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Jentrovert

If we want to go somewhere with snow . . .

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In January or February, where should we go? The kids have only seen snow once, and only a couple inches. My husband has been to a ski resort in Colorado, and liked it. We aren't that interested in skiing, but would be interested in snowmobiling and snowshoeing. Also just playing in the snow and enjoying a cabin. It seems like the resorts are mostly for skiing? I sort of think we'd be better off with a private cabin somewhere. But, we do need roads to be clear, as we have zero experience driving in snow/ice.

I know nothing about this. Any suggestions?

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So have you been on a snow mobile? We have one, and I've been on it only once or twice in 20+ years. They go very fast, are kinda scary, you need helmets, blah blah. I personally wouldn't take my 6/7 yo on one. I'm not saying you can't or that others here shouldn't. I'm just saying it's not what we do. Maybe we have too much anxiety? LOL 

I think I'm saying have a back-up plan, some more things the kids can do. The trip sounds great, but maybe with more options. Snow shoeing sounds really fatiguing, so I don't know if 6/7 yos would enjoy that.

If you went to a place like Minnesota or Wisconsin, the snow would be dependable but you could situate yourself in/near a city and have some other things to do too. It's not like you want to play in the snow ALL day. Ice skating outside is wonderful in winter. Museums. That kind of thing. 

We've talked about going up to Wisconsin (I think that's the one) to do snow mobiling in the winter, but just haven't done it. Would they like to ice fish? 6/7 is young for cross country skiing. MIght be fun to regular ski.

Edited by PeterPan
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So if you really want to blow it out of the water, maybe situate near an ice rink and line up daily lessons for a week? That could be really fun. Then the kids would actually progress. 

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Cadillac Michigan is a great place.  My friends own an Airbnb there with 4 bedrooms, 2 fireplaces, etc on a lake that would be frozen.  They are right on the snowmobile trail.  The ski resort with lessons, etc is about 15-20 minutes away.  They generally have a lot of snow ....but the resort makes it for skiing even if there isn't that much elsewhere.

If you flew, likely you would fly into Grand Rapids MI.   

This isn't a huge resort but you would not be paying big resort prices either.

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16 minutes ago, freesia said:

East or West or Mid-west? 

We're in southeastern Oklahoma. Would prefer a 10 or so hour drive at most . . . hmmm . . . will that get us to snow . . . no, don't think so. So 12-14 I think?

Edited by Jentrovert

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10 minutes ago, PeterPan said:

So have you been on a snow mobile? We have one, and I've been on it only once or twice in 20+ years. They go very fast, are kinda scary, you need helmets, blah blah. I personally wouldn't take my 6/7 yo on one. I'm not saying you can't or that others here shouldn't. I'm just saying it's not what we do. Maybe we have too much anxiety? LOL 

I think I'm saying have a back-up plan, some more things the kids can do. The trip sounds great, but maybe with more options. Snow shoeing sounds really fatiguing, so I don't know if 6/7 yos would enjoy that.

If you went to a place like Minnesota or Wisconsin, the snow would be dependable but you could situate yourself in/near a city and have some other things to do too. It's not like you want to play in the snow ALL day. Ice skating outside is wonderful in winter. Museums. That kind of thing. 

We've talked about going up to Wisconsin (I think that's the one) to do snow mobiling in the winter, but just haven't done it. Would they like to ice fish? 6/7 is young for cross country skiing. MIght be fun to regular ski.

 See, that's the kind of thing I don't know! Had no idea about the snow mobiles. 

A city might be the way to go, with the kids being young. Plenty of variety.

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I live in the Poconos and there are lots of winter things to do. Most of the ski resorts (where you can stay or just visit) have tubing, which doesn’t take any skill!  Unfortunately, our snow can be fickle.  We can have feet and feet in December and next to nothing in February. Or vice verse.  The resorts make their own, but the private rental homes do not. 😉 

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2 hours ago, Carrie12345 said:

tubing

Yes, yes, that would be age-appropriate!! We do that here too, but like Carrie is saying our snow isn't guaranteed. The ski places make it. If you go up to the Great Lakes, up farther north, it's maybe more guaranteed. How much notice do you need? Maybe just watch the weather reports and pick a week? And personally, I'd stay at a hotel so you have an indoor pool and hot tubs too, hehe. 

Oh I finally realized the picture you have in your mind. Like White Christmas, right? Haha, that's way up there, like Vermont, Maine...  https://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/story/news/local/2014/12/24/white-christmas-imaginary-vermont-town/20767323/

Edited by PeterPan
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most snow areas have areas for cross-country skiing (you can get out and about and see the area) and inner tubing (which little kids can do, and frequently love.)

where you go really depends where you live and how much time/money you want to spend to get there.  big name ski resorts, tend to be more.  I'd look at renting a condo as you have kitchen facilities.

