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If you’ve been thinking about planning a trip to a ski resort where your whole family can enjoy it, choosing the right one that will suit the experience levels and preferences of everyone can seem a bit daunting. There is a long list of options throughout North America, from the Great White North of Canada and Northern California’s epic power to the Colorado Rockies, New England, and countless places in between. We’ve scoped out the best family ski resorts for all ages to help save you the time and frustration of digging through them all.
You’ve probably heard about Copper Mountain, but don’t get it mixed up with Cooper. Cooper is a hidden gem that’s ideal for families located at the top of Tennessee Pass, west of Copper near the town of Leadville, the country’s highest incorporated city at 10,152 feet. It’s a popular locals’ ski hill with few venturing here from outside of the state, which means you’ll rarely find a line for the lifts. Lift tickets and rentals are much more affordable here and if you stay in Leadville, you’ll find plenty of budget-friendly accommodation along with historical attractions.
The country’s longest continually operating ski resort, Winter Park is renowned for its family-friendly atmosphere. It’s helped thousands to get up on skis for those who are new to the sport or just want to improve their skills, while packages include rentals, lift tickets, and half- or full-day instruction, along with the opportunity to spend the day together in the same class. If you have very young ones who aren’t quite ready, on-site childcare is available. At the end of any fun day on the slopes, you can head to the tubing park and enjoy an evening of tubing with less effort thanks to the conveyer lift. There’s a warming hut and hot cocoa too. It’s easy to see why it’s considered one of the best ski resorts in the U.S. for beginners.
With its Kids Ski Free program and over 3,000 skiable acres of terrain, including terrain ideal for learning, Keystone has long been popular with families. In addition to skiing and boarding, there are many activities for non-skiers that the whole family can enjoy, like ice skating on a massive outdoor rink, sleigh rides, and snow tubing. The Kidtopia Snow Fort is the world’s largest of its kind. It’s always a hit, featuring slides, mazes, and plenty of fun photo-ops. Plus there are daily activities and events like parades, movies, arts & crafts, and much more.
For those who want to ski without worrying about snowboarders getting in the way, Deer Valley Ski Resort is a great choice. It offers 2,000 acres of idyllic terrain and an award-winning ski school with no boarding allowed. Another big benefit is that it limits tickets to ensure that the lifts and the trails won’t be crowded. If some members of the family don’t want to ski, there are plenty of other activities to enjoy as well, including snowshoeing, snowmobiling, sleigh rides, and dog sledding. A daycare facility is on the property, making it ideal for families with toddlers too.
Snow King Mountain Resort is just off the Jackson Hole town square, providing convenient, family-friendly slopes with plenty of good beginner runs and easy magic carpet lifts that make for a fun day of skiing for all. It also boasts a year-round coaster called the “Cowboy Coaster” that winds up and down the town’s ski hill. A two-person sled will whiz you down with nearly a mile of twists and turns. King Tubes is the resort’s tubing park with three smooth, groomed lanes and a rope tow. To top it off, the scenic gondola provides an epic ride with views of the Grand Tetons, the National Elk Refuge, and the town of Jackson as it makes its way to the summit of Snow King Mountain. The Panorama House at the top is the perfect place to warm up with a hot beverage or enjoy a bite to eat.
The premier spot for skiing and snowboarding in New Hampshire, Bretton Woods Ski Resort is one of the best ski resorts for families on the east coast. It offers 464 acres with 62 trails and three separate parks, truly providing something for everyone. You’re guaranteed a snowy wonderland here with days spent gliding down the slopes and enjoying other activities, including snowmobiling at the snowmobile park, sleigh rides, and more. With so much to do, you’ll need to fuel up and there are multiple spots to do so, like Stickney’s Restaurant in Omni Mount Washington Resort, a chic steakhouse serving classic dishes based on seasonal ingredients.
