Best Family Ski Resorts In The US

In life, there’s a time and a place for everything – and for a lot of people that ‘everything’ is visiting some of America’s most beautiful, snowy mountains together with their families. That, in turn, actually means teenagers trying out their new snowboarding tricks at leisure, or toddlers trying to balance a tasty ice-cream cone while standing on a mountain of a generally flavorless ice-cream called snow.

Slowly but surely, ski resorts around the world are seeing the need for family-friendly services, and are increasingly adapting to this very important need. No longer are they reserved for professional winter sports teams, far from civilization, making by on cookies and hot tea. Ski resorts have now become cosmopolitan, offering anything from supervised terrain parks for youngsters, age-based skiing and snowboarding learning programs, all the way to daycare centers and babysitting services.

Needless to say, the age of the family-friendly ski resort is upon us!

But which are the best winter wonderlands for your family? There is a lot of competition out there, and we’ve dedicated this article to family friendly services almost exclusively. If you’re reading this, chances are you want the best winter holiday for your family – and this is where you’ll get it. For a greater focus on skiing terrains and other types of category-specific amenities, please refer to the many other articles on our website. 

With that being said, here is our list of the best family ski resorts in the USA!

Steamboat, Colorado

Steamboat has a deep tradition, going all the way back to being the home of the first ski hill in Colorado. And along with this tradition, it’s had the time to improve on a lot of things – and include family friendly services in every nook and cranny of its resort. 

Pros

  • One of the oldest ski resorts with a long tradition
  • Lots of great holiday-themed events, including winter carnival and a spring festival
  • Kids Vacation Center with excellent programs from ages 2 and up

Cons

  • Steamboat is popular, so it can get a bit crowded

Family Friendly Activities & Services

You will find many holiday-themed events at Steamboat, and children just love these. Marking both the beginning of winter in December, and celebrating spring in March, Steamboat is the home of the Winter Carnival (oh wow!) and the Springalicious Festival (yummy!). Each festival includes tons of activities to do, which is guaranteed to keep children happy during your stay. 

You also have the Kids Vacation Center at your disposal, which has a whole catalog of programs designed for children from the age of 2 and a half all the way to kindergarten level. Additionally, with the purchase of an adult ticket for 5+ days, children of the age of 12 and under get free ski lift tickets. Finally, did we mention the friendly staff, the beautiful nature, and the silky champagne powder? 

Verdict

Make no mistake though, beside the many charming activities for children Steamboat offers a lot of quality snow and skiing as well. All of this, and more, makes Steamboat one of the best ski resorts for kids in the US. If you’re wondering where to spend a weekend with your family, this is a good start!

Keystone, Colorado

Did anyone say ski resorts for kids? From the moment you step a foot inside the Keystone ski resort, it greets you with kid-friendly experiences. Take, for example, Keystone’s Kidtopia and Camp Keystone centers, where children can enjoy anything from snow forts and scavenger hunts, to warm cookie snacks and many themed playgrounds. But that’s not all Keystone offers!

Pros

  • Kidtopia and Camp Keystone centers offer lots of fun and engagement
  • Food and play here is excellent
  • The Ski & Ride School is here to help everyone learn how to master the mountain

Cons

  • May prove a bit too beginner-friendly for some

Family Friendly Activities & Services

Keystone is home to three gorgeous mountains that give you almost endless opportunities to explore and hang out in the snow with your loved ones. The resort lets kids under 12 ski, sled and snowboard free of charge, and take part in diverse activities. Tubing, skiing, snowboarding, and even painting workshops and yoga courses are all available, both individually and as a family. And when it comes to family arrangements, Keystone offers plenty of accomodation options and dozens of fine dining restaurants too.

Of course, ski and snowboarding courses are available even for the youngest. Just head over to the Ski & Ride School, and your kids will be mastering the snows of Keystone in no time. 

