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Instead of hibernating this winter, celebrate the snowy season by hitting the slopes with the family. A day or weekend of skiing or snowboarding is a fun way to get some exercise and is sure to put a rosy glow into your little one's cheeks. Never skied/boarded before? No problem-these family friendly locations have beginner programs for all ages, and most offer day care for the tot who's not quite ready to strap on skis. Whether you're looking for a conveniently close bunny hill or a well-worth-it trip out to real snow country, have a look at our guide to find the best fit for you and your crew.
Berkshire East Ski Resort
66 Thunder Mountain Road, Charlemont
Full and half day ski lessons for ages 4-14 (8-14 for snowboarding). Day care available for ages 2.5-6. Saturday night is Family Night; includes discounted lift tickets, rentals, and group lessons.
Bousquet Ski Area
101 Dan Fox Drive, Pittsfield
Private and group ski lessons for ages 5 and up; snowboard, ages 8 and up. There is also night skiing and tubing (parents must sign release from liability form).
Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort
37 Corey Road, Hancock
45 trails, three terrain parks, and night skiing. Offers a SKIwee program for children ages 4-6 and Explorers program for ages 7-12 (buy six sessions, get the seventh free this season) and a program for 3-year-olds (register in advance) in a designated learning area. Day care available for children ages 6 months and up. Roundtrip service available from Long Island via Danril Ski Tours (www.danrilskitours.com or 631-656-0986); shuttle service from NYC also available.
Route 8 and Route 23, Otis
Group ski lessons for kids as young as 4, and snowboarding lessons for ages 8 and up. Also offers night skiing.
380 State Road (Route 23), Great Barrington
SKIwee ski programs for ages 4-12 and miniRIDERS snowboarding programs for ages 7-12. Ski With Me program for 3-year-olds and parents. Snow tubing is also available. Day care available for ages 6 months to 8 years.
WORTH THE TRAVEL...
Bristol Mountain Resort
5662 Route 64, Canandaigua, NY
33 trails, mostly intermediate, and two terrain parks. Ski lessons for children as young as 4, snowboard lessons for children as young as 6. Child care program for children as young as 18 months.
793 Peaceful Valley Road, North Creek, NY
518-251-2411 or 800-342-1234, www.goremountain.com
90 trails, including eight snowshoeing/cross-country trails. Daily ski and snowboard lessons for children as young as 4. Day care available for children ages 6 months to 6 years.
Whiteface, The Olympic Mountain
Route 86, Wilmington, NY
85 trails, 11 lifts, and several terrain parks at this U.S. Olympic training site. There are expert trails as well as a Kids Kampus for kids and families just learning to ski or board. Lessons for ages 4 and up, and all skill levels. Nursery available for ages 1 and up.
Also see our complete 2010 Where to Ski/Snowboard Guide for NY, NJ, CT, MA, PA, and VT