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Family-friendly ski spots for kids and newbies

By Lauren Daley Globe correspondent 

Looking to bring your bunnies to the slopes? Whether it’s your tot’s or teen’s first time on skis, or Dad’s New Year’s resolution to learn to snowboard, we’ve selected some of the most family-friendly mountains in New England. (Note that most mountains suggest your kiddo be at least 3 years old and have an interest in skiing. Nobody wants a crying fit on a mountain. And all classes mentioned here require pre-registration.)

Vermont’s Mount Snow boasts some 300 instructors at its Ski School, which offers classes for age 3 to adult at various levels of learning. “Cub Camp” starts your 3-year-old on a gentle learning hill with “magic carpet” lifts. Know that for the success of the lesson, mom and dad are asked to view cubs from a distance. (Half-day: $85.) “Snow Camp,” for ages 4 to 6, is divided into full and half-day classes, grouping kids by ability and age. (Half-day: $99; full-day $139.) “Mountain Camp” offers beginner classes for skiers ages 7 to 14. (Full-day $184.) There are similar programs for kids of the same age who want to snowboard. For teens and adults who have never strapped foot into skis before, “Learn to Ski” starts with an indoor introductory session with boot/ski-fitting, and instructors who can take you through the very basics of the sport. (First-timers: $99, beginners $106.) You might learn together in a two-person private lesson for ages 3 to adult. (From $220 for two people.) If they’re too young or too scared? Childcare. ($90, 802-464-4152.) 39 Mount Snow Road, West Dover, Vt. 800-889-4411. www. mountsnow.com

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An hour and change from Boston, Wachusett Mountain makes for a great day trip for beginners. Book a private lesson ($115 for hour) or register the kiddos for “Polar Kids,” where lil’ skiers and snowboarders ages 4 to 8 learn on a gentle learning area, in groups of like age and ability, with breaks and snacks provided. (From $57.) “Arctic Aces” is a similar weekend program for kids 9 to 12. (From $67.) Wachusett offers group lessons for ages 6 to adult (from $50) and a $99 “Learn to Ski” or “Learn to Snowboard” package for ages 6 and up; includes rental equipment. 499 Mountain Road, Princeton. 978-464-2300. www.wachusett.com

In picturesque North Conway, N.H., Cranmore Mountain Resort has long held a reputation as a place that strives to instill an early love of skiing. The “Ski & Play” for 3-year-olds includes a 60-minute private lesson, rental equipment, and lunch followed by child care ($139). The “I Wanna Ski” package for 3- to 5-year-olds includes a 60-minute private lesson, lift ticket, and equipment rental ($99). There’s a similar “I Wanna Snowboard” package for kids 4 to 6, and private or semi-private ski or snowboarding lessons for age 6 to adult ($149-$369). Meanwhile, “KidsRule Mountain Camp,” is a one-day ski or snowboard camp for kids aged 4 to 14. Kids are grouped by age and experience; lunch is provided. ($149, or $129 if you call at least one day in advance.) Adult or teen first-timers might opt for the “Beginner Lesson Passport,” which includes three 2-hour beginner group lessons, lift tickets, and equipment rental. 603-356-5544 ext. 333. 239 Skimobile Road, North Conway, N.H. www.cranmore.com

Nearby, charming Bretton Woods celebrates “Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month” in January with a deal that can’t be beat: $0. First-timer skiers ages 13 and up can learn to ski or ride for free the week of Jan. 7. (Must call 603- 278-3303 for deal.) For kids, there’s their regular-season “Hobbit Ski School” for ages 4 to 12 and “Hobbit Snowboard School” for ages 6 to 12 (half-day $109, full-day $149). You can book private and semi-private lessons for age 3 and up, and there’s daycare for your teeniest family member, starting from two months. 99 Ski Area Road, Bretton Woods, N.H. 603-278-3303, 603-278-3320. brettonwoods.com


Lauren Daley can be reached at ldaley33@gmail.com.