From kids working on their pizza wedge to tweens honing their advanced skills, ski resorts are becoming more family-friendly across the U.S. These kid-friendly ski resorts have recognized the importance of catering to families and are helping kids progress their skills and enjoy their time on and off the mountain like never before.
Limited child-to-instructor ratios and increasingly segmented age groups are improving the on-mountain learning experience, while an emphasis on base-area activities and events is adding more family fun to the after-ski routine. Additionally, U.S. resorts are catering to new parents with child care and babysitting programs available for kids as young as 6 months.
As for those hard-to-impress teens? Ski areas are rolling out nighttime activities and relaxed, yet supervised, areas to just hang or play games.
See below for some of OnTheSnow’s top user-rated North America ski resorts for kids and families, plus an OnTheSnow user review for each. See more reviews, and leave your own ski resort reviews, on our website.
Top-Rated Ski Resorts for Families
1. Keystone, Colorado
Keystone is one of the great resorts off I-70 in the Colorado Rockies. It delivers a kid-friendly experience from the moment the car doors open. Free parking near the resort’s base and free gear wagons make transportation from the lot to the lift a breeze.
Numerous ski-in, ski-out lodging options, restaurants and kid-centric activities complement the beginner-friendly terrain at Keystone. To top it off, Keystone’s Kidtopia offers mini-shredders everything from snow forts and playgrounds to scavenger hunts and complimentary fresh baked cookies.
“The programs for the kids have been great! Getting to the lifts with kids is an easy task (use the wagons that are provided). Just drop the kids off at ski school and they handle it from there.” Leave your own review, and see more reviews, here.
2. Steamboat, Colorado
Steamboat is about 180 miles from Denver International Airport by car, catering to the entire family with events, perks and activities from the base area to downtown. Holiday events, including the Winter Carnival and the Springalicious Festival, keep kids happy from fall through the season. Other amenities include the Kids Vacation Center, which offers a variety of programs available for children 2.5 years old up to Kindergarten.
“…I enrolled a variety of levels of my 5 kids (7, 9, 11, 13, 15) to bring them up to speed for the first ski of their season and they all enjoyed the tree-skiing, terrain park, and groomers.” See more Steamboat reviews here.
3. Park City Mountain Resort, Utah
When traveling with kids who have a short attention span and little patience, choosing a ski resort that’s close to an airport can make all the difference. Park City Mountain Resort in Utah fits the bill, located just a 35-minute drive from Salt Lake City International.
The big mountain offers 7,300 acres of terrain and a large base area with a variety of kid-friendly activities. Multiple ski school, child care and preschool options are available on the mountain.
“Terrain for every ability—unique layout that allows families with different abilities to ski together. Lots of after-ski activities such as alpine coaster, zip line, ice rink, sleigh rides. Most accessible ski area we have been to, with a phenomenal ski school.” See more Park City reviews here.
4. Deer Valley, Utah
Deer Valley is an upscale resort in Park City that caters to families with toddler-friendly skiing, child care programs and a small child-to-instructor ratio. The resort’s Children’s Center welcomes infants and children up to 12 years old who spend the day crafting and playing while you have a grown-up adventure, skiing Deer Valley’s legendary terrain.
Because Deer Valley sells a limited number of daily lift tickets, tiny tots and pint-sized groms have plenty of room to work on their pizza wedge and French fries. Other amenities include a Children’s Center, Adventure Camp and adventure trails with furry mascots.
“Deer Valley Resort was wonderful, the runs were great, and the views were spectacular. It’s everything you would want in a ski-only resort. But what really sets this place apart is the staff that works there.” See more Deer Valley reviews here.
5. Northstar California, California
The Village at Northstar California near beautiful Lake Tahoe is among the West Coast ski resorts that offers the most variety, with family-friendly activities that include roller skating, bungee trampoline, snow tubing, crafts, movies, holiday festivals, and fire pits for roasting s’mores. Convenient gear wagons make transporting equipment to and from the parking lot quick and easy. Multiple ski lessons are available for kids 3 years old and up.
“Great family-friendly and easy beautiful place to ski and snowboard for families who have mixed members who do either or both. Love the pizza and sushi at the Village. Beautiful atmosphere all around love this place.” See more Northstar reviews here.
