Best Family Ski Resorts for a Relaxing Winter Vacation
Family groups looking to get away over the winter break will find these ski resorts appealing to all age groups
Skiing and snowboarding is a great way to spend time with your family and enjoy the outdoors. If you’re looking for some of the best ski resorts in North America that cater to families, this article will help you find them.
Here are 10 of the best family ski resorts from Canada and the United States:
1) Sunshine Village (Banff, Alberta)
Sunshine has something for everyone, from beginner to expert. With a total of 54 ski lifts in the area, there’s no doubt this is a go-to for any family looking to have fun on the slopes.
Places to stay at Sunshine include hotels, condos and ski-in/ski-out resorts. One family favorite is the Village Square condos. Other accommodations in the area include cabins, condos and hotels.
When you’re not skiing or riding, there are plenty of other activities that both kids and parents can enjoy together. Check out the tubing hill. Sunshine offers ski school programs for adults and kids and no ski experience is needed.
The ski resort also has a daycare center that offers childcare from September to April so you can enjoy your time on the slopes worry-free. It costs $14 per child/$24 max per day. There are a variety of great restaurants to choose from including the popular Fitz’s Dine and Drink, which is open for lunch and dinner. For late-night entertainment, head over to the Fireside Lounge, where you can indulge in a tasty meal or relax with friends.
The town of Banff is an easy 20-minute drive from Sunshine Village, which means you’ll have plenty to explore after a day on the slopes.
2) Buttermilk Mountain Resort (Aspen Snowmass)
Nestled in the town of Aspen Snowmass, Buttermilk Mountain Resort has been a favorite for family vacations for as long as it’s been around. With ski-in/ski-out access, the resort offers a wide variety of winter activities for all ages and skill levels to enjoy.
Places to stay in Buttermilk include condos, ski houses and townhouses. Family dining options include the Cafe at Aspen Highlands, which is the ski school for Buttermilk Mountain Resort.
Buttermilk offers a variety of packages including their New Year’s Eve Family Ski and Stay Package that includes lodging for four nights with lift tickets and ski rental equipment included. The tubing park is the perfect place to spend an afternoon on those days when it’s too cold for skiing or snowboarding but you don’t want to just hang out in a lodge all day.
If skiing is not your family’s thing, Aspen Snowmass offers a full schedule of events including live music every night in The Barrel Bar – so there will be plenty for everyone.
3) The Canyons (Park City)
Located in the heart of Park City, The Canyons Resort is surrounded by towering peaks and some of the best skiing on earth. The Canyons offers great terrain parks as well as a beautiful mountain village with shops and restaurants to explore. You can also enjoy sleigh rides throughout the winter months.
Park City offers skiers and snowboarders some of the best terrain on earth. Popular runs include Deer Valley’s expert-level Highlands Bowl, and the intermediate Park City Mountain Resort run.
Family meals are a priority at The Canyons Resort. In addition to a variety of breakfast, lunch and dinner options in the ski village’s restaurants, parents can order pizza at any time. The kids’ menu includes favorites like grilled cheese sandwiches or macaroni and cheese bowls. More sophisticated palates will enjoy restaurants such as The Grill at the Canyons or The Continental.
4) Killington Resort (Killington, Vermont)
Located in the Green Mountains of Vermont, Killington Resort offers a number of must-do family activities, comfortable lodging with features like kitchenettes and ski-in, ski-out access.
Devoted to making their guests feel right at home, Killington Resort prides itself on its family-friendly Killington Ski Academy, which offers ski and snowboard lessons for all ages. A comprehensive children’s programs and onsite babysitting are available for kids ages 2-12. The resort is also home to an indoor waterpark as well as world-class restaurants.
Killington Resort offers a number of must-do family activities that include skiing, snowboarding, sleigh rides or ice skating. But Killington’s signature family attraction is the Nature Center at Mount Sunapee State Park in New Hampshire. There, you can hike through a 400-acre forest preserve or go ice skating on the pond.
Ski runs at Killington include mostly novice and intermediate trails, with a small percentage of expert terrain. Snow tubing is another fun family activity at this resort, as well as ice skating on a pone in Killington Village before warming up with s’mores by the fire with your kids.
5) Keystone Resort (Colorado)
Keystone Resort is a family-friendly ski resort in Colorado, located about two hours west of Denver. The resort is part of Vail Resorts, which includes Vail Mountain and Beaver Creek Resort.
Keystone ski runs are a mix of intermediate and novice terrain, with expert trails that make up a small percentage of the total slopes. Families often spend their days in Keystone on beginner-friendly features like KidZones or tubing hills. Options at Keystone include hotel and condo-style lodging, with ski rental shops onsite and ski-in, ski-out access.
There are a total of three on-site restaurants including a ski-in, ski-out restaurant at the Keystone Resort Hotel called Sweet Basil’s with signature dishes like beef tenderloin and prime rib. Kid-friendly menus can be found at restaurants at the Village Square.
