We’ve skied and vacationed in a lot of ski towns across North America and always leave with amazing memories to last a lifetime! My kids look forward to “Ski Week” vacation every year and each year as they get older, they want to ski more days. When we started the tradition, we skied a day or two at most, then explored the city and all the other adventures they’d offer. This past year, my kids skied four days of the seven and didn’t want to leave. Skiing definitely becomes more enjoyable the better and more comfortable you get!
Most major ski resorts are well equipped for families and offer tons of activities for those who don’t ski. You won’t always have the best snowfall for top ski conditions, but that’s when a great ski resort steps in.
Every year I do weeks worth of research to see which ski resort will be my family’s next destination. The top things I look for in a family friendly ski resort are fun ski schools for the kids, short distance to most dining options, tons of activities off the slopes, and family suite style accommodations.
Best Family Ski Resorts
1. NorthStar Lake Tahoe, CA
Northstar has some of the largest ski terrain in the United States, giving kids and beginners enough room to spread out while skiing. We rented a house in North Lake Tahoe during our stay, but quickly made our way to the Ritz Carlton for a day of champagne and ski watching. One of our favorite experiences in Lake Tahoe was a horse drawn carriage through Sand Harbour Park and an easy family hike down to Emerald Bay State Park.
2. Park City & Deer Valley, UT
Park city Utah is in my top three favorite ski towns to visit. Plus, not too far away is Deer Valley Mountain (no snowboarding allowed), which is an amazing mountain for beginners, seeing that five of the six mountain peaks offer green runs all the way from the top to bottom. The Montage at Deer Valley holds a special memory for me because that is where we saw Kobe Bryant with his daughters after a night of pizza and bowling. While in Park City, book a sleigh ride to dinner at Fireside dining, or visit No Name Salloon’s kid friendly Annex Burger. Another fun and adventurous family activity is the snowshoe to s’mores tour.
3. Teton Village, Jackson Hole, WY
Jackson Hole has everything you want in a ski town, plus it’s located at the base of Teton Mountain range so the wildlife and scenery is top notch. It’s more secluded than the majority of ski towns, harder to get to if you are traveling internationally, but definitely worth the trip. There are two different mountains to ski at between Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and Snow King. These are both known for their challenging terrains, with Snow King being the steepest in the country. Exploring Downtown Jackson was a fun experience. Taking a picture at the famous Elk Antler Arches and if you get a moment of adult only time, Million Dollar Cowboy Bar is a must do! The kids loved the National Elk Refuge and ski school at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.
4. Whistler Blackcomb, Canada
Whistler Village was by far my favorite ski village overall. Whistler was also the first place I’ve ever actually skied after switching from snowboarding. Whistler Blackcomb is the largest in North America due to its size and number of chair lifts. The amount of things to do “off slope” and the number of shops and restaurants in the village is impressive. You don’t need a car rental here, but you will need a shuttle to take you from Vancouver airport, which is about a 2 hour drive. Every excursion we booked outside of skiing, had a shuttle service available included in the price and most resorts have shuttles doing constant pickups and dropoffs. Aside from skiing and snowboarding, Whistler offers dog sledding, Bobsledding, village tours, nighttime enchanted Forest walk, zip lining, brewery tours, snowmobiling, tubing, sledding, and the list goes on.
5. Keystone Resort, CO
Keystone is repeatedly at the top of ski destinations for families and one of the closer ski resorts to the Denver airport. First and forevermore, kids 12 and under ski free at Keystone! You can’t find that at many other resorts, most being free for kids 5 and under. Keystone Lodge & Spa is designed for families with open floor plans and several different lodging options. The ski village, which is said to resemble Vail, is home to the largest outdoor ice skating rink in the country, and Keystone is packed with many more non-ski adventures like tubing, dog sledding and snow forts for the littles. Don’t miss the Sleigh Ride Dinner! Even though you will have tons of things to do on your list, I highly recommend making a day trip over to Breckenridge and experiencing their Mainstreet.
6. Snowshoe Mountain, WV
As a Floridian with no experience of snow, this was the one ski resort I heard about growing up because our church would do youth group trips here. West Virginia might not be known for a skiers paradise, but Snowshow Mountain may take you by surprise. We ended up coming back to Snowshoe in 2021, for a day, during our trip to Virginia, and the cute village is still bursting with lively restaurants and shops. Snowshoe is a perfect place for children and beginners on the slopes and offers Terrain Based Learning. The outdoor (heated) pools and hot tubs make for the perfect apres-ski activity. Snowshoe offers tubing at the Coca-Cola Tube Park, horseback riding, RZR tours, and escape rooms to get out of the cold. Showshoe is a great place for large families and it won’t break your bank.
7. Stowe Mountain Resort, Vermont
Stowe is a top winter destination for New Englanders and beyond. Stowe is home to the first cross-country ski resort in America and the best apres ski on the East Coast. The downtown area and ski village are both so charming with tons of distilleries, wineries, spas, shops, and dining options. This is the perfect place to do all the winter activities like horseback riding, sledding, dog sledding, ice skating, and more! Getting to Stowe is also relatively easy from major cities like NYC and Boston, and a short 45 minute drive from Burlington International Airport.
8. Taos Ski Valley, NM
Taos Ski Valley is a beautiful place to submerge yourself in the Southwestern culture and history of the Taos community in New Mexico. You might be as surprised as I was when I saw a top ski destination located in New Mexico.Taos Ski Valley is “off the beaten path” and a little difficult to get to, but I often find these destinations the best ones. There’s something special about driving through the desert of Santa Fe and then suddenly seeing a snowy ski mountain. Taos sits at the start of the Rocky Mountains, so has comparable elevations to Colorado which could make for great skiing. Outside of skiing and snowboarding, Taos has very unique activities off the slopes.You’ll find the largest community of Earth Ships, 100% self sustainable buildings. The Taos Pueblo is home to the Taos Native American community, with a downtown filled with gorgeous adobe buildings. There are a few day trips outside of Taos like Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs, and the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument that would make great memories.
9. Sun Valley, ID
Sun Valley is known for being the first ski hill in America dating back to 1936. Sun Valley has been on my list for some time now and I hear it offers amazing skiing and winter activities without the crowds.That’s a reason in itself to go since long lines at ski lifts could quickly kill the vibe. Kids can enjoy themed adventure trails with 30 acres of gladed terrain for beginners. Repeatedly named the best skiing in the Northwest, Sun Valley also has all the usual winter activities like carriage rides, ice skating, sledding, and cute ski village dining and shopping.
10. Telluride, CO
Telluride is one of many winter wonderlands the state of Colorado offers and has become increasingly popular the past few years, with many influencers posting about their trips. Telluride has two different vibes connected by a (FREE!) gondola. There is the Telluride downtown, a remote mining town with bohemian charm, born from America’s Wild West days and then the Mountain Village, a hip modern ski village with trendy restaurants, shops and resorts.A perk of visiting Telluride is the shorter lift lines and less crowded slopes, perfect for children in ski school and beginners. For a unique adventure with your family, try half-day ice climbing!
11. Aspen, CO
When in doubt, go to Colorado for skiing. I’ve always teetered between Aspen and Vail, but in my personal opinion, Aspen is on top as far as luxury and elite skiing go. Surprisingly, Aspen is often less expensive for ski lift tickets as well. Everything about Aspen is up-scale to the restaurants to the lodging and shopping. It’s truly a remarkable winter wonderland that many people visit year after year for good reason. For the kids, stick to Snowmass Mountain for easier terrain and fun ski lessons.