What I learned on my ski vacation in Aspen, Colo.:
1.) The clinic in Aspen does wonders with broken bones.
2.) There isn’t a lot to do when the 12-year-old kid who begged for the learn-to-snowboard weekend breaks his wrist the first hour he’s on the slopes.
3.) Aspen art galleries can keep a kid interested for only about 20 minutes.
4.) It’s fun riding the gondola to the top of the mountain for lunch, even if you can’t ski back down.
5.) The mountains are beautiful.
Thus it was that we found ourselves wandering the streets of Aspen in search of entertainment and distraction to take his mind off his throbbing arm and the pain in his soul over having blown his big chance to learn to snowboard. We took the gondola to the top of the mountain to enjoy the vista and have some lunch, but found little else to occupy our time.
The biggest thing I learned from this trip was to always have a backup plan. Before you plan a ski trip—or any trip where weather or injuries could derail you—check into what else is available.
If you’re going for a beach vacation and it rains all week, it’s important to know what else you can do to entertain the kids so that the vacation isn’t a total bust.
In Aspen, we found a dog sled tour and a snowmobile ride, but those types of non-ski options book up quickly so you may want to reserve them in advance, just in case.
Also, Aspen has recently opened The Treehouse Kids Adventure Center, a $17 million, 25,000-square-foot kids center that houses the kids’ ski school and offers everything from day care for infants to evening programming for kids ages 5-12 to movie nights and dances for teens. Even teens with broken arms.
There’s a free shuttle from Aspen to Treehouse. Backup plans don’t get much better than this.