In these early days of the New Year, do you look at the scales and howl? Here’s a pain-free workout plan that includes family fun with a little vacation from technology time thrown into the mix. In a world where kids get more and more “stuff,” experiences might provide better value. Family play-time sets the tone for a healthier New Year and boomer families can choose from a wide range of winter fun. Most ski resorts offer family-friendly activities and services where, from East to West coasts and in-between, you can taste the air and get a calorie burning bonus, as well.

First, for injury prevention before you head to the slopes, get in shape using a Bongo Board. The Bongo Board enhances balance and coordination skills and strengthens core muscles essential to almost all sports and activities. We also like Nintendo’s wiiFit Plus which combines fun with fitness workouts, and the whole family can join in! Grab a copy of Skiing Magazine to bone up on 2010’s best resorts and latest gear. Don’t forget that most family ski packages accommodate different levels of expertise and downhill vs. boarding preferences. With the growing popularity of snowboarding, many ski resorts also include terrain parks where airdogs bust huge and cork rad hits off the rails! Don’t forget snowshoeing provides another great workout.

Now that you’ve done your homework, it’s time to go schuss booming!

After a long layoff, it’s always a good idea to loosen up and get your boards underneath your feet with a ski lesson. Beginners especially need to get off on the right ski. Safety is critical for all skiers, so stay alert to where you are and don’t ski out of control. If you do, count on getting the boot.

It’s hard to choose between the high Sierras, the Rockies, the Sawtooths, the Tetons and yes, we’re partial to the high-altitude West. Squaw, Sun Valley, Big Sky, Jackson Hole, Alta, Taos and Steamboat among the endless list beckon, but for a family fitness tune-up, here are others we’ve reviewed:

www.cataloochee.comCataloochee Ski Area Nestled in the Great Smoky Mountains, Cataloochee is a small resort perfect for boomer families and newcomers to the world of skiing and boarding. One of the oldest and rated as one of the best ski resorts in North Carolina, Cataloochee Ski Area opened on Moody Top Mountain in 1961 and is located 35 miles west of Asheville. Visit this family-friendly resort and experience southern hospitality at its best.

www.skiwhitefish.com – Winter Sports, Inc. Whitefish Mountain Resort has astounding jaw-dropping views of the Flathead Range and the rare North American fields of snow ghosts. Snow ghosts? You betcha – you’ve got to see them to believe them! Whitefish Mountain Resort (formally Big Mountain Resort) and the town of Whitefish are just 25-minutes from Glacier National Park (part of the Crown of the Continent) and 60-miles south of the Canadian Border. Open from December – April with an average snowfall of 300 inches, it can’t get any better than this. Whitefish Mountain is one of America’s 10-largest ski resorts in acreage, which explains the lack of lift lines and crowds on the mountain’s three skiable sides. Think Aspen before gentrification. The mountain and the town give boomer families the opportunity to experience the authentic Montana vibe.

www.skialpine.comAlpine Meadows Ski Resort Alpine Meadows, located in the Tahoe National Forest on Lake Tahoe’s North Shore, features incredible diverse terrain that is spread out over two mountains encompassing 2,000 acres. There are 13 lifts, and100 trails (25% beginner, 40% intermediate, 35% expert) of incredible vistas that will keep your heart pounding and adrenaline pumping. Open mid- November through May for all types of skiers, snowboarders, and winter hikers, we agree that humans were never meant to hibernate.

For an après ski cool down try a little sledding. Activities like ice skating, sleigh rides, dog-sledding, heated indoor pools and hot-tubbing to name a few, provide the ultimate in quality family fun. The big bonus – you won’t hear your kids say “I’m bored” – not once! The snow is calling, so go outside and play.

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