6. Big Sky, Montana
The generally uncrowded slopes of Big Sky are a welcome relief for helicopter parents who are sick of busy groomers. As the name suggests, this Montana ski resort is big on views, making that family portrait a frame-worthy addition to the mantle piece.
Numerous Big Sky activities, including zip line tours, sleigh rides, dog sledding and a high ropes course are sure to keep the kiddos busy, and a variety of on-mountain lodging options provide convenient access to and from the slopes.
“Big Sky has become our favorite place to ski, after skiing in many spots throughout Colorado, Utah, California, and Washington. It has the same amount of terrain as places like Vail or Park City, but with a tiny fraction of the crowds and congestion. Absolutely stunning views.” See more Big Sky reviews here.
7. Sun Valley, Idaho
Sun Valley, Idaho is the stuff of movie and Warren Miller legends. It is simply “the” classic ski resort. SnowSports School offers top-notch instruction whether you’re interested in group, private or specialty lessons. Off the slopes, Sun Valley entertains kids of all ages with activities like sleigh rides, movies, bowling, ice skating, ice shows and more. When it comes to lodging, Sun Valley offers everything from deluxe condos to charming multi-room cottages, including the iconic Sun Valley Lodge.
“Sun Valley is a world class resort! The mountain is awesome, but so is the town! All the people, locals and tourists, are super friendly and welcoming. Gorgeous scenery and the best lodges of any resort we have been.” See more Sun Valley reviews here.
8. Smugglers’ Notch, Vermont
Smugglers’ Notch in little Jeffersonville is a Green Mountain family favorite that offers an idyllic Vermont escape with a variety of kid-centric amenities for a great winter getaway. From adaptive programs and lessons to babysitting and child care, “Smuggs,” as many call it, delivers. The Alley Teen Center (ages 13-19) caters to the young adults in the group, offering a supervised and centrally located gaming area in the Village.
Condo lodging options are within a quick walk or an on-demand Resort Shuttle ride to the Smugglers’ Notch Village.
“Smuggs is my family’s all time favorite mountain. The great terrain, service, and activities are what keeps us coming back…” See more Smugglers’ Notch reviews here.
9. Bretton Woods, New Hampshire
Bretton Woods, New Hampshire’s largest ski area, offers 464 acres and 62 trails and is regarded as having some of the best grooming in the East with an average annual snowfall of 200 plus inches.
The Mount Washington Hotel, if you remember your high school history, was the site of the 1944 Monetary Conference and has been totally refurbished. Kid-friendly winter activities include a slopeside climbing wall, ice skating, kids snowmobile park, tubing and more. Hobbits Ski & Snowboard School (ages 4 to 12) offers a variety of programs for the growing skier or rider and the Ski & Snowplay Program (ages 3 to 5) is perfect for younger kids in need of a relaxed introduction into winter sports.
“Superior skiing on very well groomed trails. Beginners slope is prime. Great base on all the trails. So much fun.” See more Bretton Woods reviews here.
10. Okemo, Vermont
Okemo screams “family-friendly” with its offerings for children and teens. The Southern Vermont ski resort’s Ski + Ride School offers programs for kids ages 6 months up to 14 years old. From the Penguin Playground Day Care (6 months to 4 years old) to AmplitudePLUS (7 to 16 years old), Okemo instructors are available to build skills and confidence in young skiers and riders. The Kids Night Out program (6 months to 13 years old in separate sessions by age) entertains kids with movies, pizza and activities in a state-licensed child care facility.
“Have been coming here for years with my family—best experience for young kids, great learning programs, well maintained and well-marked terrain.” See more Okemo reviews here.
11. Crystal Mountain Resort, Washington
With more than 2,600 acres of skiable terrain, Crystal Mountain has endless adventure opportunities. A designated portion of Crystal Mountain is just for beginners, making it a perfect spot for kids learning how to ski. Activities abound for kids of all ages through the winter months.
“I grew up learning to ski here. I live 1:30 minutes away and have been taking my kids here to learn how to ski. Great ski instructors. Great terrain. On mountain lodging if you want to spend the night. Good modern lifts.” See more Crystal Mountain reviews here.
