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If you can’t quite make it out west this year, don’t worry, there’s plenty of skiing on the East Coast that’ll provide the same delights. In fact, you can walk in a winter wonderland just 125 miles northwest of Philadelphia and New York City, in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Though this city is known as a Steamtown National Historic Site (where kiddos can tour former rail yards, a 19th-century mill and the trolley museum), during the winter, the slopes are a mere eight miles from downtown.
You can stay in Scranton with hotel rates for a family of four starting as low as $88 a night and make your way to Montage Mountain Resorts, where annual winter memberships begin at a cool $499. Here, the youngest family member who hasn’t soared through the powdery goodness yet gets a free lift ticket, rental, and lesson from a certified ski school instructor as part of their ‘First Timer Fridays’ program. Your group can also check out their Airboarding program, which happens to be the largest in the world with 185 boards. It’s also only one of seven places in the country you can try a lightweight inflatable sled that can get up to 60 miles per hour as it surges down the mountain. Check out these epic last-minute winter travel destinations.
Lake Tahoe, California
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Here, you have a plethora of resorts and options to choose from, in all budget and price ranges. When you book a stay at the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe (with rates for a family of four starting at $369 a night for a suite), you can skip driving and take their free ski shuttles and rent their on-site ski and snowboard rentals. When you’re not trying your hand at new tricks for the New Year, your family can snack on their many dining options or lounge in the indoor pool or spa to recover from a long day.
For another option, book your stay at The Village at Squaw Valley in North Lake Tahoe. Inspired by European ski resorts, there’s something for you and your partner, with more than 50 bars, restaurants and boutiques, all intermingled with condominium-style suites. Another fun perk of this Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows is their “Kids Ski Free” package, where booking two nights at a slope-side room lets your kids take to the hills sans cost. And for families looking to save even more, each suite, with rates starting at $224 a night, features a full kitchen, private balcony, fireplace, and access to hot tubs.
Sun Valley, Idaho
You might not think of Idaho when you first dream of a winter wonderland getaway, but in Sun Valley, you can explore Bald Mountain, Dollar Mountain, and other views. Known for more gentle slopes, it’s ideal for a quick getaway to introduce your children to snow without having to suffer through treacherous hills.
Consider booking your stay at Sun Valley Resort, which was founded in 1936 as America’s first destination ski resort, nestled among the Idaho mountains. For your bustling family of four, opt for the Stay & Ski Free Package that starts at $249 a night for both lodging and your lift pass. In addition to teaching your children about the winter sport you adore, you can also book sleigh rides, activities, and book a lesson at their ‘Terrain-That-Teaches’ program for beginners of all ages.