7 Tips for Choosing a Family Friendly Ski Resort

Liana Moore Avatar

ski trips 2021
Photo credit: Vail Resorts

Planning the perfect family ski vacation begins with selecting the ideal family-friendly ski resort tailored to your family’s needs. With numerous options available, making the right choice can be overwhelming. To simplify your decision-making process, consider these 7 essential tips, covering everything from accommodations to ski school bookings. Embark on a memorable ski adventure and ensure everyone falls in love with the slopes.

You’ve been dreaming of taking your entire family to a snowy ski resort for vacation. Choosing the ski resort that best fits the ages and ski experience of your family may seem challenging.

Finding the right kind of lodging can be a bit easier.

Deciding when to take your family ski vacation may be the easiest decision. Here are a few tips for choosing a family-friendly ski resort to help make these decisions, depending on the ages and skiing ability of your kids.

SheBuysTravel Tip: Did you know that you can rent your ski gear? The Ski KITs are rented at 90% off of the retail cost and shipped directly to your destination with free shipping and returns. This is a great option for families with kids who grow out of their ski gear each season. Kit’s include jackets, pants, goggles, gloves, and optional snow boots. See all rental options here.
Kids snow tubing at Adventure Ridge on Vail Mountain
Snow tubing at Adventure Ridge activities on Vail mountain. Photo credit: Vail Resorts/ Daniel Milchev.

What family-friendly lodging options does the ski resort offer?

Condominiums abound at ski resorts and are the best option for a family that doesn’t want to have to eat out every night. Condos offer kitchens and more space to spread out and many may also have the amenities of a hotel.

However, if your preference is to eat out and not have to clean, you may want to opt for a hotel.

What amenities are important to your family?

One of the most fun things to do is hop into a steaming hot tub with snowflakes falling after an exhilarating day on the mountain. It is also fun to play family board games or read a book in front of the crackling fire in your condo. The hotel or the resort may offer extras such as roasting s’mores at a fire pit or hot chocolate in the lobby.

Vail is one of many family friendly ski resorts in Colorado.
Enjoying hot cocoa at Epic Discovery atop Vail Mountain. Photo credit: Jack Affleck/ Vail Resorts

What off-mountain activities does the ski resort offer for families?

Many ski resorts offer adventure centers that may include snow tubing and even snowmobiling. Alpine coasters have also become prevalent. Flying down the mountain on an alpine coaster is fun for kids of any age. Your family may also enjoy sleigh rides or building or playing in snow forts. It is also the perfect opportunity to enjoy an outdoor ice skating rink. You won’t be skiing or boarding all the time on your vacation. Finding a ski resort with plenty of off-mountain activities is important.

Is price a consideration in choosing a family ski resort?

If so, you might want to think about timing. Can you visit early or late season? Many deals are available from November to mid-December and again in April. The slopes are also less crowded during these time frames.

Look for ski resorts that offer kids ski-free programs, which can add to significant savings. These programs may be available for kids under five years old or may be free with ski rentals, adult pass purchases or other purchases.

Make sure to read the fine print. For the best prices purchase your lift tickets online, in advance. They will be significantly more expensive if you wait and purchase at the resort’s ticket window.

Read More: Après Ski is for Families Too!

holidays are special in family friendly vail
A special ski-down ceremony combined with fireworks makes for a festive New Year’s Eve in Vail. Photo credit: Vail Resorts.

A Holiday Family Ski Vacation

If budget is not a constraint, then certainly consider a family ski vacation over the holidays. It is a magical time with lights twinkling in ski resort destinations like snowy Colorado. The ski resorts pull out all the stops for the holiday season with special holiday events including visits with Santa, carolers and tree lighting ceremonies to spectacular fireworks.

Just be sure to book early. The holidays in Vail, Snowmass and really any mountain ski resort town are magical and thus in high demand.

Choosing a Family Ski Resort for Families with Young Kids

beautiful scenery for family friendly ski trips
There’s something freeing about breathing fresh air on top of a snowy mountain. Photo credit: Aspen Snowmass/ Hal Williams.

Find lodging close to the slopes.

Fortunately, many of the resorts that don’t have ski-in/ski-out do offer ski valet or some other form of help in schlepping skis.

I will never forget the time when my youngest was three years old, and I thought it would be a good idea to take a few runs while he was at a lesson. I parked, got our boots on, carried both pairs of skis and started the walk to the bus stop. A few steps in, he started begging me to carry him too. I am sure a few people got a good laugh at the super (or crazy) mom carrying two pairs of skis, one pair of poles and a toddler.

Ski school is imperative.

Kids generally listen better to professionals other than their parents and also try a little harder when their parents aren’t around. Plus, putting your kids in ski school allows you a little more freedom to take turns on the hill yourself.

Ski school can vary from a two-hour lesson to all day. The all-day lessons also have breaks and entertainment built in so don’t worry that it will be too much. Choose what works for your schedule and budget.

Book ski school early. Lessons do book up, especially during peak time frames.

Not sure how to choose a ski school? Read What to Look for in a Ski School for Little Ones.

ski or snowboard at Northstar Resort in California
Northstar Resort in Lake Tahoe, CA offers excellent ski/snowboard classes. Photo credit: Northstar Resort

Choosing a Family Ski Resort for Families with Teens

The ski resort’s terrain may be most important to your teen. Do they like tree glades or terrain parks? Or do they like groomers or back bowls? Take a look at the resort’s terrain to help decide on your destination. A condo close to the slopes may allow your teens to head back without you, or vice versa.

Teens may enjoy spectating a ski or snowboard competition such as the X Games in Aspen or a World Cup race in Beaver Creek. For more check out the Best US Ski Resorts for Families.

Most Important of Family Ski Vacation Tips

Drink plenty of water, wear sunscreen and come prepared with good gear. All of the Colorado ski resorts, for example, are at a high altitude ranging from 7,000 feet at the base to over 12,000 feet at the top. At this altitude, it is important to drink lots of water to prevent altitude sickness and to wear sunscreen. Not only is the sun closer but it reflects off the snow. But most of all, be prepared for fun.

4 responses

  1. Hi Liana,

    many thanks for the informative article. Great photos btw! Me and my family were planning a holiday in Europe next year and I was wondering, if anyone could give me some tips/advice on good ski destinations in Europe…We were thinking about Switzerland but there are so many. It would be awesome, if someone shares their experience with Europe resorts!

    All the best,

  2. This is perfect! I am going to take my family to a ski adventure soon. Thanks for sharing this.

  3. Great tips! Ski resorts are truly Winter Wonderlands and best enjoyed with the children. I will keep this in mind when I have children. Thank you for coming to Fly Away Friday! See you tomorrow!

  4. These are some great tips for people with kids! I remember my parents left me at a kid’s day camp at Whistler and I was mad about it, haha! Thanks for joining Fly Away Friday, hope to see you again this week! xo

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