Ski season is here! Have you made your family ski vacation plans yet? This winter, don’t just imagine your family swooshing down snow-covered ski slopes or spraying powder in the back bowls of a winter wonderland. Rather, make it happen!
Our ski-loving SheBuysTravels contributors share their insider tips for the best US ski resorts for the 2023 season. So, what are the best ski resorts for the coming season? It depends on a few factors:
- Are you only concerned about the ski and snow quality?
- What are the ages of your kids?
- What skier ability levels are your family members?
- Are any family members beginners?
- Do you want to ski powder and back bowls?
- Do you want to cruise the groomers?
- Or, is a terrain park important to you?
See our answers below.
Planning for a Family Ski Trip
Some skiers and snowboarders follow the snow. That can work if you have plenty of flexibility. But demand remains high for ski vacations and popular holiday time frames are booking quickly.
We’ve chosen what we think are the best US ski resorts for the 2024 ski season based on ski terrain for all abilities, things to do off the mountain and perks for kids.
It may be no surprise that several of our favorite ski resorts are in Colorado. With the majestic Rocky Mountains cutting through the state, these ski slopes tend to have some of the best snow conditions. Of course Utah, New Mexico, California, the Midwest and both west and east coasts also have some top picks.
If this is your first family ski trip, check out these tips for first-time skiers, before hitting the slopes.
Read More: Heading to the Canadian Rockies? Check out the luxurious Moose Hotel & Suites in Banff.
Tips for Planning a Family Ski Vacation
- Be flexible.
- Buy travel insurance and know your cancellation policies.
- Make reservations for everything as early as possible – that includes ski lessons, gear rentals, even restaurants.
- Pack your patience. Ski trips are fun but can be a lot of work gearing up and getting kids to their ski lessons.
Best Colorado Ski Resorts for Families
Beaver Creek Resort
A ski vacation doesn’t get much better than Beaver Creek for families, particularly families with younger kids. The ski school is top notch, fun beginner terrain abounds and there are many off-mountain activities for families.
My children learned to ski at Beaver Creek, the place where locals learn to ski. The ski school is first class. At one point, my son’s ski instructor convinced him that his wipeouts were backflips. He was excited to share all about the backflips he did on the mountain that day.
The mountain has really fun but non-intimidating areas for beginners to learn. There are plenty of groomers and terrain parks with fun stops. These include Ghost Town and Riparoo’s Cabin. Last year, the resort added 250 acres of groomed trails to McCoy Park, terrain that’s designed to help beginner and intermediate skiers/riders sharpen their skills.
More Family Fun Activities
Candy Cabin and the warm chocolate chip cookies served every afternoon at 3pm at the bottom of Haymeadow and Centennial Express Lifts provide much-needed motivation for the kiddos.
Ski bikes are available at the Beaver Creek ice skating rink. Lots of fun art can be found throughout the village. And, additional fire pits and seating areas have been added for outdoor dining and warming up.
Beaver Creek can be a pricey place to learn to ski. But it really doesn’t get any more hassle-free with lots of ski-in/ ski-out lodging, escalators to take you up to the slopes and more.
Breckenridge is conveniently located a couple of hours west of Denver. It’s fun to walk along quaint Main Street, which is lined with historic buildings. Plus, there are plenty of fun on-mountain activities besides skiing and snowboarding.
The charming ski town is located in Summit County, home to some of the best snow tubing hills in the state.
Diana Rowe says kid-friendly Colorado’s Copper Mountain Ski Resort is perfect for families of all ages — and, of course, multigenerational families. Whenever her grandkids are asked about their favorite snowboarding instructor, they recommend CJ at Copper Mountain.
There are so many reasons to love Copper. From its convenient location and affordable accommodations to great snow conditions and ski schools, Copper Mountain is a resort the whole family is sure to love.
Copper’s Western Territory on the resort’s western-most side of the mountain is dedicated to inspiring beginner skiers while also connecting skiers with Copper’s history. While on the slopes, learn about the history of western exploration at two family-friendly adventure zones.
When it comes to lodging, Element 29 offers a full-service hotel experience complete with après-ski activities and food at Bar 29, a contemporary lobby bar featuring small plates and drinks.
