The state of Colorado boasts some of the best family friendly ski resorts in the world. The 300 inches of average snowfall and 300 days of sunshine in the majestic Rocky Mountains make it one of the best places in the world to ski. Read on to find out some great choices for best Colorado ski resorts for families.
7 Family Friendly Ski Resorts in Colorado
To make our list of the best Colorado ski resorts for families, a mountain resort must have accommodations available either slope side or in a base village convenient to the mountain. Or they must have ski valet or some other service that makes schlepping gear easier. They must also offer amenities and events that cater to families, such as sleigh rides, ice skating, tubing, alpine coasters and more.
Some of these resorts may be better suited for younger children or first-time skiers. And some may be better for families with teens who want a freestyle park or to watch an exciting ski or snowboard championship. No matter what your skill level, I have you covered! Here’s where to go for your Colorado ski vacation.
1. Vail Ski Resort
Adventure Ridge, located at the top of Vail Mountain, offers a fantastic variety of winter activities including snow biking, a kids’ snowmobile track, a slippery slope of rip-roaring tubing lanes and more. The valley is also home to several unique outdoor Vail ice skating rinks. A clean, convenient and free bus system makes everything within town accessible, including world-class dining and shopping.
Vail may be best known for its legendary back bowls, but there really is something for everyone on Vail Mountain. There are plenty of groomed runs. Blue Sky Basin is one of my favorite areas, with plenty of intermediate runs. It is so stunning, expansive and has some really fun runs.
Vail is clearly my favorite mountain. I love its wide-ranging terrain and gorgeous locale. New snowmaking investments for the 2019-2020 ski season ensure an opening date of November 15.
TravelingMOM Tip: You will want to check out our ski trip packing list before you go!
2. Beaver Creek Ski Resort
Beaver Creek Ski Resort has 1,832 skiable acres, 150 runs, and 24 lifts. This is where the locals learn to ski for a reason. The resort’s Haymeadow Express Gondola and Haymeadow Park Learning Area are perfect for beginner skiers and young kids. Our 11-year-old always hits Jack Rabbit Alley and Ghost Town, the resorts’s fun kids’ terrain parks, on her tour of the mountain. And, any chance she gets, she involves a stop at Candy Cabin.
Beaver Creek rolls out the red carpet for ski guests every afternoon with freshly baked chocolate chip cookies warm out of the oven. These are served on silver platters by servers dressed in white coats and chef hats each day at 3 p.m. just as ski school is letting out and guests are heading down the mountain.
Beaver Creek has ski-in/ ski-out accommodations. Additionally, the resort also does a good job of making everything within the resort accessible. A free shuttle and bus system runs every few minutes throughout the homes and condominium complexes to a main bus stop.
With the expansion of Beaver Creek’s snowmaking system at Red Buffalo Park, a newly renovated Children’s Ski School, and a remodeled Village, Beaver Creek is even more family friendly than ever.
3. Keystone Ski Resort
Keystone Resort has 3,148 skiable acres, 128 runs, and 20 lifts. This Colorado ski resort is one of the nearer ski areas to Denver. It is home to the largest snow fort in North America (opening December 14), featuring a series of tunnels, slides and mazes within the walls.
Keystone Ski Resort boasts a Kids Ski Free program, which provides free lift tickets for kids 12 and under when guests book just two nights of lodging with the resort. Families can look forward to the resort’s Kidtopia Spectacular in December. New this year are My First Cross Country Ski and Super Snowy Science. The resort also offers off-mountain activities such as snow tubing, family snowcat tours, ice skating, sleigh rides and more.
Free designated family parking areas and little red wagons to help tote gear and kiddos to and from the slopes make the experience easier.
Families with older kids may want to try out a Family Private Lesson. Then they can spend more time together learning on the snow. Sounds like the perfect way to spend the day to me!