A top ski resort in California, Heavenly Mountain Resort is world-renowned for its slopes that offer jaw-dropping views of Lake Tahoe’s sapphire waters surrounded by the peaks of the Sierra Nevada. Experts will appreciate its backcountry terrain but with 97 trails across thousands of acres, there’s plenty of terrain suitable for beginners to the advanced. Group lessons are available for the kids or the whole family can take a private lesson. Access Adventure Peak for snow tubing via a gondola. Heavenly Village at the base of the mountain spills right into the town’s streets and offers more family-friendly activities, including ice skating and a bungee trampoline, along with fun shops, a movie theater, and a wide range of eateries with kids’ menus.
Northstar California is located near Lake Tahoe’s North Shore, offering access to over 2,200 feet of vertical drop and 19 lifts. There’s a ski school for ages three and up and childcare is available for kids from two through six. The high-end village here is a great place to hang out too, with lots of dining, shopping, and entertainment venues. There’s an ice skating rink, a movie theater, and free s’mores at the end of every ski day too.
Mont-Tremblant is a picturesque resort with a storybook feel, frequently compared to a European ski area thanks to the unique Quebecois culture while offering lots of fantastic powder at four mountains with 665 acres of skiable terrain. It’s home to the province’s steepest run while offering many other activities too, including ice fishing, ice skating, fat-tire biking, dog sledding, tubing, snowshoeing, and sleigh rides. The walkable village is French-inspired and boasts an excellent apres-ski scene with lots of mouthwatering international fare.
Whistler Blackcomb is the largest ski resort in North America. It includes two mountains, Whistler and Blackcomb, linked by the Peak 2 Peak gondola which provides access to everything from beginner to expert terrain across nearly 8,200 acres with 200 marked trails, 37 lifts, and up to nearly 7,500 feet of vertical drop. Thrill seekers can experience a high-flying adventure with the network of zip-lines and suspension bridges at Ziptrek, while the resort’s village is more like a town of its own, complete with a tubing park and outdoor ice rink plus a wide range of apres-ski options.
Located in the heart of Banff National Park, Sunshine Village Ski Resort is ideal for families with fantastic instructors and shorter runs that allow kids to gain confidence without getting too tired out. Just getting there is a highlight with a gondola ride required from the parking lot to access the lifts, providing a bird’s-eye view of frozen waterfalls and dramatic snow-covered peaks. Daycare is available for little ones and there are also snowshoeing and sightseeing tours if you want to mix things up.
One of the best ski resorts in the country, Big Sky is surrounded by stunning peaks less than an hour’s drive north of Yellowstone National Park while offering vast terrain with over 4,000 vertical feet of skiing and high-speed lifts with heated seats. While there is plenty for the experts, you’ll find lots of tame blue and green runs along with learn-to-ski programs. Night skiing is available and other activities like snowshoeing tours, dog sledding, horseback riding and sleigh rides can be enjoyed too.
Stowe Mountain Resort has been called the “Vail of the East Coast.” It’s ideal for families with two mountain areas, including kid-friendly Spruce Peak where those who are learning to ski will enjoy an enclosed bubble while riding the “magic carpet” and wide, shorter runs on Sunny Peak Triple. For the experienced, the gondola leads to more challenging Mount Mansfield trails. There’s also an outdoor rink for ice skating at the Spruce Peak Base area along with a candy store and multiple eateries. Throughout the area, enjoy activities like carriage rides and snowshoeing among the postcard-perfect winter wonderland scenery.
Smugglers’ Notch Resort gets an average of 300 inches of snow annually and offers 78 trails, eight lifts, and multiple terrain parks, including one that’s kid-friendly. Lessons are available for kids as young as three, and there are lots of things to do off the slopes too, including swimming, tubing, ice skating, and snowshoeing. The FunZone 2.0 Family Fun Complex offers fun for all ages too with arcade games, laser tag, a climbing wall, and more. Plus, nighttime activities are available, like glow tubing, bonfires, and s’more making.
In Southern Vermont, Okemo Mountain Resort offers 121 trails, 20 lifts and the highest snowmaking efficiency in the state. There’s a wide range of terrain for everyone from brand-new skiers to the highly experienced along with a mountain coaster, ice skating rink, and a tubing hill. When you’ve had enough of the chilly temperatures, there’s a heated pool and hot tubs at the Spring House aquatics center too.