In addition, the resort typically offers free childcare to families spending time and money in town. For example, Wednesday through Saturday from 5:30-10pm during ski season, parents can drop their kids off for up to three hours of babysitting. Just bring along your dinner or shopping receipt for $30 or more at pick up.
SheBuysTravel Tip: Get a room! Seriously make it a long weekend and book a condo (like Diana did) or hotel room. Totally worth bunking down together and creating more memories with the family — or in her case, the multigenerational family.
SheBuysTravel contributor Breeze Leonard says that beautiful Keystone, Colorado has one of the most wonderful ski resorts for families. Her favorite reason to visit: kids 12 and under ski for FREE!
During her entire stay, the resort had Kidtopia activities for families off the slopes which meant the fun didn’t end once they got off the mountain.
Families can take sleigh rides or play in the world’s largest snow fort. Enjoy family game nights, winter movie matinees, River Run fireworks, parades and so much more! Everything is conveniently located in the village so you can eat lunch, rent your ski gear and warm up next to a campfire before or after skiing.
SheBuysTravel Tip: The Colorado Mountain Express will transport you from the Denver, Colorado airport to Keystone. And once you arrive in Keystone the resort has its own shuttle service that will take you to lodging locations, local restaurants, and the River Run village.
Snowmass, Colorado has always been a family-friendly ski resort with ski-in/ski-out slope-side condos at the base of the mountain. But the resort has really upped its game in recent years.
For example, the resort introduced The Collective Snowmass, a cozy base village with fire pits, a free ice skating rink and an arts and entertainment center. It is an ideal place to enjoy a family-friendly après-ski experience.
In addition, be sure to take a thrilling ride on the mountaintop alpine coaster. And, Snowmass now boasts a 54-foot-high indoor rock climbing wall. It runs directly up the Limelight Hotel Snowmass.
This is also the place for foodies. Many of Aspen Mountain’s chefs are making their mark on Snowmass. Be sure to check out the new Sam’s located at the top of the Village Express lift. It is a special dining experience where the food may only be outmatched by the views.
Last year, two new restaurants opened in Snowmass Base Village. One of Aspen’s top restaurants, Kenichi, offers sushi and pan-Asian cuisine. Another ski town favorite restaurant, Aurum, offers seasonal new American cuisine in an elegantly casual dining space.
If you’re in town around the holidays, check out the Snowmass Luminescence, featuring a festive sparkling holiday light display.
SheBuysTravel Tip: Snowmass in summer may even be more fun for families!
While we’ve already mentioned Snowmass, we’d be remiss if we didn’t also include Aspen Mountain. This historic Colorado mountain town is home to upscale dining and shopping. Note that the Aspen ski slopes are best suited for intermediate to advanced skiers and snowboarders.
In addition to its reputation as a top ski resort, Aspen is a progressive town that prides itself on its commitments to sustainability and climate change. Aspen Snowmass also operates Buttermilk (home of the X Games) and Aspen Highlands.
SheBuysTravel contributor Susie Kellogg is a fan of Sunlight Mountain Resort, located just outside Glenwood Springs, CO on the Western Slope. Why? It’s among the least crowded Colorado ski resorts. Plus, Glenwood Springs is one of Colorado’s many charming and historic mountain towns.
The Sunlight Mountain Resort is small, rugged and offers the bare minimum in amenities, but the snow is great. In fact, Sunlight’s tagline is “Where the Powder Lasts For Days.”
Sunlight is a place where families can enjoy amazing terrain and snow for about half the cost of the other major resorts nearby. Sunlight delivers great snow, epic terrain and few crowds, which is why it is among our top choice for family-friendly resorts in Colorado.
SheBuysTravel Tip: At the top of the mountain, there is a bathroom with a vault toilet. Stop at the little hut with heaters to warm up on the coldest of days.
For skiers looking for unlimited terrain, Vail is it. With 5,289 skiable acres, Vail is one of the largest ski resorts in North America. Two high speed gondolas run out of the two quaint alpine-themed mountain villages. The back bowls are epic. Skiers could ski all week long and not repeat a ski run, at least until the end of the day. The ski resort itself is best for families with older kids or more advanced ski families. Teens will love the terrain parks.
