Day 4: Big Sky Adventures

December 26, 2022

We are headed out today.

This trip has been really fantastic. Josh and I were reflecting and we have not had a ‘good’ winter break since 2018 when we traveled to PHL during Christmas. We’ve had a combo of call / work / COVID / moving / etc. Last December I worked Christmas week and Josh worked New Years. Definitely not a lot of room for travel and family fun. So this year was really really special.

Yesterday, A&C skied with Josh and me. They learned so much in their 2 full days of ski school that they were definitely ready. A skis in a cautious but effective wedge, and C skis like a bat out of hell (not a surprise).

There were very few falls, primarily C who didn’t care in the least. No fractures! And G graduated to the bigger mini-lift and we went down with her a couple times. She loved it and is excited to do full ski school days next time.

C+J lift selfie
4/5 this time!
so much coziness

After a few hours of skiing, we drove to Bozeman for a Christmas visit with Josh’s cousin and her wife, which was really nice! (I’ve known all of Josh’s cousins for like 20 years at this point and we told her we still think of her as a teen. Ha!).

Then we made a rainy/snowy drive back to have our grand finale dinner at The Cabin (walking distance from where we stayed). It was fancy (but also casual) and felt really special. The kids each shared their favorite parts of the trip and each said “spending time with family.” I have no idea if they were just saying what we wanted to hear, but it was awesome.

cheers to an awesome trip!

I will do some future posts on tiny things we would tweak, what worked well, etc. But I am very serious about returning next year. Upon reflection there just doesn’t seem like a compelling reason to go elsewhere when Big Sky has so many great things about it.

For reference, we stayed at the Shoshone Condominium Hotel, right at the mountain base. We did 6 days, but 2 were really travel days on either end. I kind of want to try to replicate our room situation exactly (1-BR loft – loft had 2 queen beds + master with king, plus kitchen + living area). G did 3 half days of ski school and the big kids did 2 full days; Josh and I did 2 half-day lessons. Happy to answer questions for anyone contemplating their first family ski adventure!

PS: I went running this morning on the gym treadmill after a 6 day hiatus. It was rough!! Hoping it was the altitude . . . 7500 feet? Maybe? Either way, excited to resume my regular training next week and the break was really nice.


  • Reply Sarah K December 26, 2022 at 1:11 pm

    Looks so fun! Skiing with kids is one of those activities that takes a huge amount of effort both in energy and money, but is really rewarding and special when they are functional skiers.

  • Reply Lisa of Lisa’s Yarns December 26, 2022 at 1:17 pm

    I am not too surprised the kids said spending time with family was the highlight. There’s something special about being away from home as a family. You enjoy each other’s company in a different way when you aren’t distracted by all the stuff at home like laundry, dishes, to do lists, etc. And everyone was out and about being active which is good for everyone!! There isn’t that battle over screen times when you are out skiing! I am glad you had such a wonderful trip and have appeared to hit the golden age of family travel! We look forward to that stage in a couple of years. I feel like once the youngest is 4, travel is a lot more fun!!

    Have a safe trip back!!

  • Reply Marina December 26, 2022 at 1:30 pm

    This sounds like such an awesome trip for you all!! So glad you are at peak fun kid ages where you can really enjoy travel with them. A few questions: have your kids skied before or was this their first time? It sounds like none of your kids were scared/nervous to try? And if you don’t mind sharing, approx how much was this trip, all in? You can include ski gear too if you want, but can also just count the flights, hotel, ski school etc. Thank you so much!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger December 26, 2022 at 1:57 pm

      None of the kids had skied and I think Annabel maybe had some initial nerves but she did great. The instructors know how to handle it.

      This trip was pricey. Travel is something we tend to spend on (as opposed to say- our house, decor, cars, etc). I think the total with gear is probably above 18K. Flights around 6k total, lodging around 6k, then lessons/rentals/lift tickets 5K plus add gear, car rentals, etc. This was also our only family plane flight this year.

      Next year I hope we can still fit it in the budget even with some other fairly significant trips. (Cue my relief that the kids decided not to go back to sleepaway camp … )

      • Reply Marina December 26, 2022 at 2:25 pm

        That’s great – I also prioritize experience trips with the kids – my kids still talk about our trip to CA this summer so I think it’s worth it (even if it’s still work for us). One more: how did you pick this resort? Due to family in area? I’m in New England so we’d likely stick to somewhere around here for a ski trip as there are many options.

        • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger December 26, 2022 at 2:50 pm

          Yep Josh’s cousin helped convince us but also it was just pure curiosity about the area of the country and wanting a place known for being less crowded (lift lines etc)

  • Reply Elisabeth December 26, 2022 at 2:32 pm

    This looks like such a special family vacation. I love it!!! The kids seem to be rockstars with the new experience.

    We started skiing as a family a few years ago (at a tiny local hill) and someone commented it’s one of the few sports the whole family can do together at the same level. And that’s so true. My daughter is far more confident skiing than I am (she’s 11), and I think it was a huge boost to her confidence to so quickly surpass me at a skill. So I think skiing – while expensive – is a great family activity.

    Also, G’s sweater is the most adorable clothing item ever. Seriously. I saw it in an earlier post and loved it. I saw it again in this post and desperately want the exact same sweater for myself!

    I’m sure there was some trepidation going in to this because vacations/travel in general can go either way with kids/weather etc but this truly seems to have checked all the boxes perfectly.

    Wishes for a smooth trip back to Florida.

  • Reply Arden Spark December 26, 2022 at 7:50 pm

    I’m so glad the trip was a success!!! Definitely a risky adventure (more so the $$ for me than the hills) so nice that everyone loved it.

  • Reply Erin December 27, 2022 at 9:32 am

    I’m glad you all had fun!! My husband has been to that resort a few times and it’s his favorite of the places out west that he’s skied. My older 2 kids do enjoy skiing but it is SO expensive so I’m glad they aren’t SUPER into it. I do think a winter ski trip would be really fun (for everyone else, I’m not a skier but that’s fine – I love reading by a fire while looking out at mountains) but it’s not something we’ve prioritized. Hilariously, I’ve had all 3 in ski lessons for a few years and didn’t this year (my older 2 are able to ski pretty well by now) and my youngest (age 7) specifically told me “THANK YOU for NOT signing me up for ski lessons mom. I prefer to spend my time in winter indoors” 🙂 Sorry that you live in Minnesota, kid!

    • Reply Amanda P. December 28, 2022 at 1:38 pm

      I’m from Buffalo and live in Syracuse and agree with your youngest about preferring to spend my time indoors in the winter (books, candles, tea!) Meanwhile, my son is taking snowboard lessons, plays in the snow, and has now started to like ice skating, so it looks like I’m going to have to enjoy some winter sports afterall 😂

  • Reply Katie December 27, 2022 at 11:14 am

    Looks like so much fun!! What age do you feel your youngest could’ve handled this trip? I was confused if you waited until now because of her age or because of the work schedules. (or both!).

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger December 27, 2022 at 11:21 am

      Honestly, it was finances and work schedules (a year ago we bought our house, so any available $ was funneled into our down payment at the time). But I also feel it would not have been as fun. The last couple of family trips have been a lot more fun and less stressful. I remarked to Josh that A&C in particular actually became an asset in family travel – they carried suitcases around the airport! A sometimes took G to the bathroom. Etc 🙂

  • Reply Suzanne December 27, 2022 at 2:04 pm

    What a wonderful, wonderful family vacation! I cannot wait to get back to Big Sky! So glad you loved it.

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