Northstar at Tahoe, California
One of several resorts at Lake Tahoe in Northern California, Northstar is the go-to ski spot for West Coasters. More than half of its trails are intermediate, so it's really good for kids and parents who have moved beyond the basics and are ready for a challenge.
Just for Kids: The ski school has a full range of ski and snowboard lessons. If your little one is hesitant to go to a class alone or you just want to do it as a family, sign up for the Mommy, Daddy, and Me private lesson for kids 4 and under. Your children will beg to go back to the Paw Parks -- kids-only zones where they can fool around on their skis or take them off and just play in the snow.
Family Fun: When you ski together as a family, you'll really appreciate the Mellow Yellow zones -- beginner/intermediate slopes that are dedicated "go slow" zones, so you don't have to worry about crazy-fast skiers knocking your kids down. At night, head into the village for ice skating at the outdoor rink -- fire pits on the perimeter keep you warm (and you can buy s'mores kits and toast your treats over the flames). Big Wave Burritos and Wraps (530-562-8800) and Rubicon Pizza & Bistro (530-562-2199) are both good restaurants for kids.
Parent Perks: If you and your spouse are trading off childcare duties for the day, you'll be psyched about the Parent Predicament Ticket, which allows one of you to use it in the morning and one to use it in the afternoon. The village has good window shopping: Buy a cute T-shirt or pick up some yarn at Loopy for a knitting project.
Where to Stay: Condos (rates start at $159 a night) are where it's at -- and you can ask for family perks like kids' DVDs and high chairs. Or for a cheaper stay, check out the studios (starting at $134; northstarattahoe.com).
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Copyright © 2007. Used with permission from the November 2007 issue of Parents magazine.