The mountain top playground of Adventure Ridge offers both day and nighttime fun. Speed down a snow tubing hill, soar through the snow covered trees on the Forest Flyer mountain coaster or try snow biking.
Free Loaner Sleds and Snowshoes
Some of the local hotels will offer free loaner sleds and snowshoes. Moonlight snowshoeing is another great family activity. The town has much to offer too. With a free bus system and a variety of dining and family winter activities, no-one will be bored.
For ski season 2022-2023 keep your eyes out for new high speed lifts accessing the expansive back bowls!
SheBuysTravel Tip: Be sure to check out these 18+ fun things to do in Vail this winter!
Best Utah Ski Resorts for Families
Park City Mountain is the largest ski resort in the US with more than 7,300 of skiable acres. And, 60% of this ski terrain is beginner and intermediate terrain with plenty of groomers. Thirteen bowls and eight terrain parks add to the fun.
But there are also so many fun things to do off the slopes. Try dog sledding, snowshoeing, ice skating or snow tubing. More options include taking an art class or relaxing in a geothermal pool.
Park City has the most expansive snowmaking system in Utah. This ensures world-class skiing conditions all season long, regardless of natural snowfall.
Park City is a great option for a family ski vacation thanks to the variety of lodging options, which include hotels, condos, houses, ski-in-ski-out properties and more. Additionally, Salt Lake City is about a 45-minute drive to Park City and most other Utah ski resorts.
Best New Mexico Ski Resorts for Families
SheBuysTravel contributor Diana Rowe recommends adding this family-friendly winter destination to your ski vacation list. Last year she road-tripped with her multigenerational family packed in the car to Taos, less than a five-hour drive from Denver. At 9,500 feet, Taos offered so much to love including nearly 1,300 skiable acres with 13 ski lifts and a new and improved Children’s Center.
Located just 18 miles from the town of Taos, Taos Ski Valley is a privately owned ski destination, with fewer crowds and more fun in a family-centric winter playground. From her adult daughter to her four-year-old granddaughter, everyone loved the slow pace with fewer people on the Taos mountain.
In addition to skiing, visitors can also glide on the Eis Haus ice-skating rink or enjoy a sleigh ride to dinner on the mountain. Also, with the use of a state-of-the-art snowcat, 13 new high-efficiency snow guns, and enhanced snowmaking pipes, Taos offers excellent snow conditions this season.
Best California Ski Resorts for Families
Palisades Tahoe, Lake Tahoe
After years of lessons and scooting down bunny hills, SheBuysTravel writer Catherine Parker finally introduced her kids, ages 9, 12 and 14, to Palisades Tahoe, formerly known as Squaw Valley. It was an epic weekend where they ran the mountain like Olympians.
There’s nothing better than carving the perfect line through glistening snow while sneaking peeks of the pristine alpine lake.
SheBuysTravel Tip: Take everything you need in one trip since the good green skiing is at the top of the mountain. Also, check the weather before heading out. The winds can be brutal for little people. It’s Catherine’s favorite place to ski in North America under a bluebird sky.
Best Wyoming Ski Resorts for Families
Outdoor enthusiast and SheBuysTravel writer Andrea Guthman says being a scenery-starved city girl, she loves skiing for the outdoor beauty it brings. Because outdoor adventures are her top priority, Jackson Hole, Wyoming is her pick. The trip always gets off to a breathtaking start, landing in Jackson Hole Airport, located entirely within Grand Teton National Park. Combining skiing with day trips to the Grand Tetons and nearby Yellowstone National Park is her idea of a perfect vacation!
Jackson Hole is home to some of the country’s most amazing expert terrain. But beginners can also find green runs off of Teewinot Quad and Eagle’s Chair.
SheBuysTravel Tip: Another perk for families? At Jackson Hole Mountain Resort kids ski free, one child per paying adult, with a four-night resort condo rental. Sweet deal!
