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Avant Ski's Top 10 Ski Resorts Resorts for Families

Updated: Feb 27, 2023

Skiing with young kids involves extra planning. Whatever your kids' age or ski stage, families planning mountain travel are sure to find an option on our list. Collectively, our team has experienced the ski schools and day care programs at all of these resorts. We've designed this list using our first-hand knowledge and with an eye towards resorts with exceptional ski school programs and more to do outside of skiing.

Bring the kids along for a fun-filled family adventure. Courtesy of Stowe.

Summary of our Top 10 Family Ski Resorts * Click the resort name to jump to that section

  1. Deer Valley – Best for Being Pampered

  2. Stowe – Best Ski Town in the Northeast

  3. Steamboat Best for Kids to Ski Free

  4. Alta Best for Pure Skiing

  5. Jackson Hole — Best for Posh Meets Steep

  6. Vail – Best Colorado Classic Ski Experience

  7. Stratton — Best for Young Families in the East

  8. Beaver Creek – Best for Luxury Meets Convenience

  9. Northstar – Best for Enjoying Groomers as Family

  10. WhistlerBlackcomb – Best Lots of Terrain and a Village

*Resort names below in blue link to the related Avant Ski Resort Guide when available.

Avant Ski is Here to Plan Your Dream Family Trip

Avant Ski and our partners at Fora have unparalleled access to top family hotels along with killer perks including room upgrades, free breakfast and resort credits. We can also help with lift tickets, ski school booking, and our insider guides feature dining and activity recommendations guaranteed to make the whole family happy.

Best Family Ski Resort for Being Pampered – Deer Valley, UT

Deer Valley has a top notch ski school and day care center. Courtesy of Deer Valley Resort.

Key Stats

Size & Number of Trails: 2,026 acres | 103 Trails | 6 Bowls

Terrain Mix: 27% Green | 31% Blue | 32% Black | 10% Double Black

Peak Elevation/Vertical: 9,570' Elevation | 3,000' Vertical

Pass: Ikon

Luxury abounds at Deer Valley—from manicured slopes and attendants to help carry your skis, to some of the tastiest on-mountain dining. Deer Valley is consistently ranked the #1 Ski Resort in North America for Guest Services by SKI Magazine. Located 45 minutes from Salt Lake City, and just 10 minutes from Main Street, Park City, travel here is easy. The grooming capabilities are outstanding and posh ski-in/ski-out accommodations are plentiful. Highly trained instructors provide individual attention to smaller groups. Make sure to book early; the ski school is amongst the first to sell out. For the youngest children, the day care center is bright and cheerful. Note, Deer Valley is skiers only.

Where to Stay:

The Montage Deer Valley offers the perfect snow getaway with 5 restaurants, a bowling alley, world class spa and more. Ride the funicular up to the St. Regis Deer Valley, just above Snow Park Lodge for stunning views and an après scene with a slopeside fire pit. The new Black Rock Resort in Heber City offers more space and value.

Best Family Ski Town in the Northeast — Stowe, VT

Spruce Peak Base is home to ski school, restaurants, and the base camp lodge. Courtesy of Stowe Mountain Resort

Key Stats:

Size & Number of Trails: 485 acres | 116 Trails

Terrain Mix: 16% Green | 55% Blue | 14% Black | 15% Double Black

Peak Elevation/Vertical: 4,395' Elevation | 2,360' Vertical

Season Pass: Epic

Stowe stands in a league of its own in the Northeast for its terrain and town. With more than 2,300 vertical feet, the terrain variety at Stowe Mountain Resort is impressive. Stowe's front four are some of steepest runs in the east. Meanwhile, the Spruce Peak learning areas and Toll Road Double cater to children and those just learning. The new Sunrise 6-pack express lift services enjoyable intermediate trails. The charming Vermont town of Stowe has shops, dining options ranging from breweries, to pizza, fine dining, along with a bowling alley and movie theater. There are many family-friendly lodging options. Note, Stowe can be crowded on weekends and holidays, and the ski area has implemented paid parking Friday-Sunday.

Where to Stay:

The Lodge at Spruce Peak is Stowe's premier ski-in/ski-out destination. Closer to town, the Trapp Family Lodge is an expansive Austrian-inspired resort with 2,500 acres enabling cross country skiing, snowshoeing and sledding within its grounds.

Best Family Ski Resort for Kids to Ski Free in Colorado Steamboat, CO

Kids start the day with a warm gondola ride. Courtesy of Steamboat Resort.