Verdict

Besides offering good skiing on the mountain, Keystone ski resort is focused on offering good care and plenty of entertainment for the youngest. So if you’re looking for a nice family vacation on a snowy mountain, you’ll definitely have a good time at Keystone!

Park City Mountain Resort, Utah

Embarking on a family holiday means traveling with little humans who tend to have short patience and attention spans, making any ski resort that’s close to an airport a godsend. And if you were ever waiting for a sign – this is it.

Pros

  • Very close to Salt Lake City and its international airport
  • Dozens of different kid friendly activities
  • Little Adventure Children’s Center will take good care of your youngest ones
  • Enjoy fairy-tale like dinner up the mountain

Cons

  • Can be a bit crowded and too pricey

Family Friendly Activities & Services

Park City Mountain offers more than 300 runs for skiing and snowboarding where both adults and youngsters can enjoy themselves, but it’s not short on kid friendly activities too. Zip lines, sleigh rides, ice rinks, alpine coasters, and exciting rides in the gondola connecting the two mountains here will undoubtedly put a smile on your child’s face.

And in case you need some alone adult time, the Little Adventure Children’s Center accepts everyone from the age of six weeks to six year olds, with entertaining programs for kids of all ages. Park City Mountain offers skiing lessons for children as well, which you can then follow up with fairy-tale-like excursions up in the mountain for a family dinner, huddled together in a charming yurt! 

Verdict

Utah’s Park City Mountain Resort is just over half an hour from Salt Lake City International airport, and welcomes families to over 7,000 acres sprinkled over with many kid-friendly activities. Without a doubt, Park City Mountain Resort deserves a spot on every list detailing the best family ski resorts in the US.

Northstar California, California

Overlooking North Lake Tahoe, the Northstar Village ski resort offers more than a 100 ski trails over a huge area of 3000+ acres. That, you’ll agree, is plenty enough room for endless winter adventures with your family and loved ones!

Pros

  • A wealth of kid-friendly activities both on and off the mountain
  • Excellent skiing and ski lessons for the youngest are available
  • North Lake Tahoe offers a beautiful area to explore together with your family

Cons

  • Can be crowded sometimes

Family Friendly Activities & Services

And Northstar knows that, which is why it has been trying to become one of the best ski resorts for kids in the US. They’re offering a whole plethora of kid-friendly and family friendly activities such as movie theaters, crafting workshops, bungee and trampolines, and even roller skating when the ice thaws. Additionally, here you’ll be able to enjoy yourselves huddled around cozy fire pits, roasting and smores and everything else your heart desires!

And for your mountain adventuring and winter sports equipment? Worry not, Northstar California provides you with convenient gear wagons that make moving everything from your car to the resort a breeze. Meanwhile, children from the age of 3 and up can take a skiing lesson or two, and voila, everyone’s happy!

Verdict

And making everyone happy, we think you’ll agree, should be the goal of every family ski resort in the US. Northstar California knows that and it comes super close to achieving it!

Deer Valley, Utah

This resort lives up to its name – the many cozy lodges are sprinkled on the mountain sides like spots on a deer’s back. But that’s just the tip of this winter wonderland iceberg. Deer Valley is known for its excellent food, impeccable amenities, and the warm, family-friendly atmosphere.

Pros

  • Charming to a fault, Deer Valley has excellent food, accomodation, and amenities
  • The Children’s Care center can provide some respite for parents
  • Adventure Camp & Adventure Trails will make children entertained and happy

Cons

  • It’s popular, so expect some crowds and waiting

Family Friendly Activities & Services

Children and teenagers here can take part in its many beginner trails and so-called “kid-friendly” skiing programs. When the lines in front of the ski lifts get too long, though, there’s always the option to enjoy some tasty, hot pizza and crunchy french fries. After a good meal, kids can choose from the Adventure Camp, the Adventure Trails, or even spend a day or two at the excellent Children’s Center here.

