Finding the best ski resorts for kids can be a challenge. With so many variables to look at, like terrain, the best ski school for kids, lodging, and general kid-friendliness, the task quickly becomes overwhelming! When we started taking our kids skiing a few years ago, we went through this same dilemma.

Ain’t nobody got time for that!

Parents want to pick a region, see a list, read about the highlights, and make a decision.

We’ve been there.

With this in mind, we decided to reach out to our family travel blogger friends in order to put together a solid guide on North America’s best ski resorts for kids, and we think it’s one of the best out there. We hope this guide will help you quickly find a resort that your family will love.

Enjoy the slopes this winter ski season, and be sure to share your pics and adventures with us on social media!

The best ski resorts for kids in the Western US

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Winter Park Resort – Winter Park, CO

I learned to ski in Winter Park when I was a kid, and our most recent trip confirmed what I already knew – Winter Park is still one of the best ski resorts for kids. It’s also the closest major ski resort to Denver, making access easy. Interstate 70 can turn into a parking lot on the weekends, but the new train service from Denver directly to Winter Park saves the day (and your sanity).

Best Colorado ski resorts for kids - Winter Park ResortWinter Park has the character of a small family resort, but the terrain is varied and huge. There are plenty of beginner and intermediate groomers, and more experienced skiers will love skiing the adjacent mountain Mary Jane. The village has great food options, shops, and red Radio Flyer wagons everywhere to help families get their gear from point A to B with minimal fuss. Named a Ski Magazine top 5 resort for families in 2017, this is a family ski vacation we know you’ll love!

Read more about planning a great family ski trip to Winter Park Resort.

Where to stay in Winter Park

Winter park has a handful of resort hotels either in or very near the village, but families looking to save some money may want to look at staying in nearby Fraser. It’s just down the road and also has restaurants, bowling, and a movie theater that your family may enjoy.

Click here to compare prices in Fraser, CO.

Zephyr Mountain Lodge

Zephyr Mountain Lodge Winter Park - best ski resorts for kidsFor families looking to stay close to the slopes, Zephyr Mountain Lodge is Winter Park’s only ski-in/ski-out lodging, and is located just steps away from the Zephyr Express Chairlift. Rooms here are fully-equipped 1, 2, and 3 bedroom condos, so families will have plenty of room to spread out. Heated underground parking, four hot tubs, and complimentary ski storage are great reasons for you to stay here. Easy access to the the shops and restaurants in the village makes Winter Park one of the best ski resorts for toddlers as well.

Click here for the latest prices.

Sun Valley – Ketchum, ID

Sun Valley, ID ski resort for kids
Sun Valley, ID

Sun Valley was the first ‘destination’ ski resort in the US, and they just keep getting better with age. Sun Valley is consistently voted the best resort in the US over and over again from the readers of Ski Magazine, and after visiting in 2022, we now know why. Their commitment to making families feel welcome along with incredible snow and terrain are unbeatable.

Sun Valley Idaho
Sun Valley Village

Sun Valley is actually two ski mountains, Bald Mountain and Dollar Mountain. Nestled in between is the town of Ketchum – a quirky, fun, postcard of a town with great food and so much to do. Families with young kids or who are learning should head towards Dollar Mountain where the terrain is less steep and more beginner-friendly. Once you’ve mastered that, take a free shuttle over to Bald Mountain where things get exciting! They have terrain for all ski levels here, but the intermediate and advanced slopes really shine. With 3,400 vertical feet across 2,400 acres, it’s just a perfect, magical place to ski.

For après, the opportunities are endless. You can hang out at the village, take a stroll around town, or some of both! Several restaurants around the Village serve up excellent food. Around Ketchum, try The Kneadery for a hearty breakfast and Saffron for some delicious curry to warm you up on a cold night.

Sun Valley ID best ski resort
Warm curry at Saffron in Ketchum, ID

Where to stay in Ketchum, ID

Limelight Hotel Ketchum best ski resort for families
Limelight Hotel Ketchum

Ketchum has a lot of hotel options. We decided to splurge and stay at the Limelight Ketchum. This amazing hotel has spacious rooms that are perfect for families, wood-fired pizzas down in the restaurant, and warm cookies and hot chocolate waiting when you come off the slopes. You’ll find Limelight hotels in some of the most sought-after locations including Snowmass, CO and the location is always going to be great.

