One of the blessings today for new parents who ski is that almost all

resorts, from the small gems to the crown jewels, have excellent facilities to baby-sit infants as young as three months. Quite an improvement over what we encountered when we wanted to take our infant twins skiing in the late 1970s.

At that time in all New England only three ski areas accepted children as young as two, and then only if they were toilet trained. The usual minimum age to put children in a day-care center was three. As they’d been doing since skiing become a nationwide sport after World War II, most ski areas simply smiled at parents foolish enough to want to put their babies into a nursery right there on the mountain. They would, however, recommend local baby-sitters to care for the wee wee set while Mom and Dad were on the slopes.

Changing times.

Not only are nurseries integral to most ski areas today, but the resorts compete with each other in the quality of their facilities. A word of caution is necessary, though, for parents taking their gurgling diaper-clad offspring to a ski area for the first time: Call before you make your travel plans. Question its infant and nursery programs, even if you’re bound for a resort you knew well in the years before you became parents.

Be specific: Is the nursery separate from the play area for older children? What’s the minimum age? In some areas, it’s as young as six weeks. While most states require that nursery attendants be qualified and licensed, some don’t. As about the attendants’ personal qualifications.

A few smaller resorts still require parents to take out their babies during the lunch hour. This can be a problem, naturally, if you’re far from the nursery when the local fire department toots its noon whistle.

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