25 Best Family Ski Resorts in North America
A ski trip with kids is a great way to relax and reconnect surrounded by beautiful nature and a wealth of activities. The best ski resorts in the United States and Canada offer families everything they need for an easy time on the slopes. Whether you have toddlers or teens who are expert skiers, there are great options for everyone. Resorts on our list offer skiing and snowboarding lessons, as well as a diverse choice of winter activities, including sledding, snowshoeing, sleigh rides, ice skating and tubing. Here are the best family ski resorts in the United States and Canada. Photo: SkyLine/Fotolia
» Diamond Peak, Nevada
Diamond Peak is a popular family ski resort not only because of the fabulous trails, but also because of all the fun available in the picturesque Incline Village where it is located. The Diamond Peak Child Ski Center is so much fun that you can leave your kids there in the morning and pick them up in the evening. It is an excellent, safe and fun environment for the kids with its own learning area, surface lift and a maximum five kids per instructor.
Kids over four can learn to snowboard, which is always a hit among little adventure-seekers. The children get fitted with appropriate gear, get to bond with their experienced instructor and not only get to learn, or improve, their skiing and snowboarding abilities, but also go tubing, do some crafts, and play games. Read more
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» Aspen Snowmass, Colorado
At Aspen Snowmass they go out of their way to make a winter vacation with kids effortless fun for the whole family. If you are bringing little kids, you can safely leave them at the Treehouse Kids interactive Adventure Center, in the Snowmass Base Village, where they will have so much fun you can hit the slopes without feeling guilty. Bigger kids have several options: they can learn to ski or stay in and play games.
The kids can join the Ski and Snowboard School and learn to enjoy the mountains in the hands of expert instructors. There are several excellent runs at Snowmass and Buttermilk that have been specially adapted for kids. If they prefer to stay indoors, the kids can stay at the Treehouse and play games and enjoy the company of new friends. There is always plenty of hot chocolate.
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» Telluride Ski Resort, Colorado
Spending a winter vacation at Telluride with the family can create fantastic memories and bring the family even closer. There are so many family friendly activities you can do together: snowmobiling and speeding through the mountain, dog sledding at a bit slower pace, learning to snow bike, snow shoe tours and sampling the great Telluride restaurants.
On the days when you want to check out the slopes on your own, the kids can have their own Eco Adventure, learning about the mountain environment, or attend a ski school, guaranteed to make them fall in love with the mountain. A Cubs Camp at the Nursery will take care of the little ones aged from two months through to five years. There is lunch, snacks and even a nap time. If the weather cooperates, the kids take a short hike to the park, and if not, there are plenty of indoor activities to keep them occupied.
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»Best Family Ski Resorts: Sugarbush, Vermont
Sugarbush is a winter wonderland for the whole family, for any skill level. To start with, you can go skiing and riding at Mt. Ellen and Lincoln Peak. There are 2600' of vertical runs , with 111 trails, and more than 28 wooded areas. Then there is snowshoeing; snowshoeing in the woods is magical. It is a great way to spot traces of wildlife, and spend a quiet day in the woods with the family. You can go with an Outback Guide into Slide Brook Basin, where black bears, deer, moose, coyotes, bobcats, ermines, owls, and so many other animals prowl.
You can also go alone on several clearly marked trails. If your family is already experienced on skis, you would enjoy cross country skiing in the Mad River Valley, with 30 miles of rolling trails and spectacular panoramic views of Sugarbush. Ice fishing in Vermont’s frozen lakes is another fun and popular activity and you might even catch some pan fish. When you get tired of snow, there is always the Adventure Zone with games and toys, basketball, bungee trampoline, ping-pong, gaga ball and two inflatable bounce houses.
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»Snow King Mountain in Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Whether you want to introduce your kids to the winter sports or they are already as crazy about the snow as you are, Snow King Mountain in Jackson Hole is the place for you. There is skiing, even at night, as well as snowshoeing, snow biking, snowboarding and snow tubing. It is a giant winter playground with gondolas, lifts, an aerial tram, and miles of ski trails for any ski ability.
Skiing is fantastic, but snowshoeing will get you into the true wild nature where you can see animal tracks from deer, snowshoe hare and maybe spot an elk or two. You will not be able to resist going down the hill in the Tube Park, it is just too much fun. If you have time, don’t forget that you are close to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. There are two other ski resorts that you can visit in Jackson Hole and the resort staff can help you organize a magical winter adventure.