Verdict

This and much, much more, makes Deer Valley one of the very best ski resorts for kids in the US. Deer Valley is a family friendly ski resort that offers something to everyone – but excels at arranging the perfect family holiday.

Big Sky, Montana

For families looking for a quiet, quaint getaway – you’ll find minimal crowds and maximum joy at the Big Sky ski resort in Montana. The sky here is indeed big, too – blue and gorgeous and perfect for taking family photos, or Instagram-worthy selfies.

Pros

  • Beautiful natural surroundings ensure your memories make themselves
  • Peaceful, so kids can often play in peace or explore on their own
  • Plenty of amusing activities for children

Cons

  • Some may find it too quiet

Family Friendly Activities & Services

Underneath all this blue sky are charming pine trees, so your kids can ski and roam at leisure without the dangers of getting lost, or overwhelmed by other visitors. Or, you know, without having to check on them every 30 seconds!

But should they get bored or tired of the trails, rest assured, Big Sky will keep them entertained in more ways than one. Dog sledding, zip lining, various sleigh rides and even high rope courses will keep children plenty amused and satisfied. Big Sky is then, we can honestly say (even though we’re running out of space), one of the very best ski resorts for kids in the US.  

Verdict

Without a doubt, the family-friendly qualities of Big Sky ski resort makes it one of the best family ski resorts in the US. Just let the kids play in the snow while you enjoy a warm drink. Or two. Or three. Just perfect! 

Sun Valley, Idaho

Since the long-gone winter of 1936, Sun Valley has been the home for many skiing enthusiasts and winter lovers. This makes Sun Valley one of the oldest ski resorts in the US, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have what to offer to the very youngest. 

Pros

  • Tons of excellent skiing terrain, and even ice skating for kids
  • Many entertainment options including movie theaters
  • Perfect for Christmas holidays

Cons

  • Some may find it crowded and a bit pricey

Family Friendly Activities & Services

Kids here can enjoy anything from world-class skiing for beginners, to entertaining off-piste winter activities such as ice skating, bowling, sleigh rides, and more. When they get bored of roaming the mountain (and they eventually surely will!), parents at Sun Valley will have nothing to worry about. There are movie theaters here, ice shows to be enjoyed or taken part in, or once they get tired from the inside again – test their skills and devise new tricks on the excellent terrain park. 

Finally, Sun Valley also offers delightful multi-room cottages, which make for the perfect Christmas Holiday experience. Doesn’t get more perfect than this, does it?

Verdict

If you’re ever thinking about where to take your family for a Christmas Holiday, think no more. Sun Valley is definitely one of the best kid-friendly ski resorts in the whole United States. So just put a circle around Sun Valley and book some tickets to Idaho. And start humming some heigh-ho, heigh-ho!

Smugglers’ Notch, Vermont

Vermont is sort of famous for its idyllic snowy mountains, and Smugglers’ Notch is definitely an example of this. This ski resort caters to every kind of visitor, which naturally, includes the youngest ones too.

Pros

  • Bonfires, stories, and hot chocolate in a charming village!
  • Beautiful mountain with plenty of good trails and charming sights to explore
  • The Kids’ Night Out and Teen Alley Center programs will help parents
  • Inclusive, offers therapeutic recreation for visitors who need special assistance

Cons

  • Some visitors report poor internet access

Family Friendly Activities & Services

Kids being kids, the novelty of chocolate and stories will soon wear off. And once that happens… There’s the beautiful mountains and forests that Smugglers’ Notch gives you the opportunity to explore. Adults here (parents or not) will rarely manage to try out all 78 trails that the ski resort offers. Children, on the other hand, can take beginner skiing lessons and join you in no time!

Once you explore everything the resort has to offer, there’s still the Village. It’s a very interesting area to explore or enjoy good food and drinks at. Should you want to check it out and return to the resort (and vice versa), there’s the Resort Shuttle ride to take you to and fro. Youngsters can spend some time at the Kids’ Night Out program (ice cream, pizza, and laser tag!), or, if they’re a bit older, check out the Teen Alley Center (13-19 year olds) and its gamified village area. 

