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Tops for Teens

Ski school is great for the kids but what about the teenagers? Rachael Oakes Ash looks at the best teen-friendly resorts

Keeping teenagers entertained both on and off the slopes takes more than a hot dog and an X Box. Many of North Americaís ski resorts have created teen specific ski programs where teenagers can mix with other teenagers in a safe environment and improve both their on snow and life skills at the same time.

Sun Peaks
Sun Peaks in Canada runs a Free Style Program for all ability levels for skiing and snowboarding. When the on snow program takes a break or finishes for the day teens head to the Mascon Hangout where they find video games, X Box, Wii, ski and snowboard movies.

The resortís Cat Trax Groomer rides are suitable for fourteen year olds and above and take guests on a grooming tour of the mountain. For something daring try the Foundue Dinner and Evening Descent at Sunburst Mid Mountain Restaurant, also suitable for fourteen year olds and over.

Park City Mountain Resort
Park City Mountain Resort in Utah in the USA is a training home for the USA Ski and Snowboard teams and is also the home mountain for the Park City Allstars (Torah Bright is a member). Put simply, this mountain is terrain park cool.

Teenagers aged fifteen to seventeen can join the Teen Select one day program. Groups are no larger than four teens per instructor and matched by ability from beginner to advanced. Intermediate to expert skiers and snowboarders aged nine to fifteen can enroll in the three day I Ride Park City Freestyle Camp to conquer the terrain park with focused instruction. Campers get GoPro cameras to shoot video of each other and then create a digital edit in the resorts media lab. The camp costs US$495 and includes lift ticket and lunch.

A two week Alpine Race Camp in January gives Australian interschool snowsports competitors the chance to train. The camp focuses on technical skills, GS and SL training and is $1650 including coaching, lunch and a season pass.

The Canyons Resort and Deer Valley Resort
The Canyons Resort also in Utah and accessed from Park City has a Teen Program for thirteen to seventeen year olds. The groups are limited to five teens per group and organized by age and ability and the teens choose how their day progresses including which restaurants for lunch. The six hour session costs US$200 including lift pass and lunch.

Park Cityís third resort, the skier only Deer Valley Resort also offers Teen Escape Programs for thirteen to eighteen year olds with an average of six to eight teens per group.

Whistler Blackcomb
Canada's Whistler Blackcomb resort offers backcountry skiing lessons through the Extremely Canadian group for advanced teenage skiers looking to explore the fresh powder of the backcountry under guided instruction.

The resortís Ride Tribe lessons are for thirteen to eighteen year olds and are offered in a one day, two day or five day lesson. The instruction focuses on big mountain skills and terrain park skills. Priced from CA$149 to CA$880.

Vail Resorts
Vail Resorts in Colorado, USA, created Ski Girls Rock inspired by Vail Ambassador and Olympic Champion Lindsey Vonn. The program is available at Vail Mountain, Beaver Creek and Breckenridge resorts and is offered to girls aged seven to fourteen (seven to sixteen at Breckenridge). Instructors are female and focus on empowerment through the sport with social skills, team work and skill improvement. Each group is limited to four girls and combined on age and ability. US$340 for lesson and life ticket.

Beaver Creek
Teens can hang out off the slopes at Beaver Creek with the Beaver Creek Loves Teens Too program. Trick classes at the Anti Gravity Centre, twilight snowshoe and pizza parties, tubing at Adventure Ridge are just some of the activities offered.

In Keystone teens can hit the Adventure Tubing Point Hill for super fast tube rides with themed disco nights. Night skiing is also offered and the Kat Ski Experience with Keystone Adventure Tours is the perfect adventure to share with your teens.

Big White
Big White resort in Canada is the home for Australian Snowsports Camps, a specialist training program for teen aged kids every January. Teens training for interschools with Olympic dreams in their eyes can focus on Giant Slalom, Skier X and Boarder X, moguls plus slope style in the terrain park.

Coaches are both Canadian and Australian and many have competed at national level. Training programs are flexible to suit individual schedules and teens that want to stay on to improve their skills can do so and be escorted by ASC staff, stay in the ASC condo and get flown home with the ASC crew.

Jackson Hole
Jackson Hole in Wyoming, USA offers a TGR Fall Line Camp for middle and high schollers wanting to shred with big name ski pros Tim Durchi and Matt Phillipi. The three day camp teaches kids how to safely drop cliffs, jib features and more with the best youth oriented instructors around. Teens then get to edit their helmet cam footage in the TGR studio for serious boasting rights back home. US$775 including lift tickets.

Surviving skiing with teens
1. Stock up with energy bars and fill their pockets on the slopes. In North America try bags of trail mix, dark chocolate blocks, Cliff bars and gels.
2. Most ski resorts in North America have access to other adventure activities like ice skating, tubing, indoor rock climbing. Try the Olympic luge in Salt Lake City -it will scare the low hung pants off any teenager with attitude.
3. Schedule a pre trip movie night at home with all the best extreme ski and snowboard movies from Warren Miller, Matchstick Productions and Poor Boys Productions to get your teen in the mood.
4. Invest in a helmet camera so Mr and Miss Teen can video what they are up to on the slopes and have fun editing it together for their social media sites. Try Go Pro or Contour Cameras.
5. Go shopping! Some of the best Outlet Malls in the USA are in Park City and Colorado on the way to Vail Mountain. No teenage girl is going to say no.

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