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You’ve had a great time skiing as a family, but now the lifts and winding down, and you still have hours and hours to fill before the kids are ready to go to bed. If you want to make the most of your family ski trip, make sure to plan in some of these family-friendly apres ski activities into your next ski trip.
What is Après-Ski?
A French term meaning ‘after ski’, it encapsulates all the fun activities that happen after you’re done skiing. Often, apres ski is synonymous with happy hour in many places, but there’s a whole lot more to apres ski than drinking and food that’s incredibly kid friendly.
Apres-ski is really just a chance to shift gears and to have some fun off the slopes. It’s typically slower-paced (since you’ve been burning energy all day long), and more mellow, but it’s never lacking in excitement. Truthfully, planning some family apres-ski activities is one of the best ways to be really intentional with making memories on your family ski trip, and it doesn’t even need to cost a lot!
Bundle up with your loved ones as you all settle into a cozy sleigh ride through the snow. You hear the gentle jingle of harness bells and feel the gelding of the sleigh beneath you and it’s just magical. An evening sleigh ride transforms a crisp winter evening into an enchanting experience as if pulled straight from a storybook. Sleighrides generally go at a gentle pace which allows everyone to slow down and really enjoy some time together. Our kids love animals, so a sleigh ride is always a hit with them since we know they’ll have a chance to be up close and personal with the horses. While a sleigh ride is a calmer activity, it’s definitely not a warmer one. Since you’re not moving around, a winter sleigh ride can get pretty chilly, so plan on bundling everyone back up in their ski clothes and snow boots!
After you’ve unclipped your ski boots for the day and the high energy is still flowing, consider a trip to the local ice rink. We always keep everyone in snow clothes, so this is an easy activity to do, after you grab a quick snack after your ski day. If you’re new to ice skating, ask the rink if they have options for an ice walker to help you get your legs underneath you.
If you’re going to a skating rink that’s within walking distance of the ski hill, expect crowds on the ice rink at the end of the day. What we typically do is to go grab a snack and a hot chocolate to warm up. When the lifts have been closed for about an hour, the ice skating rink usually clears out and we can have a calmer and less crowded skating experience.
Meal Hopping Around Town
Pleasing everyone with your food options on a family trip can be a bit of a challenge. Instead of getting discouraged by it, plan a meal hopping dinner around town. We love doing this because it makes everyone feel like they got to eat somewhere they really wanted to go all at the same time. Typically we’ll do appetizers at one place, dinner at another, and dessert at the last. If you can find a walkabout area near the ski resort, that makes it extra easy. Don’t want to deal with the hassle of going out? Order in your different courses from a variety of restaurants and have them all delivered to your lodging.
Pizza Night and Card Games
This is the way straight to my own kids’ heart and their favorite family apres ski activity. My kids LOVE pizza, so we’ll find the best pizza place in town and all head there. The trick to making it extra fun and memorable is to take a card game or two. We typically order breadsticks to start and then tell the waiter that we are in no rush for our pizza.
While the pizza is cooking, we’ll deal the cards for a few rounds of our favorite card games. We love Skull King and Sleeping Queens. If the pizza comes extra quick or you just want to hang out more, keep playing games after the pizza has been cleared! Our favorite board games are Splendor and Settlers of Catan.
If your kids still have energy to spare after a full day of skiing, there’s no better way to pack in more fun (and hopefully tire them out) than going sledding. Many resorts have tubing runs that you can pay to enjoy, but if you want a cheaper night, head to a convenience store and buy a couple of sleds to take out at the local park. This is something that works great for our high-energy teens since they can go wild and crazy while we do some calmer sledding with the younger kids. It’s a great active apres ski with kids activity that can work well for all ages and energy levels.
TIP: If you’re staying at a hotel or inn, ask the front desk if they have sleds you can borrow or rent!
After a day of carving down the mountain, you and your family can rediscover the joy of winter with a fun time sledding.
If you’re in need of some downtime without spending any extra energy, a movie night in is the best option. While you can always pull up your favorite streaming service when we want to make a movie night special, we’ll rent one of our favorite classic family movies or some of our favorite ski movies on Amazon and the kids always love it. Top it off with some popcorn, and you have the easiest apres ski activity for kids!
Hot Cocoa Bar and Games
If you want to invest just a little bit of energy but get a big return, a hot cocoa bar is the way to go. Every time we do this, our kids go CRAZY and are so excited. Make up a big batch of hot cocoa, and set up mix ins that everyone can add to their cup. My teens love cinnamon or peppermint, the younger kids love sprinkles, and everyone loves whipped cream. Calling your regular cup of cocoa a hot cocoa bar takes something ordinary and elevates it to make it memorable. This is our favorite thermos for hot chocolate. We often do cookies to go along with the cocoa and everyone loves it!
To make your hot cocoa bar extra fun, bring out your favorite board game and sit around the table, drinking cocoa and playing games.
Read Books by the Fire
If your kids are feeling overwhelmed or overstimulated by a long day of skiing, one of the best family apres ski activities is to read books next to the fire. Grab a few blankets to cuddle with and get lost in a book. When we’re traveling, we love to take a bunch of small paperback picture books for the kids to read with us, or grab books for the tablet on our library app. This is a great apres ski activity for kids who just need to rest before another big day on the mountain. These are some of our favorite winter books for everyone in the family.
Go for a Swim
Whenever we’re booking ski lodging, our number one family amenity we look for is a heated pool…or at least a hot tub! Even if you swim regularly at home, swimming on vacation is always something extra special. We love finding outdoor heated swimming pools that we can swim in, especially if it’s snowing outside. The kids just go crazy when they learn that they can go swimming in the snow! It kind of blows their minds just a little bit! As a parent, I love that while my kids are diving and splashing, I can just slip under the water, float, and enjoy the quiet. Swimming after skiing is always a win with kids!
What other apres ski activities does your family enjoy? Share your favorites in the comments!