Inclusion is important here too. Smugglers’ Notch has an Adaptive Program that provides both lessons and therapeutic recreation for everyone, including adults and children who require special assistance. 

Verdict

With plenty of stories around bonfires, complemented with cups of hot chocolate and an amusing village to explore, Smugglers’ Notch is among the best family ski resorts in the US. Charming? It’s much more than that.

Okemo, Vermont

Okemo is a gorgeous ski resort and village, but its advantages don’t stop there. It has the longest superpipe on the East Coast, tons of skiing and snowboarding and other mountainous activities, and a huge, 18,000 square foot aquatic and fitness center overflowing with swimming pools, fountains, slides, saunas, hot tubs, and much more.

Pros

  • Possibly the best skiing and snowboarding area for children
  • The Okemo Ski + Ride School provides excellent lessons for kids and teens
  • The Kids Night Out programs will provide much needed respite for parents
  • Skating, zumba, yoga, racquetball, swimming pools… you name it, Okemo has it!

Cons

  • Some services can be pricey

Family Friendly Activities & Services

Up on the mountains, and as soon as their tiny human legs tire, kids can take part in many apres ski activities. Kids being kids, they’ll inevitably bring their childlike awe to everywhere they go, so be prepared for endlessly amusing questions resulting in belly-deep laughter!

For beginners, the excellent Okemo’s Ski + Ride School is here to teach everyone some nifty tricks, provided they are anywhere between the age of 6 months to 14 years of age. Additionally, the AmplitudePLUS, the Penguin Playground DayCare, and the Kids Night Out programs will keep children entertained forever should you need an adult night off.

Okemo also offers exciting skating, yoga and zumba classes, and even racquetball competitions. Once night comes, there are many dining and entertainment activities both outside on the mountain and huddled in the resort.

Verdict

Needless to say, whether out in the snow or inside next to the warm water, your kids will be endlessly entertained here! Night skiing, night swimming, and even a family dinner followed by a movie at the theater – it’s all on the table. All of that and more makes this resort one of the best family ski resorts in the US, and with that, one of the best ski resorts for kids too. No joke, Okemo is just great!

Bretton Woods, New Hampshire

With more than 62 trails spread over a skiing area of 464 acres, three parks, 35 glades, and amenities for every type of visitor, Bretton Woods deserves a spot on this list as well. 

And there’s plenty as to why. 

Pros

  • The Hobbits Ski & Snowboard School, need we say more?
  • Bretton Woods offers clowns, storytellers, musicians, and more
  • Unforgettable views and fairy-tale like excursions abound

Cons

  • Occasional crowds

Family Friendly Activities & Services

The average snowfall at Bretton Woods is well over 200 inches per year, which gives a whole new meaning to the aptly named Hobbits Ski & Snowboard School. Young hobbits – ahem, kids! – can find a variety of skiing and snowboarding programs here, and the even younger halflings (from the age of 3 to 5) can dabble their tiny legs in the snow as part of the Ski & Snowplay Program. Storytellers, clowns, and a variety of kids musicians will entertain everyone – even adults – too!

And did we mention the awe-inspiring views here? Nordic trails lead to forested outlooks, towering above the valley and the snow-capped peaks high above. Then take a romantic, or fairy-tale like sleigh ride back to the resort, and at the end, melt yourself in a rejuvenating spa. 

Verdict

What can we say? Between excellent skiing terrain, the beautiful nature and plenty of kid friendly activities on offer, there isn’t much else to ask for. Bretton Woods is, without a shred of a doubt, one of the best family ski resorts in the US. Go check it out!

Article by:
Abby Ward
Senior Content Writer at Bluehouse
Last Updated April 2021