12. Breckenridge Ski Resort, Colorado
Less than a 2-hour drive from the Denver metro area, Breckenridge features a charming downtown area and more than 11 restaurants to fuel your family’s adventure. With many ski in and ski-out lodging options, staying at Breckenridge Ski Resort without a car is convenient.
Childcare and lessons are available for children as well as a Mountain Top Children’s Museum and alpine coaster to keep kids of all ages occupied. Breck’s Kids Adventure Zone is adjacent to the popular green and blue runs. The younger kids will love Riparoo’s Forest with bridges and tunnels and the spooky haunted forest. Teens will enjoy Downstairs at Eric’s on Main Street with its arcade and pinball games.
“A mountain that is great for the family offering terrains for all levels of boarders and skiers. It also offers one of the best ski towns in the country.” See more Breckenridge reviews here.
13. Beaver Creek, Colorado
With terrain for all abilities and kid adventure zones scattered around the resort, Beaver Creek is among the top resorts in Colorado for families. Be sure to peruse the village shopping and enjoy ice skating and many other family activities that the resort offers. Beaver Creek is the luxurious and family-friendly sibling to Vail and the ride between them is only about 20 minutes with regular shuttles.
“They have nice diversity of trails for all levels. Some of the great things are that they have a nice amount of green trails at the peak of the mountain which you don’t get at many resorts. Also, you can hang around for the apres hot cocoa and chocolate chip cookies. It’s what they’re known for.” Read more Bever Creek reviews here.
14. Mont Tremblant, Quebec
Venture across the border for a unique skiing experience for all ages at Tremblant, Quebec, Canada. Most notably, the resort dons a large European-vibe village with shops, restaurants and activities. On mountain, lodging makes it easy for the family to enjoy the resort during their stay. Kids 1-6 years old can join the Kids Club Daycare with a variety of activities to keep them entertained, while ski and snowboard lessons are available for kids 3-16 years old.
“Tremblant has something for every age and skill level, with an amazing village and great food. There is nothing like it east of the Rockies.” Read more Tremblant reviews here.
15. Jay Peak, VT
Vermont’s Jay Peak has some more non-traditional ski resort amenities, such as an indoor waterpark with a lazy river, hot tubs, water slides, a wave surfer and more. Ice skating at the indoor ice skating rink, ski school and a special learning zone also feature the resort’s family friendly nature. Jay Peak’s kids’ programs are specifically designed for 4-12-year-old skiers and snowboarders.
“Amazing terrain all day with tons to do after, including a massive indoor water park!” Read more Jay Peak reviews here.
16. Winter Park, Colorado
This favorite Rocky Mountain ski resort is just under a two-hour drive from Denver. There are activities for everyone in the family. Winter Park is home to the National Sports Center for the Disabled and has helped thousands of people become get on skis. Kids up the age spectrum can ride ice bumper cars, go tubing, meet the Safety Patrol Dog Team, try ice fishing, soak in sulphur springs and much more.
Lessons at Winter Park are based on “guests-centered teaching,” where instructors teach based on what people want to learn or improve. The Winter Park side of the mountain is cruise-worthy, while the Mary Jane side is more challenging.
“I love Winter Park. The terrain is soo very fun and challenging. I ski and snowboard and both are awesome to do at Winter Park. I especially love Mary Jane. Winter Park Rocks!!!!” Read more of Winter Park’s reviews here.
17. Mt. Bachelor, Oregon
The Pacific Northwest’s Mt. Bachelor in Central Oregon, a long snowball’s throw from Bend, has all the traditional ski school elements for every member of the family. The big plus for kids and teens is the Woodward Mountain Parks with all sorts of urban features. The banked slalom and flowing, twisting and turning features of the Volcano Adventure Zone are all family-friendly. Look for a buried VW bus in Peace Park. For a unique adventure, consider a dog sled ride led by an Iditarod finisher.
“After riding here once I had to move from out of state so I could make this my local mountain. I’m a fan of Mt. bachelor!” Read more of Mt. Bachelor’s reviews here.
Header Image: @Keystone Ski Resort