Scout Picks: Best Ski Resorts for Families

Best Ski Resorts for Families

Aug 8, 2018

Even thinking about a ski vacation with kids is daunting. Just getting them ready each day can be every parent’s worst nightmare. You have to be practically a circus act to juggle skis, boots, poles, helmets, goggles and gloves – all before you’ve even hit the slopes. While most resorts have great facilities and ski schools for kids, here are Scout’s tips for destinations that will create a memorable and relatively pain-free ski vacation.

Keystone would have to be one of the best ski resorts for families, anywhere in the world. The Vail Resorts owned resort has packed a ton of kid oriented activities into the village and on the slopes. From ice castles to organised snowball fights to a parade, one would be forgiven for thinking you're at Disneyland. Fortunately there's also plenty of family friendly condos, it's gentle on the wallet and it's easy to get to - just a two hour drive from Denver Airport. 

Big Sky sure knows how to please families. When staying in resort lodging (including all those booked via Scout) this awesome Montana resort lets kids under 10 ski free and all kids 4 and up have free access to the afternoon kids club (more time for the parents to enjoy Apres - or the hot tub). Plus the varied terrain will please all members of the family no matter what their level.

Snowmass is one of the best mountains for families who love to ski. Its slopes are perfect for the beginner and intermediate and it has some decent advanced terrain for skiers looking for more of a challenge. But the extreme skiers tend to stay away, so you’ll never feel intimidated or worried about the kids. It almost feels like it’s been reserved as a family-friendly mountain.

Whistler Blackcomb is the kind of place your kids will have so much fun they won’t want to leave and may even forget you exist. Its ski school is one of the biggest in the world, boasting more than 1000 instructors who will not only teach your kids to go from “pizza” to “spaghetti” in no time but they’ll have a blast doing it. There’s some child-specific areas, including a special terrain park with kid-sized features and adventure playgrounds on both mountains.

Zip-lining, alpine coasters (4000ft of curves, bends and loops), Viking yurts, sleigh rides, tubing, snowmobiling … the list goes on and on. Park City Mountain Resort has endless opportunities to keep the kids entertained plus some good value options for mountainside accommodation. There also happens to be some great skiing too.

One of the lesser known destinations for families is Northstar in Lake Tahoe. The resort has a compact European style village that is perfect for families. It has a huge ice-skating rink, movie theatre, bowling alley, plenty of shops, bars and restaurants and free S’mores at the fire pits in the afternoon. The mountain has gentle slopes and fantastic park and pipe facilities. And with plenty of condo accommodation in and around the village and close proximity to Reno International Airport it all makes for a very easy ski vacation.

One of America’s favorite resorts for families, Steamboat has everything to keep you and the little ones happy; a plethora of good value condos (many of which are ski-in ski-out), an easy-to-navigate base area, a centrally located ski school and an abundance of activities for when they’re tired of skiing. Where else can your child learn to fly off a real ski jump?

Tomamu is a lesser known choice for skiers heading to Japan, yet it has so much to offer families. With endless facilities for kids, including an ice village and Japan's largest indoor wave pool they'll never be bored as well there are penty of on-snow activities to make learning to ski fun. Everything is super convenient - there's a great ski-in ski-out hotel with family rooms and heaps of facilities for families as well as Club Med Tomamu

Not only is Myoko Kogen a great place to experience a more authentic side of Japan (than some of the resorts more popular with westerners) and awesome powder, but it's also a fantastic resort for families thanks to Myoko Snowsports which is (in our opinion) Japan's best ski school and some great value hotels. 

Nestled deep in the French Alps lies Val d'Isere - one of Scout's favorite ski resorts in the world. We've also picked it as one of the best family resorts in the world because of the excellent services it offers for families, combined with a good variety of accommodation options, a charming yet functional European village (including a working dairy where you can see the animals), easy transport and world-class skiing. A family vacation in Val d'Isere will be memorable and fun.

Val Thorens is Europe's highest ski resort with extensive terrain suited to all abilities. It's a Familie Plus resort which means it fulfils particular critieria that makes it famiy friendly. There's heaps of ski-in ski-out accommodation, parts of the mountain dedicated to kids an fun extra activities and a sports center.

Megeve is a truly magical place for families. Oozing European charm, the historic village is full of beautiful shops and restaurants and seeing it by horse drawn cart is a must. There's tons of variety on the slopes and several great ski schools to choose from. 

Out of all the Italian resorts, Cervinia is our pick for families due to the easy beginner area (which parents can view from restaurants while sipping wine and eating pizza), wide range of intermediate slopes and quaint main street with plenty of great restaurants. The only drawback is a lack of ski-in ski-out hotels.

All of the resorts in New Zealand's Southern Lakes area offer some great facilities for kids, but Cardrona is Scout’s pick for its charm, relaxed atmosphere and excellent facilities. Even their website has a fun and playful children’s section. Kids aged from three months to four years can be placed in daycare, while three and four year-olds wanting to hit the slopes can do so with Ski Kindy. If you’re there for a week there are programs called Skiwees and Lowriders to help them progress. And the best part – kids aged under six ski for free.

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