If you are looking for the best ski resorts in Colorado for families, this post has you covered. Every year, during our kids' winter school breaks, we love to travel for a destination ski vacation.
There is something so spectacular about skiing in Colorado's gorgeous Rocky Mountain range that makes it so special. Its wide-open trails and epic powdery conditions make it renowned! And it is definitely one of the most fun things to do in Colorado!
There's a reason why people flock to Colorado from all over the world to enjoy a memorable ski trip. Its epic terrain, limitless winter activities, and ski culture is some of the best out there. But it's not just for experts.
It is an optimal place made for family skiing and opportunities abound from beginners to expert skiers alike. But choosing the best ski resorts in Colorado for kids is important. Because not every ski resort is the same.
But this list of the 13 Best Ski Resorts In Colorado For Families to help make it easier. You can then choose which is the best ski resort in Colorado for your next family trip.
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The 13 Best Ski Resorts In Colorado For Families
Colorado's snow is something right out of the best winter books. It is epic for any winter activities, but especially for skiing which is why it is home to some of the best ski resorts in the world.
There are many great options, but which one's right for your family? Whether you want the legendary ski resorts with something for everyone or smaller, cozier ski resorts, you'll find it here.
Contributed by Keri, Bon Voyage With Kids
If you are looking for a ski resort that is big, beautiful, and close to Denver, with legendary slopes, consider Vail, Colorado. This ski resort has 4 mountains with over 5,500 acres of terrain and 360+ trails.
If you didn't know it, the gorgeous setting with pedestrian-friendly villages would make you think you are in the Austrian Alps.
About Vail, CO
With 5,317 skiable acres, Vail is one of the largest ski resorts in the world. It's acres of skiable terrain range from beginner runs to a terrain park to some of the best bowls in the country. Plus, there are plenty of family-friendly VRBO‘s in the villages making the slopes easily accessible (I'm talking fireplace, laundry, and a kitchen!)
Skiing in Vail is EPIC. There is a reason they call them the “Legendary Back Bowls.”
And while these bowls are definitely for more skilled and intermediate skiers, given the pitch and length, our 10-year-old son (an intermediate to advanced skier) was able to take them on. Any ski fan will love the chance to ski this legendary skiable terrain that is so vast, the people look like ants coming down the bowls when you view it from the chairlift.
But, if you aren't up for the back bowls, there are plenty of options for beginners, including kids. There is also the front side and the Blue Sky Basin area, and the long relaxed trails are great for family skiing.
You will find easy and intermediate slopes in Vail if you looking for resorts in Colorado for beginners. Though, over 50% of Vail's trails are intermediate or advanced, so keep that in mind.
Vail's kids' ski program is fabulous and includes age-appropriate lessons for young children. The instructors are experts in working with kids, and our kids all progressed during their week there.
Vail Apres Ski Activities
Like Beaver Creek, Vail offers a luxury ski resort experience. There are several kid-friendly activities at Vail including the Adventure Ridge Kids' Center which has an ice skating rink, sleigh rides, snowmobiling, dog sledding, tubing hill, and more. With a number of family hotels nearby, this ski resort has it all!
The connected, pedestrian-friendly mountain village is also a fantastic, walkable area full of restaurants and shops, and outdoor ice skating. In fact, there are a couple of Austrian restaurants that make you feel like you stepped foot in the alps. And, there is a helpful shuttle to get you around it your legs are tired after a day on the slopes.
On the Epic Pass, Vail is definitely one of the best Colorado ski resorts for families.
Contributed by Diane, Travels With Eli
Keystone is one of the best Colorado ski resorts to visit on a family ski vacation.
The ski school at Keystone is top-notch and the beginner terrain is extensive. Keystone has three different learning areas with magic carpet lifts (the easiest lift for beginners) and two kid-sized chair lifts.
Kids can feel comfortable skiing at their own speed down Schoolmarm, the resort’s 3.5-mile green run designated as a family ski trail. This resort also offers the unique experience of night skiing.
With an excellent ski academy with private lessons available as well as group lessons just for kids, Keystone is one of the best Colorado ski resorts for families.