Key Stats:

Size & Number of Trails: 2,965 acres | 169 Trails

Terrain Mix: 14% Green | 42% Blue | 44% Black

Peak Elevation/Vertical: 10,568' Elevation | 3,888' Vertical

Season Pass: Ikon

Steamboat offers free skiing to kids ages 12 and younger, with the purchase of an adult 5-day or more lift ticket. The lower elevation, by Colorado standards, makes it a little easier to acclimate. If that is not enticing enough, Steamboat is known for its champagne powder and glades. The resort is easy to reach via Hayden Airport, 30 minutes away, and only 10 minutes from "Ski Town USA," an authentic Western town. The ski school is outstanding and the dedicated Kids Vacation Center for the younger ones at the main base is massive. The area also has natural hot springs and Old Town Hot Springs is a hit for all, adults can soak while kids play on the waterslides.

Where to Stay:

The Steamboat Grand offers ski-in/ski-out luxury at the main base. For a younger, hipper vibe, the Gravity Haus Steamboat, also at the main base, is chic and recently renovated.

Best Family Ski Resort for Pure Skiing — Alta, UT

Alta creates little rippers while their parents can explore some of the best terrain in the country. Courtesy of Alta Ski Area.

Key Stats:

Size & Number of Trails: 2,614 acres | 116+ Trails + Backcountry Access

Terrain Mix: 15% Green | 35% Blue | 55% Black

Peak Elevation/Vertical: 11,068' Elevation | 2,538' Vertical

Season Pass: Ikon

Powder seekers looking for a down-to-earth ski program guaranteed to turn your kids into adventurers, along with a flexible child care center, will quickly find the Alta Magic is real. This may come as a surprise. While Alta is widely known for its deep powder, legendary traverses and steep chutes, the resort understands that kids need to be well cared for so their parents can play. The Albion Base offers a dedicated learning area. The new Sunnyside 6-pack lift makes it easy to take the kids to ski school and head back up the mountain in just 4 minutes. Alta offers discounted passes to access Albion only. Note, Alta is skiers only and off-mountain entertainment and activities are limited.

Where to Stay:

The ski-in/ski-out Alta Lodge is an Alta institution and has a kids club where kids can enjoy crafts, sledding, s'mores and more after a day on the slopes. Dial up the luxury a little at The Rustler, also very family-friendly.

Best Family Ski Resort for Posh Meets Steep — Jackson Hole, WY

Jackson Hole's Mountain Sports School is one of the best in the nation for kids of all ages.

Key Stats:

Size & Number of Trails: 2,500 acres | 133 Trails | 9 Bowls

Terrain Mix: 4% Green | 39% Blue | 41% Black | 16% Double Black

Peak Elevation/Vertical: 10,450' Elevation | 4,139' Vertical

Season Pass: Ikon

Jackson’s ski school will turn your kids into little adventurers overnight. Meanwhile, parents can test their skills on Jackson's legendary steeps. The Kids Ranch offers world class ski instruction where children will be motivated to collect stickers on their helmets for trying new things. Young children are well cared for at the day care center. Teton Village, at the mountain base, has a vibrant dining and après scene. For more entertainment, head into the town of Jackson, ~30 minutes away. It’s hard to beat this genuine western ski experience. Note, terrain skews towards the more advanced skier, direct flights to Jackson are limited, and day care can fill quickly and be crowded with locals.

Where to Stay:

The Four Seasons at the Main Base is a family favorite with all the amenities expected from a 5 star resort. Head to Terra in the heart of Teton Village for a more boutique feel with fine Italian dining and a relaxing spa.

Best Family Ski Resort for Colorado Classic Ski Experience – Vail, CO

Vail offers a wide variety of terrain and fun for the whole family. Courtesy of Vail.

Key Stats:

Size & Number of Trails: 5,289 acres | 193 Trails | 8 Bowls

Terrain Mix: 18% Green | 29% Blue | 53% Black

Peak Elevation/Vertical: 11,570' Elevation | 3,450' Vertical

Season Pass: Epic

With more than 5,000 acres and nearly 200 trails, Vail is a winter oasis with endless activities for the whole family. Vail's terrain is sure to please from easy cruisers on the front side to challenging descents in the back bowls. On-mountain daycare and an extensive lesson program will keep kids of all ages engaged. Kid-friendly, non-skiing activities are plentiful and the sprawling pedestrian village at the base has an array of restaurants and shops. Vail is easy to reach, located 2 hours from Denver, or fly into Eagle Vail for a 30 minute commute. Beware, traffic on I-70 can be as epic as Vail’s back bowls on busy weekends—plan travel accordingly.

Where to Stay:

Families will find the Four Seasons Vail Village location convenient and filled with helpful amenities. The Arrabelle At Vail Square, a Rock Resort offers a luxurious option in the more low key Lionshead area. The Tivoli Lodge is a family-owned, cozy alternative in Vail Village.

Best Family Ski Resort for Young Families in the East – Stratton, VT

Who doesn't love a waffle before getting on the Gondola?

