For parents, perhaps the only thing better than hitting the slopes themselves is seeing their little ones learn to love the snow, too. Therefore, it shouldn’t be too surprising that ski areas are some of the most popular winter vacation destinations on earth. But not all mountains are created equal. With nearly 500 operating ski resorts in the country, it can be tough to choose the best place for the family.
That’s why we went on a trek for the best places in America to ski with kids. To narrow down our list to only 30, we consulted travel experts and avid skiers, compared lesson programs, and even took into account other kid-friendly activities in the area. While there are certainly more than 30 excellent ski destinations in the United States, the resorts on this list are rightfully proud of their family-friendly atmospheres and reputations.
Arapahoe Basin Ski & Snowboard Area
For kids, a day spent at Arapahoe Basin in Keystone, Colorado begins at the Kids Center. They’ll learn about all the neat things they can do while visiting the resort. They’ll meet Rio the avalanche dog, and experience — safely of course — what it feels like to ski down the resort’s biggest slopes. Then it’s off to their own lesson. Experienced instructors provide useful tips about snow safety, the local environment, and skiing or snowboarding. These lessons can be arranged privately, or in groups of four arranged by age.
Snowmass Village, Colorado
Aspen is one of the world’s premiere ski destinations. At Aspen Snowmass, both kids and parents can enjoy the slopes at their own pace and experience level. Kids can spend the day with the Treehouse Kids Interactive Adventure Center. Here they can socialize with games and hot chocolate, or hit the slopes with expert instructors. Snowmass has several hills that have been adapted especially for kids. They can learn to ski here while parents hit up the tougher slopes.
Beaver Creek Resort
Beaver Creek, Colorado
Families with young children will love their experience at Beaver Creek Resort. This upscale picturesque ski destination has been repeatedly recognized by the National Ski Area Association for its overall safety. This record is especially apparent in its top-notch lessons program. Young skiers will enjoy the mountaintop stand selling hot chocolate and freshly baked cookies, along with the off-slope sleigh rides and ice skating rink.
Big Sky Resort
Big Sky, Montana
There is nothing more stressful than trying to teach a child to ski amongst huge crowds. Fortunately that’s not a problem at Big Sky Resort in Montana. This fantastic resort enjoys minimal crowds so the whole family can enjoy the slopes comfortably. Lessons are available, as are other activities such as a high-ropes course, ziplining tours, sleigh rides, and even dog sledding. And with a name like Big Sky, you can bet the views are absolutely incredible.
Bretton Woods, New Hampshire
With 464 acres and more than 60 trails, Bretton Woods is New Hampshire’s largest ski area. The region averages 200 inches of snow annually, so it’s quite the destination for New England skiers. For time spent off the slopes, kids will love the kids-only snowmobiles, tubing hills, ice skating rink, and slopeside climbing wall. Bretton also offers two schools suitable for young skiers. The Ski & Snowplay Program is for ages 3 to 5. The Hobbits Ski & Snowboard School is for ages 4 to 12.
Camelback Mountain Resort
No matter how your kids want to enjoy the snow, they’ll find it at Camelback Mountain Resort in the Poconos. Camelback offers children’s lessons for both skiing and snowboarding, plus a mountain coaster, two terrain parks, and a hill just for tubing. When they’re done skiing for the day, kids will love the indoor water park located right at the resort.
Crested Butte Mountain Resort
Crested Butte, Colorado
Beautiful Crested Butte Mountain Resort is a thrilling destination for kids of all ages. The resort offers a wide selection of lesson types for beginning skiers. It also offers more unique snow activities like guided ski tours, snowshoeing, cross-country trails, and even horseback riding on winter trails.
Deer Valley Resort
Park City, Utah
One of two Park City, Utah-based resorts to make our list of the best places in America to ski with kids, Deer Valley Resort is an ideal destination for families looking to enjoy the snow. It’s not the biggest resort in the region in terms of acreage. Deer Valley sells a limited number of lift tickets per day, ensuring that the slopes remain safe and uncrowded. Kids can take one-on-one or small group lessons with a professional instructor. They can also enjoy the Adventure Camp or participate in activities on the Adventure Trails. A children’s center is also available.
Diamond Peak Ski Resort
Incline Village, Nevada
This beautiful mountain resort on the Nevada side of the Sierras is one of the most popular ski destinations for families. Diamond Peak is fun and safe for kids, who have access to their own learning area and surface area. Lessons can be booked through the Diamond Peak Child Ski Center, which employs experienced instructors for both skiing and snowboarding. Beginning skiers will be fitted with the right equipment and enjoy a private or small group lesson. They can spend the rest of their day tubing, playing organized snow games, or warming up inside the Children’s Center with crafts and snacks.
