Before you had kids, ski trips were all about hitting those double black diamonds and then, of course, the bar. Now they’re all about finding new fun ways to entertain the youths without driving yourself crazy in the process. Here are seven awesome resorts kids (and adults) of all ages will enjoy. (Psst, there’s even one where your pup can come along.)
Stowe Mountain Resort (Stowe, VT)
Best for: Families that want to do more than just ski
If it’s good enough for the Von Trapp family, then it’s good enough for yours. The real Sound of Music clan settled here after fleeing Europe and continue to run the Trapp Family Lodge today. The mountain has plenty of beginner-level trails, but there are also a number of other activities available like baking classes, yoga and snowshoeing. Oh, and don’t forget to pop by the Ben & Jerry’s factory in nearby Waterbury for a tour and a scoop of Chubby Hubby.
Northstar California Resort (Truckee, CA)
Best for: Families who get bored easily
Are your little ones constantly complaining that there’s nothing to do (despite all the toys piling up in your basement)? Well, they’ll have nothing to gripe about with the Tahoe Value Pass, which allows access to not one, not two but three awesome resorts, Heavenly, Kirkwood and Northstar. Bonus: If your kids really do manage to ski all 283 runs before the end of your vacation, they’ll still be entertained by the tubing hill, bungee trampoline and build-your-own-s’mores cookouts Northstar offers.
Deer Valley (Park City, UT)
Best for: Little Olympians in the making
Three-time Olympian Heidi Voelker is the resort’s official Ambassador of Skiing, meaning your family will be sharing the slopes with one of alpine skiing’s most accomplished veterans. Deer Valley is also home to a very highly regarded ski school (for all levels) and NASTAR racing courses. Ambitious athletes can compete to see how they compare with other skiers from across the country or you can stand on the sidelines and cheer with a cup of cocoa in hand.
Snowmass (Aspen, CO)
Best for: First-time skiers
If this is the very first time your little guy will be strapping on a pair of skis, then the last thing you want is for some hotshot ten-year-old to woosh past and knock him down. Luckily, Snowmass has three separate beginner areas specifically designated for first-timers of any age. For novices who are six and under, the Treehouse Kids’ Adventure Center is pretty much heaven in a ski resort (seriously, they’re never going to want to leave). It was designed by the same team who constructed Universal Studios and offers a safe space for little ones to take lessons, play with friends and sip cocoa while the adults are off doing their own thing.
Big Sky Resort (Big Sky, MT)
Best for: Families who just can’t leave their four-legged family members behind
The third largest ski resort in the U.S., this place is too big to feel crowded. But the real reason we love this place is the team of rescue dogs that patrol the mountain, keeping skiers safe and offering the chance to get some extra fuzzy snuggles. Oh, and we can’t forget to mention that kids under ten ski free if you stay at one of the resort’s onsite lodging options (which have pet-friendly rooms, as well).
Okemo Mountain Resort (Ludlow, VT)
Best for: Families who want to get away from the cold and crowds
The East Coast has a reputation for frigid winds and icy trails, but Okemo manages to be a safe haven from both thanks to its enclosed bubble lifts and pristinely groomed, wide-open trails. Most of the 121 tails are rated intermediate, so newbies and experts are less likely to book a stay here, meaning you and your crew will feel like you have the mountain all to yourselves. And you can take as many snack breaks as you want with six dining lodges scattered across the trails.
Telluride (Telluride, CO)
Best for: Families that would rather do their own thing
Your 14-year-old would rather die than be seen with you on the slopes. (It’s OK, she’ll be back once she realizes how awesome your shoe collection is.) Luckily for her, and other independent members of the fam, Telluride is perhaps the most walker-friendly ski town in all of North America. There’s a free gondola that connects the resort with restaurants and art galleries in the old mining town, which runs from 7 a.m. to midnight, making it super easy for skiers to pop back and forth between activities.