Celebrate Warm Weather in the Mountains Without Breaking the Bank

The sun is getting stronger, the temperature is climbing and you can even go outside without a jacket on warm days. Now is the time to take the family skiing if you haven’t started yet over the winter. Your children won’t mind the occasional bit of slushy snow on the ski hill, and younger kids will do better with fewer layers on to restrict movement. And don’t worry about breaking the bank; there are some incredible deals to be had this time of year on the slopes.

Ski for a Toonie at Mount Norquay

For just a Toonie per person, the whole family can ski at Mount Norquay on the first Wednesday of each month. Upcoming Toonie days are March 5 and April 2. There’s a great learning area at Mount Norquay with a beginner chairlift that accesses only green runs, lest you fear finding yourself at the top of a black diamond run with a novice skier. The ski hill also has a tube park that helps extend your time at the hill when kids are tired from skiing. (Note: This offer is for Alberta residents only and the Tube Park is not included with the Toonie day package.)

Take a sightseeing trip up to Sunshine Village

Children under six ski and ride the gondola for free at Sunshine Village. While you will still have to pay for an adult gondola ticket to take the kids up to the village, you can save money on skiing by just putting the kids on the beginner hill and walking around with them in your boots. Combine the trip with lunch in Banff or a trip to the hot springs for a special family day in the mountains.

Spend the day at Nakiska Mountain Resort

What I love best about Nakiska is that everybody gets to ski in the beginner area for free. That means parents can put on their skis too to help young children learn to ski. I think we can all agree this is easier than running up and down the beginner hill in boots, chasing out-of-control kids. Nakiska has also added a tube park this year, and it’s a lot of fun. Children ages five + should be tall enough to ride, and it’s not as big as some parks, making it an ideal place to take younger kids. Wrap up your day with some skating or hot chocolate at Kananaskis Village.

Plan an affordable family ski weekend in Kananaskis

The HI-Kananaskis Hostel has three private rooms for families wanting to spend the night within a five-minute drive from Nakiska. The hostel has a fully stocked kitchen so you can save more money by cooking your own meals. The hostel is simple but comfortable, and with the money you save on accommodations, you will be able to afford to buy lift tickets for one or two days at the ski hill. HI-Kananaskis offers ski packages as well from $79 per adult and private room upgrades can be made.

For more information on Toonie Days at Mount Norquay, visit www.banffnorquay.com/event/toonieday3/

For information on lift tickets at Sunshine Village, visit www.skibanff.com

For information on tubing and skiing at Nakiska Mountain Resort, visit www.skinakiska.com

For information on the HI-Kananaskis Hostel, visit the Hostelling International Canada’s website at www.hihostels.ca/westerncanada/358/HI-Kananaskis_Wilderness_Hostel.hostel

Tanya loves hiking, camping, skiing and all things mountain-related. She is the author of the blog, Family Adventures in the Canadian Rockies, www.rockiesfamilyadventures.com, and the founder of Calgary Outdoor Playgroups on Facebook. More information about her playgroups can be found on her blog.

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