The Best Ski Resorts for FamiliesPublished on 12/28/2022 · 10 min readLooking for a fun way to make unforgettable family memories this winter? Take a ski trip to one of these five family-friendly ski resorts!
Photo by Yin Yin Low
Skiing is a great way for families to spend quality time together and create lasting memories. However, choosing the right ski resort can be overwhelming, especially when you have the needs and preferences of multiple family members to consider. When it comes to planning a ski trip with the whole family, there are a few key factors to consider to ensure that everyone has a great time. Here are some tips to help you plan a memorable and enjoyable ski vacation for the whole family.
Choose the Right Location
The first step in planning a family ski trip is to choose a ski resort that is suitable for every member of your family. Take into account factors such as skill level, terrain preference, and accessibility. Look for resorts with a range of slopes and terrain to accommodate everyone's abilities.
There are several different types of ski terrain, ranging from beginner to advanced, as well as backcountry and terrain park options. Beginner terrain is the easiest type of ski terrain, suitable for those who are just learning to ski or have limited experience on the slopes. It typically consists of gentle slopes and wide, groomed trails. Intermediate terrain is suitable for skiers who have some experience and are more comfortable on their skis. Advanced terrain is the most challenging type of ski terrain, and is suitable for experienced skiers who are comfortable skiing on steep, challenging runs.
Backcountry terrain is found outside of ski resort boundaries and requires skiers to hike or use a snowcat to access it. It is typically more challenging and less groomed than resort terrain, and can include a variety of different types of terrain. Terrain parks are areas within a ski resort that are specifically designed for freestyle skiing and snowboarding—and may include features such as jumps, rails, and halfpipes.
Consider Your Accommodations
When planning a ski trip with the family, there are a variety of accommodation options to choose from. These options include hotels, vacation rentals, and ski-in/ski-out properties.
Hotels are a popular choice for ski vacations, as they offer a range of amenities and are often located close to ski resorts. Some hotels may offer ski packages that include lift tickets and equipment rentals, which can be convenient for families. Hotels vary in terms of size, price, and level of comfort, so it is important to consider these factors when choosing the appropriate one for your ski trip.
Vacation rentals, such as vacation homes and condos, are another popular option for ski vacations. These types of accommodations offer more space and privacy than a hotel room, and may be a good choice for larger families or groups. Vacation rentals may also come equipped with amenities such as a kitchen, which can be convenient for families who want to prepare their own meals.
Ski-in/ski-out properties are a convenient option for families who want easy access to the slopes. These properties are typically located on or near the ski resort and may offer ski storage and other amenities specifically for skiers. Ski-in/ski-out properties can be more expensive than other types of accommodations, but may be worth the extra cost for the convenience they offer.
When choosing your accommodations for a ski trip with the family, it is important to consider the size of your group, your budget, and your desired level of comfort. Take the time to research and compare different options to find the best fit for your needs.
Plan for Lessons and Equipment
If you have family members who are new to skiing or snowboarding, consider booking lessons for them in advance. This will help them get up to speed and enjoy the slopes more. You'll also want to arrange for rental equipment, if necessary.
Don't Forget Non-Ski Activities
Skiing and snowboarding are the main attractions at a ski resort, but there are plenty of other activities to enjoy off the slopes as well. Consider adding ice skating, snowshoeing, or visiting a local town or village to your itinerary.
Make sure that everyone in the family has the appropriate ski or snowboard gear and knows how to ski or snowboard safely. Take the time to review safety guidelines and rules with your family before hitting the slopes. If you need any specific advice or gear recommendations to ensure you or your children’s safety, reach out to a Curated Winter Sports Expert and they’ll be happy to help!
Determine your budget for the trip and plan accordingly. Take into account the costs of lift tickets, rental equipment, accommodations, and other expenses. Look for deals and discounts to help stretch your budget further. Don’t forget to check online—ski shops such as Curated offer top-of-the-line gear at the lowest cost.
Timing Is Key
Consider the time of year that you will be traveling and the expected weather and snow conditions at the ski resort. Different seasons offer different experiences, so choose a time that aligns with your family's preferences and goals. Each location is different, but a good rule of thumb for finding quality skiing will be in the months of January through March.
Choosing a Resort
A great ski resort should offer a range of amenities and activities that are suitable for families, as well as a variety of slopes to accommodate skiers and snowboarders of all levels. It should also offer comfortable and convenient accommodations, and be located in a scenic and easily accessible location. Additionally, it should have a good safety record and offer good value for the money.
By considering these factors, you can find a ski resort that is the perfect fit for your family and your budget. Here are some of the best ski resorts for families, based on factors such as terrain, kid-friendly amenities, proximity to other activities, transportation, accommodations, dining and shopping, and price.
1. Vail Resort, Colorado
Vail—located in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado—boasts more than 5,200 acres of skiable terrain, including a wide range of slopes for skiers and snowboarders of all levels. From gentle beginner runs to challenging black diamonds, there's something for everyone at Vail. The resort also offers a range of amenities and activities specifically designed for families, including children's ski schools, family ski packages, and kid-friendly dining options.