Keystone, CO Apres Ski Activities
The skiing is great but there are also lots of fun kid-friendly things to do in Keystone besides skiing. You can take a gondola ride to the top of Dercum Mountain to play in the gigantic snow fort and access the incredible tubing hill. Or, bundle up and take a horse-drawn sleigh ride through the woods to a rustic cabin for dinner.
Keystone also has a huge ice skating rink for the older kids and a tiny rink for the little ones. The shops in River Run Village are fun to check out. Kids will especially love the Snack Shack with its variety of unique and fun treats. If you get cold walking around River Run, you can warm up at the huge fire pit.
There are also many great kid-friendly dining options in Keystone. The Haywood Cafe is a can’t-be-missed brunch spot. Pizza on the Run or Montezuma Roadhouse are both great options for dinner in River Run village.
Also on the Epic Pass, the whole family will love Keystone Ski Resort.
Contributed by Keri, Bon Voyage With Kids
Breckenridge was one of our very first Colorado resorts. We have since been there a few times.
It is a great choice for all levels of skiers with over 180 trails of beginner, intermediate and expert level terrain. There are 11 magic carpets at Breckenridge, which definitely makes it one of the best ski resorts in Colorado for beginners and kids who are just learning.
Plus, there are lots of fun activities in the area including ice skating, snowmobiling, horseback riding, and tubing, and a great town area to explore for apres ski.
Breckenridge has five peaks, which are Peaks 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 of the Rocky Mountain's 10-mile range. Each of the Peaks is defined by the type of terrain it offers, and Peak 9 is the area that is best for learning and budding ski bunnies.
In fact, the base of peak 8 and 9 is where you will find a lot of beginner slopes, making it one of the best ski resorts for beginners.
I love that Breckenridge thoughtfully outlines this information as it helps to avoid novice skiers ending up in the wrong place, which can be unsafe. The range of terrain definitely makes Breckenridge one of the best family ski resorts as there is really something for everyone.
Breckenridge has an awesome ski school program for anyone learning to ski. In fact, one of our first trips was with adult friends, one of whom was trying it for the first time! Their child group lessons are for kids ages 3-14. And, they just launched a new “All Terrain Program” for kids ages 7-14 who are comfortable on blue slopes and above.
Breckenridge, Apres Ski
One of the great things about Breckenridge is the variety of family-friendly activities to do in the area. Plus, there is a cute downtown area with a lot of kid-friendly restaurants and fun shops to enjoy post skiing. A free shuttle helps you get wherever you need to go.
Some of the off-slope winter activities include shopping and dining in the quaint town center. There are plenty of great restaurants for families.
There is also an awesome mountain coaster, historic tours of the town, and a mountain top Children's Museum! The Rec Center includes an ice arena that's open for ice skating, hockey, or other fun ice sports
With so much to offer families on and off the slopes, Breckenridge is one of the best ski resorts in Colorado for families!
Steamboat Springs, CO
Contributed by Keri, Bon Voyage With Kids
Steamboat Springs, also known as Ski Town, USA, is one of the best Colorado ski resorts for families. Our family visited last winter, and it was full of fantastic, epic ski conditions, excellent ski school, a great village and wonderful western town nearby, and lots of apres-ski activities.
With a wide variety of trails, something for every kind of skier.
Steamboat Springs is excellent for families. Trails are well-groomed, giving you the perfect skiing surface.
Steamboat has a great ski school program called SnowSports. It includes Happy Camp for kids ages 12 months to 2.5 years, Happy Camp Lessons for kids ages 2.5 years to 4 years old, Kids Camp lessons for ages 5 to 12 years old, and even teen lessons for kids ages 13-17.
So there really is something for every age and ability.
Like Vail, Steamboat Springs also has a back bowls area. While challenging and best suited for intermediate to advanced skiers, many of these are tree-lined. One of the things to be careful of is skiing too close to the tree line, as that can be a safety hazard. But, for more experienced skiers, they offer a great challenge.
Steamboat Springs has a bunch of runs that offer excellent skiing for all levels. And, they offer some nice apres-ski activities, including snowmobiling, ice skating, sleigh rides, a mountain coaster, dog sledding, night skiing, and tubing!
Steamboat also has their special tubing park called “Saddleback Ranch's Yee-Haw Tubing Hill” which is perfect for families with small children or beginners.