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Snowshoeing is way, way easier than cross-country skiing and requires a lot less specialized equipment. It is definitely something that young children can do with small sized snowshoes. You also don't need any groomed trails in order to snowshoe. You can simply walk where ever you want. It's a lot of fun, and very inexpensive. 

I have no recommendations regarding destinations for you as I'm up in Canada. Mountains are just so gorgeous, though. I'd always opt to go to mountains over flat land, if I had the choice. Colorado is beautiful. 

Edited by wintermom
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Do you have the flexibility to wait until there's snow somewhere, and go on short notice?

How far is Santa Fe from you?  I don't know much about it, but I always thought it would be a great winter vacation spot for someone who wanted both snow stuff and other stuff.   

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Ok, you seem like you want more fun, so here's an outlandish idea. How about going to the Iditarod and then driving up to see the Northern Lights? 

:biggrin:

In all seriousness, Alaska is kinda your guaranteed snow, haha. They do plow the roads. We went in the fall, which was beautiful, but it would be cool (pun intended, haha) to go back in the winter, see the start or end of the iditarod, see the northern lights, etc. 

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This might be too far to drive, especially if you've never driven in snow, but maybe you could fly.  Winnipeg, Canada has a fun winter festival where the kids can toboggan down a slide into the frozen lake, dog sled races, food, igloos, etc. It's very geared towards the families. It's been a few years since we lived there, but I think it was the Festival du Voyageur. We had such a good time! Quebec City also has a winter festival with ice skating on the canals. I've never been, but we had friends with families who went every year. They would come back and tell us what fun it was. Both of these are in February.

Edited by wilrunner
I think it was a lake, not a river, that froze.
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Thank you all, this gives me some great places to start considering! I also appreciate the info on which activities are good with kids. We could be flexible on our dates, so the suggestion to go on short notice depending on snow is a good one. Of the suggestions, New Mexico would be closest, I believe. Alaska and Canada would be wonderful, but probably not in the budget this trip. 

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We go to Lake Tahoe (California/Nevada) but that’s too far for you. My kids liked snow tubing at that age, and building lots of snowmen. My husband liked making snow angels and my kids rather watch him do that then make their own snow angels. We take the gondola rides so the snow is only at the high elevation but not at the hotel where we stayed.

My kids like a busy hotel to stay in, have breakfast there, head out to the gondola station, play at the high elevation and then be back down in town for dinner. Then be tired enough to sleep well at the hotel. The bonus is that we went to the beaches there as well so it was quite a contrast (snow at high elevation and warm enough to build sandcastles at hotel elevation)

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A city might be the way to go, with the kids being young. Plenty of variety.

 

I hear you, but just FYI, snow doesn't last as long in cities as it does in rural areas due to the Urban Heat Island effect. Furthermore, except in parks it gets slushy and dirty and gross very, very quickly.

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I’m thinking something like Great Lakes area where you will get lake affect snow but might be able to have some other amenities too.  Like Duluth Minnesota.   Or Door County WI.  We’ve done Duluth many times in the winter.  Very fun!

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You might look at someplace like Green Bay -- you can rent a cabin in Door County, but if there isn't much snow, you can check out things like the Titletown Park, which has a tubing hill and a skating rink with snow and ice that are manufactured and maintained throughout the winter. They are pretty much designed for people not used to winter -- with a warming fire, hot beverages nearby, etc.

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13 hours ago, PeterPan said:

Ok, you seem like you want more fun, so here's an outlandish idea. How about going to the Iditarod and then driving up to see the Northern Lights? 

:biggrin:

In all seriousness, Alaska is kinda your guaranteed snow, haha. They do plow the roads. We went in the fall, which was beautiful, but it would be cool (pun intended, haha) to go back in the winter, see the start or end of the iditarod, see the northern lights, etc. 

 

Well, it used to be but not anymore. There are a number of years they had to truck in snow for the Iditarod  within the last decade and there is supposed to be another patch of really warm water in the Pacific again.  😢  I mean if you head to the mountains but I have doubts they want to be on bad roads in the middle of nowhere. 

New Mexico could be a gorgeous option.

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Winterlude in Ottawa for a great urban snow experience.   As the national capital, Ottawa is chock full of cultural stuff to do, with pretty good public transit.  And when you are ready for some nature (hiking, XC-ski, snowshoe,, snow biking etc) Gatineau park is just across the river.

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Young kids love sledding. It is better to take them on smaller hills so they don't get hurt. If you want to play in the snow make sure you have snow pants, very warm jackets, good boots, gloves, hats and scarves.

