If you are looking to take a skiing or snowboarding trip this winter it may be hard to decide which resort will be the best fit for your family. There are hundreds of resorts dotting the United States from coast to coast, but only a select few truly cater to families. The following resorts are ones that really shine when it comes to diversity of terrain, best ski schools, entertainment for kids, relaxation for adults and additional activities available to keep everyone entertained.
Keystone Resort – Keystone, Colorado
Located in Summit Country, Colorado, Keystone Resort has a family oriented vibe and plenty of opportunities for people of all ages to truly enjoy themselves. Plus, this location has an almost unheard of deal: Guests under the age of 12 ski for free. For kids that are just starting their first skiing experience, Keystone offers private and group lessons for children ages 3 to 14. This resort also has a snowboarding area called the “Riperoo’s-Burton Riglet Park” which is specifically designed to slowly ease kids into getting the feel for balance and muscle memory in preparation for taking on more challenging runs. There are also lessons available for adults of all skill levels who are looking to improve. The resort itself has plenty to offer besides skiing and snowboarding. There are also opportunities to ice skate, horseback ride and snowshoe. A spa located on site offers guests the chance to relax, unwind and relieve those sore muscles after a long day of skiing or snowboarding.
Steamboat Ski Resort – Steamboat Springs, Colorado
Centered in the Routt National Forest on Mount Werner, Steamboat Springs is known for putting families first. In fact, Steamboat is home to 5 kids-only ski lifts and has two beginner’s lesson areas. There is even a terrain park called “Rough Rider Basin” where only younger skiers and snowboarders are allowed. This is a great way for your younger children to learn and enjoy themselves without being intimidated by some of the older powder enthusiasts. For those that are ready to take on the mountain, Steamboat offers 23 lifts and 165 runs ranging from beginner to advanced. Other activities at the resort include hot air balloon tours, horseback riding, snow tubing, spa treatments and even a natural hot spring that you can enjoy year-round.
Park City Mountain Resort – Park City, Utah
Park City Mountain Resort is just over 30 miles to the east of Salt Lake City and a popular skiing and snowboarding destination for locals and vacationers alike. Another money saver for families with small children, here, kids under the age of 6 ski for free. One very unique feature at this resort is the “I Ride Park City Freestyle Camp.” This is a three day camp in a private section of the mountain that teaches kids new techniques to improve their skiing and riding capabilities. It is offered to children of all skill levels and the neat thing is that it includes a “Digital media takeaway” in which coaches and others in the camp actually film your progression. At the end of the camp, participants get to edit and create videos of themselves to share with friends and family and save as a memory. Other fun features at the resort include mini-snowmobiling, a large snow tubing section with lifts and plenty of restaurants and shops for parents and kids to enjoy.
Grand Targhee Ski Resort – Alta, Wyoming
With beautiful views of the Grand Teton Mountains, Grand Targhee Ski Resort has all-inclusive options along with retail stores and a relaxing spa. There are also cross country ski trails, snowshoeing opportunities, dogsled tours and sleigh ride dinners. Guests can even go on “Snowcat Adventures.” Snowcats are large enclosed all-terrain vehicles. Professional guides will take you, and up to 11 of your friends, to more remote parts of the mountain for breathtaking views and fresh powder skiing and snowboarding opportunities. Notably, Grand Targhee offers group ski lessons for the whole family with low rates of under $100 per person for an entire day. Lift ticket rates are fairly affordable, remaining around or under $70 for adults with kids under 5 riding for free.
Okemo Mountain Resort – Ludlow, Vermont
Listed as one of Forbes.com’s “Best Ski Resorts for Families” in the United States, Okemo Resort offers winter mountain fun on the East Coast. Okemo is perfect for families with members of varying skill level. There are 119 trails with 32% being labeled as “Easy” and 36% “Intermediate.” Children under 6 will get to ski for free. For the thrill seekers, this resort holds 10 different terrain parks with half pipes, rollers, mounds, moguls, rails, boxes and jumps. For families looking to take a longer vacation at the resort, Okemo offers plenty of activities to keep everyone entertained, such as: racquetball, wallyball, zumba and yoga classes, massage and spa services, saunas, pools and hot tubs. There are also restaurants, including the Coleman Brook Tavern, which has a wine room and fine dining options.
Smuggler’s Notch Resort – Cambridge, Vermont
Smuggler’s Notch is named after the skinny notch, or mountain pass, located here which smugglers used to utilize almost 200 years ago. The resort consists of three peaks: Sterling Mountain, Madonna Mountain and Morse Mountain. This recreation area has 78 runs ranging from easy to extremely difficult. Snow Sport University ski lesson school at Smuggler’s Notch is so confident in their trainers that they guarantee that you will improve in skill, or they will give a full refund. The resort has fully-equipped condo homes which are all within walking distance of The Village Center where dining and shopping options await. There are also indoor pools and hot tubs, crafts workshops and massage packages available. The FunZone center has table games, a slide, a bouncy house, arcade and an obstacle course. After hours programs are also run for teenagers to enjoy.
Mount Washington Resort – Bretton Woods, New Hampshire
Consistently recognized over the past 10 years as having one of the best family programs on the East Coast, Bretton Woods also ranks in the top five for scenery, snow, services and grooming. This is New Hampshire’s largest ski area with 102 trails, 30 acres of back country glades and four terrain parks. There are several training programs available to kids of different abilities, including: Freestyle Team, Development Team and Rooster’s Rockets. Kids ages 3 to 14 also have the opportunity to partake in mini snowmobiling while parents relax at the spa. The whole family can enjoy dogsled tours, a Zipline canopy tour, tubing, snowshoeing and sleigh rides. Once the day is over, if the kids still have energy left over, they can try climbing the 30 foot indoor climbing wall.