Resorts have recognized that people have different personalities and may like different winter activities, so many offer not only great terrain but also spas, kid-friendly adventures off the slopes and even daycare. The cold weather should not be keeping families from playing together. Pack your bags and venture out on a ski vacation with the whole clan.
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 their award-winning ski school is perfect for first-time skiers and snowboarders.
If you and your family are into heli-skiing, this is the place to go. Those of you who prefer less dangerous winter adventures will have a blast snowshoeing or dogsledding. You can drop the kids off at the resort’s activity center where they can play all kinds of fun games. Revelstoke has become a top mountain due to its consistent quality snow. It also offers a centralized hub that includes gondola and a cat-skiing infrastructure.
The snow sports school offers group, private, specialty, and adaptive lessons. No matter what your age, style or strength is you will improve your skills. Plenty of activities for non-skiers are available if the kids or parents get tired of the slopes, over a third of which are greens. Playschool and kindercare are offered for kids up to 5 years old. They can play inside, go on nature walks or sleigh rides, take ski lessons or even go bowling.
Jiminy Peak Mountain/Yelp
This resort in Northern Berkshires of Massachusetts is an ideal place for a family to go on a ski getaway, especially if all members are beginner skiers. Kid lessons even include hot chocolate breaks. People like the fact that this is a small ski resort, compared to more popular ones such as those in Vermont or Colorado. This means Jiminy is also cheaper, a key factor for parents - $74 for adults for non-holidays and $81 on holidays.
Big Sky has an excellent ski school as well as a kids club. Children are welcome at Lone Peak Playhouse, right at the base of Big Sky’s slopes. They take care of kids from 6 months to 8 years old. The huge ski terrain, which provides a lot of variety, equals smaller crowds, and this is another reason why parents like this resort. Big Sky is a short drive from Yellowstone if you want to take a day off from skiing and take the kids into the wilderness.
With a name like “The Ivy League of Ski Schools” you know Beaver Creek’s lessons are among the best in the country. 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. There is lots of beginner terrain and no-hassle access to the mountain.
Courtesy of Taos Ski Valley
With 1,300 skiable trails, kids and parents will all find the perfect terrain. About 250,000 visitors go to Taos Ski Valley every year, which means few lift lines and rarely crowded slopes. The Mini Elite Program allows children 3 years old to try an hour on the slopes. Go snowshoeing through the wilderness of Taos Ski Valley which offers 1,300 acres. The kids will also love tubing and snowmobile tours.
Courtesy of Okemo Mountain
This Vermont mountain is routinely considered one of the most family-friendly on the East Coast. It has one of the best ski schools in the country and plenty of terrain for skiers and riders of all levels. 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 have fun.
Park City is almost always on all lists that have to do with “best of” and winter activities. The mixture near-perfect snow conditions and an entertaining après ski scene makes it ideal for families. The ski school will take your kid for the day so you can enjoy the slopes at your own pace while your child gets to learn the basics from the pros. The school is organized efficiently and there are rarely any lines. The terrain offers plenty of smooth and winding runs, suitable for all levels of all ages.
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. Northstar also offers telemark skiing, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Sunny days and warmer-than-average temperatures will help ensure your day on the slopes doesn’t end early due to cold fingers and toes.
There's probably no better place for snow than Alta. Situated in the unique microclimate of Utah’s Wasatch Mountains, the resort sees about 500 inches of high-volume snow each year. The resort prides itself on its variety of terrain and incredible beginner and intermediate slopes. Also, being one of the oldest ski resorts in the country (it opened in 1939), it insists on keeping up with traditions. Snowboarders are not allowed.
This is North America’s largest ski resort, so you can be certain it’ll cater to every kind of skier out there. Parents can choose between child care programs, on-mountain adventure zones, a multi-lane tubing course, and indoor Nintendo gaming lounges. The ski school, of course, is outstanding. It teaches over 140,000 kids every season. Beginners can ski throughout almost the entire Whistler Blackcomb on easy slopes, and the valley runs are easy. There are special slopes for slower skiers/beginners and practice lifts near the base.
Lake Placid hosted the Winter Olympics in 1980. The vast region has ever since been dedicated to winter fun with many facilities for alpine skiing and other snowy adventures. Ice-skating, bobsledding, snowboarding, snowshoeing, dogsledding – families can enjoy it all at Whiteface. In 2013 it was one of EBONY’s “America’s Best Family Getaways,” and Travel + Leisure ranked it among “America’s Best Family Hotels” for two years in a row.
With more than 2,000 skiable acres, this popular but peaceful resort boasts uncrowded trails and varying terrains that cater to all types of skiers. The ski school is among the best in the country. Take private lessons with an instructor and improve your skills. Bring your children for easy, safe lessons. Try adult group lessons for beginners, intermediate and experts. Sign up for one of their unique specialty camps.
The resort is about a 4-hour drive away from Boston. If you want to take the little ones to a place with an authentic village feel, take them to Sugarloaf. The family vacation will also include movie and game nights, sleigh rides, hardly any crowds, and a lot of easy terrain for beginners. If the kids get tired of skiing they can go to AGC to try Maine's largest indoor rock climbing wall, trampolines, basketball/volleyball courts, and indoor skate park.
The popular family ski resort has excellent trails, but that’s not all. The charming Incline Village where it is located is a lot of fun, too. Leave the little ones at the Diamond Peak Child Ski Center for the day if you want or need some freedom. It has its own learning area, surface lift and a maximum five kids per instructor. Kids over four can learn to snowboard, which is what they seem to prefer anyway these days.