Midwest Ski Resorts for Families
The Midwest may not have big mountains, but it still has fun, family-friendly skiing, says SheBuysTravel writer Jamie Bartosch. One of the Midwest’s biggest and best ski hills is at Boyne Mountain, in northwest Michigan. Besides well-groomed ski runs for beginners and experts, kids love its large indoor water park with a surfing simulator, and on-site fudge and ice cream shops.
Skiing is just one of the many winter activities – like fat-tire snow biking and snowmobiling – at the lovely Crystal Mountain Resort in Thompsonville, Michigan. For a day-trip from Chicago, the newly renovated Wilmot Mountain – just over the Illinois border in Wilmot, Wisconsin – is a solid choice. Its long, smooth bunny hills are equipped with new magic carpets (a type of conveyor belt) that bring skiers from the bottom to the top.
SheBuysTravel Tip: For a no-frills, budget-friendly ski resort, try Indianhead Mountain in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The price is much lower than most Midwest ski spots, and they have an outstanding ski school. Since they’re in the Lake Superior snow belt, they will have tons of real snow up until late March (spring break!) – none of the fake slushy stuff.
Montana Ski Resorts for Families
Don’t let Big Sky’s big mountain reputation scare you away. The 5,800 acres of skiable terrain includes 870 acres of beginner terrain. For example, Lone Wolf, Mr. K, Cinnabar and Deep South are some of the best beginner runs.
With ski programs and childcare to sleigh rides and zip lines, Big Sky offers lots of fun for families.
While there’s plenty of beginner and intermediate terrain at Big Sky, it may be best known for the extreme Big Couloir. Don’t attempt this run without first reviewing safety precautions.
This ski town is fairly quiet, but has been undergoing redevelopment. There are a couple of slick lifts that have been installed recently.
What Ski Pass Should You Get for Your Family?
If you live near multiple ski resorts or ski often, you should consider investing in either the Epic Pass or Ikon Pass. Both the Epic Pass and Ikon Pass have different levels of passes that give access to a different quantity of ski days at each resort. Be sure to read all of the fine print and other details before you buy.
Epic Pass Resorts
- Crested Butte
- Beaver Creek
- Crested Butte
- Telluride (7 days)
- Sun Valley (7 days)
- Paoli Peaks
- Mt. Brighton
- Afton Alps
- Hidden Valley
- Snow Creek
New Hampshire Resorts
- Mount Sunapee
New York Resorts
- Alpine Valley
- Boston Mills
- Mad River
- Jack Frost
- Big Boulder
- Park City
- Snowbasin (7 days)
- Mount Snow
- Stevens Pass
The Epic Pass also includes skiing at select Canadian resorts such as Whistler Blackcomb, Japanese, Australian and European resorts.
Ikon Pass Resorts
- Palisades Tahoe (formerly Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows)
- Mammoth Mountain
- June Mountain
- Big Bear Mountain Resort
- Arapahoe Basin (7 days)
- Aspen Snowmass (7 days)
- Copper Mountain
- Winter Park Resort
Idaho Ski Resorts
- Schweitzer (7 days)
Maine Ski Resorts
- Sunday River (7 days)
- Sugarloaf (7 days)
Michigan Ski Resorts
- Boyne Highlands
- Boyne Mountain
Montana Ski Resorts
- Big Sky Resort (7 days)
Ski Resort in New Hampshire
- Loon Mountain (7 days)
New Mexico Ski Resorts
- Taos (7 days)
New York Ski Resorts
Oregon Ski Resorts
- Mt Bachelor (7 days)
Pennsylvania Ski Resorts
- Blue Mountain
Utah Ski Resorts
- Solitude Mountain Resort
- Alta Snowbird (7 days combined)
- Deer Valley (7 days)
- Brighton (7 days)
Vermont Ski Resorts
- Killington Pico (7 days combined)
Washington Ski Resorts
- Crystal Mountain
- The Summit at Snoqualmie (7 days)
West Virginia Ski Resorts
Wyoming Ski Resorts
- Jackson Hole (7 days)
Pass also includes skiing at select Canadian resorts, New Zealand, Australian and European resorts.
To find a ski resort near you, be sure to use our ski trip planning map!
Which of these ski resorts has your family skied? Which do you think are the best ski resorts for families? Tell us in the comments below!