Whether your kids are taking their first ski lesson or flying down black diamonds, these ski resorts are perfect for families. Keep in mind that just because you’re skiing at a resort doesn’t mean that you have to stay overnight there. From the mountains of Vermont to the charming towns of Colorado, there are plenty of vacation rentals to choose from. Plus, if your getaway lasts more than a few days, you’ll have all the comforts of a home away from home. Check out the top family-friendly ski resorts across the country.
1. Aspen Snowmass, Colorado
Aspen has earned a reputation for catering to big spenders and Hollywood A-listers, but it’s not all glitz and glamour. The town takes skiing just as seriously if not more than the fancy shops and luxurious spas. The longest run on Snowmass is 5.3 miles long and the Buttermilk peak is known for having the best terrain park and pipe facilities. Check for special family packages. Sometimes, Snowmass offers discounted or even free kids’ lift tickets, ski and snowboarding lessons, and equipment rentals. By the way, kids age 6 and under are always free!
2. Heavenly Mountain Resort, California
What’s in a name? You might think that calling a mountain “heavenly” is a little overboard, but California’s Heavenly Resort lives up to its name in every way. Okay, Heavenly actually spans both California and Nevada, so you can ski in two states in one day! Lake Tahoe is often known as a romantic destination, but it also has all the makings of your best family ski trip yet. To start, Heavenly has one of the best ski schools in Tahoe. There are also fun activities like the brand new guided UTV tours and the scenic gondola ride.
3. Beaver Creek Resort, Colorado
This high-end ski resort is known for its luxurious hotels, great restaurants, and nearly 2,000 acres of powdery slopes. It’s also incredibly family friendly with a topnotch ski program and gentle green runs for beginners. If you’ve got some daring teens in your brood, they’ll love the other side of Beaver Creek, known as BC-EX, which features extreme terrain to challenge even the most experienced skiers.
4. Okemo Mountain Resort, Vermont
Okemo Mountain Resort gets over 200 inches of snowfall on average each year. That means great skiing on top of an already family-friendly destination. Kids under six are always free and, on select days, older kids ski for free with a paying adult. The adults get a break too because the first hour after opening is free on the slopes every single day. That gives you the rare opportunity of checking out the slopes first thing in the morning and avoiding buying a lift ticket for the day if the conditions aren’t up to your standards.
5. Snowshoe Mountain Resort, West Virginia
Get ready for some family fun at Snowshoe Mountain Resort. A lot of popular ski resorts are located further west or in New England, so it’s also a great option for families in the mid-Atlantic and Southern states. Not only is there a great ski school, there are terrain parks, tubing hills, snowmobiles and snowcats. Nothing can beat the rush of skiing down your first slope except maybe tubing down the six-story, eight-lane Coca-Cola Tube Park. Children under four years old aren’t permitted on the main tubing hill, but there is a separate smaller area for them to enjoy.
6. Park City Mountain Resort, Utah
If your tiny tots are just starting their ski lessons, Park City Mountain Resort might be the best option for you and your family. Their ski school limits classes to five children maximum, so your kids will get the best, personalized attention. There’s also a special Signature 3 Program that’s made specifically for children aged three and a half to five years old. Once the kids’ little legs are tired from their 75-minute lesson, there are other activities inside like crafts, reading, and playing on the indoor jungle gym.
7. Sun Valley Ski Resort, Idaho
Skiers love Sun Valley Ski Resort for the short lift lines, well-manicured slopes, and friendly staff. Families love Sun Valley for the ice skating rink, bowling alley and game room, and heated swimming pool. Sun Valley might see less annual snowfall than other ski areas, but the resort constantly wins awards for their snowmaking and grooming. Plus, it’s hard to beat over 250 days of sunshine per year. For kids (and adults), the ski instruction at Sun Valley is exceptional. Their parent-free ski school zone’s top priority is to focus on the kids. While Sun Valley Lodge is the main accommodation, there’s a huge vacation rental market with plenty of luxury options, and if you drive to the resort, parking is easy and hassle-free.
8. Deer Valley Ski Resort, Utah
Well-groomed slopes, great food, and top-notch service make Deer Valley a constant favorite among skiers. If your kids aren’t ready for the slopes quite yet, they have terrific daycare. They can craft art projects at the Children’s Center of play with their fuzzy mascots on the Adventure Trails. The ski school also limits the number of daily lift ticket sales so your little ones will feel like they have their run of the mountain.
9. Steamboat Resort, Colorado
Steamboat Resort has powdery snow, a great variety of terrain, and plenty of activities for the kids. The Snowsports school offers ski and snowboard lessons for kids and adults, but you should definitely take advantage of the other fun options like a sleigh ride dinner, the Outlaw Mountain Coaster, and other special events throughout the year. Stay in a vacation rental in Steamboat Springs to experience a town full of character instead of just sticking to the resort.
10. Smugglers’ Notch Resort, Vermont
Smugglers’ is a top destination for families in the East. It’s known for its diverse terrain, top-notch daycare, and one of the best ski programs in the entire industry. This three mountain resort is often voted a top family ski resort thanks to the extensive kids programs. Check out Smuggler’s Notch Kids and Teen programs and the 5400-square-foot slope-side child care center for babies as young as six weeks of age. Learning to ski is also a major focus here, and even toddlers can get their start on the Wonder Carpet Lift at the TREASURES child care center. There are also plenty of on-mountain vacation rentals available making it easy for your family to find the perfect place to stay.
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