Discovery Ski Area
Experienced skiers know Discovery Ski Area as one of the go-to places for adrenaline-inducing slopes, but this picturesque resort is also an excellent place to ski with kids. The Kinderski Center, with its snow-themed games and toys, offers a wonderful introduction to the joys of mountain life and snow sports. The center even provides napping mats! Beginning skiers can join a small lesson group which focuses on learning to ski through play. Kids older than six can learn the basics of snowboarding, and experienced skiers can enjoy the many immaculately groomed trails and slopes.
From the easy-access ski lifts to the immaculately groomed hills, just about everything at Granby Ranch is designed for families. The resort has a number of trails catering to skiers of all ages and ability levels. Lessons are available to kids as young as three years old. They consist of games, group activities, and even a little bit of competition to instill confidence and basic skills in future skiers.
Grand Targhee Ski Resort
With 2,000 acres of ski terrain, Grand Targhee is not the biggest ski resort in the country. But what it lacks in acreage it makes up for in kid and family-friendly offerings. Kids can grab a Kids-Only Trail Map that shows them where they can find all the best activities and kid-friendly trails and slopes. Lessons are available with instructors that start the kids right on powdery slopes. This unique opportunity is possible because of Alta’s average 500 annual inches of snowfall.
Greek Peak Mountain Resort
Cortland, New York
Greek Peak Mountain Resort has it all! New skiers as young as three years old can sign up for lessons through the Junior Ride and Ski School. Kids younger than that can have fun in the babysitting program. Fat bikes (bikes designed to be ridden over snow) can be rented on site, as well as sleds, tubes, and snowshoes. After a long day of enjoying the snow, warm up and relax at the indoor water park which includes its own lazy river for floating.
Heavenly Mountain Resort
South Lake Tahoe, California
One of four places in and around Lake Tahoe to make our list, Heavenly is another great family-friendly snow destination. Heavenly’s experienced ski instructors are top notch, making this a great resort to sign up the whole family for a ski or snowboard lesson. If just the kids need lessons, group lessons here are small and separated by age to ensure that each child receives personalized instruction suitable for their age level. For kids too young to hit the slopes, parents can leave them with the Heavenly Child Care Center, which offers one-on-one nanny services for even the youngest guests.
Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort
Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort in the Northern Berkshires is a great place for kids to learn to ski. Signing up for a day of ski or snowboard lessons comes with a full day on the slopes, lunch, and hot chocolate breaks. Off the slopes, fire pits are perfect for roasting s’mores, while the mountain resort offers plenty of restaurants and entertainment suitable for the whole family.
There’s a good reason (or rather, a lot of good reasons) Keystone Resort in Colorado ranks at the top of countless “Best Of” lists. This place absolutely caters to young skiers! Keystone offers plenty of beginner-friendly terrain, along with a big menu of lessons and activities for kids of all skiing abilities. Complimentary cookies from the lodge and special events like snow scavenger hunts make it easy to see why this is one great place to ski with kids.
Northstar California Resort
Located just a short distance from Lake Tahoe, Truckee’s Northstar California Resort is an easy addition to our list of the best places in America to ski with kids. Kids three years old and up have multiple lesson types to choose from. The more than 90 slopes and trails provide for a vast range of experience and ability levels. A new Kids Adventure Zone also allows kids to learn about the local area while skiing in blue terrain. When the family is not on the slopes, they can enjoy live music, ice skating, a bungee trampoline, and even a village cinema.
Okemo Mountain Resort
Families with kids will love skiing at Okemo Mountain Resort! Children too young to ski can spend the day with Penguin Playground Day Care, while the rest of the family can enjoy a selection of slopes suitable for a range of abilities. The Okemo instructors are some of the best in the business. They can be hired to work one-on-one with kids hoping to improve certain skills. Small group lessons are also available.
Park City Mountain Resort
Park City, Utah
With more than 7,300 acres of terrain, plus a massive base area packed with things to see and do, Park City Mountain Resort in Utah is a great place to ski with kids. Private and group lessons are available on slopes appropriate for beginning skiers. A snow play hill can provide hours of entertainment for kids participating in the Little Adventures Children’s (childcare) Center. Other fun activities that kids are sure to enjoy include a toboggan-style alpine coaster, the Flying Eagle zipline, and sleigh rides.
Smugglers’ Notch Resort
Smugglers’ Notch, Vermont
Ski Magazine named Smugglers’ Notch Resort the most kid-friendly resort in the eastern United States, and we agree! Few resorts separate their group lessons by (very specific) age. But that’s exactly what the professional instructors at Smugglers’ Notch do. Kids as young as 2.5 years old can learn on the TREASURES nursery slope, while kids ages 4-20 have dedicated slopes and trails for their age groups, too. Smugglers’ Notch even has a unique Adaptive Program that provides personalized therapeutic recreation for children and adults of all abilities.