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»Big Sky, Montana
Everyone starts with a bit of skiing, snowshoeing and sleigh riding on the magnificent slopes of Lone Peak, Andesite, and Spirit Mountains. Big Sky opened a new kid’s adventure area this year, called Lost Frontier, which features an exciting layout for easy learning and interactive surprises for children.
There is also a Free Skiing & Free Kids Club for kids under 10 available to those who stay in Big Sky Resort managed properties. Kids under five always ski free regardless of where you are staying.
Activities in the Mountain Village include zipline tours, a high ropes course, snowshoe tours, and a unique dinner yurt, complete with a snowcat ride, live music, sledding and a bonfire.
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»Heavenly Lake Tahoe, California
Bringing kids to Heavenly means that you have promised them some serious outdoor fun. One of the best things you can do together is to take private snowboarding lessons. Your own private coach can put the whole family through their paces and in no time you will be hitting the slopes together. Or falling down together, which can be fun too! If the kids want to learn to ski or to improve their skills, you can entrust them to the Heavenly ski and snowboarding school, where kids are separated into age-appropriate groups. And you know that making new friends is at least as important to them as improving their skiing skills.
In the meantime, you can have some fun on your own. If you came with the little ones, there is an excellent Heavenly Child Care Center that provides high quality care for kids from 6-weeks through 6-years old. The Center is located in the California Base Lodge, and it offers one-on-one nanny services, if that is what you need, and ski lessons for 3-5 year olds if they are interested in being outdoors.
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» Arapahoe Basin, Colorado
Kids will love the new Arapahoe Basin Kids Center located a short distance from the Pika Place Learning Area, and the Black Mountain Express lift. The modern three-story building is open every day during the winter season. There is plenty to see and do, with a fantastic play area with an obstacle course, low balance beams and balance boards, TV screens showing videos of Arapahoe Basin and all the fun things they can do there; from introducing the avalanche dog Rio to showing what skiing down big runs looks like. There are pictures introducing the environment of Arapahoe Basin and the animals living in it.
The Kids Center is the starting point for the ski and snowboarding school for kids of all ages, starting from 3-year-old kindergartners to the teens. Highly experienced instructors will not only teach them about safety on the slopes and all the skills necessary to enjoy the mountain, but instill in them a lifelong love for the winter sports. Classes have small groups of up to four kids to ensure full attention is paid to each of them. They also offer private classes by arrangement. Read more
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» Best Family Ski Resorts: Park City, Utah
There is so much to do with kids in Park City; you might have very little time for skiing. Start by taking a ride on the Flying Eagle, a zip line that will show you Park City from high up in all its glory. To ride, kids must be over 42” tall. Then hop onto the Alpine Coaster, a toboggan car that will take you on an exhilarating half hour ride that will show you the magnificent Wasatch mountain scenery from up top, before dropping you down through over 4,000 feet of bends, curves and loops.
There are several sleigh rides in Park City, a wonderful way to see the city and its surrounds, pulled by large, powerful horses. You can get the sleigh to take you for a dinner and back to your hotel after. Snowshoeing is another great fun activity that the family can enjoy together, even if you have never done it before.
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»Snowshoe Mountain, West Virginia
In addition to great skiing Snowshoe Mountain Resort in West Virginia offers families an array of things to see and do. Take a tour of the slopes in one of the four-seat, heated, enclosed Polaris off-road vehicles. Enjoy the breathtaking beauty of the Snowshoe’s backcountry filled with imposing trees and spectacular vistas. Or take a one-hour evening Basin Snowmobile Tour, seeing the same slopes you’ve skied on during the day, at night, with the lights twinkling in the valley below.
Tubing down the 6 story, 8 lane hill at the Coca-Cola Tube Park is another thrill that brings the inner kids in all of us. And when you have had enough of the outdoors, there is The Big Top, a 15,000 square foot wonderland with a climbing wall, Eurobungy, an area for toddlers.
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» Discovery Ski Area, Montana
Discovery Ski Area is known for steeps that give experienced skiers an adrenaline rush. But, it is also a family resort, down to earth, where everything is about the mountain, skiing and having fun together. It is a great place to get kids introduced to skiing, or giving them the opportunity to improve their skills in the company of their peers. Kids’ activities start and end at the Kinderski Center, full of games, coloring books and Lego blocks, for the kids to play with after their ski lessons. There are even nap mats.
