Best value family ski resorts

Aug 8, 2018

Are you looking for your next family ski vacation hotspot, away from the crowds and lift lines, full of family fun, and most importantly, hassle-free? Head off-the-beaten-path this winter and experience some of Scout’s best value family-friendly ski resorts that are sure to make this your most memorable family ski vacation yet.


Marmot Basin
Tucked away in the stunning Jasper National Park, Marmot Basin is a fantastic and affordable option for families in Canada. Smaller than other resorts in Alberta, Marmot boasts a great variety of terrain, a relaxed and friendly mountain atmosphere, plus virtually no lift lines! The resort facilities are catered specifically to families, with numerous day lodges and a superb ski school featuring popular Marmot’s Kids Camps and programs that combine childcare and on-hill instruction for the littlest of skiers. There is no on-mountain accommodation, however, the town of Jasper is only 20 minutes by resort shuttle. The wide range of hotels and lodges in town combined with some of the lowest priced lift tickets in Canada (including Kids Ski Free deals) makes Marmot Basin such good value for more independent families.

Compact and un-crowded, Panorama is perfect for families. Located a few hours from Calgary, it's a bit of a hike but once you’re there, everything you need for your perfect ski vacation is all within walking distance. Most of the condo-style accommodation best suited to families is located at the base of the resort, right alongside the ski rentals, lesson meeting points, cafes and restaurants. Convenient! The ski school is well organised, with great programs tailored to each age and ability level, plus the designated Discovery Zone is a fantastic spot for families with first-timers. Alongside great skiing, Panorama also boasts a wonderful variety of non-snow activities to keep the kids entertained, including ice-skating, plus Canada’s largest slopeside hot pools where kids can enjoy a collection of waterslides and splash pools (while adults can unwind in the soothing hot tubs). Best of all, Panorama is exceptional value for money, with fantastic Early Bird Offers and Kids Ski Free deals that make the family ski vacation even more affordable.


Travelling to Japan for the first time can sometimes be a tricky one for families, however, resorts like Madarao, located just under 2 hours from Tokyo, make it a breeze. Madarao is a perfect choice for families with young kids and beginners, with plenty of green runs, and a world-class ski school with English-speaking instructors. The resort area is compact and easy to get around, and unlike many other purpose-built resorts, there is a wonderful friendly Japanese charm about the place. The main hotel boasts fantastic facilities and amenities for families, including a convenience store, onsen, and childcare facilities, plus it’s slopeside location means you’re close to ski rentals, lesson meeting locations, and the ever-popular Kids Snow Park (with tubing and sledding). Crowds are non-existent, and a distinct lack of Western tourists mean you’ll have a true Japanese ski experience. Madarao is an easy, fuss-free, and incredibly affordable option for families in Japan.

One of Scout’s top picks for families in Japan as it has everything you desire for a family ski vacation…firstly, kids ski free! Secondly, there’s a good selection of self-catered apartments, within walking distance of the chairlifts. Plus there is a wonderful ski school, with great group lesson options for kids, and English-speaking instructors. The resort boasts plenty of other things to do other than skiing, including snow rafting, snow mobiling, and dog sledding, part of the Snow Night Fantasy village at the New Furano Prince Hotel. Lastly, the resort itself has a good mix of Western influences and comforts alongside traditional Japanese culture, so families can experience a true Japan ski vacation with ease.


Big Sky
One of the USA’s best-kept secrets, Big Sky in Montana is an excellent choice for families seeking a new ski destination. It’s authentic and charming, and has remained an uncrowded (and somewhat secretive) locals spot to ski. Big Sky is, as you can imagine, big, but being a purpose-built resort it caters wonderfully to families, and the varied terrain options are fun to explore and surprisingly easy to get around. Endless hotel and condo options are available to suit any budget, and most are located around the main pedestrian-friendly Mountain Village, so you’re close to everything you’ll need for your ski vacation. The one drawcard for families to Big Sky is the vast variety of extra activities on offer – on and off the snow. From zip-lining, bungee trampolines, a climbing wall, and a giant swing, to snowmobiling and ice-climbing in nearby Yellowstone National Park. A family ski vacation to Big Sky is more than just about the incredible snow!

