For some winter enthusiasts, the calendar year begins not on January 1st, but with the inaugural opening of ski resorts, where days are measured not by the ticking of a clock but by the accumulation of fresh powder on the slopes. They may revel in the technical nuances of a double black diamond run or the thrill of navigating through snow-draped glades. However, not all who flock to the mountains in winter are seeking the thrill of extreme skiing or snowboarding.
Many among us are searching for an altogether different kind of sanctuary—a place where families can engage in joyful snow play, where ski slopes cater to a variety of skill levels, and where, after a day of outdoor activities, one can indulge in the luxuriant offerings of après-ski. If this resonates with you, allow us to guide you through an expertly curated list of North America’s premier family-friendly ski resorts, each chosen to balance recreational snow sports with the cultivated comforts that make for an unforgettable winter vacation.
Runner Up – Keystone, Colorado
Keystone is a small, well-organized, extraordinarily family-friendly, and quaint locals mountain. Unfortunately, it is often overlooked by people seeking a destination ski experience. Located just 90 minutes from Denver airport, Keystone is also one of Colorado’s most economically attractive options. Kids 12 and under ski for free when families book two or more nights of lodging with the resort. Although smaller than many other mountains, Keystone offers various terrain options for all skiers, from novice to advanced.
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. There are options to fit everyone’s needs and budget with group and private lesson options, women’s and local kid’s programs.
Best For: Families looking for excellent skiing at budget-friendly prices.
4. Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Jackson Hole has evolved far beyond its initial reputation as a mecca for extreme skiers and snowboarders. Indeed, while it retains its allure for those craving high-octane thrills on the slopes, the destination has flourished into an elegant, multifaceted, family-friendly retreat. The meticulously designed and managed Kids’ Ranch ski and snowboard program is a case in point, providing a safe and fun learning environment for young enthusiasts.
Best For: Families looking for a blend of the authentic mountain town, phenomenal skiing, and conveniences of luxury resorts.
Insider Tips: Consider staying slopeside at the Hotel Jackson or at the ultra-sophisticated Amangani. Larger families looking for a boutique hotel experience with all the amenities of a 5-star resort should stay at the Caldera House or the Four Seasons Resort.
3. Park City and Deer Valley, Utah
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. Because Park City offers 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. There are hundreds of trails to choose from, from beginners to experts and 355” of average snowfall to fill them.
Since becoming a part of the Vail Resorts, over $50 million was 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. Park City is truly a great ski resort for families.
Park City boasts one of the best ski schools in the country and offers various 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 downtown, an easily accessible airport, dozens of lodging options, fantastic restaurants, and a reputable ski school, Park City is one of the best choices for your family’s ski adventure. It deserves a nomination as one of North America’s most incredible, family-friendly ski resorts.
Still not convinced? Nestled in the idyllic mountains of Park City, Utah, Deer Valley Resort emerges as the epitome of a family-oriented winter haven. Its prestige in the ski world is well-deserved and widely acknowledged; after all, it consistently ranks among the top ski resorts in North America.
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.
Insider Tips: Since Park City is an internationally renowned destination, there is no shortage of luxury accommodation options for families of all sizes. The St. Regis, Deer Valley is a quintessential mountain retreat nestled in the private Deer Crest community. Perfect for families who enjoy their time off the slopes as much as on the slopes, it offers a 14,000 square foot spa to relax and rejuvenate. Likewise, the Montage Deer Valley is a refined hotel set amongst the trees and crowd-free slopes above Park City. In Canyons Village, consider the Waldorf Astoria Park City, offering slopeside access to the largest ski mountain in the United States.
2. Breckenridge, Colorado
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), take the free gondola to the mountain village, or stay in the ski resort for ski-in access lodging options.
Lift tickets at Breckenridge are pricey. Therefore, in-the-know travelers purchase season passes and ski as many days as their heart desires. Although Breckenridge offers plenty of options for unforgettable days on the slopes, it is also conveniently located for a day trip to Keystone, A-basin, Vail, and Copper Mountain. So even the most hard-core skiers are spoiled for choice.
However, if you want to be considered one of the best family-friendly Ski Resorts in North America, you must offer more than just great powder. To have the wholesome Breckenridge experience, 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.
Insider Tips: Breckenridge sits at an elevation of 9600 feet with a summit elevation of 12,998 feet. Families looking for space and privacy should consider renting a luxury home in town or a few miles from the slopes. If you want a luxury hotel experience, great shopping, and many dining options but worry about the altitude, consider staying in the nearby town of Vail. Although located only 40 minutes away, Vail’s base elevation is 8150 feet, while the peak elevation is 11,570 feet.
In addition, since Vail Resorts own both mountains, you can purchase an Epic Pass and ski both mountains.
1. Whistler- Blackcomb, Canada
Best For: Families who want a fantastic all-around ski experience with plenty of non-ski entertainment options.
Insider Tips: Book your stay at the Fairmont Chateau in Whistler and reserve a day for non-ski activities. For an ultra-luxury experience consider staying at the iconic Four Seasons Resort. From dog-sledding to ice skating, the town has many options to keep everyone in the family entertained.
Boutique Travel Advisors is a full-service, luxury travel agency. We specialize in creating bespoke itineraries for discerning clients around the world. Please visit our website or call 480-787-1477 to speak with a dedicated travel expert.
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