Kids learn to ski in small, permanently supervised groups. The focus is on play, and kids are encouraged to have just as much fun between the lessons. Kids older than 6 can also learn to snowboard and teenagers are always eager to improve their snowboarding skills. If you are all experienced skiers, you might enjoy cross country skiing around the Georgetown Lake Area. The trails are regularly groomed, the views are spectacular and there is always a chance of spotting wildlife. Read more
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»Revelstoke Mountain Resort, British Columbia
Revelstoke is a haven for adrenaline junkies, with its spectacular slopes offering paragliding, heli skiing and so much more. If your teenagers tag along, they will certainly want to try it all. If you are coming with smaller kids, you can share fun adventures with them, such as a snow shoeing tour and dog sled tour. The dogs are friendly and the kids can even try mushing.
For the day when you want to ski on your own, there is the Revelstoke Outdoors Centre – the kids’ activity center with crafts, play structures, and all sorts of games. The Center is also a drop off and pick up spot for parents and kids that are attending skiing school, and the place where the instructor and young students gather together for their first basic instructions. There is also a great dining room for lunch for kids that are attending the full day school.
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»Best Family Ski Resorts for Families: Granby Ranch, Colorado
Ski Granby Ranch is designed for families and passionate skiers who want to instill in their kids the same kind of love for the mountains, in a safe and fun environment. Everything is made to be comfortable for the whole family - easy-access lifts, and ski terrains created for all skill levels and all ages. Ski school takes children starting from 3-years old, developing their skills through games, group activities and competition. Kids with advanced skills are encouraged to explore the terrain and are introduced to racing.
The goal is to develop kids’ love for the sport through learning to slide, balance and to feel comfortable on skis and on the snow. There is even a yummy lunch after the lessons. This gives mom and dad a chance to hit the more challenging slopes while their youngsters are having their own fun. Photo: dolomites-image/Fotolia
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»Okemo Mountain Resort, Vermont
You can have lots of fun at Okemo with the entire family. You can go skiing together or separately, take skiing lessons, go tubing or ice skating, but there is one activity that will hold your kids, and you enthralled - The Timber Ripper Mountain Coaster at Okemo's Jackson Gore. Imagine you and your kid in a kind of a two-person sled flying 375 vertical feet down the mountain on a 3,100 foot track, following the contours of the mountain over camel backs, waves, banking loops and through a "twister," at 25 mph.
That is something to tell their friends about. If that is not enough, take them to see the mountain from a very different angle - from inside an Okemo Snowcat cabin. You will see the top of the mountain and the valley far below like you've never seen it before. The ride takes about an hour, and you will learn about the history of the mountain and its environment. Read more Photo: trattieritratti/Fotolia
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»Bretton Woods, New Hampshire
Bretton Woods is New Hampshire's largest ski area in the awesome White Mountains, with 464 acres of snowboarding and skiing on 62 trails, over 35 glades and three terrain parks, ten lifts and four high-speed quads. There is something for the whole family. When you are not on the slopes, you can go dog sledding, on sleigh rides pulled by a horse, dog sledding, snowmobiling, skating, tubing, snowshoeing or flying high above the canopy.
At the base of the ski area, there is a kids’ playground with swings and slides, a carousel and a mini-zip line. And if mom and dad want to have some time off, the resort's staff offers all sorts of arts, crafts, storytelling and games. Photo: Chee-Onn Leong/Fotolia
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»Solitude Mountain Resort, Utah
People come to Solitude for its daunting and rugged terrain at the famous Honeycomb Canyon, and steep chutes and glorious tree runs. If you need a bit of help with your skills, or the kids are just starting out, the Snowsports Academy is there to help. Their Moonbeam Kids’ Program offers learning through fun and exciting experiences, skilled instructors who will teach your kids to ski or snowboard in small groups, through games and fun to help them to develop confidence and improve techniques.
When you want a break from skiing, there are 10 kilometers of snowshoe trails between Solitude Village and the Nordic Center. There is also an ice skating rink in the village, surrounded by warm fire pits, perfect for making s’mores and planning another day of fun.
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»Best Family Ski Resorts: Breckenridge, Colorado
With five towering peaks spanning more than 2,908 acres, Breckenridge offers spectacular skiing for the whole family. For kids that need some encouragement or a little work on their skills, there is the Ski and Snowboard School with world-class instructors to help them fall in love with the mountain, skiing and snowboarding. Not only that, they learn to ski while having fun, and develop new friendships.
However, not all fun requires a pair of skis: you can take an exhilarating ride on the Alpine Coaster, go sailing through the trees or fly above the canopy on the new TenMile Flyer Zipline.
