The 12 best family ski resorts

Whether your child is a snowboarding teen used to shredding powder or a newbie headed to ski school for the very first time, many mountain resorts across the U.S. are perfect for a family ski trip. Skiing can be a terrific family activity in winter, as the après-ski scene provides just as much fun as time spent on the slopes. Many resorts offer alternative snow-related activities — such as tubing, ice skating, snowshoeing and even sleigh rides — so the whole family can enjoy the mountain experience.

The best ski resorts for families are usually the ones that offer on- and near-mountain lodging, ski schools with a variety of programs, beginner- and intermediate-friendly terrain and some quality non-ski activities, too. Keep in mind that ski and snowboard lessons can book up well in advance, so if ski school — or even on-mountain child care — is a must-have for your vacation, double-check the options to ensure they fit your ski vacation goals.

Once you decide on the best resort for your family, price out lift tickets and pass options ahead of time. You may be surprised at how much more affordable it is to buy ski passes in advance rather than purchase individual lift tickets — even if you are only skiing for a day or two. Some mountains also offer kids-ski-free programs, which can help keep the trip cost down. Additionally, many ski resorts have capacity limits, so you’ll want to make sure you purchase your tickets prior to arriving (or make advance reservations at select mountains).

With all these nuances in mind, here are some of our favorite ski resorts for the whole family.

Beaver Creek Resort, Colorado

Why Beaver Creek is a good ski resort for families

This may be surprising for those who are only familiar with the mountain’s luxury reputation, but Colorado’s Beaver Creek is perhaps one of the friendliest slopes for family ski trips. About a two-hour drive from Denver International Airport (DEN) or 30 minutes from Eagle County Regional Airport (EGE), this resort is relatively easy to access, assuming you have good road conditions.

Beaver Creek has been upping its already solid family ski game even more lately thanks, in part, to the recent opening of a brand-new, 250-acre, lift-served expansion called McCoy Park. This offers even more terrain for beginner and intermediate skiers and snowboarders, and it elevates the mountain experience with 17 new groomable trails, plus two additional chairlifts.

Here, you’ll also find the Beaver Creek Candy Cabin, which is a great addition to the Ice Cream Parlour at the top of the Haymeadow Express Gondola. At the Red Buffalo Park’s Cookie Cabin and at the bottom of the Centennial Express and Haymeadow Lift, you’ll also be able to experience the mountain’s infamous 3 p.m. cookie time.

After a long day of skiing, you can enjoy ice skating in the village, and on Thursday nights, kids and adults who are at least level four skiers can participate in a glow stick ski. For a unique experience, take an open-air, snowcat-led sleigh ride to Allie’s Cabin, Zach’s Cabin or Beano’s Cabin — three different mountain-top dining options.

The mountain also ensures that teens are fully entertained. With the Hawk’s Nest Cabin debuting this year in Beaver Creek Village, teens can enjoy the coolest underage club, featuring craft nonalcoholic beverages, music, interactive technology, arcade and table games, a ski simulator, lounge spots and more.

Lift tickets for Beaver Creek don’t have to cost a ton if you plan in advance and lock in an Epic Pass of some sort.

Where to stay at Beaver Creek

Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort and Spa

Best for: Families and couples who prioritize worry-free ski-in, ski-out access at a decadent resort for a winter getaway. The hotel is just a few steps from the beginner-friendly gondola and ski school slopes, so it truly is ski-in, ski-out for skiers and riders of all ability levels.

Why stay here: TPG loves the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek not only for its proximity to the slopes, but it is also a short walk from the main village, and there are several shops and restaurants attached to the slopeside hotel.

Winter rates start at $950 or 35,000 World of Hyatt points per night.

The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch

Best for: Those who want a rustic-chic sojourn right on the slopes but in a quieter part of the resort where you can really unplug. And while the mountain-town vibes given off by the log cabin-style facade will have skiers feeling like they’re truly off the beaten path, the recently renovated hotel still offers the same luxuries (like a spa and fitness center) that travelers have come to expect from a Ritz-Carlton property.

Why stay here: This resort is like a fairy-tale mountain getaway, with a wonderful outdoor heated pool and a prime location steps from the chairlift. It’s a place to be pampered and to relax in front of a big fireplace when you aren’t busy with the lively apres-ski scene. Winter rates start at $840 or 72,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night.

TPG tip: You can add up to 15,000 Marriott Bonvoy points to certificates with fixed prices, meaning that many nights are within range of the 85,000-point certificate awarded annually by the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card if you are willing to add some points.

The Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa

Best for: Skiers who value the convenience of rooms with kitchens or kitchenettes and washers and dryers to clean all that ski gear.

Why stay here: The hotel offers near-mountain access (with a gondola to the slopes right outside) at a cheaper price than some of the slopeside lodging but still has all the comforts of a big ski resort.

Winter rates start at $450 or 80,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night.

Keystone Resort, Colorado

Why Keystone is a good ski resort for families

Out of all the great Colorado ski resorts (and there are plenty), Keystone is the hot spot for kids of all ages. There are the usual dog sledding, snow tubing, ice skating and sleigh ride activities, but the piece de resistance is the resort’s kids programs and accommodations.

There are plenty of fun on-mountain experiences, such as snowcat skiing and night skiing (on weekends and holidays). Tykes should also like the famous Snow Fort. In fact, this year, there are actually two snow forts to pick from: one up on Dercum Mountain and one in the Mountain House base area.

Additionally, the resort offers a ton of family conveniences, such as free preferred family parking for those with kids 12 and younger as well as red wagons to help tow skis, boards or even tired kiddos.

With a new lift and for the 2023-24 season, Keystone will add another 550 acres of diverse terrain among 16 new trails. Now, with more than 3,500 acres, your family can experience a wide range of terrain, including the 3.5-mile-long Schoolmarm — a timeless run for the family to work on turns.

Best of all, kids 12 and younger ski free when you stay at one of the resort’s properties for two or more nights (there are no blackout dates).

Where to stay at Keystone

Hyatt Place Keystone

Best for: Families who want to spend their days on the mountain and have the hotel be a clean and affordable nearby place to rest up for doing it all again the next morning.

Why stay here: Book one of the Hyatt Place Keystone’s 103 rooms to get the benefits of staying at Keystone resort (such as kids 12 and younger ski free) while still earning and using World of Hyatt points.

Winter rates start at $250 or 12,000 World of Hyatt points per night. This property is a great use of the Hyatt Category 1-4 certificate that’s available annually for those with the World of Hyatt Credit Card.

River Run Townhomes

Best for: Skiing families who want to combine the conveniences of a home rental with the proximity and perks of being near the mountain.

Why stay here: Keystone’s River Run Townhomes are new and have a variety of floor plans, from one to four bedrooms, that can work for different-sized families. They are within walking distance of the gondola and the River Run Village, where you’ll find shops, restaurants and more.

Winter rates start at $350 or 45,000 Wyndham Rewards points per night.

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