The 12 Best Family-friendly Ski Resorts That Cater to Kids — and Kids at Heart
Part of what makes a big ski trip special is the people you go with on your journey. When you're going with the whole family, that usually means catering to every age, every skill level, and every interest. And, finding one all-encompassing destination is a mighty tall order. But, there are plenty of excellent family-friendly ski resorts out there. You just have to know where to look.
The best ski resorts for families offer entertainment for everyone, from non-skiers and kids to the most expert shredders among us. That means a resort needs mountain terrain that takes serious skill to navigate and fun family activities like scenic gondola rides that allow the whole crew to check out the mountain views, all in one place.
Need an example of one that does just that? Look no further than Whistler Blackcomb Ski Resort in Canada, where the kids can explore the enchanted forest and hidden magical castle while the adults can push themselves on the mountain's more challenging ski runs. And at Steamboat Ski Resort in Colorado, the whole family can reconvene in a relaxing hot spring (including one with water slides) to rehash the day's adventures.
Need more? Keep scrolling to read up on the 12 best ski resorts for families.
Adults will love the 464 acres of skiing found at this New Hampshire resort, while kids will love the fact that there are plenty of activities designed just for them (aside from skiing and snowboarding lessons). They can check out the Canopy Tour's nine zip lines and two sky bridges or go sledding on the speedy snow tubing hill.
Find it: Bretton Woods, 99 Ski Area Road, Bretton Woods, NH
Smugglers' Notch Resort
This family-friendly Vermont resort caters to every age. Adults won't run out of terrain to explore (there are 78 trails spread across three big mountains), and kids will love unwinding after a long day of skiing or snowboarding with some hot chocolate at the nightly bonfire. Don't miss the fireworks every Thursday night or glow tubing (night sledding under LED lights) on Tuesdays. Parents can enjoy some adults-only time while their kids enjoy the nearby nightly entertainment.
Find it: Smugglers' Notch Resort, 4323 Vermont Route 108 South, Jeffersonville, VT
Adults can test their skills on more than 3,000 acres of terrain (and 128 trails) that is primarily for intermediate or expert level skiers. But while the grown-ups are gliding down the mountain, kids can take to ice skating, tubing, and the world's largest snow fort atop Dercum Mountain.
Find it: Keystone Resort, 100 Dercum Square, Keystone, CO
One of the biggest concerns when it comes to planning a family ski vacation is cost, and this mountain resort has you covered. At Steamboat, kids 12 and under ski free if their guardian buys a 5-day (or more) lift ticket package. Besides the more than 2,900 acres of terrain, families will love the Snowsports Ski School and Kids Vacation Center, which get kids on the slopes. After a long day on the mountain, everyone in the family will enjoy a visit to Old Town Hot Springs, which has two 230-foot water slides.
Find it: Steamboat, 2305 Mt. Werner Circle, Steamboat Springs, CO
Park City Mountain Resort
The pure number of trails at Park City Mountain Resort makes it one of the best ski mountains for families in the United States. Everyone will love exploring the 330 trails and over 7,300 acres of terrain on this Utah mountain. Kids and adults learning to ski or board will find their little slice of paradise at High Meadow Park, a learning area with off-trail, groomed runs where beginners can work on their skills. After a day of skiing, relax with a 23-minute snowcat-pulled sleigh ride to The Viking Yurt, a five-course dining experience at 8,700 feet.
Find it: Park City Mountain Resort, 1345 Lowell Avenue, Park City, UT
After a day spent exploring the Lake Placid mountain's 91 trails, parents can head to the Bear Den Lodge for a drink and a bird's eye view of their kids learning to ski and snowboard. Apart from the slopes themselves, there's plenty of adrenaline to be had off the mountain. Experience what it's like to hurtle down a winding track by going for a ride on a real Olympic bobsled track or watch ski jumpers fly the length of a football field from inside the Skyride, an eight-person gondola.
Find it: Whiteface Mountain, 5021 Route 86, Wilmington, NY
Northstar California Ski Resort
This North Lake Tahoe resort features 100 trails and more than 3,100 skiable acres, so there is plenty of terrain for everyone in the family to explore. At the end of the day, gather your squad together for an evening of après-ski ice skating and hot chocolate, or continue to slide down the hill in a tube. Before you turn in for the night, warm up by the fire pits and get ready to do it all again.
Find it: Northstar California Ski Resort, 5001 Northstar Drive, Truckee, CA
What's more family-friendly than an on-mountain Candy Cabin that's ready to welcome kids (and kids at heart) with Swedish Fish, Jelly Bellys, M&Ms, and more at 9,840 feet? After you've gotten your sugar fix at Beaver Creek, you can enjoy the mountain's 167 different trails or challenge yourself to ski the mountain's longest run — Centennial — from top to bottom, which clocks in at 2.75 miles long.
Find it: Beaver Creek, 210 Beaver Creek Plaza, Beaver Creek, CO
This Poconos ski resort is smaller than some of its big mountain counterparts, but its petite size actually makes it more manageable for families trying to juggle various needs and skill levels. There are 39 total ski runs and a whopping 42 snow tube lanes on the mountain (for the tubing fanatic who's bound to be in your family). When you're not skiing or tubing, you can keep your adrenaline pumping at the Aquatopia Indoor Waterpark, which features 13 water slides, a wave pool, a simulated surfing experience, and a swim-up bar.
Find it: Camelback Mountain, 301 Resort Drive, Tannersville, PA
At Whistler Blackcomb, you can end up at a snow-covered tree fort and magical castle where kids of all sizes can play king and queen of their own wintery domain. Adults and more experienced skiers will love exploring the 200+ trails spread across more than 8,000 acres — and true adrenaline junkies can explore the mountain's extensive backcountry with an expert guide. After the sun sets, take a stroll in the resort's charming pedestrian village or go ice skating under the stars.
Find it: Whistler Blackcomb, 4545 Blackcomb Way, Whistler, British Columbia, Canada
With the purchase of a single lift ticket, you get full access to the four mountains that make up Aspen Snowmass — Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk, and Snowmass. But families looking for something for everyone will have a hard time skipping Snowmass. The mountain is larger than the other three resorts combined and has plenty of glades and steeps for adrenaline-seeking skiers and riders. Meanwhile, the kids will fall in love with Snowmass' Very Important Kids program, which offers daily kid-focused programs and evening activities for the whole family.
Find it: Snowmass, 120 Lower Carriage Way, Snowmass Village, CO
Big Sky Resort
When it comes to skiing with kids, accessibility is key. And thanks to over 30 nonstop flights, Big Sky is the best-served mountain destination in the country. Once you arrive in the beautiful Montana mountains, you'll find over 4,000 vertical feet of skiing off of Lone Peak and chairlifts with heated seats and weatherproof bubbles (say goodbye to cold fingers). When you need a break from your ski boots, book a dog sledding trip or a day on horseback to experience the broader Big Ski area.
Find it: Big Sky Resort, 50 Big Sky Resort Rd, Big Sky, MT