How to do a Weekend Getaway Ski Trip for a Family of 5 under $400

How to do a Weekend Getaway Ski Trip for a Family of 5 under $400

Family ski trips are such a fun way to get out in nature and challenge your kids to try new things (and often then see them speed past you an hour later on their skis). The only problem is, skiing with a family can get expensive! Between lift tickets, lodging, rentals, food, and gear, it can add up fast. But if you know the right places to go, a ski trip can be totally affordable. And with little kids and the unpredictability of how they’ll handle the cold, gear, or learning how to ski, keeping your first few ski trips at a low cost takes a lot of the pressure off them and you!

This season at Brian Head Resort, kids under 10 ski FREE!! Yep, totally free. We did a quick weekend trip up there with 2 days of skiing for under $400 for our family of 5. This offer at Brian Head is good through the rest of the season, so if you’ve been wanting to teach your kids to ski, or just need a quick getaway, this is a fantastic deal to take advantage of.

Here’s what we did:


Kids 10 and under are free the entire season at Brian Head! You can get a pass for them online and they’ll mail it to you (allowing you to skip the line at the resort), or you can pick up their free lift ticket on the day you’re up there from the ticket office. The pass is good for every day, no blackouts.


We piled all 3 kids in the car for the 8 hour road trip with only their Mini Voyager Travel Kits for entertainment. It was a complete success! They each had their kit full of activities and items to keep them busy, and we didn’t hear one complaint or “are we there yet” the entire trip.


Our 5 and 3 year old both loved the independence of the kits, and did all of the activities on their own in the back of the car. They each used a lap mat to give them a flat surface to do their activity books on. The items in the kits were great for helping them keep their hands busy and their minds engaged, so they didn’t notice how long the drive was.

Our 17 month old was a total trooper, and when he wasn’t napping, he was totally entertained with the items in his Travel Kit, and they were all easy to hand back to him one at a time to keep changing up his activities to keep him from getting bored. His favorite this trip was the watermelon threader and the matching eggs.

Throughout the trip, we loved using the Mini Voyager Travel Kits because they were easy to keep all their toys contained in and know where everything for entertainment was located. They were great for a quick grab to take into a restaurant to keep the kids occupied while we waited, and to bring into the hotel as busy bags. We created these kits to be versatile for all aspects of travel, and they proved it this trip!


If you want to fly, the easiest airport to fly into is Las Vegas. Flights into Vegas are often cheap from many locations. Use our favorite websites, like, you can always find these great deals. From Vegas, it’s a 3 hour drive to Brian Head. To break up the drive time, stop at our favorite playground in St. George, Thunder Junction. You can also fly in to Salt Lake City, and it’s a 3.5 hour drive from there.


We always try to break up the drive time and make it feel shorter for the kids by timing the drive so they will nap in the car for a bit. Another one of our favorite places to break up the drive time of this trip is a fantastic playground in St. George- Thunder Junction All Abilities Park. There’s so many sections of the park, and it’s wheelchair accessible with lots of options for all ability levels. It has a dinosaur theme with volcanoes, fossils, and a working train that the kids can ride. It’s also surrounded by lots of walking trails and a large park, great for scooters or bikes. It’s the best stop to get kids’ wiggles out.


We chose to stay in Cedar City, which is 35 minutes from Brian Head Resort. Our goal was to keep this trip as affordable as possible, so we stayed in the Springhill Suites by Marriott using hotel points for one of the nights. If you or a spouse travels for work a lot, or if your family travels a lot, picking a particular hotel chain like Marriott or Hilton and using those hotels exclusively is a fantastic way to build up points and get free nights in hotels. It’s been something that has helped us immensely on keeping trip costs manageable.

There are also some great options on AirBnb or Vrbo for around $60-100/night. If you have a bigger family or need more bedrooms, you can rent a whole house for a great price, and it’s a really quick drive up to the resort every day.


We can’t recommend Cedar Sports: Outdoor Rentals enough! They were so friendly and helpful, and were great with the kids and helping get them a properly fitted boot and ski. Since we stayed in Cedar City, it saved us a lot of time and money to stop by there in the morning before we headed up the mountain. We rented the kids’ skis for $20/day (and we added a helmet for $6). Adult skis were $29. When we realized that the kids loved skiing so much that they wanted to go another day, it was easy to call Cedar Sports and extend our rental.


