Family ski vacations are a wonderful way to have fun together as a family unit. But choosing the right resort can make your family ski holiday even better. Therefore, in this post we are going to go through some of the best ski resorts for families in North America.
A few things to consider when choosing a family ski resort
Sitting in a car for hours on end with tired kids isn’t necessarily the best way to start your vacation. Obviously, depending on your geographic location, you can’t always be too picky. But, choosing a resort that is a short drive away or close to an airport is much more convenient. The other benefit of not traveling too far is that you have less distance to travel on snowy roads.
Choose a resort that kids will love
If you have a young family, you need to consider what you want out of your trip. Young kids don't need a resort full of double-diamond black runs. Kids need bunny slopes and gentle gradients to start with.
It would be best to think about how you will be getting to the slopes with your kids. Carrying your skis, as well as your kid's stuff, to the slopes can be hard work if you are not close to them. So, you need to consider how easy it is to get to the slopes from your accommodation.
Family ski vacations are not just about the kids. Therefore, before you book your trip, it is a good idea to check out child care options. Many ski resorts have nannies and babysitters that can look after your children while you are exploring the mountain or enjoying an evening meal.
Extra things to do
It is easy to forget that kids can’t ski as long as adults. They get tired pretty quickly, so they will often be done by lunchtime. Therefore you need to choose a ski resort with plenty of other things to do. Many ski resorts offer activities that don’t include skiing or snowboarding. You can expect activities such as:
- Ice skating
- Nature walks
- Dog sledding
When to go on a family ski trip
The time of winter you go on a family ski trip makes a big difference to the whole experience. Unfortunately, many families are restricted to only traveling when the kids are not at school.
But, if you are flexible, your family can make the most of the Christmas and New Year period's festive atmosphere. January is a great time too, as it is generally cheaper and less busy on the mountain. However, you may want to enjoy the milder temperatures and sunny skies you get from vacationing closer to spring.
Our recommendations for the best ski resorts for families in North America
With all this in mind, we have put together a list of some of the best ski resorts for families in North America. This list will help you choose where to take your family for the best time possible...
Beaver Creek, Colorado
Beaver Creek, Colorado, makes a family ski vacation super easy. To get around, there is a complimentary shuttle service in the resort. But, there are lots of ski-in-ski-out accommodation options too.
The ski area is made up of three mountains, Beaver Creek Village, Bachelor Gulch, and Arrowhead. You can explore 1,800-acres of terrain accessible via 25 lifts, but there are many mellow and pristinely groomed slopes to please the whole family. Runs like Powell, Mystic Maze, and Jack Rabbit Alley are designed for beginner skiers, children, and families to enjoy together.
When it comes to non-skiing activities, Beaver Creek really take care of their guests. They have built a fun tubing hill and an ice rink, which are popular with kids. Other options are organized family snowshoe tours, mountain storytime, family fun nights, and special movie nights.
If all this isn’t enough to show you Beaver Creek’s dedication to family ski trips, at 3 pm, you are treated to the sweet smell of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies to greet you after a day of skiing. These are handed out to kids for free, as a child friendly aprés activity.
There are many reasons families love Keystone Colorado. Families like to go back to keystone year after year, as 3,000 acres of terrain allow kids to progress each time they go. But young families also love the various programs and activities available.
One of the biggest attractions for families the that kids under 12 years old ski for free. This is great for larger families or those on a budget. Once on the mountain, families can enjoy The Schoolyard. This is a ski slope designed to engage skiers and riders of all ages while promoting on-snow progression with fun features. This is just one of the many progression friendly mountain experiences available.
Keystone allows families to enjoy additional free activities together. For example, you can get free night skiing lift tickets, ice skating, access to the Nordic trails, and a free yoga or fitness class. You can even play in the world’s largest snow fort, which features slides, mazes, photo opportunities, and tons of fun for families.
Northstar California Resort, California
Located in the North of Lake Tahoe, Northstar is an excellent destination for family ski vacations. Staying in the village itself makes it super easy to access the slopes, ice rink, equipment rentals, restaurants, and shops. But, you also get to experience the great atmosphere, which kids love, especially when they can toast marshmallows on the village’s bonfires.
Northstar boasts over 3,000 skiable acres, with slopes suitable for skiers of all skill levels. But, world-class skiing and snowboarding is just one of the many elements that attract families from all over the world. Activities and attractions are abundant for families to enjoy.
For example, you can sign up for a family cross-country skiing or snowshoe session. You can do these together or book a guided tour to get the most out of it. Alternatively, you can hire fat bikes. These are mountain bikes with big squishy tires that give you lots of grip on soft snow. They are super fun and a new way of exploring the mountains. But, one of the most popular activities for kids is the snow tubing hill, where you can charge down the mountain on a giant rubber ring!
The accommodation options in Northstar California, are varied. You can expect a range of hotels, condos, and private homes. The resort offers complimentary, regional shuttle service to and from Truckee. They also provide a free Dial-A-Ride service for guests staying locally, so getting around is extremely easy too.
Smugglers’ Notch, Vermont
Located near the more famous ski resort of Stowe, Smuggler’s Notch is popular with New England families. Smugglers Notch prides itself as a very child-friendly resort and does everything it can to attract families year after year.
The local ski school offer lessons for kids starting at just 2 and a half years old, which is ideal for getting kids sliding around early on in their lives.
The incredible kid’s ski school is just the tip of the iceberg, as the plethora of attractions and activities keep kids entertained throughout their whole vacation. The resort light daily bonfires, put on weekly carnivals, provide night skiing for all ages, and evening firework displays. But fat biking, snowshoeing, and ice skating are also examples of the many fun things to do in Smuggler’s Notch.
When the weather isn’t too good, there are plenty of things to do indoors too. The family fun complex provides 26,000 square feet of indoor fun. You can partake in inflatable ax-throwing, mini-golf, giant slides, and or enjoy the arcade center.
Jay Peak, Vermont
Jay Peak is very popular with families, thanks to its mellow slopes suitable for beginners and intermediates. To help kids and beginners progress their skiing and snowboarding, they have built the super-easy Rabbit Beginner Park and Family Cross zone. Spreading over 385 acres, the 50 miles of slopes provide plenty of terrain for families to explore.
But, many families love Jay Peak's indoor waterpark. This is perfect for families who want to take a day off from skiing or for something to do after morning ski school.
Known as the Jay Peak Pump House indoor waterpark, this building features slides, a Flowrider surf simulator, and a vast kids' play area. Many lodging packages include waterpark access, or you can purchase a day pass.
Other family attractions on offer at Jay Peak include:
- Two arcades
- A climbing gym
- An ice skating rink
- An indoor ropes course
- A movie theater
These attractions make Jay park the perfect destination for a varied and fun place to take your family for a winter break.
By researching the best ski resorts for families in North America, you can ensure that you will find the best one for you. But, your family will undoubtedly enjoy a skiing trip to any of the examples above. They all have a wide range of amenities and attractions to make your stay as easy and fun as possible.