Where to Ski with Tweens and Teens
For Middle Schoolers
Homewood: When kids are serious about snow sports, Homewood offers participation in ski and snowboard teams. Kids can start with the Homewood Super Sliders from ages 4 to 12, and move to the Homewood Development Team (ages 7-15). The Homewood Ski Race Team, for ages 10-15, gives kids the competitive know-how with ski analysis and drills. A competitive snowboard team, ages 7-15, increases technique and confidence. 5145 West Lake Road, Homewood. 530-525.2992. www.skihomewood.com.
Mt. Rose-Ski Tahoe: Many resorts assume kids can ski and snowboard by the time they are in middle school. Not so at Mt. Rose-Ski Tahoe. First Timers is designed for beginning skiers snowboarders, ages 11 and up. A two-hour lesson includes rental gear and a lift ticket. The emphasis is helping new skiers gain confidence in gliding, stopping and turning. The resort features two chair lifts for beginners and one surface lift. 22222 Mt. Rose Highway, Reno, Nev. 775-849.0704. www.mtrose.com.
Boreal: Middle school kids like to be independent, and at Boreal, one of the smaller resorts with 41 trails over 480 acres, parents can feel comfortable letting them roam with a buddy. The resort features six lifts and one moving carpet. What makes this place fun for beginner and intermediate skiers is that 85 percent of the trails are dedicated to them and only 15 percent for the advanced. A tubing park with moving carpet is also available for play. There’s night skiing until 9 p.m. 19749 Boreal Ridge Road., Truckee. 530-426-3666. www.rideboreal.com.
Diamond Peak: This is not a mega resort, but the 655 skiable acres are challenging, with 82 percent of the slopes slated for the intermediate to advanced in ability. Bring your teens with well-honed skills, and they will have a blast. The mid-mountain Snowflake Day Lodge features outside barbecue daily. A new Peter's Playground offers beginning snowboarders small boxes and rails to get started. Opening day is set for Dec. 12, and Costco will offer discount lift tickets. 1210 Ski Way, Incline Village, NV. 877-468-4397. www.diamondpeak.com for details.
Mammoth Mountain: This resort is called Mammoth for a reason. With front and back sides encompassing 3,500 acres and two parking lots, Mammoth offers experienced skiers and riders the experience of a lifetime. There are 28 lifts, including 3 high-speed gondolas.
Of note is the Unbound Playground where snowboarders can carve a legacy on the 18-foot and 22-foot pipes. The Forest Trail provides up to 15 jumps and 15 jibs across more than eight acres. South Park features 24 acres of snowboarding fun with up to 20 jumps and 20 jibs. The slopes are challenging, but you'll find runs that are suitable for the beginning and intermediate adventurer. Discovery Park is an excellent area with shorter jumps for novice snowboarders. Mammoth Mountain offers 19 miles of cross-country and snowshoeing, as well as dog sled rides, ice skating, snowcat tours and snowmobiling. The season lasts into June. 10001 Minaret Road, Mammoth Lakes. 800-626.6684. www.mammothmountain.com.
Kirkwood Mountain: With a base elevation of 7,800 feet, Kirkwood is a Mecca for high intensity skiers and snowboarders. When you want hair-raising cliffs and cornices, this is a sure bet for skilled athletes who crave challenge on its 15 lifts and more than 60 trails. Kirkwood has a program that takes participants into the backcountry for private instruction or group clinics in specialties such as avalanche certification.
On the main mountain, you'll find two terrain parks and a half pipe that range from easy to advanced. Other adventures include Zip Tahoe, a zip line excursion that offers views of the mountains with eight different lines. 1501 Kirkwood Meadows Drive, Kirkwood. 800-967-7500. www.kirkwood.com.
Kathy Chin Leong is a parent and freelance writer who frequently writes about travel for Bay Area Parent.