Limelight Hotel Ketchum Sun Valley ID

Their complimentary shuttle can get you around town, and the on-site ski shop is really convenient for rentals and also storing your boots and skis overnight. Be sure you have a soak in the outdoor hut tubs too. Highly recommended, especially in the snow!

Check the latest prices here.

Our visit to Sun Valley was part of a larger trip to visit Yellowstone National Park and Jackson, WY. Both are amazing places to visit in the winter, so check those out.

Read all about skiing Sun Valley with kids here.

Steamboat Resort – Steamboat, CO

Family skiing at Steamboat Colorado - best places to ski with familyWe’ve added Steamboat to our list this year, but honestly they should have made it a long time ago. Steamboat has long been a family favorite and their dedication to making families comfortable is apparent. With awesome perks like their kids ski free program makes Steamboat an easy win for families. Just purchase any adult 5-day ticket and kids 12 and under ski for free. If you think you might take more than one ski trip this winter, Steamboat is part of the IKON Pass and includes several other resorts for one price. We have a quick comparison here.

New skiers will be in good hands at the Steamboat Kids’ Vacation Center where they have lessons from the pros for every age and ability. Be sure to check out their events calendar for other family-friendly events like their Holiday Festival, Torchlight Parade and Fireworks Show, and Winter Carnival. Last but certainly not least, be sure to visit the Old Town Hot Springs for a nice soak. All this fun in one place makes Steamboat one of the best family friendly ski resorts around.Old Town Hot Springs Steamboat

Steamboat has 169 trails covered by an average of 319 inches of Champagne© Powder Snow. When you’re not enjoying the epic snow on the mountains, families can enjoy snowmobile trips or even a sleigh ride dinner. Three on-mountain lodges offer up lunch to hungry skiers, and in the village you’ll find several more options along with shopping and après spots to wind down. For kid friendly ski resorts, Steamboat is hard to beat.

Where to stay in Steamboat

Families can stay at the Steamboat Grand Hotel

The Steamboat Grand sits right at the base of the mountain and has 328 guest rooms and condos that are great for families. Kids will love the heated outdoor swimming pool and two large hot tubs while Mom and Dad will love the short walk to the ski lifts and the easy ski storage. The Steamboat Grand has earned four stars from TripAdvisor from nearly 800 reviews. As always, we suggest also looking at their deals and packages just in case they can save you some money. It’s always worth checking.

Check here for the latest prices.

If you’re looking to save some cash on lodging (who isn’t) and have some hotel points to use, consider staying at the Steamboat Resort Villas by Sheraton. They are right next to the mountain, offer family rooms with kitchen and dining areas, and have earned 4.5 stars and a Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor. Perfect. The Sheraton is a Category 5 Marriott property.

Check here for the latest prices.

Park City Mountain Resort – Park City, Utah

Colleen Lanin, Founder/Editor of

One of the things I love most about Park City, Utah is its accessibility! After landing in Salt Lake City, you can reach the slopes in under an hour. Plus, families visiting Park City Mountain Resort have access to over 300 trails, 41 lifts and 7,300 acres of skiable terrain. There’s also Gorgoza Park’s seven snow tubing lanes where little ones as young as 3 years old (and 42” tall) can get in on the snowy fun. Meanwhile, children ages 6 to 12 can get their little hearts racing aboard mini snowmobiles at Gorgoza and children under age 8 can ride a tubing carousel.

best ski resorts for kids - downtown Park City Utah
Hanging out with Franz the Bear! PC: Travel Mamas

Additionally, Park City’s adorable Main Street is full of fun things for the whole family to explore, including darling shops and delicious kid-friendly restaurants. Pop into the Park City Museum to learn about this mountain town’s mining and skiing past. Of course, you simply must pose for a photo with Franz the Bear on the Bear Bench during your stay in Park City.

Click here to read more about Park City on Travel Mamas.

Before Park City was Park City, there was Canyons

Park City UT - great ski resorts for kidsAlong for the Trip loves Park City, Utah too, but we visited before Park City Mountain Resort became the largest ski resort in the United States a few years back. Instead, it was two separate resorts – Park City and Canyons. We visited Canyons in 2014, and it was our first family ski trip together. The sheer amount of terrain at this resort is worth the trip, as there is something for everyone. Even more so after the merger, which makes it one of the great family ski resorts out there. Like Colleen, we loved strolling through this cool mining town where you’ll find plenty of restaurants and shopping, and it’s perfect for picking up some fun souvenirs.

Access to the slopes in Park City is amazing and within a quick drive from the airport – perfect for families with little ones who don’t like riding in the car. Even during spring break in March, the drive from Salt Lake City was not crowded, and the roads were clear.

