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4 Splurges and 4 Steals for Your Family’s Winter Fun

Whatever your budget, we've got an idea for your winter fun

Published on: November 27, 2017

4 Splurges and 4 Steals for Your Family’s Winter Fun

Winthrop Ice Rink
Photo:
Winthrop Ice Rink

For the family who loves ice skating 

Nothing says winter like an afternoon spent idly gliding on the ice under gently falling snow. If your family doesn’t have skates, you’ll be able to rent them at most outdoor rinks. 

  • Splurge: To reach Vancouver, British Columbia’s Grouse Mountain Ice Rink, board the gondola for an eight-minute ride up Grouse Mountain. The pond at the top is usually frozen from mid-November to April. Bring your own skates or rent them at the pond (adults, $8; kids, $5). An on-site fire pit will warm you up as you take in the stunning views. Once the lake freezes, the rink is open daily from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Cost: adults, $45; kids, $15–$25; ages 5 and younger, free (includes the tram ride) 
  • Steal: Trek over to the Methow Valley, where the open-air Winthrop Ice Rink sits against a backdrop of snowcapped peaks. Usually open from mid-November to March, the rink offers open skate sessions six days a week, and skate rentals are $4 a pair. Cost: (prices for a two-hour skate session) adults, $7; kids, $5; ages 5 and younger, free 

4 Cost-Saving Tips for Winter Fun 

  1. ŒRent snow gear. Sample new snow sports before you commit. Find child and adult sizes to rent at REI (rei.com) and Ascent Outdoors (ascentoutdoors.com). 
  2. Buy used gear. As the season gets underway, scour online swap boards for deals. Also keep an eye on the inventory of secondhand shops, such as Second Gear Sports in West Seattle (secondgearsports.com). 
  3. Hunt for deals. Some local ski areas (try Crystal and White Pass) offer “learn to ski” packages that in-clude hours of instruction, equipment and lift tickets for less than $100. Plus, lodging packages at resorts like Mount Bachelor, Whistler and Timberline add free lift tickets to a weekend stay. The website Liftopia (liftopia.com) aggregates deals from ski areas throughout the region. 
  4. Skip the chains and take a shuttle. Seattle Ski Shuttle (seattleskishuttle.com) offers transport from several Puget Sound–area locations to Crystal and Snoqualmie, and even bundles the shuttle ticket with your lift ticket for a discount.

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