The resort also features an ice-skating rink for winter activities in addition to its skiing and snowboarding terrain.
6) Juniper Springs Resort, Mammoth Mountain (California)
The Golden State features a number of premier family ski resorts including Juniper Springs Resort at Mammoth Mountain. Known for its ski-in/ski-out accommodations and après ski activities, the resort offers skiing on the slopes of Mammoth Mountain’s famous Snowcreek Canyone with a peak elevation that is higher than any other ski area in California.
The resort offers onsite dining with family friendly menus at two restaurants as well as room service provided by the hotel’s full kitchen. Spacious accommodations include both condo and lodge style rooms, plus the hotel is pet-friendly.
Mammoth Mountain has been a family favorite ski destination since 1972 with lots of onsite amenities including shopping at Village Square, restaurants featuring kid friendly menus, and excellent shopping including a ski shop for rentals, clothing and accessories.
Mammoth also features an ice-skating rink for winter activities in addition to its skiing and snowboarding terrain. Kids programs feature ski lessons as well as snowboard classes, plus ski racing instruction is available. Mammoth Mountain’s location in the Eastern Sierra Nevada’s provides nearly 300 inches of annual snowfall. It’s roughly four hours outside of greater Los Angeles.
7) Whiteface Mountain (New York)
Former site of the Winter Olympics, Lake Placid and Whiteface Mountain offers some of the best skiing in Eastern North America with a vertical drop at 4,800 feet. Families will love Whiteface’s gorgeous scenery including Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, Wilmington – home to the Adirondack Museum – and historic Fort Ticonderoga.
Lodging choices in and around Whiteface include Whiteface Lodge Resort & Spa, which features ski-in, ski-out access, and the Olympic Spirit Center, La Costa Lodge, the Grand Summit Hotel and Resort-Lake Placid.
8) Mont Tremblant (Quebec)
Another excellent Canadian ski resort can be found in the Laurentian Mountain Range of Quebec, Canada. Just a quick two-hour drive from Montreal and Quebec City, Mont Tremblant is a massive ski village, spread across four mountains. There’s a ski school, a training hill and snow tubing area all on site.
The town of Mont Tremblant features plenty for families to do off-slope too, including shopping at Galeries de la Capitale or ice skating in Parc Omega. A variety of restaurants tempt any palate. Popular choices include La Montagne, La Brasserie or Le Scaramouche.
The ski-in ski-out location in the village square is a big perk for families who want to be close to restaurants and town amenities but not on the slopes all day long.
But what sets Mont Tremblant apart from the other ski resorts is its nightlife. The resort’s village lights up with live music venues, discos and bars that stay open into the wee hours of the morning. Perfect for mom and dad (with babysitters) looking to let loose in a lively atmosphere.
One of the benefits of Mont Tremblant is the wide variety of lodging choices including homes, townhomes, condos and hotel-style accommodations from brands like Fairmont, Hilton and Holiday Inn.
Recent renovations have added more than 100 condos and chalets, along with 11 new restaurants.
9) Snowshoe Mountain (West Virginia)
This family-friendly resort is known for its scenic beauty, friendly staff and ski school. High in the mountains of West Virginia, Snowshoe is just a two-hour drive from Washington, D.C., and Baltimore. An easy day trip for a ski vacation in Western PA or Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley.
Snowshoe offers five different villages with condos, hotels and cottages to choose from—plus a wide variety of onsite restaurants including family favorites like the Iron Horse Café and The Boardroom Bar & Grill. With its convenient location, Snowshoe is the perfect place to learn how to ski or snowboard with kids activities that range in age from three to 18 years old. The resort has an indoor pool, game room and spa treatments for relaxation after a day on the slopes.
10) Boyne Mountain Resorts (Michigan)
Located in northern Michigan, Boyne Mountain Resorts is one of the premier ski resorts in the Midwest. The resort offers a variety of family-friendly activities, including snowshoeing, ice skating and sledding. Plus, it’s conveniently located within driving distance of Chicago and Detroit.
Lodging at Boyne includes a number of options, including Creekside Condominiums located on the slopes. With ski-in/ski-out access, Creekside Condominiums offers one-, two-, and three-bedroom luxury accommodations with fireplaces. The Clocktower Lodge is also located on the slopes and offers ski-in/ski-out access.
To keep your family entertained during a day on the mountain, head to Mountain Adventure Center for an indoor playroom or outdoor ice skating rink. Or visit Cabin John Creek. And what kid doesn’t love a waterpark? Avalanche Bay indoor waterpark features five water slides, a wave pool with waves up to five feet tall and an outdoor heated lazy river.
Dining at Boyne Mountain is special for all members of the family. Everett’s will satisfy the younger set with chicken fingers, pizza and ice cream, while those who prefer libations will appreciate Trophy Room Pub & Pizzeria ‘s extensive beer list. Another favorite is Forty Acres Tavern where adults can enjoy a glass of wine after the kids have gone to bed.