Be sure to stop by the Utah Olympic Park just outside of town. It’s a cool place for kids to try out a luge or bobsled, snap a few photos, and see some cool Olympic memorabilia from the Winter Games held here in 2002.Utah Olympic Park with kids

Where to stay in Park City

Like any large resort town, there are plenty of options in Park City. All the major hotel chains are represented, as well as local inns and condos for rent.

Click here for prices on hotels in Park City.

Hyatt Centric Park City

Hyatt Centric Park City - great ski resorts for kidsFor our visit, we stayed at the Hyatt Centric Park City (over on the Canyons side of the resort), and it was awesome. We leveraged our Hyatt points to stay here, which was a great way to save some money on our trip, and we loved the proximity to the slopes.

With a ski valet to handle gear, on-site restaurant with grab-and-go items, and an amazing suite with plenty of room, this is a top-notch place to stay for families. In-room laundry was also a huge, family-friendly perk.

A complimentary shuttle runs from the hotel to other parts of the resort, so if you have children who may not be able to take advantage of the ski hill in front of the hotel, don’t worry, the shuttle can get you where you need to go for après ski. Perks like this keep Park City in the running for the best ski resort for families.

Click here for the latest prices at the Hyatt Centric Park City.

Keystone Resort – Keystone, CO

Sue Rodman – 365 Atlanta Family

most family friendly ski resorts - snow tubing at Keystone CO
PC: Vail Resorts/Daniel Milchev

Keystone is well known and loved as THE place for family skiing and is also best ski resort for beginners. They pioneered the kids ski free program that allows children 12 and under to ski free with any two or more night stay. And this is one of the only resorts that offers night skiing, so don’t worry about taking time away from the slopes for naptime.

In addition, Keystone has lots for kids to do off the slopes with the Kidtopia events, like the Wacky Tacky party, kids scavenger hunt and a kid’s parade that ends in fireworks. The best feature for kids, especially ones from regions that see little snow is the world’s largest snow fort. It’s like a playground made completely of snow.

Best beginner ski resorts - Keystone CO
PC: Vail Resorts/Daniel Milchev

There is plenty to do off the slopes for adults too. The snow tube hill isn’t just for kids, and the ski bikes, actual bike seats with skis are a bit more challenging than you might think. After a day on the slopes, the village is the perfect place to relax with a beverage while the kids play a game of giant connect four, walk around chess, or corn hole.

Where to stay in Keystone , CO

River Run Condominiums

Keystone is split up into different neighborhoods, and while they are all unique in different ways, families may want to look at staying in the River Run area at the River Run Condominiums. They offer families room to spread out and easy access to the slopes, which are important for young families. Nearby restaurants and stores make it convenient to prepare meals and relax after a day on the slopes.

  • Book with Keystone and kids ski free!

    Book two or more nights of lodging directly through or by calling 866-736-8548 and kids 12 and under ski free. It’s one of the best ski deals anywhere and why Keystone is always a contender for the best ski resort for kids!

Hyatt Place Keystone

For families looking to save some cash and use points for their stay, Hyatt has you covered with the Hyatt Place Keystone right at the base of the mountain. It’s walking distance to everything you need including ski school and a free shuttle to other parts of the resort. We love Hyatt hotels and their slopeside properties are some of the best and most convenient we’ve stayed at with kids. Their points are pretty easy to come by as well.

Check here for the latest prices.

Save money at multiple resorts with one of these ski passes

Compare more features, resorts, and prices side by side here on our Family Ski Trips page.

Beaver Creek, Colorado

Warm chocolate chip cookies and upscale, family comfort are hallmarks of Beaver Creek that keep families returning year after year. If the free cookies aren’t enough to entice you, then consider the wide open groomers and great family-friendly terrain. Beaver Creek prides itself on meticulous details, like being able to cruise down 3,000 vertical feet of groomed corduroy with the entire family. In fact, meet at the top of the Centennial Express chairlift at 9:30 every morning for ‘Cocoa and Corduroy’ to get your day started right.

best snow ski resorts for families - Beaver Creek CO
PC: Vail Resorts/Jon Resnick

Beaver Creek Village is top notch, with après ski activities for the whole family. Enjoy ice skating at the rink or do some shopping around the village. Go for a ride down the tubing hill, or maybe take a magical sleigh ride through the snowy countryside. For the more adventurous, try some snowmobiling.

