Remember that powder day skiing with your kids when the snow was so deep no one could stop laughing? Or the mountain-bike ride racing a rainstorm home? Or roasting marshmallows and the sticks caught on fire?
It seems that everyone does. And no matter how seemingly insignificant at the time, those shared memories have made people’s lives better, according to recent research.
Being on holiday with your family creates what researchers have recently termed “happiness anchors,” according to a recent study out of Great Britain by the Family Holiday Association. Time spent together as a family is valuable both at that moment, but also has enduring benefits as fond lifelong memories—which provide emotional support for kids during times of stress, according to the research. About half of the study’s participants said that their happiest memories are from taking family vacations together, with many reporting vivid recollections—complete with specific sounds, smells and colors.
A separate 2016 study from the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management concludes that “experiential gifts” have a much more positive impact on children and families than material gifts, such as the latest toy or digital gadget. The study’s two authors, Cindy Chan and Cassie Mogilner, acknowledge that holidays, birthdays, and other gift-giving occasions are often stressful for families, and are “fraught with the question: What to give?!” The authors say their fieldwork yields a clear conclusion. “This research offers simple guidance: To make your friend, spouse, or family member feel closer to you, give an experience.”
That all adds up to why people aspire to own a home, or a ski chalet, at ski resorts. Not surprisingly, the primary motivation for people to invest in a vacation home is to use it as a family retreat, according to the 2017 National Association of Realtors Investment and Home Buyer’s Survey. Here are a few reasons from recent research on why family vacations are gifts that keeps on giving, for kids and parents alike, whether you’re escaping to a quiet corner of the mountains or at one of the world’s best ski resorts.
Everyone is constantly on the go these days. Parents have work. Kids have school, sports and other activities. And our digital devices frequently create an office without boundaries. Roll it all together, and it’s getting tougher to unplug, relax and recharge. Getting away forces families to drop their day-to-day routines and escape the grind.
Into the Wild
We all live in a digital world. That’s especially true for children, who have never lived without technology being a major force in their lives. A mountain vacation home is a destination where kids turn off their screens and rediscover the natural world. Skiing in the winter. Hiking and biking when the snow melts. And dozens of other outdoor activities are the pillars of the mountain culture.
It’s cliché, but there is no substitute for spending time together as a family. Weekends at home offer a respite from busy daily dockets, but nothing can replace getting out of town for a ski chalet holiday. And the benefits don’t stop after you return home from a vacation.
Of course, there are practical matters to address when considering buying a mountain home, such as how often will your children—and their children—use it? What form of ownership is best? How will the costs of maintenance and upkeep be covered? When do you want to transfer the property over to your kids? And so on. There’s a list of real-world questions that need to be considered before making the commitment. A frank family discussion is a good way to start devising a forward-looking plan.
But when it works, there might not be a better gift to future generations than a vacation home or ski chalet. Family memories last long after sore ski muscles and goggle tans fade. The shared experiences become part of the fabric of people’s lives. They create family traditions and family lore. That adds up to a lasting legacy and one that you can find at SnowOnly.