You’ve done your homework on the difference between skiing and snowboarding, you’ve shopped the best ski brands, and have all your gear, the only question is where to take the family on an epic ski trip? No worries, we’ve put together a list of the best ski resorts around the U.S.
What makes a ski resort great for families? Well, for one, the terrain should be such that kids (presumably new to skiing) can enjoy themselves. And let’s be honest, for those of us adults who didn’t grow up skiing, we’re looking for plenty of easy terrain for ourselves.
Second, lessons. Kids are funny. You can tell them something all day long and they won’t take it to heart. Then their teacher, camp counselor, or ski instructor comes along and tells them the exact same thing, and guess what… they listen. Enrolling your kids in lessons is a great way to get them comfortable on the mountain, and lessons aren’t just for kids. Instructors have tons of tips for skiers of all ages to make learning a little easier.
And finally, perks. Plenty of these resorts offer perks that your kids will enjoy like free chocolate chips cookies, hot chocolate, a candy cabin, and other fun activities nearby, like ice skating.
Park City, Utah
Park City is a close drive from the airport, boasts many family-friendly runs, offers lessons and rentals, and even offers horse-drawn sleigh rides. Tour the historic town and learn about the mining history in the area.
Northstar California Ski Resort
Located in Tahoe, Northstar offers plenty of activities for families both on and off the slopes. The skiing is good, but there’s also a movie theater, ice skating, live music, candle-making, and fat-tire snow biking. Plenty to keep the whole family occupied.
Deer Valley, Utah
Deer Valley has a few unique qualities. For one, it is a ski-only resort. This can be nice since other forms of snow travel, primarily snowboarding, can have a larger impact on the terrain. However, if the kids are just getting into snowsports and are interested in snowboarding, this obviously isn’t the resort for you. This park also boasts an award-winning ski school. If the whole family is looking to ski, and get high-quality instruction, Deer Valley is for you.
Colorado is a popular ski area due to its weather and its snow. Sunny days and powdery snow attract millions of visitors every year. Thankfully Colorado has plenty of resorts to house visitors and nearly 30,000 acres of ski terrain. Many resorts have dedicated areas for kids and beginners, perfect for your family no matter what level they’re at.
Beaver Creek has plenty of trails for kids, offers ski lessons, and has a whole activity calendar to keep kids busy when they get tired of skiing. Check out Haymeadow Park, where the terrain and the gondola are centered on getting beginner skiers comfortable. Red Buffalo Park is another great area. Adventure zones and snow sculptures make this a fun area for all ages. An ice skating rink in the middle of the village provides more fun and memories when the kids are ready to get off the slopes.
Keystone is another great family-friendly ski resort. Keystone not only boasts plenty of easier runs for beginners, but also a ski school. When the kids get tired of skiing they can ice skate, go for a sleigh ride, go tubing or snow biking, or hang out in Keystone’s Kidtopia.
According to USA Today, Winter Park was the #1 ski resort in America 3 times running. In addition to 3,000 acres of trails, ski instruction, snowshoe tours, and tubing, Winter Park also has ski bike tours, which is different from fat tire biking. This resort will be great for the whole family.
Telluride is a famous and well-regarded resort. Travel & Leisure calls it the most idyllic ski town in America, it won the Ski Magazine Editor’s Choice award for 2021, and it has a great food and beverage scene.
If you live on the East Coast you might be interested in these great East Coast resorts. But to hone in on specifically family-friendly resorts check out the following.
Okemo Mountain Resort, Vermont
Okemo offers much of what these other resorts offer including easy terrain, ice skating, and snow tubing. What Okemo has that other resorts do not is a roller coaster! The coaster cruises down the slopes (don’t worry, you can control the speed) weaving through trees and passing over thousands of feet of terrain. This is one the kids will love.
Bretton Woods, New Hampshire
Bretton Woods is New Hampshire’s largest ski area. This means more runs (and more easy runs) and fewer lines. Ski Magazine also lists them as one of the top ten East Coast ski resorts for kids.
Smuggler’s Notch, Vermont
Billed as America’s Family Resort, you’ll enjoy the low-key atmosphere of Smuggler’s Notch. Kid-friendly activities like a winter carnival and pirate bingo are sure to be crowd-pleasers.
And if these resorts seem a little too on the beaten path, check out these 8 secret ski resorts in North America.
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