Many families will be heading out for a ski vacation over the next three months, and with a little pre-planning, can avoid the tantrums and pitfalls that sometimes plague a family outing.

Emily McCormack, [R120R, Crested Butte Mountain Resort] travel specialist, offers some tips that may help preserve your sanity and perhaps save a little money as well.

She advises that you pre-book as much as you can.

"Not just flights. If you want to try dog sledding, go for a snowmobile tour or even schedule lessons, it's a good idea to pre-book as many outings as you can. Most activities have limited space, and you don't want to end up disappointed."

Do a little research. Most resorts, including Crested Butte, have a variety of specials and packages that are offered to entice visitors, but also can make your trip more affordable. Consult with a travel agent, if you don't have time to check them out.

Consider staying close to the slopes, which creates a lot less hassle in the morning getting everyone off to the lifts, a lesson, or running back to retrieve forgotten items.

She advises packing smart. Mix-and-match and include extra pairs of long underwear and socks so you won't have to spend time washing items.

"Jeans are the norm at Western resorts and work well for evenings on the town," she said. "A couple pair will cover all your activities.  Resort life is casual."

Renting equipment can help to avoid extra hassles and cost when flying. Most resorts have demo packages and high-performance packages available that cover a wide variety of equipment needs.

"It's a good idea to book equipment ahead if you plan on renting," advised McCormack, "so you won't be disappointed with choices; especially if you want high-performance."

She advises that those new to the sport should schedule some lesson time. "The learning curve with new equipment is pretty short and will leave you plenty of free time to enjoy what you've learned."

McCormack says that you should plan on taking a "rest day."

"Often by the third or fourth day, especially if you don't ski or snowboard a lot, you are tired and sore. Take a day and recuperate, or at least slow down with a half-day. Most people want to get in as much slope time as they can, but if you're here for a four or five-day vacation, that time off will help you enjoy the last day or two that much more."

Choosing a resort that allows kids a little freedom is also important, she added.

"At Crested Butte kids can move between the base area and lodging and the Adventure Park with relative ease. It's all within easy walking distance and everything funnels back to our base area."

Everyone can have a good time at their own comfortable pace with a little planning.