If you’re hoping to score a discount, now is the time to plan your ski trip. To help you pick a spot that’s a good fit for the whole family, we looked at ski resorts with a wide variety of terrain (especially beginner and intermediate), great ski schools, other on- and off-mountain activities, childcare facilities and mountains with friendly climates so you can enjoy a longer day. These 10 mountains are some of the best in the country for families.
With a name like “The Ivy League of Ski Schools” you know Beaver Creek’s lessons are among the best in the country—at least that’s what their graduates say. Expert instructors take advantage of the mountain that regularly hosts the World Cup to introduce and elevate crucial ski skills. Although there’s plenty of tough terrain for expert skiers and riders, themed kid’s areas located at the bottom and all over the mountain are great spots for the younger ones. Combine stellar lessons, kid-friendly areas, lots of beginner terrain and no-hassle access to the mountain and you’ve got one of the best resorts for all kinds of families.
Set in the Pocono Mountains, Camelback Mountain has been one of the best family-friendly resorts in the east for more than 50 years and recent additions have made the resort even better. Starting on the mountain, 39 percent of all terrain is marked for beginners and every trail—all 166 acres—has snowmaking capabilities and is lit for night skiing. The ski and snowboard instructors at Camelback are among the best and their terrain based learning program adds fun and valuable skills to the learning process. When the kids (or adults) are ready to trade in their skis or snowboard, they can ride tubes on the biggest snow tubing park in the country, visit the mountain coaster or splash around in Aquatopia, the biggest indoor waterpark in the Poconos.
Northstar has a lot to offer families beyond beginner terrain and a stellar ski school. There are tons of family-friendly options within the village—a tubing hill, bungee trampoline and build-your-own s’mores aren’t far from the slopes. If you want to try something new on the snow, Northstar also offers telemark skiing, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. And on top of all that, sunny days and warmer-than-average temperatures at this resort will help ensure your day on the slopes doesn’t end early due to cold fingers and toes.
This Vermont mountain is routinely considered one of the most family-friendly on the east coast. And with one of the best ski schools in the country and plenty of terrain for skiers and riders of all levels, it’s not hard to see why. After you’re done skiing, you can enjoy tubing, riding the mountain coaster or ice skating in the Ice House—a regulation-sized hockey rink. Off the mountain, Okemo offers a “Kids Night Out” program so adults can have an evening alone, while the kids watch movies, eat pizza and enjoy age-appropriate activities under the watch of licensed childcare professionals.
From the large mountain covered in heaps of fresh snow to the old western town, there’s something for everyone in the family at Steamboat. A generous chunk of beginner terrain meets a great ski school and sleigh rides, an adventure zone and nearby hot springs offer entertainment when the skis come off. Between the resort activities, family-friendly town and the mountain itself, it’s practically impossible to be bored at Steamboat.
One of the best spots for snow sports on the east coast, Bretton Woods is New Hampshire’s largest ski area, but the fun doesn’t stop at downhill. Well-known for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and guided backcountry tours, there’s an activity for everyone at this mountain. High-end lodging and top-tier food help make this mountain resort a stand-out destination and an award-winning ski school is perfect for those first-time skiers and snowboarders.
This ski area may be best known for hosting events in the 2002 Winter Olympics, but that’s certainly not the only thing people remember about Park City and with their recent merger, they will now be known as the biggest ski resort in the U.S. The resort has people coming back year after year, not only for the outstanding skiing and riding, but also the one-of-a-kind après culture and excellent ski school. After a day on the slopes, kids and adults alike enjoy zipping down the mountain on the Alpine Coaster or soaring high on the Flying Eagle Zip Line—and when it comes to off-mountain eats, Park City is tough to beat.
Set in the Green Mountains of Vermont this ski area is among the best in the northeast, especially for families. There aren’t too many mountains out there that guarantee you will enjoy learning, but Smuggs does—and offers money back in the event you don’t have a good time. With their award-winning school—Snow Sport University, tons of children’s activities and all-star staff, Smuggler’s Notch is a top choice for those who want to learn (or improve) at any age.
Best-known as a high-end resort that’s off limits to snowboarders, Deer Valley is home to one of the best ski schools in the country and offers a licensed childcare facility for those too young to learn. Anyone ages three or older can take lessons and Deer Valley has several features just for the kids. Mountain mascots and a Children’s Adventure Map are just some of the family-friendly features, but adults will find their place too, with pristine terrain, limited foot traffic and excellent après culture. Off the mountain, fine dining and shopping are top attractions.
This big-time mountain is one of the most notable ski resorts in the country and although expert skiers and snowboarders love to frequent Vail’s slopes and bowls, there’s still plenty of kid-friendly terrain to be found. Kid’s sections around the mountain help young ones build up confidence, while expert instructors help the learning process along. After a long day of skiing, nearby accommodations and a village full of restaurants and shops can help everyone unwind.