Getting ready for a day on the mountain at Solitude, but don’t quite know what runs to go on with your family?
Well, you’re in the right place. Here, I’m going to tell you exactly what trails to take to match your kids’ skills with the terrain here at Solitude, and which runs are our kids’ absolute favorites!
This season, we’ve been taking our kids all over the mountain to discover the best trails for each skill level, and we are excited to share with you what we’ve found. With 5 kids in our family, and each of them at a different ability level, we literally have every level of skier, so we’ve got trail suggestions for everyone.
Level 1 and 2: “Wahoo! Wahoo! Wahoo!” This is what we hear when we’re out skiing with Ethan, our youngest skier. Even though he’s still working on his skills, he loves it when we turn him lose on the Link lift, and by the time we get to the bottom, he usually can’t stop giggling!
A level 1 or 2 skier is just starting out and is still learning to stop and make turns. The Link chairlift at Solitude’s Moonbeam base area is where you want to be to master these skills. It has the gentlest slope on the mountain, so it’s ideal to get the basics down here — and, luckily, it’s rarely crowded. As you get more confident, make sure to try out a few little bumps and jumps near the bottom of the run on the left side. This is our kids’ favorite part of the run. I really recommend staying on the Link lift until you can stop confidently and link turns together in both directions.
Level 3: Our level 3 skier, Connor, says, “My favorite place to ski is in the trees and on the jumps when I go on Moonbeam. I ski really good when I go on jumps.” Yes, for kids, the little trails through the trees you’ll find all over the runs on the Moonbeam Express chairlift will have them wanting to go over and over again.
A level 3 skier should be able to stop and make turns on simple green terrain. However, knowing what terrain is a good fit is really important because you don’t want to try anything that’s too challenging and create a fear of skiing. After graduating from the Link lift, head over to Moonbeam for a greater variety of beginner terrain. While Moonbeam can look intimidating because the lift is pretty long and high, I’ll let you know exactly where to ski so you don’t have any problems. On your first run down, take the Same Street run. The easiest way to start off is to head over to the giant trail map at the top of Moonbeam and go around the LEFT side of it (the slope on the right side of the map is much steeper). Same Street is a green run that for the most part is pretty straightforward, with a few steeper sections thrown in. The end of the trail puts you back in the familiar territory of the Link lift. It’s a pretty long run, especially for little legs, so plan on stopping on the side of the trail a few times to take breaks.
Once you’ve gotten the hang of this route a couple of times, it’s time to venture out into the other green trails accessed by Moonbeam. If you’re up for some adventure, head into the trees (just remind your kids to ski slowly in the trees). The easiest tree section is right at the bottom of the first hill on Same Street, between the Same Street and Tude-Dudes runs.
Level 4: Our level 4 skier, Landon, says, “Eagle lift is my favorite because the little kids can’t go there. I like to go on the run that’s at the top of the mountain (Wanderer) and then go down. Don’t go down Gary’s Glade, though, because I tried that once and it was really hard and I got really scared.”
A level 4 skier is pretty confident on all green terrain and is ready to try out easy blue runs. Before you get too excited thinking that they can ski all over the entire mountain, know that there can be HUGE variety in blue runs. Moonbeam Express chairlift is my top suggestion for seeing if your skier is ready for harder terrain. Just head down Same Street or upper Tude-Dudes (the green section) until you get to the blue section of Tude-Dudes. It’s a bit steeper than the green terrain, but it is a great place to test the waters because it’s a really short run. Once you have confidence there, try out the Home Run and Last Run trails as well.
Wanderer, where Landon likes to ski on the Eagle Express chairlift, is our top pick for a skier who is ready to spread their wings and get off Moonbeam. Just follow the trail along the ridgeline. After you pass under the lift the second time, there are several blue runs all together (Rumble, Stumble, Grumble, Inspiration, and Serenity). They are all pretty similar, so just give them a look to see which one suits you best. (Depending on the time of year, some of them will have moguls on them...which my kids all LOVE).
Level 5: Our level 5 skier, Sydney, says, “My favorite place to ski is down the Dynamite trail on the Summit lift. When you do that trail, you get to ski from the very top of the mountain all the way down to the very bottom, and it’s really fun. I also like that there are lots of jumps on the sides of the trail that we can play on.”
A level 5 skier is just a small step up from a level 4 skier in the terrain they can ski, but a level 5 skier is really starting to get the hang of parallel turns (especially on easier terrain). At this phase, you can go down just about every blue on the mountain, but you still need to use caution on steeper trails. The biggest thing to remember is that as you tackle the blue terrain, your goal should really be to get good parallel turns in. On steeper trails, you’ll often see your child using a bit of a wedge, but with practice and a few reminders, they should quickly advance. The best way to judge if they’re ready to consistently ski on steeper terrain is how well-formed their parallel turns are on it, so I recommend using that as your guide. If they’re going back into a wedge a lot, head to less steep terrain (see suggestions for level 4).
Level 6: Our level 6 skier, Cameron, says, “My favorite place to ski a lot is on the Eagle lift. I like it because there are lots of blacks that I can ski on while my siblings are skiing on blues close by, so I get a chance to ski on more runs that are hard there.” Because we have kids of so many different abilities, it’s great to be able to give our more advanced kids a bit of freedom while still having them close by. Often we ski on the Eagle Express chairlift and can have kids that are on several different runs, all within our line of sight (or within shouting distance) — which makes it a great place to suit all their needs!
A level 6 skier is getting to the point where they can ski on black diamond terrain! I think that every ski kid dreams of the day that they can ski their first black, so this is a major accomplishment. My recommendation for a kid’s first black diamond would be Rhapsody, right off the top of the Eagle lift. It’s got moguls on it and isn’t as steep as some of the other blacks on the mountain, so it’s a good stepping stone. If your skier likes tree skiing (all of my kids are a bit obsessed with trees), then take the plunge and take them into Honeycomb Canyon, accessed at the top by Summit Express chairlift. The slopes on the west side are a bit more open than the east, and your kid will feel like they hit the jackpot once they realize they can actually ski here! One thing to note: black diamond-rated terrain becomes significantly harder with lots of powder on it. After a big storm, Honeycomb Canyon may be a bit too difficult, as will some other black terrain. Until your skier has some experience skiing harder terrain with powder on it, stick to black trails that you can get off of easily in case they are too hard. Rhapsody and Inspiration are my top picks for this.
Hopefully, now you’re feeling more ready for your day of skiing. Solitude really has so much great skiing for everyone in the family that I’m sure after a few runs, your kids will all find their own favorite runs too.