Top 10 USA Ski Resorts for Families
May 12, 2020
There is nothing more wonderful than a first (or second or third) family ski vacation. Watching the kids making their first turns, chairlift bonding, and fireside hot chocolates for afternoon après. Heaven! There are plenty world-class of ski resorts in North America that offer fantastic facilities and ski schools for kids. Here are Scout’s Top 10 ski resorts in the USA that offer the best mix for the perfect family ski vacation.
Keystone takes families seriously and has more amenities, programs and fun stuff for kids (particularly younger ones) than any other resort. Keystone has an excellent selection of family-friendly accommodation and best of all, kids under 12 ski free. The cute and compact River Run village with a historic mining town feel is well-suited to families, and the resort offers endless non-snow activities to keep the kids entertained. Close to Denver, Keystone is easy to get to and our top choice for families in Colorado.
Aspen Snowmass a fantastic choice for families. It offers that perfect mix of plentiful slopeside self-contained accommodation, terrain for all ability levels, and world-class resort facilities. The Treehouse Adventure Centre and their kids programs are a big reason why it has become the resort of choice for many local and international families. The Ski & Snowboard School is internationally acclaimed, and offers a fantastic mix of playtime with ski instruction, and childcare for kids from the age of 8 weeks. Non-snow activities are also a highlight for families at Aspen Snowmass, with The Elk Camp area becoming a family hot-spot, with tubing, snowbiking, bonfires, live music, and even some s'mores roasting. Plenty of family activities for everyone!
Copper Mountain Resort is an excellent choice for families due to the large variety of good value condo accommodation, relatively easy access to the ski slopes, and fun facilities for kids off the slopes. The ski school at Copper offers a great variety of lesson options for both adults and kids (and at a decent price), and are separate from the main mountain (offering a quieter place to learn). Copper coasts great value self-contained lodging and in a variety of slopeside locations to choose from depending on what resort facilities and services you need. Little ones will love 'Critterland' snow play area, and the resort base is home to ice skating, tubing, and the longest alpine coaster in North America!
Winter Park is one of those resorts that ticks all the boxes for families. Parents will appreciate Winter Park’s compact and convenient base area, ease of access from Denver, condo accommodation options, and overall good value. The ski school starts kids lessons from the age of three, with the meeting point is conveniently located at the main base area (close to your condo!), and there are several activities to keep the kids entertained off the slopes. Winter Park offers endless lodging options to suit any budget, from self-contained slopeside lodges and condos to hotels/motels in downtown. The base area offers plenty of dining options to keep the most picky of eaters satisfied every night.
Crested Butte is a little off-the-beaten-path however for families who seek uncrowded slopes, no lift lines, top notch ski school, and slopeside condo accommodation, it's a perfect choice. The compact resort base area provides the perfect spot for kids to hit the slopes for the first time, remaining close to the amenities for when they get cold hands or need a mid-morning snack. This base area also has everything you need in the the one location (which we love!) including rentals, overnight storage, retail shops, and restaurants. For those non-ski days, there are endless fun activities that are sure to keep everyone in the family happy including bungee trampolines, rock climbing, mini-golf, tubing, snowmobiling, dog sledding, horse riding, and ice fishing!
Telluride has been a top choice for families for many years. The purpose-built Mountain Village boasts a well-planned infrastructure including pedestrian walkways, plenty of condos, ski-in ski-out hotels, and a great mix of restaurants, bars, and cafes to suit every member of the family. The resort offers a great range of childcare and ski school options, and the ski lessons for kids are reasonably priced. The Kid's Night Out program is also a popular choice for families, providing activities for kids (usually dinner, movies, & games) to meet others at the resort and giving parents a well earned night off. The highlight for many kids is riding the free gondola between the mountain village and downtown Telluride!
Northstar has to be one of the best destination resorts for families, with high quality customer service, and great amenities and facilities. It has all the bells and whistles of a world-class resort, and caters incredibly well to families. Everything you need is situated in the main Village at Northstar, including a good array of rental shops (with delivery services), and retail shops. The Northstar Ski School is massive and highly regarded among the ski community. Families will also love the ice-skating rink and bungy trampoline at the resort, tubing, and movie nights (the resort has a cinema complex!!).
Big Sky is an excellent choice for families. For starters it offers free skiing for kids 10 and under. Secondly all kids 4 and up staying in resort lodging can use the Kids Club every afternoon from 4-6pm with a variety of supervised activities. The varied terrain at Big Sky will mean that everyone in the family will have fun and it’s relatively easy to get around. There’s a wide variety of accommodation in Big Sky, from large houses and condos, a few hotels in the Mountain Village, and a ton of condos spread across the various bases - there is something to suit every budget. Big Sky still flies under the radar so families will enjoy uncrowded slopes and no lift lines.
Beaver Creek is well-known for its family friendly terrain that suits all ability levels, world-class ski school, accommodation options to suit every need and desire, and resort facilities that are second to none. Beaver Creek's ski school has a great reputation, and wonderful set-up, and in a good location at the main village. The resort village is well designed so most of the accommodation is super close to the slopes and amenities, and a large proportion are ski-in/ski-out - perfect for families that want some extra convenience. Most impressively, almost all the restaurants have a kids menu (even the find dining options), and the highlight for many kids is the famous freshly-baked cookies that are handed out every afternoon!
Rounding up our list of top ski resorts in the USA for families is a classic - Steamboat Springs. Steamboat is one of our go-to resorts for families. It's is incredibly well organised and the facilities are world-class. The Ski School at Steamboat is internationally renowned and has fantastic options for ski & snowboard lesson, including group and private lessons, and multi-day programs. The Kids Vacation Centre in the Gondola building has programs tailored to kids from the age of 2.5 and up, combining child-care with on-snow lessons. Condos, townhouses, ski-in/ski-out, take your pick - Steamboat has every style and type of accommodation to suit your needs. There are plenty of non-snow activities nearby, and The Old Town Hot Springs in downtown Steamboat is very family friendly (and a popular down-day option for families).