Food around the resort is some of the best you’ll find anywhere. Besides the mandatory 3 o’clock call for warm chocolate chip cookies, give Blue Moose Pizza a try for NY-style slices or Coyote Café for Mexican fare with a kids menu. Candy Cabin, located right on the mountain at the top of the Strawberry Park Express Lift, is just the thing to satisfy anyone’s sweet tooth.

Candy Cabin at Beaver Creek CO - one of the best ski resorts for kids
PC: Vail Resorts/Dave Neff

Don’t let all the sweets and groomers fool you – Beaver Creek is also home to deep powder and World Cup Skiing. Let Beaver Creek’s world-class ski school take the kiddos off your hands for a day while you go find everything steep and deep. No matter your ability, there’s something for everyone at Beaver Creek and is why it holds a solid spot as one of America’s best ski resorts for kids.

Where to stay at Beaver Creek, Colorado

Beaver Creek Village and nearby Avon are full of family-friendly accommodations in all different price ranges. Carrie and I have stayed at the Hyatt Mountain Lodge in Avon (part of the Hyatt Residence Club) and have nothing but good things to say about it.

Click here to compare the latest prices.

Park Hyatt Resort and Spa – Beaver Creek

Park Hyatt Beaver Creek CO - best ski resorts for childrenThe Park Hyatt Beaver Creek is a luxury resort offering ski-in, ski-out access to the slopes and all the amenities and service that makes Park Hyatt excellent. We really love the fact that you can use Hyatt points to stay here, which is great because this hotel is not inexpensive, especially during ski season. Just steps from the village, ice skating, and ski school, this hotel is perfect for families looking for an amazing ski experience. A ski valet that handles all your gear after a long day on the slopes is a great perk, and the heated pool is the perfect way to end the day.

Click here to check the latest prices.

Copper Mountain, CO

Sue Rodman – 365 Atlanta Family

Woodward at Copper Mountain CO
PC: Copper Mountain Blog

The most unique aspect of Copper Mountain is Woodward at Copper, an action sports training facility that is open to the public. This is where pro athletes train for the X Games in sports like snowboarding, skateboarding and biking.

Woodward at Copper isn’t just for extreme sport athletes; kids and adults can try it out with a drop in session, private lesson, or attend day or longer camps. Learn tricks in a controlled environment into the foam pits, then bring your new found skills out to Copper’s Terrain park. Or you can always just watch the pros.

Where to stay in Copper Mountain, CO

Click here to compare prices at Copper Mountain.

The Cache Townhomes

Families will want to look for accommodation in Copper Mountain’s West Village for its proximity to the ski school and beginner terrain. Two lifts – the Union Creek Quad, and the new Kokomo Express lift – are directly accessible. These 2BR/2 bath units are just 100 yards from the chair lift and are perfect for families.

Snowmass Ski Resort – Snowmass, Colorado

Best Colorado ski resort for beginners - Snowmass
PC: Snowmass/Shawn O’Connor

Snowmass celebrated its 50th birthday in 2017, and it is no accident that they’re still going strong after all these years. Snowmass boasts some of the most terrain anywhere – over 3,300 acres – and although the majority is for intermediates, their groomers are top-notch. Your entire family will fall in love with the kid-friendly touches and resort activities. Lift tickets are good at nearby Buttermilk, Aspen Highlands, and Aspen mountains as well, which make Snowmass ski vacations a great value.

Snowmass lodging is 95% slope-side, making it one of the best ski-in ski-out resorts for families. Once you have your lodging booked, check out the Very Important Kids schedule. It’s a one stop shop for daily resort activities and great children’s programming. A big (literally) reason why Snowmass is one of the best family ski resorts is the Treehouse – a 25,000 sq.ft. childcare facility, rental shop, and ski school all in one, and touted by guests as one of the best anywhere. Kids 6 and under ski and snowboard for free at Snowmass, which is awesome.

Snowmass Resort-best ski resorts in CO for kids and families
PC: Snowmass/Hal Williams Photography Inc

Tubing, ice skating, bowling, and a host of other activities are available for families, but the most fun might be a sled dog tour with Krabloonik. Snowmass has plenty of dining options for families as well, and getting here couldn’t be easier. Several daily fights from most carriers fly right into Aspen Snowmass Airport (ASE).

Where to stay in Snowmass

Even a quick search for lodging in Snowmass Village will bring up dozens of results, so there is no shortage of great places to stay for families. Getting a great deal will, however, require you to book as early as possible, especially during peak dates like Christmas and spring break.