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Pagosa Springs, CO is a resort town in southern Colorado that has something for everyone.  Besides skiing, there are lots of places to play in the snow. There's also a narrow gauge railroad, hot springs, snowmobile tours, museums, trails everywhere for snowshoeing, restaurants, hotels and condos, cabins to rent, etc.  

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For something more rustic, maybe a stay in a yurt in a national park?  We've done a winter yurt stay in Algonquin Park in Ontario.  They are heated with bunk and mattresses, and have electricity.  The central comfort station with flush toilets and showers was a short walk away.  The camp ground had a skating rink, and there are oodles of trails for snowshoeing, and there is also dog sledding.

Edited by wathe
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18 hours ago, PeterPan said:

Ok, you seem like you want more fun, so here's an outlandish idea. How about going to the Iditarod and then driving up to see the Northern Lights? 

:biggrin:

In all seriousness, Alaska is kinda your guaranteed snow, haha. They do plow the roads. We went in the fall, which was beautiful, but it would be cool (pun intended, haha) to go back in the winter, see the start or end of the iditarod, see the northern lights, etc. 

Okay, I think that’s my new dream vacation!

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18 hours ago, PeterPan said:

Ok, you seem like you want more fun, so here's an outlandish idea. How about going to the Iditarod and then driving up to see the Northern Lights? 

:biggrin:

In all seriousness, Alaska is kinda your guaranteed snow, haha. They do plow the roads. We went in the fall, which was beautiful, but it would be cool (pun intended, haha) to go back in the winter, see the start or end of the iditarod, see the northern lights, etc. 

Depends on where you go in the state but we have had a lot of bad snow years, so no guarantee there :-)

Many people have said it, but I want to echo the New Mexico option. Santa Fe or Red River would be great. I also like Durango, CO. Someone mentioned Pagosa Springs, and they are known for having exceptional amounts of snow.

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I'm leaning toward New Mexico or Colorado. I have a list to check out based on all these great suggestions; should have time tomorrow to research further.

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8 hours ago, wathe said:

For something more rustic, maybe a stay in a yurt in a national park?  We've done a winter yurt stay in Algonquin Park in Ontario.  They are heated with bunk and mattresses, and have electricity.  The central comfort station with flush toilets and showers was a short walk away.  The camp ground had a skating rink, and there are oodles of trails for snowshoeing, and there is also dog sledding.


Having lived in Ontario in the winter, I can't imagine bundling up to go through the cold to use the loo or worse, to come back from a shower with wet hair, in that weather.  Otherwise that sounds lovely!  Are there no yurts with indoor plumbing?

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If you could afford to go to a ski place in Colorado, I think they’ll tend to have plowed roads for people who aren’t used to snow driving. A rental in an area with more locals may be less plowed.

I am in Oregon and can’t speak to Colorado, but here in Cascades there are snow parks that offer skiing and also inner tubing, snow shoeing, etc.

I’d be inclined to favor skiing (maybe with a family package of lessons?) over snowmobiling for relative safety and peace and quiet.   

Sometimes places like REI or independent local Ski /snow gear rental and purchase shops located in cities closer to sea level (eg Eugene or Portland) have trips to snow in mountains such that it could be possible to stay somewhere non-snowy and go for day trips in a van up to snow. And not have to drive in it yourself.  Don’t know if there are places like that in Colorado or NM. 

The right clothes can make a huge difference in having fun in snow versus being cold, wet, and miserable.  It may be possible to rent “ski” clothes even if you aren’t skiing. 

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New Mexican, here.  There have been many years, especially in the last decade, that there was hardly any snow.  The best snow in New Mexico is in the northeast corner (Red River) or around Taos.  Sipapu is a family friendly resort that caters to children, so that's a good option.  It's near Taos.  Even if the snow isn't *great*, it will be magical for your kids because they've never seen it.

If you want a snow guarantee, you'll have much better luck in Colorado.  Wolf Creek gets snow when no one else does. Pagosa Springs generally gets snow from those storms, just not as much.  Durango is beautiful, and they have a wonderful narrow gauge train ride, but there is a brew pub on every corner in town.  I don't have anything against craft beer, but it just is not a family oriented place.  The further north you go, the more snow you'll get, but it also gets more expensive (Aspen, Breckenridge, etc).

So, I still recommend Pagosa Springs, CO, but I'm now adding Sipapu Resort, near Taos, NM.

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I've just been travelling from New Jersey to Ontario to Alberta, and even in the summer it takes my body a few days to get comfortable with the change in temperature and humidity levels. I would recommend factoring in this need for "transition time" to get yourself and your family acclimatized to the differences you're all going to face when travelling to an area with snow. Sure, you can put on warmer clothing, but humidity changes hits the body much "deeper." 

