The saying that the “family that plays together, stays together” may sound painfully cliché but there’s a lot of truth in it. Spending quality time outside as a family is an important way to build strong bonds and make memories that will last for years to come. While getting outside together in the summer may be fairly easy, figuring out how to make it happen when the temperature drops is a whole nother ballgame.
Fortunately many of the world’s best ski resorts are also perfect winter getaways for active families looking to have a good time. While a lot of resorts offer things like lessons for kids and onsite daycare, some truly go above and beyond to make for a truly memorable (and easy!) family experience. Here is our list of the 10 best ski resorts for families that will be loved by kids and adults alike!
10. Keystone, CO
Keystone is widely considered to be one of the best resorts for families and there’s good reason for it. This expansive mountain offers tons of beginner and intermediate terrain, a welcoming vibe, and ultra popular tubing hill. Kids will love cruising on the two-mile long easy School Marm run and adults will dig the more challenging terrain on the back of the mountain. And just because the sun sets doesn’t mean it’s time to hang up the skis! Many of Keystone’s blue and green runs are lit at night, providing one of the best opportunities for night skiing around. Watch for Santa and his reindeer to make an appearance around the holidays!
9. Smuggler’s Notch, VT
Smuggler’s Notch, VT
In 2015 SKI Magazine named Smuggler’s Notch the best Kid-Friendly Resort in the East. Known as Smuggs to the locals, this resort is a favorite among skiing families for its awesome ski school, indoor pools, lit tubing hill, and super pro-kid atmosphere. This place is so kid friendly that coming here without your children just wouldn’t feel right! But don’t let this resort’s popularity with the little people fool you: this place has enough tough terrain to keep the adults plenty busy!
8. Granite Peak, WI
Granite Peak, WI
If you think you have to travel to the Rockies or one of the coasts to find great family skiing, think again! Many Midwestern resorts offer great runs, ample snow, and a low-key atmosphere that is perfect for kids and adults alike. Granite Peak is one of those resorts. This resort features 74 runs of varying degrees of difficulty and super fun glades where the kids can look for life-sized animal figurines hidden among the trees. Family Festival Weekend packages make your family ski trip extra affordable so that you can enjoy your time on the snow without worrying about how you’ll pay for the gas you need to get home!
7. Northstar, CA
Northstar-at-Tahoe features beautiful scenery, great skiing, and tons of activities to keep your family entertained on and off the snow! With loads of blue and green runs to choose from and a great selection of challenging terrain, skiers of all levels will find something to love at Northstar. And when your day on the slopes ends, there’s still a lot for your family to do. This resort features a movie theater, heated outdoor pool, skating rink, and lots fire pits, perfect for warming your chilly toes, snuggling up to your nearest and dearest, or perfecting the fine art of marshmallow roasting.
6. Whitefish, MT
Whitefish is a classic western ski resort that is perfect for families just getting their snow legs. This resort features lots wide open beginner to intermediate terrain that will have even the greenest of skiers squealing with delight. But just because there’s lots of easy stuff here doesn’t mean that more advanced skiers will be bored! Whitefish boasts enough backcountry tree skiing to keep the more experienced skiers occupied as well. A busy train station and town to mountain shuttle make car free family travel a cinch. If you do have a car and can pry yourself off the mountain for a day, a side trip to Glacier National Park is a welcome diversion!
5. Park City, UT
Park City, UT
Park City was made famous as the site of many of the events of the 2002 Winter Olympics but if you think that this mountain is only good for the Olympians among us, think again! Park City’s renowned ski and ride school is a safe place for kids of all ages and abilities to learn to have fun on the slopes. You and your family are sure to love the zip lines, snowmobile rides, kid-friendly trails, and, of course, Utah’s legendary snow. It doesn’t hurt that Park City is one of the most accessible resorts on our list. Just a 45 minute drive from Salt Lake City will have you on the lifts!
4. Beaver Creek, CO
Beaver Creek, CO
Don’t let Beaver Creek’s reputation as a swanky resort dissuade you from taking your family there on your next ski vacation because Beaver Creek also happens to be a great family ski destination! Like many of the other resorts on our list, Beaver Creek has an excellent ski school, but it’s in all the other amenities that this resort really shines. With free chocolate chip cookies, an afternoon kids’ parade, and on-mountain story time, Beaver Creek makes your experience one that the whole family will enjoy.
3. Lookout Pass, Idaho
Lookout Pass, Idaho
Lookout Pass is Idaho’s original ski resort and it’s still a family favorite for a lot of great reasons. With great snow, easy access, and affordable lift tickets, this resort makes family skiing a breeze. Novice and intermediate skiers will appreciate that 75% of this resort’s runs are blue and green and daredevils will love the world class terrain park. And the thing that families will love most about Lookout Pass? Kids ski school is free. Yes, free. If that’s not the sign of a resort deeply committed to growing the next generation of rippers, we don’t know what is!
2. Mont Tremblant, Quebec
Mont Tremblant, Quebec
If your family is looking for a cultural experience to go along with all that skiing, look no further than Mont Tremblant. Quebec is famous for being more like France than it is like Canada and this holds true in the ski resort as well. The resort’s bustling village is full of quaint shops, delicious restaurants, and tons of French charm. Your family will love the killer skiing, indoor water park, and lively après ski scene. Tremblant has a fabulous ski school and, despite it’s French leanings, most of the resort’s employees also speak English.
1. Okemo, VT
With free skiing for kids six and under, a top notch ski school, and killer tubing hill, Okemo is perfect for families who love spending time together on the snow. This resort boasts loads of intermediate terrain that will keep skiers of all levels entertained for days! Both the young and the young at heart will love launching themselves onto the AMP Big Air Bag, just like the pros do! Okemo may not be as big or as famous as some of Vermont’s other resorts but when it comes to accommodating adventurous families, it’s at the top of the list!
Taking your crew on a family ski trip may seem like a daunting task but the experience you have and the memories you make will be well worth the effort. Spending time with your nearest and dearest on the snow is a fun and healthy way to build bonds that will last a lifetime. You’ll learn some new skills. You’ll fall. You’ll laugh. And you’ll go home with a new appreciation for nature, winter, and most importantly, each other.