Click here to compare lodging for Snowmass, CO.

Viewline Resort Snowmass, Autograph Collection

Westin Snowmass Resort for families
PC: Viewline Resort Snowmass

For access to the slopes, The Viewline Resort Snowmass can’t be beat. Standard rooms with 2 beds can accommodate families of 4, but suites and connecting rooms are available for larger families as well. Formerly the Westin Snowmass, the Viewline has received a much-needed updating and has been added to the upscale Marriot Autograph Collection. We love that you can use points to stay here (Marriott Bonvoy), which can save families a ton of money on a ski vacation.  As we all know, skiing with kids can get expensive quickly.

Click here to check the latest prices.


Limelight Snowmass

In the center of it all is the Limelight Snowmass. We recently stayed at the Limelight Ketchum in Sun Valley and were blown away by how cool it was. Everything about the service and location and service was perfect, and beig an upscale boutique brand, I expect that the Limelight Snowmass is no different.

The hotel is located right in the center of Snowmass Village – just steps from the ice skating rink and gondola. With large, comfortable rooms and a prime location, it’s got everything families want in a ski hotel.

Check here for the latest prices.

Want to take your ski vacation up a notch?

skiing in Japan with kidsTry Japan! We took our kids to Hakuba Valley Japan over spring break and it was awesome! Check out our post on skiing in Japan with kids.

Deer Valley – Park City, UT

Deer Valley is the epitome of service and luxury. If you need a ski vacation with the most family fun for for the least amount of effort, Deer Valley is your place. It’s always ranked at or near the top for grooming, kid-friendliness, lodging, and service. And not just from one source mind you, everyone adores Deer Valley. If you’re planning on taking first-timers, their ski school is one of the best ski resorts for beginners.

Best ski resorts for beginners in us - Deer Valley Utah
PC: Deer Valley

The trade-off for this attention to detail is cost of course, but don’t let that deter you. There’s something to be said for being able to put your ski vacation on auto-pilot, especially if you have small children. It can be a lot of work, and Deer Valley works hard to make sure you’re having fun, not schlepping gear all over the place and sweating the small stuff.

Kids learning to ski in Deer Valley Utah - best ski schools for kids
PC: Deer Valley

If luxury ski lodges and a gourmet experience are what you’re after, then give Deer Valley a serious look, because family ski resorts don’t get any better. Park City is only about 5 minutes away for even more fun, and at less than an hour from Salt Lake City airport, you can fly in and be on the slopes on the same day if you’d like. Just remember to leave your board at home – Deer Valley is a ski-only resort.

Where to stay in Deer Valley

Deer Valley is not inexpensive, so book as early as you can for the best deals. There is no shortage of great hotels and lodges both in Deer Valley and nearby Park City, so finding one that fits your budget is possible – you just have to look.

Click here to compare prices at Deer Valley.

Montage Deer Valley

Montage Deer Valley UT - best ski resorts in Utah for beginnersLuxury is the name of the game in Deer Valley, and for kid-friendliness, you can’t do any better than Montage Deer Valley. Montage has an incredible array of activities like an indoor 4-lane bowling alley, zip line, alpine coaster, snow park for tubing, and their very own Bernese Mountain Dogs to cuddle up with after a hard day of playing in the snow. It’s definitely a cut above other resorts, and with all this fun, it’s easy to forget that access to epic Deer Valley skiing is right out their back door.

Check here for the latest prices.



Breckenridge Ski Resort – Breckenridge, Colorado

Sue Rodman – 365 Atlanta Family

Breckenridge Resort-best ski resorts for beginners and families
PC: Liam Doran

Although Breckenridge is arguably one of the best ski resorts in Colorado, one of the many reasons I love Breck is that it’s not just a contrived ski resort, but a real working, breathing town with a history beyond the slopes.

The Breckenridge Welcome Center is a perfect first stop when you get to town. Not only do they have all the information on what to do on and off the slopes, but there is also a very well done history museum. In addition, sign up for hikes through the Breckenridge Heritage Alliance here. My tween and teen boys learned all about placer and sluice mining on a snowshoe hike of the Iowa Mine Trail.

Carter Park sledding hill is where locals go to sled, and it’s FREE. On our last visit, a full moon appeared creating a blue filter on the hill as we packed our sleds to leave. With one last glance up the hill, we saw a family of foxes come out to play!

Click here to read more about Breckenridge on 365 Atlanta Family.