At the Breckenridge Recreation Center, kids and their parents have access to two climbing walls, a swimming pool, slide, racquetball, basketball, tennis courts and more. There is also an indoor and outdoor ice rink for the little skaters and MiniMites Hockey classes for kids under 6 years old. Photo: bwolski/Fotolia
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»Angel Fire Resort, New Mexico
There is so much to do at the Angel Fire Resort for the whole family, with some things to do together and others to do on your own. Don’t feel guilty - kids also like some time on their own. It is great fun for the entire family to learn a new skill together, so why not try snowshoeing or Nordic skiing. Tubing on the Polar Coaster is another great family adventure.
And when you want to test your skills on the slopes on your own, kids can join the ski and snowboarding school for lessons that are tailored for different age groups and different skill levels. Small groups and highly experienced, certified instructions make learning to ski a fun activity that will create confident skiers, snowboarders and life-long fans of the mountains. The school includes a hot lunch and a progress card at the end of the day. Each kid is tracked by GPS, so you can watch their progress on your computer afterwards. Read more
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»Squaw Valley Ski Resort
Squaw Valley Ski Resort gives you the chance to bring the kids to the site of the 1960 Winter Olympics and let them ski on the only beginners’ mountaintop area. Located in North Lake Tahoe, Squaw Valley is the largest ski area in the country, with 270 trails, 42 lifts, and a ski school Teaching Tykes where kids and parents learn to conquer the mountain together.
If you need even more bonding time, there is ice skating, mini snowmobiles, a craft studio and snow tubing. The Village at Squaw Valley is right on the slopes and not only has perfect accommodation for families with a full kitchen, balcony, fireplace, and eight outdoor hot tubs, but also allows kids to ski for free. Photo: Squaw Valley Ski Resort
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»Shawnee Peak, Maine
Shawnee Peak is the mountain where families keep coming back generation after generation. If you are bringing your kids for the first time, you will want them to become comfortable on the snow as soon as possible, so that you can show them all your favorite spots. Children’s Group Clinic and SnowSports will take care of that.
Small groups ensure full attention to each kid. And if your kids are experienced skiers, introduce them to your favorite runs, or take them sledding in the snow piles on the Main Slope. You can enroll the whole family in the traditional night ski races and Peak-A-Boo Daycare will take care of your little ones who are not yet ready to strap on the skis. Don’t worry; they have a whole program of fun.
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»Camelback Mountain, Pennsylvania
There are 35 trails to choose from on Camelback Mountain – you can find one you will like, regardless of how experienced you are. And if you or your kids have never been on skis, Camelback has some of the best professional instructors to help you. You will also enjoy the biggest snowtubing park in the United States, with 42 fast lanes and two lifts to bring you to the top again and again.
And when you think you had enough fun, you will discover Aquatopia – a massive, exotic 125,000 square-foot, indoor multi-level waterpark. It has 7 pools, 13 slides including the famous Venus SlydeTrap, the Storm Chaser watercoaster, the longest in the US. A transparent roof will let you bask in the sun and make you forget about the snow outside. Photo: likoper/Fotolia
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»Gore Mountain, New York
Gore Mountain has 109 trails, staggering 2,537 vertical feet, and offers some of the most skiable terrain in New York –four peaks, 15 lifts including the eight-passenger Northwoods Gondola as well as two luxurious high-speed quads. Snow Sports School will introduce your children to the delight of mountain slopes. Programs are designed to fit kids of different age groups, so they have the added bonus of spending time with their peers.
If you have small kids, Bear Cub Den is the place where they will play with their buddies, make snow angels, slide and learn to be comfortable in the snow. They will go on a sleigh ride from the Den to the Mountain Adventure outdoor learning space and have more fun. In the meantime, you can keep exploring your favorite slopes, have a romantic lunch, visit a spa or do some shopping. Photo: minicel73/Fotolia
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»Best Family Ski Resorts: Keystone, Colorado
Keystone is a wonderful place for families to explore the Rocky Mountain slopes, or the many ski and snowshoe trails throughout the forest. There is a lot to do without skis – cozy sleigh rides, exhilarating tubing at breakneck speed, ice skating or snowmobiling. The kids can learn to ski or snowboard at the famous Children's Ski and Ride School, improve their skills and meet some new friends, while their parents are skiing down some more challenging slopes.
