Best Ski Resorts for Families
May 12, 2020
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.
Silver Star is a top choice in Canada for families. Scout loves the compact ski village (with brightly coloured buildings), local restaurants and cafes and incredibly well organised ski school. The terrain is easy to navigate and the vast array of runs will please all members of the family no matter what their level. Plus, the resort is only 35 minutes from the nearest major airport.
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. The ski school facilities are some of the best we've seen. It almost feels like it’s been reserved as a family-friendly mountain.
Canada's Big White is the kind of place your kids will have so much fun they won’t want to leave and may even forget you exist. Not only does the resort offer fantastic ski school (with GPS tracking so you can track the location of your child), it is super easy to get around, everything is within walking distance, PLUS it is only 30 minutes from the nearest airport. The list of non-snow activities for the kids is also endless at Big White.
With plenty of slopeside self-contained accommodation, and a world-class ski school, Niseko is a fantastic choice for families. First-timers to Japan will love the easy access to the slopes, modern facilities, English-speaking instructors, and the Western-Japanese flair throughout the resort. There are endless dining options available throughout Hirafu, making it super easy to keep everyone happy!
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.
Head off the beaten path and you'll find some of the best family-friendly ski resorts in Canada. Panorama is one of Scout's favourites - with its compact base area, fantastic slopeside condos, uncrowded terrain, and perfectly groomed runs, it's no wonder families are travelling further for the best experiences. Kids (and parents) will love the outdoor hot springs, great dining options on and off the mountain, and best of all, Kids 17 and under Ski FREE when booked as part of a Scout package.
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 French 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 Austrian resorts, Lech is our pick for families. Not only is the village easy to get around, but it has some excellent ski schools. With its charming village, it also provides that unique European ambience that many international families desire. The only thing lacking for families is a decent amount of self-catered accommodation options, since most are hotels offering half-board packages.