Where to stay in Breckenridge Colorado

Breckenridge is full of unique accommodation and is one of the truly great ski towns.

Click here to compare prices for Breckenridge lodging.

The Village Hotel and Condominiums

Much of Breck’s beginner terrain is located in the Peak 9 area which is why The Village is a good place for families to stay. It’s also close to historic downtown and all it has to offer. The village offers traditional hotel rooms as well as condos with ski-in, ski-out access to Breck’s epic terrain.

Check here for the latest prices.

Purgatory Resort – Durango, Colorado

Purgatory Resort - best us ski resorts for families.Nestled in southwest Colorado near the old mining town of Durango, Colorado is Purgatory Resort. We visited here over spring break in 2017 and had a great time. We ultimately added it to our list for one big reason – the Inferno Mountain Coaster! Inferno is open year-round, so don’t let winter stop you from enjoying the 4,000 ft. of track that zip riders around the mountain.

Once you’re done with that, enjoy some of the family-friendly terrain that Purgatory offers. Over 1,600 acres await you – much of it beginner and intermediate terrain – and you can ride the 6-pack chair all the way to the summit (covering over 1,500 vertical feet) and cruise green groomers all the way down. We really enjoyed this aspect of the resort as many don’t have an easy way down top to bottom.

Purgatory also has tubing, terrain parks, and a nice village to grab a slice for lunch, enjoy some hot cocoa, or just sit out on the ‘beach’ and catch some rays.

Read more about skiing at Purgatory Resort with kids here.

Where to stay at Purgatory Resort

Nearby Durango is full  of great accommodation for all budgets plus their downtown has some fun shopping and places to dine.

Compare prices for Durango lodging here.

We have personally stayed at the DoubleTree Durango and the Homewood Suites by Hilton Durango.

For super-convenient lodging for families, stay on-site at the Purgatory Resort Condos. Top family ski resorts - outdoor heated pool and waterslide at the Purgatory Resort HotelThe kids will love the heated pool and slide, and parents will love not schlepping gear all over the resort – everything’s right here next to the slopes!

Click here for reviews and to check prices for the Purgatory Village Condos.

Northstar California Resort –  Lake Tahoe, California

Amber Mamian – Global Munchkins

Northstar Resort in Lake Tahoe boasts tons of snow, easy access from three large airports, an amazing ski school, and tons of kid-friendly things to do and places to eat right there at Northstar Village. You never even have to leave the mountain! It is truly a gem of a resort for families. Northstar is also home to the one and only Burton Snowboarding Academy which offers snowboarding lessons for all skill levels.

From skiing to tubing, ice skating to nightly s’mores roasting families, will find tons to do at Northstar Resort. Plus, Northstar offers accommodations from budget friendly to super luxe making this resort perfect for every type of family.

Click here to read more about Northstar at Global Munchkins.

Where to stay at Northstar California

Northstar has some really incredible lodges (it’s Tahoe after all), but nearby Truckee also has some good options for families.

Click here to compare prices for Northstar Resort.

Northstar Lodge by Welk Resorts

Northstar Lodge Lake Tahoe CA - best family ski resorts

Northstar Resort is located northwest of Lake Tahoe in Truckee, California. From modest condos and vacation rentals around the edge of town to the ski-in, ski-out luxury of Ritz Carlton Lake Tahoe right on the mountain, there is something here for every family and budget. For lodging that’s closer to the action and après scene of the Village, consider the Northstar Lodge by Welk Resorts.

The best ski resorts for kids in the Eastern US

Smugglers’ Notch, Vermont

Dana Freeman – All Mountain Mamas

Smugglers’ Notch was recently named SKI Magazine’s best kid friendly resort in the Eastern United States and Canada. That comes as no surprise to us. In addition to great terrain and ski and ride programs for all ages, Smuggs has amazing customer service and more amenities and activities than families could ask for.

Off the slopes, kids of all ages will love the recently opened FunZone 2.0. This 26,000 square foot state of the art facility has a Ninja Warrior style obstacle course, climbing wall, laser tag and so much more. Adrenaline junkies can try airboarding, a high tech twist on traditional sledding, while younger kids might enjoy tubing on Sir Henry’s Hill. This season there is also a new snowshoe trek for families that explores a forest trail, ending at a bonfire for s’mores!

Smugglers' Notch - best place to ski with kids
PC: Dana Freeman

With so much family-friendly programming at Smuggs, you may need to extended your vacation for a few extra days or plan a second visit in order to get to it all.