There is also the Kidtopia kids’ center in the village, with all kinds of activities, from scavenger hunts, face painting to stargazing and making giant snowballs. Kidtopia has an enormous snow fort on top of the Dercum Mountain, with slides, mazes, and much more. Photo: Brett Bouwer/Fotolia
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»Beaver Creek, Colorado
Beaver Creek offers awesome skiing for those looking forward to getting their heart pumping and muscles working. If you think that the kids will cramp your style, think again. There are things you can do together, such as tubing at the Hay Maker Tubing Hill just below The Ranch. Outdoor ice skating at the Beaver Creek Ice Rink is great fun, even if you are not the best skater. If your kids are already accomplished skiers, you can explore the mountain with a volunteer Forest Service Ranger, ready and willing to take you on an educational tour of Beaver Creek nature by snowboard or skis.
If you are curious about snowshoeing, join a free nature snowshoe tour with one of the guides from the Nordic Center. Hot cocoa and cookies are included. If you have tiny tots, Beaver Creek has a wonderful Small World Play School & Nursery with kids’ tailor made programs and activities, depending on their age. And if you have teens, often the most difficult to engage, leave it all to the Beaver Creek specialists. From Twilight Snowshoe and Pizza Party to the Teen Trick Class @ The Anti-Gravity Center, they will be asking to come back next year. Photo: dell/Fotolia
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»Crested Butte, Colorado
Crested Butte Resort offers 570 skiable acres of the finest snow imaginable, with 77 trails waiting for you, and 13 chairlifts ready to take you up the mountain. When you want a more relaxed family time, take one of the Crested Butte Mountain Resort’s snowshoe tours, a wonderful way to explore the majestic environment of the valley.
For two and half hours, you will explore rarely visited parts of the mountain, as well as learn about the history of the area and its ecosystem. The trails are not overly challenging and the whole family can enjoy them. For the adventure-seekers, there are snow bike rides, snowmobile races, winter zip lining and rides in a snow cat cabin. And if you prefer to enjoy the magic of the mountain in peace, take a horse along one of many trails, a cozy sleigh ride, or go on a cross country skiing adventure.
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25 Best Family Ski Resorts in North America
- Diamond Peak, Nevada, Photo: Courtesy of Uladzik Kryhin- Fotolia.com
- Aspen Snowmass, Colorado, Photo: Courtesy of aharond - Fotolia.com
- Telluride Ski Resort, Colorado, Photo: Courtesy of georgeburba - Fotolia.com
- Best Family Ski Resorts: Sugarbush, Vermont, Photo: Courtesy of FashionStock - Fotolia.com
- Snow King Mountain in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Photo: Courtesy of vectorfusionart - Fotolia.com
- Big Sky, Montana, Photo: Courtesy of ronniechua - Fotolia.com
- Heavenly Lake Tahoe, California, Photo: Courtesy of Stephen Baxter - Fotolia.com
- Arapahoe Basin, Colorado, Photo: Courtesy of Evan Meyer - Fotolia.com
- Best Family Ski Resorts: Park City, Utah, Photo: Courtesy of pureradiancecmp - Fotolia.com
- Snowshoe Mountain, West Virginia, Photo: Courtesy of likoper - Fotolia.com
- Discovery Ski Area, Montana, Photo: Courtesy of Alexandr Timofeev - Fotolia.com
- Revelstoke Mountain Resort, British Columbia, Photo: Courtesy of Chris Gardiner - Fotolia.com
- Best Family Ski Resorts for Families: Granby Ranch, Colorado, Photo: Courtesy of dolomites-image - Fotolia.com
- Okemo Mountain Resort, Vermont, Photo: Courtesy of trattieritratti - Fotolia.com
- Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, Photo: Courtesy of Chee-Onn Leong - Fotolia.com
- Solitude Mountain Resort, Utah, Photo: Courtesy of Jenny Thompson - Fotolia.com
- Best Family Ski Resorts: Breckenridge, Colorado, Photo: Courtesy of bwolski - Fotolia.com
- Angel Fire Resort, New Mexico, Photo: Courtesy of kvdkz - Fotolia.com
- Squaw Valley Ski Resort, Photo: Courtesy of Squaw Valley Ski Resort
- Shawnee Peak, Maine, Photo: Courtesy of cbdusty - Fotolia.com
- Camelback Mountain, Pennsylvania, Photo: Courtesy of likoper - Fotolia.com
- Gore Mountain, New York, Photo: Courtesy of minicel73 - Fotolia.com
- Best Family Ski Resorts: Keystone, Colorado, Photo: Courtesy of Brett Bouwer - Fotolia.com
- Beaver Creek, Colorado, Photo: Courtesy of dell - Fotolia.com
- Crested Butte, Colorado, Photo: Courtesy of oger Vorheis- Fotolia.com
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of SkyLine - Fotolia.com
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