With plenty of powdery snow conditions, and excellent VRBO rentals perfect for families with ski-on-ski-off, Steamboat Springs is one of our favorites and one of the best ski resorts in Colorado for families.
Steamboat Springs Apres Ski Activities
One of the best parts of visiting Steamboat Springs is taking a day visit to one of the natural springs! There are a few beautiful natural hot springs in the area that are great for relaxing and rejuvenating after a day on the slopes.
One is right in the quaint western town center, and the other is called Strawberry Springs, a short drive outside of town.
We also love heading into town for a nice meal or a stop at historic, F.M. Light & Sons that has been in business since 1905 for some cowboy hats and Western wear. There are also great restaurants and lots of shopping.
This resort is on the Ikon Pass, and it is one of the best ski resorts in Colorado for families.
Winter Park, CO
Contributed by Keri, Bon Voyage With Kids
Winter Park Resort is a great option for families because it provides something for everyone! There are plenty of winter activities to do around the area like sledding, snowmobiling, and tubing.
You can also take advantage of their child care services that will provide your kids with an entertaining Winter Park experience while you get some time to yourself!
Winter Park also gets my vote as one of the best ski resorts in Colorado for beginners for both kids and adults! This is because their ski and snowboard program is designed for the learner, and is customized based on your needs. You can book either group or private lessons, and they offer an epic deal.
For $149, you can get everything you need to begin to learn to ski, including rentals, lift tickets, and a half-day instruction – now this is an incredible deal! Few resorts offer such a comprehensive offering at a price like this, so it is definitely one of the best ski resorts in Colorado for beginners.
If the entire family is new to skiing, Winter Park is one of the best family ski resorts as you can book a group private lesson for up to five family members. With their guest-centered lessons, they can customize the lessons just for your family!
Winter Park Apres Ski
In addition to the skiing activities, Winter Park offers the Coca-Cola tubing park for snow tubing, Snow Go Bike Tours, snowmobiling, and Snow Shoe tours (both during the day and at night!) You can also take an astronomy tour to catch the gorgeous winter sky at night, take a scenic snowcat tour in the day or in the evening with a special S'mores treat, ice skating, uphill skiing tours, and more!
There is so much to do both on and off the slope for families, which is why Winter Park is one of the best Colorado ski resorts for kids.
There is lots of lodging on the property or in nearby VRBO‘s to book at Winter Park for a great family ski resort vacation in Colorado.
Winter Park is on the Ikon Pass.
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More of the Best Ski Resorts In Colorado For Families
A few more ski resorts that should definitely be in consideration for the best family ski resorts are some of these. Some are lesser-known, but they still offer some of the best Colorado skiing and family-friendly offerings.
Located about an hour and a half from Denver, Copper Mountain Resort is a great option for those looking to ski a few days but not commit to a full week.
There are plenty of activities in the area including shopping, dining, and miles and miles of cross-country skiing trails! Copper Mountain also offers a ton of on-site activities for kids' adventure such as snowmobiling, tubing, and a giant ice skating rink.
Copper Mountain is a great option for families who want to ski together but have different ability levels. It's also one of the best ski resorts in Colorado for beginners because it offers many runs that are perfect for that level of expertise.
What makes Copper Mountain one of the best ski resorts in Colorado for families are the kids' offerings, including their indoor sports and youth play area called Woodward. There is also an indoor training facility with trampolines and foam pits called the Barn. There is also childcare, ski lessons, and a mountain coaster making it one of the best family ski resorts in Colorado.
Copper Mountain is on the Ikon Pass and there is onsite lodging.
A cozy little ski resort located just south of Durango, Colorado, within the San Juan Mountains, Purgatory is one of the best ski resorts for families because it's a smaller size so your kids won't get lost in big crowds. Purgatory offers many kid-friendly activities including sledding and tubing.
They also have a super cool ice skating rink in nearby Durango that is perfect for families! Plenty of kids' clubs and kids' night out activities are also available so be sure to check out their website for more information.
One of the reasons Purgatory is one of the best Colorado ski resorts for kids is that kids 12 and under ski for free. You read that right. Kids ages 12 and under get a free lift ticket with the Powder Kids pass all winter, with no black-out dates, no purchase necessary, and no strings attached! Now that's kid-friendly!