Where to stay at Smugglers’ Notch

In addition to the mountain activities, Smuggs receives high marks for lodging as well, which helps make it one of the best family ski resorts in the Northeast. They may not have as much to choose from as nearby Stowe, but their condos are all solid choices. Pick one that fits your family, and enjoy your stay. Easy-peasy.

Book directly with Smugglers’ Notch here.

Beech Mountain Resort – Beech Mountain, North Carolina

Lesli Peterson – 365 Atlanta Family

Beech Mountain Ski Resort is the highest resort on the East Coast, topping out at 5,506 feet. Does it match the runs you’ll find on the West Coast? Not really. But for families that reside in the Southeast, it’s the best bet for snow play and ski fun without a plane ticket. Rent equipment for your kiddos 8yo and older, and their ski school is free. Finally, families will also enjoy sledding, ice skating and taking to the slopes for nighttime ski excitement.

Beech Mountain Ski Resort-top ski resorts for families
Beech Mountain Resort. PC: Lesli Peterson at 365 Atlanta Family

Ready to head to Beech Mountain, North Carolina? We recommend Klonteska condos for families. They are right across the street from the sledding hill, and a short drive to the resort. The Pinnacle Inn Resort and Archer Mountain Inn rental homes are two other fantastic options.

Where to stay at Beech Mountain Resort

You may not think of North Carolina as a great ski destination, but there is lots for families to love here, and you’ll find a good mix of hotels, condos, and cabins to choose from.

Click here to compare Beech Mountain hotels.

Although the Archer Mountain Inn is now closed, you might also consider the Best Western Mountain Lodge at Banner Elk which is only a short drive away.

Click here to check the latest prices for Best Western Mountain Lodge at Bannner Elk.

Holiday Valley Ski Resort – Ellicottville, NY

Corinne McDermott – Have Baby Will Travel

You’re forgiven if Western New York is not the first place you think of when planning a skiing or snowboarding getaway that’s family-friendly but also offers decent dining and nightlife. Ellicottville, NY offers all of that and more. Holiday Valley Ski Resort is uniquely set up and spread out to allow beginners of all ages to learn to ski or ride safely and at their own pace while also offering great runs and long trails for those with more experience.

You can learn to ski or snowboard together, or safely ensconce your little snow bunnies in one of the many ski school or day care options while you hit the slopes. If you decide to stay offsite, the town is just a five-minute drive away, with many great options for après ski ranging from casual pubs to higher-end dining.

Click here to read more about Holiday Valley on Have Baby Will Travel.

Where to stay in Ellicottville, NY

There isn’t a whole lot to choose from, but the Wingate by Wyndham Ellicottville seems to be a solid choice (and Corinne’s choice – see above), and the indoor pool might just seal the deal for families with younger kids. If you’re looking for something less mainstream like a condo, those are available as well.

Check here for the latest hotel prices in Ellicottville.

  • Ski Magazine's Top Kid-Friendly Resorts for 2023 - East

    1.) Smuggler’s Notch, VT
    2.) Bretton Woods, N.H.
    3.) Waterville Valley, N.H.
    4.) Mad River Glen, Vt.
    5.) Wachusett Mountain, Mass.
    6.) Holiday Valley, NY
    7.) Mont Tremblant, Qué.
    8.) Jay Peak, VT
    9.) Magic Mountain, Vermont
    10.) Sugarloaf Resort, Maine


Jay Peak Resort – Jay, Vermont

With an infusion of investment in the past few years, Jay Peak may be the best resort you’ve never heard of – especially for those who usually ski in the west. Hidden away next to the Canadian border, those in the know flock to Jay for the 349″ of average yearly snowfall, but with a new slope-side indoor water park and luxe accommodation, Jay Peak has turned into a family winter destination that should be at the top of your list.

Jay Peak Resort Vermont - best kids skiing
PC: Jay Peak Resort

Jay is best suited for families with a few years of skiing under their belt. Their easy-going policy for skiing the trees and glades is legendary, but don’t let that scare you off. There’s lots of beginner terrain to explore, and when you’re done, the Pump House Water Park is a destination all by itself.

Float around the lazy river to forget about all that ails you, but for those still looking for some adventure, check out La Chute that drops you 65 ft. or carve it up on their Flowrider. A huge water playground is perfect for the little ones, and indoor and outdoor hot tubs are just the place to soak and brag about the day’s best runs.