Plus, Vail has a variety of accommodations to choose from, including hotels, vacation rentals, and ski-in/ski-out properties. Many of these accommodations offer additional amenities such as pools, hot tubs, and fitness centers to keep the whole family entertained.
From its home in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, Vail offers stunning views of the surrounding peaks and valleys. It's also close to other family-friendly activities and attractions, such as the Vail Nordic Center and the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens.
Further, Vail is committed to safety, with a team of professional ski patrollers and a variety of safety measures in place. And, the resort offers a range of pricing options to suit different budgets, including multi-day lift tickets and ski-and-stay packages.
Overall, Vail is a great choice for a family ski vacation, offering a combination of excellent skiing and snowboarding, family-friendly amenities, and convenient accommodations in a stunning mountain setting.
2. Park City Mountain Resort, Utah
Park City Mountain is a fantastic ski resort for families. Located just 40 minutes from Salt Lake City, Park City offers a wide range of activities and amenities for families, including world-class skiing and snowboarding, a vibrant dining and shopping scene, and a variety of accommodations to suit all budgets.
One of the main reasons Park City is such a great ski resort for families is the variety of ski runs available. With over 7,300 acres of skiable terrain, Park City has something for skiers and snowboarders of all abilities, from wide-open groomers and beginner terrain to challenging black-diamond runs. In addition, Park City is home to two world-class ski resorts—Park City Mountain and Canyons Resort—which offer a combined total of over 300 runs.
Another reason families love Park City is the abundance of non-skiing activities available. The town of Park City, itself, is a charming mountain town with a lively main street lined with boutique shops, art galleries, and restaurants. There are also plenty of other activities to enjoy, such as ice skating, snowshoeing, and dog sledding.
Families will also appreciate the variety of accommodations available in Park City. From cozy bed and breakfasts to luxurious ski-in, ski-out condos, there is a wide range of options to suit all budgets and preferences. Many accommodations also offer kid-friendly amenities such as game rooms, pools, and hot tubs—making them perfect for families looking to relax and unwind after a day on the slopes.
3. Keystone Resort, Colorado
Keystone Resort is also a great ski resort for families for several reasons. First, the resort has over 3,000 acres of skiable terrain and a variety of runs suitable for skiers of all abilities. This means that everyone in the family, from beginner skiers to experienced ones, can find runs that are suitable for their skill level. This is important for families because it allows everyone to enjoy their time on the mountain together, rather than being separated based on their ability.
Further, Keystone has a number of kid-friendly programs and activities. This includes a ski school for kids with great ski instructors, as well as a variety of other activities such as tubing, ice skating, and snowshoeing. These activities provide options for kids who may not be interested in skiing or who want to try something different.
Also, Keystone is known for its family-friendly atmosphere. The resort has a number of restaurants and amenities that cater to families, such as kid-friendly menus and play areas. This makes it easy for families to relax and enjoy their time together after a day on the slopes.
Finally, Keystone is located in Summit County, Colorado, which is known for its beautiful mountain scenery and wide range of winter sports. This makes it a great destination for families who want to experience all that the Rocky Mountains have to offer.
4. Stowe Mountain Resort, Vermont
Stowe also has a mix of runs suitable for skiers of all abilities, as well as a children's ski school and a variety of kid-friendly activities. It is a premier East-Coast destination for families looking to hit the slopes together. With its diverse terrain and variety of runs suitable for skiers of all levels, Stowe offers something for everyone in the family.
One of the standout features of Stowe for families is its commitment to providing a range of activities beyond just skiing. The resort's ski school is a popular option for kids, and there are also options like tubing, snowshoeing, and ice skating available.
In addition to its on-mountain offerings, Stowe also boasts a number of similar amenities and services tailored towards families, like kid-friendly menus and play areas. Finally, Stowe's scenic location in Vermont's Green Mountains only adds to its appeal as a family-friendly ski destination.
5. Palisades Tahoe, California
With over 3,600 acres of skiable terrain and a wide range of runs suitable for all levels, families seeking a winter vacation filled with skiing and other activities will find that Palisades is an excellent choice.
Located in the beautiful Lake Tahoe region of California, Palisades—like Stowe—is committed to providing a range of activities beyond just skiing for the rest of the family. In addition to its on-mountain offerings, Palisades also has a number of amenities and services that cater to families, including, again, kid-friendly menus and play areas.
Making the Choice
Park City, Vail, Keystone, Stowe, and Palisades are just a few examples of resorts that offer a wide range of runs suitable for skiers of all levels, kid-friendly programs and activities, and amenities and services that cater to families. These resorts, along with many others, provide a great way for families to spend quality time together while enjoying the beauty and excitement of the mountain environment.
When planning a ski vacation with the family, it's important to consider all of these factors to ensure that everyone has a fun and enjoyable time on the mountain. If you have any further questions about your upcoming ski trip—or ski gear in general—reach out to a Curated Expert for free and customized advice!