While some people start their calendar year when the first ski resorts open to the public and count the days in inches of snowfall others of us are simply looking for a fun, convenient and family-friendly place to play in the snow and enjoy some après ski. Here is our list of the best places to bring the family for an unforgettable winter trip.
5. Winter Park Resort, CO, is a local’s mountain and a well-kept secret. Family-friendly, well run and easily accessible, Winter Park offers an average annual snowfall of 322 inches, over 3000 skiable acres, 166 runs and seven terrain parks spread over two mountains. Just over an hour northwest of Denver, it makes for a relaxing weekend getaway. Families with young children love that the majority of trails in Winter Park are marked beginner and intermediate. Mary Jane Mountain provides fantastic glade skiing, world-class moguls, and wide-open alpine bowls for more experienced skiers.
Although it is an easy day trip from Denver Winter Park resort offers modern amenities, and the village base contains lodging, dining, and shopping options. Lift tickets here are well priced, and lodging options while limited are economical. Winter Park ski school is run by phenomenal instructors, many of whom have been skiing here for years. The ski school ffers group, private, holiday weekend and multi-week lessons as well as childcare options so that parents can enjoy some time on the slopes.
Best for: Families looking for an authentic, experience without the crowds or glamour of the larger and more popular resorts. Travelers who are seeking proximity to Denver airport.
4. Park City, UT:
The largest ski resort in the US is also the most accessible. Families can make it from Salt Lake airport onto the slopes in under an hour. Offering 7300 skiable acres the resort is perfect for a weekend getaway or a multi-week retreat. With over 300 trails collectively at Park City’s three ski areas including Deer Valley, Park City Resort Mountain, and the Canyons families are spoiled for choice and never have to wait long in lines. The trails are well laid out, marked and thoughtfully interconnected. From beginners to experts, there are hundreds of trails to choose from and 355” of average snowfall to fill them.
Since becoming a part of the Vail Resorts over $50 million has been spent connecting Park city and the canyons via the Quicksilver Gondola. Although easily accessed fewer skiers venture over to the Canyons, making this a perfect spot for those looking for fresh powder, isolation and challenging terrain. A great ski resort for families.
Park City boasts one of the best ski schools in the country and offers a variety of lesson options for varying ages and levels. Family lessons, private lessons, children’s ski school, adult group lessons, and peak to peak guided ski instruction are offered daily throughout the season. Guides and Instructors at Park City Resort Mountain have clear identification. Instructors wear blue and guides wear red with an “I” on the back of their jackets.
With a quaint and beautiful down-town, easily accessible airport, dozens of lodging options, fantastic restaurants, and a reputable ski school, Park City is one of the best choices for your families’ ski adventure.
Best for: Families looking for a quick getaway over a long weekend, those wanting to mingle with celebrities over Sundance and advanced skiers seeking a multitude of options.
Keystone is a small, well organized, extraordinarily family-friendly and quaint locals mountain which is often overlooked by people seeking a destination ski experience. Located just 90 minutes from Denver airport Keystone is one of the most economically attractive options in Colorado, as kids 12 and under ski free days when families book two or more nights of lodging with the resort. Although smaller than many other mountains it nonetheless offers a variety of terrain options, so all levels of skiers will find what they’re looking for.
Boasting an average of 235 inches of snowfall a year and over 3000 skiable families with older kids will have a blast skiing at the largest night skiing operation in the world. Those with younger children can enjoy adventure Point tubing. As a bonus, the resort also offers some of the best glade skiing in the country. With group and private lesson options as well as women’s programs and local kids programs, there are options to fit everyone’s needs and budget.
Best for: Families looking for excellent skiing at budget-friendly prices.
Breckenridge is a perennial favorite for those seeking a top-notch ski experience, authentic mountain village atmosphere and a consistently excellent chance of powder. The mountain has 2900 acres of skiable terrain, 187 trails and 34 chair lifts with four terrain parks. On average the mountain receives over 300” of snow per year.
Stay in the historic downtown (the largest in Colorado) and take the free gondola up to mountain village or stay in the ski resort for ski-in access lodging options.
While the lift tickets here are pricey in-the, know travelers, who plan can purchase the locals pass and ski as many days as their heart desires. Although Breck offers plenty of options for amazing days on the slopes it is also conveniently located for a day trip to Keystone, A-basin, Vail and Copper Mountain. Even the most hard-core skiers are spoiled for choice.
To have the full Breck experience make sure to stop for a Crepe in town. The long lines and visitors huddled together under heat lamps are all part of the charm.
Best For: Families seeking an authentic Colorado old town, plentiful shopping and dining options, and easy access to surrounding resorts.
1. Whistler- Blackcomb
The largest ski-resort in North America, which connects two mega mountains Whistler and Blackcomb via the highest altitude gondola is also surprisingly quaint, charming and non-pretentious. It offers over 200 runs, 8171 acres of terrain, adventure parks, mini terrain parks, and a tree fort playground. It also averages an astounding 461” of snow per year.
With a $52 million investment by Vail resorts into three new lifts for the 2018/19 season, the resort is more appealing than ever. Those who visit Whistler usually fall in love and end up returning year after year. The prices are relatively reasonable, the ski-school possibly the best on the continent and the restaurants varied and exceptionally good. Mountain village also offers ice skating, festivals, and a world-class weekly fire and ice show. Athletes flip and twist through burning rings of fire and end the night with an amazing fireworks display. All this makes Whistler a destination worthy of the coveted number 1 spot over and over.
Best for: Families who want an fantastic all-around ski experience with plenty of non-ski entertainment options.