Additional onsite activities include ski lessons, the Inferno mountain coaster, Snowcat tours, snowshoe tours, snowmobiling, sleigh rides, and more.
You can buy a lift ticket direct from Purgatory Durango Resort.
Beaver Creek ski resort is a great option for your whole family because it is so easy to get around and offers so many different options! In addition to great ski lessons, making it one of the best ski resorts in Colorado for beginners, Beaver Creek offers a unique Ski Girls Rock program designed by Olympic Gold Medalist Lindsey Vonn.
There are also child, teen, and adult lessons, childcare, and a wide range of skiing for all ages and abilities. Like Vail, Beaver Creek is a ski resort with luxury as Beaver Creek Mountain Village provides a range of dining options and shopping activities apres ski. Families can enjoy ice skating, ice bikes, Beaver Creek Wonder (an artistic playground full of beautiful creations), snowshoeing, and more.
Traditionally, Beaver Creek offers 3 pm Cookie Time, which is a beloved family tradition of legendary chocolate chip cookies. This has been temporarily suspended in the 2021/22 ski season.
Approximately a two-hour drive from Denver, Beaver Creek is definitely one of the best ski resorts in Colorado for families. Beaver Creek is on the Epic Pass and there is resort lodging on site.
Aspen Snowmass is another good option for families because it's located in the Elk Mountains which makes it easy to access. It also has 3, 349 skiable acres, making it the second-largest in Colorado. It is one of the four mountains of Aspen, including Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk, and Aspen Highlands. But, Aspen Snowmass is renowned for being one of the best family ski resorts of the four mountains.
You can also find great skiing and snowboarding runs that are perfect for beginner and intermediate skiers and riders. Some of what makes Snowmass one of the best Colorado ski resorts for kids include wide, family-friendly ski runs, outstanding ski, and ride lessons, and family-friendly activities.
Après-ski activities for families at Aspen Snowmass include snow tubing, fun evening winter activities at Elk Camp, the Treehouse Kids Adventure Center, and an alpine coaster. There are also two towns and plenty of family-friendly restaurants and lodging.
Snowmass is on the Ikon Pass. Aspen is the closest airport at four miles away.
Crested Butte is a great resort because it's located in the beautiful Elk Mountains. Nearby to a quaint, classic ski town, your family will have a blast exploring the town and going on various adventures!
A lot of activities are available for kids including lessons at their award-winning ski and ride school. Lessons are grouped by child, teen, and adult, which makes it one of the best Colorado ski resorts for kids.
They also have an ice skating rink that your kids are sure to love, as well as snow showing, cross country skiing, and more. There is onsite lodging at Crested Butte.
Crested Butte is on the Epic pass and is about four hours from Denver. The Gunnison Crested Butte Regional Airport is the closest airport.
Sunlight Mountain Resort is located in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. This resort is great because it has something for everyone!
A smaller resort, Sunlight Mountain is known as one of the best ski resorts in Colorado for families because you can get a full day of skiing for about half the cost of the mega-resorts. It is also one of the best Colorado ski resorts for kids because kids age 12 and under ski free with some of the ski, stay, and play packages! There are also great ski lessons for kids ages three years old and up.
It is also nearby the Glenwood Hot Springs, making it a fun vacation that can include skiing, swimming, and staying. Glenwood Springs and Carbondale are two mountain towns often hailed as the best towns in the United States.
There are plenty of activities to enjoy around the area like sledding, visiting the hot springs, snowmobiling, and tubing. Sunlight doesn't have onsite lodging but it partners with several nearby hotels to offer family packages.
Sunlight is a bit over an hour from Aspen, CO.
Telluride is a great place to take your family because it's located in the beautiful San Juan Mountains. It is nestled in a European-style pedestrian village and has a historic old mining town center.
Telluride is another great Colorado ski resort for families because it has family-friendly runs that are suited just for beginners. It boasts non-crowded runs, and as one of the best ski resorts in Colorado for beginners, newer skiers can get a view from the top while skiing down a green slope.
Kid and adult lessons are available in groups or in private lessons, and with 23% beginner's slopes, you can certainly come to this Colorado ski resort if you are new to skiing. There is also a kids camp nursery for the little one's ages 1-4 years old.