Crested Butte
Crested Butte is heaven for families seeking a perfect Colorado ski vacation. Its seemingly isolated location (albeit easy to get to) means no crowds, no lift lines, and a world-class resort that’s bursting with friendly and laid-back mountain vibes. 

The compact village area has an impressive range of facilities for families, including rentals, overnight storage, excellent CB Ski & Ride School, retail shops, and restaurants all in the one location. 

Located slopeside are budget to mid-range condo options for families, and their proximity to the base area makes it the perfect spot for kids to hit the slopes for the first time, remaining close to amenities for when they get cold hands or need a mid-morning snack. Families can’t go past the Adventure Park, with a range of bungee trampolines, rock climbing, mini golf, and tubing, to keep the kids entertained on a down-day, and the historic town of Crested Butte (barely 6 minutes via the resort shuttle) is the perfect spot for families to experience an authentic Colorado ski town on a budget.


Need some more help on deciding where to go? Check out our Resort Finder to help you choose the best ski resort to suit your family's needs or contact us at Scout.

◀ Back to the magazine
More about Crested Butte

Crested Butte

Crested Butte, with its steeps looming above gentle beginner slopes, is the perfect playground for more adventurous families ... read more

The Grand Lodge

The Grand Lodge at Crested Butte is one of the best value options Scout has seen for adventurous skiers and families. read more

The Plaza Condominiums

The Plaza Condominiums offer great value, well-equipped, self-catered ski accommodation in Crested Butte; spacious enough ... read more

See hotels in Crested Butte
More about Big Sky

Big Sky

Big Sky Montana used to be one of skiing’s best kept secrets. But the word has gotten out, especially since it joined forces ... read more

Powder Ridge Cabins

Powder Ridge Cabins in Big Sky provide a luxurious mountain getaway in your new home-away-from-home.  read more

Moonlight Mountain Homes

The Moonlight Mountain Homes have sweeping valley views and offer the ultimate in luxury for a stay in Big Sky. read more

See hotels in Big Sky
More about Madarao


Madarao Mountain Resort is a small resort that’s big on surprises. Whether you’re a tree-loving powder junkie or a family ... read more

Fujio Pension

The largest pension style accommodation in the area, Fujio is a terrific choice for skiers who want to feel right at home ... read more

Madarao Kogen Hotel

The finest hotel in Madarao, Madarao Kogen Hotel is also your best option if you want the prime location right on the ... read more

See hotels in Madarao
More about Furano


Furano in Hokkaido offers a wide variety of terrain, lots of powder, a good selection of accommodation and a relatively authentic ... read more

Furano Lodge 10

Furano Lodge 10 is a spacious, luxurious 4 bedroom house in the peaceful Shimo-goryo area close to Kitanomine village and ... read more

Fresh Powder Apartments

Offering Western Style Apartments, Fresh Powder is a terrific choice for those who want to enjoy its prime location across ... read more

See hotels in Furano
More about Panorama


One of Canada's best-kept secrets, Panorama is an impressive ski holiday destination for both individuals and families and ... read more

Upper Village Condos (Premium)

Great modern slope-side studio, 1, 2, & 3 bedroom condos with excellent amenities & facilities.  ... read more

Upper Village Condos (Standard)

Ski Tip & Tamarack are great moderate slopeside condos, with excellent amenities & facilities. read more

See hotels in Panorama
More about Marmot Basin

Marmot Basin

Situated in the Jasper National Park, Marmot Basin is a good all-rounder ski resort, perfect for families. read more

Chateau Jasper Hotel

Chateau Jasper is a newly-renovated ski accommodation in Alberta, Canada, with 119 modern rooms, great facilities and an ... read more

Marmot Lodge

Marmot Lodge in Jasper offers comfortable accommodation and first-rate facilities close to the Marmot Basin, great for those ... read more

See hotels in Marmot Basin

Share with a friend

Send a link to this page to a friend. The email addresses you enter will not be stored or used by us in any way.


Looking for something different? We can find exactly what you need.
Contact us by phone or fill out this simple form.

We've been there. We're here to help.

Stay ahead with Scout

Subscribe to the Scout newsletter - a regular roundup of news from the slopes and magazine articles.

Please enter the email addresses that will receive a copy of the booking request

Email address 1 :
Email address 2 :
Email address 3 :

Clear Dates
Clear Dates
Clear Dates
Clear Dates