You’ve done your homework on the difference between skiing and snowboarding, bought the best ski brands and have all your gear, the only question is where to take the family for an epic ski trip? No worries, we’ve compiled a list of the best ski resorts in the United States.
The best family ski resorts
What makes a ski resort ideal for families? Well, for starters, the terrain should be such that the kids (presumably new to skiing) can have fun. And let’s be honest, for those of us who didn’t grow up skiing, we seek out a lot of easy terrain for ourselves.
Second, the lessons. Children are funny. You can tell them anything all day 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. The instructors have tons of tips for skiers of all ages to make learning easier.
And finally, the benefits. Many of these resorts offer perks your kids will appreciate like free chocolate chip cookies, hot chocolate, a candy shack, and other fun activities nearby like ice skating.
Bare ski resorts for families in the United States
Park City, UT
Park City is a short drive from the airport, has plenty of family-friendly trails, offers lessons and rentals, and even offers horse-drawn sleigh rides. Visit the historic town and learn about the mining history of the region.
Northstar ski resort in California
Located in Tahoe, Northstar offers plenty of family-friendly activities 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. Something to keep the whole family busy.
Deer Valley, UT
Deer Valley has some unique qualities. For one thing, it’s a ski-only resort. This can be nice as other forms of snow travel, primarily snowboarding, can have a bigger impact on the terrain. However, if the kids are just getting into winter sports and are interested in snowboarding, this is obviously not the resort for you. This park is also home to an award-winning ski school. If the whole family wants to ski and benefit from quality instruction, Deer Valley is for you.
Colorado’s Best Ski Resorts for Families
Colorado is a popular ski area due to its climate and snowfall. Sunny days and powdery snow attract millions of visitors every year. Fortunately, Colorado has plenty of resorts to accommodate visitors and nearly 30,000 acres of ski trails. Many resorts have dedicated areas for children and beginners, perfect for your family, whatever their level.
Beaver Creek has plenty of trails for kids, offers ski lessons, and has a whole schedule of activities to keep the kids busy when they get tired of skiing. Check out Haymeadow Park, where the terrain and gondola are all about comfort for beginner skiers. Another great area is Red Buffalo Park. Adventure zones and snow sculptures make this a fun space for all ages. An ice rink in the middle of the village provides more fun and memories when the kids are ready to hit the slopes.
Keystone is another great family ski resort. Keystone not only offers many easier slopes for beginners, but also a ski school. When the kids get tired of skiing, they can ice skate, take a sleigh ride, go tubing or snow biking, or hang out at Keystone’s Kidtopia.
According to USA Today, Winter Park has been the #1 ski resort in America 3 times in a row. In addition to 3,000 acres of trails, ski lessons, snowshoe tours, and tubing, Winter Park also offers ski-bike tours, which is different from fat-tire biking. This station will be ideal for the whole family.
Telluride is a well-known and famous resort town. Travel & Leisure calls it the most idyllic ski resort in America, it has won the ski magazine Editor’s Choice Award for 2021, and it has a great food and drink scene.
The Best Family Ski Resorts on the East Coast
If you live on the east coast, you might be interested in these great east coast resorts. But to focus 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 stations don’t have is a roller coaster! The coaster hurtles down the slopes (don’t worry, you can control the speed) as it weaves through trees and over thousands of feet of terrain. This is the one the kids will love.
Bretton Woods, NH
Bretton Woods is New Hampshire’s largest ski area. That means more runs (and more easy runs) and fewer lines. Ski Magazine also ranks them among the top ten East Coast ski resorts for kids.
Smuggler’s Notch, Vermont
Considered America’s Family Resort, you will appreciate the low-key atmosphere of Smuggler’s Notch. Kid-friendly activities like a winter carnival and pirate bingo are sure to be a crowd pleaser.
And if these resorts seem a little too off the beaten path, check out these 8 secret ski resorts in North America.