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4 hours ago, wintermom said:

I've just been travelling from New Jersey to Ontario to Alberta, and even in the summer it takes my body a few days to get comfortable with the change in temperature and humidity levels. I would recommend factoring in this need for "transition time" to get yourself and your family acclimatized to the differences you're all going to face when travelling to an area with snow. Sure, you can put on warmer clothing, but humidity changes hits the body much "deeper." 

 

I'm glad you brought up climate variation. That reminds me to say something about elevation changes.  The air at 6,000 or 10,000 feet is much thinner (meaning, it contains much less oxygen) than it is at sea level,) and the difference is most clear when you're doing physical activity.  When musicians come to do concerts in Albuquerque, they end up sitting on stools much of the time because they' just can't breathe like they're used to. Spending an extra day or two, taking it easy, allows your body to adjust to the lower oxygen levels.  You will actually produce more blood cells to make up for the lower oxygen in the air.  Don't just drive to the mountains and start doing strenuous activity (like heading out on an all-day snowshoeing hike.)  Instead, stay close to your cabin the first day and go out on short excursions, then build up to doing more each day.  

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I appreciate the climate and elevation advice. That was on my list to look up info about. When my husband was in CO a few years ago, he said that although the temp was lower than we usually have, it was much more comfortable because of the lower humidity. Here it is a wet, soggy cold. He said it was a much dryer cold there. I don't remember him mentioning anything about the elevation.

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12 minutes ago, Jentrovert said:

I appreciate the climate and elevation advice. That was on my list to look up info about. When my husband was in CO a few years ago, he said that although the temp was lower than we usually have, it was much more comfortable because of the lower humidity. Here it is a wet, soggy cold. He said it was a much dryer cold there. I don't remember him mentioning anything about the elevation.

 

Yes, it's very dry. You'll need lotion.  I've always felt more comfortable in dry air, but dry is "home" to me.  We went to Tennessee this summer, and it felt like walking around in a steam shower. It was hard to breathe. It felt so good when we got to Ohio, where I could fill my lungs!  The lack of humidity does have an effect, but I believe it will be a positive one for you.  The altitude will have a negative effect, but just for a couple days.

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10 minutes ago, Jentrovert said:

 I don't remember him mentioning anything about the elevation.

 

I think it depends on your sensitivity and acclimatization. My kids ears “pop” when we reached over 2000 feet in elevation. Our city’s elevation is only 72 feet.

We drive to Lake Tahoe which is about 6,222 feet in elevation. My kids don’t like chewing gum so we had lollipops and ginger chews along the way up. Keeping car windows wind down was helpful for us. 

For humidity, we just fill up a few glasses of tap water in the hotel room to lessen the drying effect. 

Depending on cloud cover, kids might need sunglasses to play in the snow. The kids that were skiing had ski googles 

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40 minutes ago, Jentrovert said:

I appreciate the climate and elevation advice. That was on my list to look up info about. When my husband was in CO a few years ago, he said that although the temp was lower than we usually have, it was much more comfortable because of the lower humidity. Here it is a wet, soggy cold. He said it was a much dryer cold there. I don't remember him mentioning anything about the elevation.

I really noticed that in the dry air, the temperature changed quickly with the sun. When the sun came out, it was noticeably warmer very quickly. When the sun was behind clouds, it was colder. I find in humid climates, the heat/cold stays more constant.

I did not notice any effects from high elevation in the Alberta Rockies. I know that some people do, though

Edited by wintermom
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1 hour ago, wintermom said:

I really noticed that in the dry air, the temperature changed quickly with the sun. When the sun came out, it was noticeably warmer very quickly. When the sun was behind clouds, it was colder. I find in humid climates, the heat/cold stays more constant.

I did not notice any effects from high elevation in the Alberta Rockies. I know that some people do, though

 

This is definitely true. Just stepping from the shade into the sunlight makes a profound difference, but I had never attributed it to the lack of humidity before. I just never thought about it.

But that reminds me, at high altitude, the radiation from the sun is much more intense, and the reflection from the snow makes it worse. Jentrovert, you WILL need sunscreen on your faces, even if it's cloudy.

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26 minutes ago, Suzanne in ABQ said:

 

This is definitely true. Just stepping from the shade into the sunlight makes a profound difference, but I had never attributed it to the lack of humidity before. I just never thought about it.

But that reminds me, at high altitude, the radiation from the sun is much more intense, and the reflection from the snow makes it worse. Jentrovert, you WILL need sunscreen on your faces, even if it's cloudy.

Sun glasses are often required if it's very sunny in snowy areas as well. The glare can be very painful.

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