Aside from skiing, there are many different activities for kids including horseback rides, snowmobiling sledding, and hot chocolate making, billing it as one of the best Colorado ski resorts for kids.
Telluride is on the Epic Pass. It is three hours from Glenwood Springs, CO, and four hours from Denver, CO. The Telluride Regional Airport is located four miles away. There are onsite rentals perfect for families with ski on ski-off accessibility.
Arapahoe Basin is a great Colorado ski resort for families because it's located near Denver. You can drive there in about an hour or you can also fly into the nearby airport and be on the slopes faster than you thought possible!
The best part of Arapahoe Basin is that they offer lessons for all ages including adults. It has a lot of beginner to intermediate slopes and is known for having one of the longest runs in North America.
Arapahoe Basin – sometimes called “A-Basin” is what some call an “old school” resort, with one central lodge. The Pika Place area is good for families with a magic carpet and a mini terrain park.
Kids will love the child-centered lessons and kids' center designed to get them comfortable with skiing, and they get to meet “Ace”, the mountain goat mascot. There are also snowshoeing tours for those interested in more than skiing. Your children will also love the child care services that are available to them.
Lodging is not available slopeside, but you can stay at nearby Breckenridge or Keystone and come over for a day trip or rent a nearby VRBO. Some people use the parking lot (a.k.a. The Beach) for gatherings and parties, so be forewarned. But that aside, for a smaller, simple family ski resort, Arapahoe Basin is on the list as one of the best ski resorts in Colorado for kids.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is The Most Family Friendly Ski Resort In Colorado?
This is a tough one to answer because there are several family-friendly ski resorts in Colorado. It depends on if you are looking for activities, skiing, ski lessons, or lift ticket prices.
Our family loves Steamboat Springs, because of its family-friendly ski on/ski off lodging, night skiing, excellent ski lessons, mountain coaster, and hot springs. But, Winter Park offers family lessons, and both Purgatory and Keystone offer kids ages 12 and under free skiing. So I would say these are the top four most family-friendly ski resorts in Colorado.
What Are The Best Skiing Resorts In Colorado For Beginners?
Crested Butte is a great place to take your family on a ski vacation. This resort is perfect for beginners because it is a bit smaller than some of the mega-resorts but still offers a lot for new skiers.
Winter Park, however, offers a great deal for beginners as well as family lessons. For the 2021/22 ski season, you can get a half-day lesson, rentals, and lift tickets for only $149, making it one of the best skiing resorts in Colorado for beginners.
Finally, Telluride is worth a look, as they have some long green (easy) slopes that go from the top of the mountain down, so you don't have to just ski on the bottom half of the slope if you are a beginner.
What Are The Best Ski Resorts In Colorado For Kids?
Once again, this depends on what you are looking for. But given that kids ages 12 and under ski free, I would say Keystone Resort and Purgatory Durango are two of the best ski resorts in Colorado for kids!
We also love Vail, for their outstanding ski and ride school and epic ski areas, and for their Adventure Ridge adventure park. Steamboat Springs is also wonderful for kids, with a wide variety of ski areas that cater to all abilities and because there is so much to do for kids of all ages.
Is Breckenridge Ski Resort Good For Kids?
Breckenridge is a great ski resort for kids because it's close to Denver and has a range of ski lessons for all ages. It also has beginner slopes so your children will love it.
Breckenridge Ski Resort has thoughtful kid programs and a range of terrain for all ages, as well as a mountain top Children's Museum. Plus, with several off-slope winter activities kids love, Breckenridge ski resort is good for kids.
What Is The Most Visited Ski Resort In Colorado?
Breckenridge is the most visited resort in Colorado because it's close to Denver. It also has a lot of beginner slopes, making it perfect for families with children.
Final Thoughts On The Best Ski Resorts In Colorado For Families
If you are looking for world-class skiing and something for all ages, Colorado has the best ski resorts for families. But, choosing which one is right for your family and which are the best ski resorts in Colorado for kids can be overwhelming.
We hope this article helped you learn more about where to go for family ski trips. We wish you the best on your journey, and we hope that you end up having a fantastic time! Before you head out on your ski adventure, be sure and check out my ski trip packing list for families to be sure have everything you need.