Stratton Key Stats:

Size & Number of Trails: 625 acres | 99 Trails

Terrain Mix: 40% Green | 35% Blue | 16% Black | 9% Double Black

Peak Elevation/Vertical: 3,875' Elevation | 2,003' Vertical

Season Pass: Ikon

In Southern Vermont, Stratton, together with its neighbors Bromley and Magic Mountain make up the Golden Triangle and a perfect Northeast getaway for young families. These resorts are located ~4 hours from NYC and just under 3 hours from Boston. Stratton offers beginner and intermediate terrain along with a Gondola to stay warm on colder days. The small pedestrian village at the base has lively spots for après and a candy store. There are ski-in/ski-out accommodations at Stratton. We recommend families base themselves in Manchester, VT, ~30. minutes away. It can then be fun to pair a longer trip to Stratton with a visit to the classic indy ski areas, Bromley and/or Magic Mountain.

Where to Stay:

For a quintessential New England experience in nearby Manchester, VT, a town filled with great shopping, fine dining and lively bars, we like the Kimpton Taconic and Equinox Manchester.

Best Family Ski Resort for Luxury Meets Convenience – Beaver Creek, CO

Beaver Creek Village is magical at dusk. Courtesy of Beaver Creek Resort.

Key Stats:

Size & Number of Trails: 2,082 acres | 167 Trails | 2 Bowls

Terrain Mix: 32% Green | 36% Blue | 25% Black | 7% Double Black

Peak Elevation/Vertical: 3,344' Elevation | 2,200' Vertical

Season Pass: Epic

Just west of Vail, you'll find the quieter, more manageable Beaver Creek resort. Designed with families in mind, gentle runs are accessible from most lifts and peaks. An on-slope cookie cabin and candy cabin complete the family ski experience. New for the 2021-22 season, McCoy Park caters to beginners with an intro to natural terrain, trees and low-angle routes serviced by a new express lift. Beaver Creek offers a higher percentage of beginner and intermediate terrain than many of its neighbors. Family members seeking more expert terrain will enjoy Birds of Prey, the FIS World Cup race course as well as hidden steeps and tree skiing. They can also easily venture, by bus, down the street to Vail for the day with the same ski pass.

Where to Stay:

The Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort offers convenient access to the ski school center and Beaver Creek Village. For a unique mountain experience, The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch provides ski-in/ski-out luxury at the base of Bachelor Gulch with easy access to McCoy Park.

Best Family Ski Resort for Enjoying Groomers – Northstar, CA

Lake views by day, ice skating at night at Northstar. Courtesy of Northstar California Resort.

Key Stats:

Size & Number of Trails: 2,082 acres | 167 Trails

Terrain Mix: 32% Green | 36% Blue | 25% Black | 7% Double Black

Peak Elevation/Vertical: 3,344' Elevation | 2,200' Vertical

Season Pass: Epic

Northstar offers the best of laidback California ski culture with the amenities of a luxurious alpine resort. The resort is known for its long, perfectly sculpted groomers, acres of gladed skiing and a charming base village with an ice skating rink. The terrain parks here, considered the best in Tahoe, have received many awards. Northstar has more ski-in/ski-out lodging than most resorts in Tahoe. Beware, true extreme and expert terrain is limited here; parking is limited and traveling from the base to summit takes three chairlifts

Where to Stay:

We love The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe for its luxurious mid-mountain access to Northstar and proximity to beautiful Lake Tahoe.

Best Family Ski Resort for Lots of Terrain and a Village – WhistlerBlackcomb

Between the Kids Program and pedestrian-only Whistler Village, everything is easy here. Courtesy of Vail Resorts.

Key Stats:

Size & Number of Trails: 8,171 acres | 200+ Trails | 16 Bowls

Terrain Mix: 27% Green | 38% Blue | 20% Black | 15% Double Black

Peak Elevation/Vertical: 7,494' Elevation | 5,133' Vertical

Season Pass: Epic

WhistlerBlackcomb is the largest ski resort in North America. Only a few places in the Alps have more than the 8,171 acres here and its vertical drop, 5,020 ft, is the second longest globally. Whistler's Base area is a mecca for learning and the Whistler Kids program is top notch. Adults can enjoy endlessly long, steep runs, glaciers, powder filled bowls along with gentle groomers. The logistics are simple, both mountains are serviced by a common base with two gondolas, 1,000 feet apart. The European-style, pedestrian-only, Whistler Village is nestled between the two mountains. There is little reason to leave—all of the lodging, restaurants and swag you could ever want are right here. Although the Village altitude, just over 2,000', can lead to poor natural snow on the lower mountain in the early/late season, visitors will not struggle with altitude acclimatization like they may at other big-mountain resorts.

Where to Stay:

We like the Fairmont Chateau Whistler for its ski-in/ski-out location at the base of the Blackcomb gondola. The Westin Resort and Spa is also conveniently located to the Gondolas. Check out the Sundial Hotel for a prime location and more value.


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