Snow King Mountain
Skiing and other snow activities are a big part of the local culture in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. So it’s a natural that Snow King Mountain is on our list of the best places to ski with kids. There are dozens of slopes and trails for every ability level, and you can get to any via the extensive network of gondolas and lifts. Kids will have a blast at the Tube Park, while the snowshoeing trails here offer the bonus of spotting elk and other wildlife along the way.
Snowshoe Mountain Ski Resort
Snowshoe, West Virginia
There are a ton of fun snow-related activities at Snowshoe Mountain Ski Resort in West Virginia. Families can hop on a four-seat Polaris for an off-roading tour of the mountains. Or they can head to the 8-lane Coca-Cola Tube Park with its tubing hills as high as six stories. Kids can join in on ski and snowboard lessons with local instructors, then take an evening tour of the basin to see the slopes by night.
Steamboat Ski Resort
Steamboat Springs, Colorado
Steamboat Ski Resort is one of the best places to ski with kids, and Steamboat Springs, Colorado ranks among America’s best ski destinations. No matter which level they ski, kids can learn with a pro at Steamboat’s Snowsports School. The youngest of young skiers can participate in fun snow-related activities through the Kids Vacation Center. Check the calendar before your ski trip. The town hosts a number of fun events throughout the winter months, including the Winter Carnival and the Springalicious Festival.
Stowe Mountain Resort
Stowe Mountain Resort in Vermont consists to two peaks that are ideal for snow sports. At 4,395 feet, Mount Mansfield is Vermont’s highest peak, with lots of different terrain and even some double-black diamond trails. Smaller Spruce Peak is perfect for young skiers, and the resort’s excellent lesson programs take place on its gentle runs. If your kids are interested in cross-country skiing, check out the trails at Trapp Family Lodge run by the von Trapp family of Sound of Music fame.
Stratton Mountain Ski Resort
Stratton Mountain Ski Resort is one of two Vermont-based mountains to make our list as one of the 30 best places in America to ski with kids. A whopping 41% of Stratton’s terrain is classified novice, while an additional 31% is classified intermediate. This makes Stratton ideal for children just learning to ski. Kids can sign up for private instruction, or group lessons based on their age. Off the slopes, the actual town of Stratton is practically postcard perfect and a fun place to spend time as a family.
With 2,600 feet of vertical slopes and 111 different trails, Sugarbush Resort has something for all skiers of all skill levels. Find a hill that suits the whole family, or register kid for age-appropriate lessons with experienced instructors. For those who enjoy snowshoeing, there are more than 28 wood areas to enjoy. Sugarbush also offers guided adventures into nearby Slide Brook Basin where wildlife is often easily spotted. And when it’s time head to the bigger slopes, parents can feel comfortable leaving their kids at the Adventure Zone. The little ones will have a blast with basketball nets, trampolines, ping-pong tables, and more.
Sun Valley Resort
Sun Valley, Idaho
Sun Valley Resort in Idaho boasts 65 varied runs, over 2,000 acres, and not one, but two mountains. Such features make Sun Valley an easy addition to our list of the best places in America to ski with kids. Young skiers can sign up for private or group lessons, or work with an instructor on specific skills. There are 30 acres of themed Adventure Trails for kids. Dollar Mountain is one of the best places on earth to become acquainted with true downhill sports. Kids can also enjoy the sleigh rides, ice skating, bowling, movies, and other fun activities at the resort.
Taos Ski Valley
Taos, New Mexico
Kids will love skiing in a place as enchanting as Taos where ancient pueblos and a unique local arts scene make for fun sightseeing experiences. On the slopes of Taos Ski Valley, kids can take individual or group lessons with some of the most respected instructors in the business and on a wide selection of slopes and trails. The resort’s state-of-the-art children’s center also offers a ton of kid’s activities.
Telluride Ski Resort
At Telluride Ski Resort, kids can improve their skiing while learning about the local environment. The long list of children’s activities includes Eco Adventures where kids can explore the mountain environment with an experienced instructor. Other fun activities include snowmobiling, dog sledding, snow biking lessons, snow shoe tours, and of course, plenty of skiing and snowboarding.
Yosemite Ski & Snowboard Area
Yosemite National Park, California
Yosemite’s designated ski and snowboard area is the oldest ski resort in California, and one of the country’s best places to ski with kids. Children ages four to six can sign up for the Badger Pups Downhill Ski/Snowboard Program, which includes two lessons during their time at Yosemite. Snowboarding lessons and slopes and cross-country trails are also available.