Jay Peak Resort - best ski resorts for families
PC: Jay Peak Resort

Where to stay at Jay Peak Resort

Hotel Jay and Conference Center

Hotel Jay at Jay Peak - best hotel for kids at Jay Peak
PC: Hotel Jay/Lenny Chris

Jay has a wide variety of hotel rooms, suites, condos, and cottages that are all ski-in, ski-out or close walking distance to everything at the resort, but for families, we’ve got to go with the Hotel Jay and Conference Center simply because that’s where the water park is located. Studios and suites are nicely appointed with kitchens, and for those who don’t want to cook, there’s Mountain Dick’s Pizza. You just can’t go wrong with water parks and pizza.

Book directly with Jay Peak here.

5th and 6th graders ski free!

  • Skiing with a 5th or 6th grader?

    Many states offer special ski passes for 5th and 6th graders totally free or only for a nominal processing fee. Be sure to apply before you go and save some big money!

    Click on each state below for information on that state’s program and to apply for a pass.

Ski Utah 5th and 6th Grade Passport

For 5th Graders:

For 6th Graders:

Colorado 5th and 6th Grade Passport:

For 5th Graders:

For 6th Graders:

5th Grade Passport Program

5th and 6th Grade Ski Free Passport Program

For 5th Graders:

For 6th Graders:

The best ski resorts for kids in Canada

Whistler Blackcomb, British Columbia

Chances are, when you’re the largest ski resort in North America, you’re going to have some things to do for kids and families. Whistler nails it with the best resort village anywhere, comfortable slope-side accommodation, incredible terrain spanning two enormous mountains, and family programming that keeps families coming back year after year. In our experience, Whistler is the best ski in ski out resorts for families period.Whistler Blackcomb Resort Olympic Rings - Whistler kids ski free

In addition to all this, Whistler has the coolest way to travel between mountains – the Peak 2 Peak Gondola. This engineering marvel holds two Guinness World Records – one for covering the largest unsupported span, and the other for being the highest lift of its kind. Kids will love a ride on the glass-bottom cabins, so be sure to wait the extra few minutes for one of those to come by. As you might expect, the views (and the smiles) are terrific and it connects some of the best skiing for families found anywhere! Whistler Blackcomb Peak2Peak Goldola - best kid friendly ski resorts

For family-friendly ski resorts in Canada, Whistler is tough to beat! To read more about this incredible ski resort, check out our posts on planning a great ski trip to Whistler with kids and also finding the best Whistler lodging for families. Whistler was one of our family’s very best family ski vacations.

Where to stay in Whistler with kids

Four Seasons Resort and Spa

Four Seasons Resort Whistler BC - best ski vacations for familiesFor our trip to Whistler, we stayed in the Westin Whistler Resort and Spa and we really loved it. For those looking for all the bells and whistles, the Four Seasons Whistler or the Fairmont Chateau Whistler are great luxury options.

Be sure to read our post on the best Whistler lodging for families to get a comprehensive look at some great family-friendly options in every price range.

Click here to compare the best prices for Whistler lodging.

Is your family skiing this winter?

Let us know where your favorite mountain is. We’re always looking for the best places to ski with kids, so tell us about some of yours, and we’ll see you out there!

Take a look at our Skiing with Kids board on Pinterest. Then follow us and pin this to your favorite board. Thanks!

best skiing for kids

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North America\'s Best Ski Resorts for Kids - [Updated for 2023-24!]

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    6 replies to "North America’s Best Ski Resorts for Kids – [Updated for 2023-24!]"

    • Claire

      Amazing pics I must say. Actually, I was planning to go on a ski holiday with my family and I was concerned about my daughter as she is just 5 years old.This is a really helpful guide.

      • Carrick Buss

        Hi Claire!

        I’m glad you found our guide useful! We worked really hard to pack as much useful info into it as we could, and we try to make it better each ski season.

        5 years old is a great time to ski actually – the earlier the better. Kids are pretty resilient on the slopes, and a half day lesson would be a good place to start for her. Take it slow and make sure there’s some other fun scheduled like tubing and plenty of hot cocoa and it will be a great trip!

        Enjoy the snow!


    • K Store

      Great article you shared, Thanks for sharing such type of precious article.

      • Carrick

        Thanks for reading K Store. We appreciate it! -C

    • C

      Does Smuggs still have airboarding? I don’t see it on their website and teen adrenaline junkies can only go down the straight, safe, gently sloping kiddie tube run once or twice before looking for MORE.

      • Carrick

        Not sure that they do…Bummer! Thanks for reading and happy carving. -Carrick

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