4. Aspen/ Snowmass Ski Resorts
Between Snowmass, Aspen Mountain (Ajax), Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk, skiers will find more than 5,300 acres of skiable terrain, 337 runs, and 42 lifts.
Families can rent kids’ equipment (ages 7 to 12) from Four Mountain Sports, and they’ll get a free lift ticket. Rent as often as you like between January 1 – April 15, 2020; they’ll provide complimentary lift tickets for the same amount of days on their rental (with lodging booked through Stay Aspen Snowmass). Another fun perk for families who happen to be visiting when it snows 8” or more is free Powder Pancakes served at select mountain restaurants.
What’s new? The first phase of the $600 million Snowmass base village redevelopment was completed last fall and included the new Limelight Hotel Snowmass, ski-in/ski-out residences, public events plaza with ice skating rink, fire pits, and community building. This winter, The Collective, a new community center will open December 2019 with a new restaurant and bar as well as a community and game lounge. The new One Snowmass building will include additional retail and dining options.
TravelingMom Tip: Take your family on a search for the branded s’mores carts, resembling oversized marshmallows.
5. Copper Mountain
A Colorado favorite, Copper Mountain is known for its 2,490 skiable acres, 142 runs, and 23 lifts. The naturally divided terrain has distinct sections of advanced, intermediate and beginner trails, providing plenty of options for all skiing and riding ability levels. An excellent ski school and a large area of beginner terrain make it ideal for families.
The resort also offers free childcare to families spending time and money in town. Wednesday through Saturday from 5:30 p.m. through 10:00 p.m. during ski season, parents can drop their kids off for up to three hours of babysitting. Just bring along your dinner or shopping receipt for $30 or more at pick up.
What’s new this year? Skiers can now explore 273 acres of expert terrain on Tucker Mountain with the new Three Bears chairlift opening in the 2019-20 season. This three-person fixed grip lift will access terrain that was previously accessible via snow cat or hiking only.
6. Breckenridge Ski Resort
Breckenridge Ski Resort has 2,908 skiable acres, 187 runs, and 34 lifts. But more importantly, it also has a charming Main Street with lots of dining and shopping options.
Young kids will enjoy Peak 9, where they’ll find beginner terrain as well as great spots for breaks. Skilled teens will dig Peak 10’s more challenging runs. Families may enjoy sleigh rides, dogsledding, Breckenridge ice skating or the speedy alpine coaster.
Kids want a break from the slopes? They may enjoy a day out at the Mountain Top Children’s Museum.
7. Winter Park
Winter Park has 3,081 total skiable acreage, includes 166 runs and 25 lifts. A ski train going between Union Station and Winter Park enables guests to skip the driving. It is one of the nearest Colorado ski resorts to Denver.
A tip for more advanced ski families is to book First Tracks. Guides are available in 2-6 hour increments for up to three guests, booking begins at 8 a.m. before public access for $49 plus, $99 per hour with a two hour minimum. First Tracks is available to blue, blue black, and black trail skiers and riders only. This tour helps with advanced skills on the bumps and showing skiers runs they may not have yet skied.
What’s new? The iconic Sunnyside Lift within the Mary Jane Territory at Winter Park Resort is getting a much-needed upgrade with the addition of a new high-speed, six-passenger lift for the 2019-20 season, part of $16 million in investment for next season.
It is very difficult to chose best Colorado ski resorts for families, as every resort has something special. This list of family ski resorts is by no means comprehensive. There are many charming Colorado ski towns and resorts. Crested Butte, Telluride, Steamboat Springs, Ski Cooper and Sunlight Mountain Resort are a few of the others.
And they all offer so much more than skiing and snowboarding. There’s magical ice skating, snowshoeing, roasting s’mores, free and adrenaline-inducing sledding and so much more. There’s certainly no shortage of things to do with kids in Colorado.
All of the mountain towns in Colorado are charming and offer everything from skiing to history and hot springs. Where are you planning your family ski trip this winter? Tell us what you think are the best ski resorts for kids in the comments below!