Virtually all ski resorts these days welcome families, and offer kids' programs and ski and snowboard schools. Many go farther, with special features such as child-care centers, nurseries, and cool programs for teens.
See a selection of family ski resorts, below. Keep in mind:
- sometimes non-celebrity places can be star-quality for families. They may not have the glitz, but you get less crowds, lower prices, manageable size, and friendly ambiance.
- if timing's tight, be wary of places that need connector flights into small airports. (Such flights add $ too.) Also consider airport-to-slope time.
- Be sure to book well in advance for kids' programs during peak vacation times
- at some high-elevation mountains in the Rockies, altitude may cause symptoms such as headache.
Top Family Ski Resort Suggestions (alphabetical)
Alta Mountain, Utah
This skiers-only mountain is one of seven ski resorts within 40 miles of the Salt Lake City airport (--read more about Salt Lake City skiing, which offers great snow and a fast track to the slopes.) Stay at the Alta Lodge: an old-style ski lodge kind of place where guests meet over meals.
The legendary Colorado ski resort Aspen (now part of Aspen/Snowmass) has been synonymous with status and wealth for decades. It's also got beautiful Victorian buildings, top shops and eats, and kids programs. One lift ticket buys access to four different mountains (Snowmass, Aspen, Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk).
Beaver Creek, CO
Beaver Creek is an upscale Colorado ski resort that's known for kids programs: kids have their own gondola and restaurant, handily located near the spot where warm chocolate chip cookies are served by chefs at the base of the main chair lift every afternoon. Beaver Creek is just a few miles from Vail: lift passes are good at both, and also at Keystone and Breckenridge, which are also owned by Vail Resorts.
Big Bear Lake, CA
Read a guest article about this mid-sized ski resort, which is two hours from LA and four from Las Vegas, and offers a family-friendly atmosphere.
Multiple peaks, charming historic town, and plenty of fun for kids, including terrain parks and pipes-- and Snow Sculpture Championships (in January.)
Bretton Woods, NH
This good-for-beginners family-friendly ski resort jazzed up its image with new areas with black-diamond trails. Lodging includes the classic (and family-friendly) Mountain Washington Hotel. 100 km of cross-country trails, too. Kids programs and nursery.
Copper Mountain, CO
This popular ski resort in the Colorado Rockies has our mountains, tubing hill, sleigh ride with dining in the woods, snowmobiling, a snow-skate park, and more.
Crested Butte, CO
Crested Butte is off on its own with its location 230 miles southwest of Denver; the nearest airport is Gunnison. Visitors find great snow, uncrowded slopes, and a quaint former mining town restored into shops and restaurants.
Deer Valley, UT
One of several great ski options within an hour of Salt Lake City, Deer Valley (Near Park City) is skiers-only, and is known as a foodie's paradise and for top-of-the-line services. Deer Valley has luxury lodging and a striking amount of real estate on the slopes. Sign up early for kids programs!
Lake Placid, NY
In the Adirondacks, Lake Placid has an Olympic Center (-try the bobsled), and old-fashioned town toboggan run. Nearby Whiteface Mountain has 3430 vertical feet, kids program, Teen Experience.
Keystone Ski Resort, CO
Keystone is one of several ski resorts in the Colorado Rockies owned by Vail Resorts: lift passes are good at all. Keystone's annual Kidtopia features a Snow Fort and a torchlight parade and other fun activities.
Mammoth Mountain, CA
Mammoth Mountain is, well, mammoth: over 11,000 feet at the summit. Mammoth is a top destination for spring skiing, and sometimes stays open right through June. Location is 300 miles north of Los Angeles, and 264 miles east of San Francisco.
Nice-priced ski resort with kids programs and child care; tubing park; Adventure Parks for kids, lots more.
Okemo is all about families, with excellent kids' programs, lots of intermediate runs, many different types of lodging, and activities such as family New Year's Eve celebrations. Kids six and under ski free*.
Salt Lake City, Utah - Family Skiing
Seven very different mountains, all within an hour's drive of a major airport: Park City, Deer Valley, The Canyons, Soliltude, Brighton, Alta, and Snowbird. Utah's motto is "The Greatest Snow on Earth."
--Continue to more Family Ski Resorts, alphabetical: Smugglers' Notch, Steamboat, Snowmass, Whistler, and more
*Always check web sites for updates!