraries and remove last minute chaos from travel. Moms can even book the reservations-required lessons online.
Moms also can input family ability data to create a personalized family tour of the mountain. The tours also create a way for families who may span ability levels to explore the slopes together. The Web site spits out printable tour directions that include lifts, runs, vertical, and distance. Over 50 individual Park City ski and snowboard tours cater to beginners through double-black diamonds.
An interactive online trail map on Snowmamas also lets moms and kids get sneak peeks at runs via an aerial photos, cross section pitch diagrams, and descriptions of turns and drops. The added detail fleshes out the run beyond its mapped green circle, blue square, or black diamond.
New moms to Park City can also talk to real moms. The Snowmamas blog features moms profiled from New York, southern California, Colorado, and locals who share their tips and answer questions. Flinn Ware also shares her expertise and includes reminder lists about packing goggles, snacks, and sunscreen. "I want to help moms be more prepared and have their kids be more prepared," she says. "When kids are mentally prepared, they tend to have a better first day."
Park City's emphasis on being kid-friendly makes planning easier for moms. Parry sums up, "We focus on planning tools that create a great vacation experience and wonderful memories."