There’s a few different parking lots and lifts at Brian Head depending on your skill level. We stayed on the first mountain (Navajo Lodge Learning Center) with the kids since they were just learning. It wasn’t very crowded, even on a weekend, and we never waited for the chairlift for more than 2-3 minutes. They also had a great little magic carpet beginner area for the kids to start out on. The best part about these lifts was that you can park right behind the lift, so it’s an easy walk for the kids from the car to the mountain. If you have littler ones who can’t ski, you can hang in the car (during naps) or the lodge with them and still be able to see your other kids come down the runs! Just put some bright colors on your kids, and they’ll be easy to spot. One tip about getting kids ready in their ski gear though- get them ready LAST. We made the mistake of getting the kids ready in their gear and boots before us on the first day, and we had a few big meltdowns because they hated standing around in the ski boots. Lesson learned by the second day!

Our kids are 5 and 3, and both of them were totally ready to learn to ski and picked it up fast. The runs are super kid-friendly, and there were lots of options of ways for the kids to go down, so they could challenge themselves with new runs whenever they wanted.

Since the resort is not very crowded, it gives your kids lots of space to learn. The snow quality is really great as well, and made it very forgiving when the kids fell. We used edgie wedgies (the little bungies that clip to their skis so they can keep their legs from splaying out too much) for our kids skis the first day, and by the second day, our 5 year old was skiing without them. They also have a great ski school with fun obstacles and runs for kids to go down.

This was the first time our kids have ever skied, and we were both impressed with their resilience and determination to master it. They picked it up quick! We had a few little secret weapons to help keep them motivated. Jordan filled a hydroflask up with hot chocolate so they could keep warm and take sips from it when they needed a little pick-me-up. We also brought jellybeans with us. It’s one of our kids favorite candy, and it’s small and won’t get messy. Jordan kept a bag of them in his pocket and after a few runs and the kids started to get the hang of it, whenever one of them fell down and got back up on their own, they got a jellybean. Jordan would “pay up” on the chairlift and it kept them so motivated and excited to keep trying their hardest every run. They were so proud of themselves when they succeeded.

As far as safety and social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic, we felt very safe at Brian Head. Everyone was required to wear a mask when they were in line for the chairlift, at the bottom of the mountain and in the lodge. When you’re on the runs, it’s very spacious and it was never crowded, so we were never near many people. It’s a great trip to take during these times because of how social-distance friendly it is.

If you want to take a break from skiing or snowboarding, Brian Head also has a really fun tubing run right next to the chairlifts. You can rent a tube (everyone has to sit individually) and get brought to the top of the run on a magic carpet. The runs have a few up and down hills in them, and you go pretty fast. I think it would be great for ages 6 and up. Since you have to ride individually, I think it may be a bit too fast and scary for younger kids.


There’s a few great little places in Cedar City that we highly recommend if you stay there. The Pizza Cart has great woodfired pizzas, salads, and gelato. The restaurant design and atmosphere is so fun too. The kids loved this place, and even though we waited a bit for a pizza, the kids brought in their Mini Voyager Travel Kits and the time passed quickly. Sweet Basil Thai Cuisine had really good thai food. And if your kids aren’t a fan of thai, they have lots of other options for the kids. Grind Coffee House also has great sandwiches.

If you do end up staying in Cedar City, you need to make sure and visit Bulloch’s Drug Store. There’s a great bulk candy counter for the kids with lots of fun, unique candy. They also have ice cream and shakes. There’s a few stores as well that you can walk through once you enter that have some great little treasures.


The 12m-2y Travel Kit that we brought for our littlest kept him totally entertained in the car and in the lodge, and he absolutely loved just walking around carrying it on his back. One thing that I wish we had brought for our 17 month old was sand toys! Yep, it might sound like a random thing to bring, but he wanted to play in the snow and having a bucket and shovel or a few little animal mold shapes would have been much more fun for that age. If you’re trying to save space, we have a great collapsible bucket that we love bringing on trips linked here.


On our way home, we stopped in Zion National Park for a day and took the kids on a few hikes there. It was absolutely gorgeous and so much fun. If you want to see what kid-friendly things we did, check back next week when we share the second part of our trip!

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