New To Ski

21 Best Family Ski Resorts in the U.S. (2022) All Ages!

by Simon Naylor | Updated: October 27th, 2022
family skier in snow

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There’s certainly no shortage of ski resorts to visit and slopes to conquer across the massive and diverse landscape that lay across the United States of America.

To help make planning your next family adventure & after hundreds of hours of research, we’ve compiled a list of the absolute best ski resorts in the US. We’ve reviewed resorts from all major states, so you can find a resort near you that’s the perfect place to plan your winter family vacation.

Our Top Picks

    21. Massanutten Ski Resort

    Virginia

    skiing resort

    Massnutten Resort is located 10 miles from Harrisonburg the closest town and approximately 120 miles from Washington DC and 100 miles from Richmond. It is a very picturesque part of the Shenandoah Valley. From the top of the hill, you can get memorable views across the valley and to the Blue Ridge Mountains in the distance.

    Fun for Kids

    Private lessons are available for all ages although youngsters under six years need their own dedicated instructor. The resort’s instructors use the Terrain Based Learning system, where specially shaped snow features help students to control speed and body position.

    This builds confidence and removes the traditional fears and anxieties

    Family Skiing

    The skiable terrain extends over 70 acres of mostly lightly wooded terrain on one face of the hillside. To access the hill there are four chairlifts and three magic carpets, which are situated lower down in beginner areas.

    There are currently 14 different runs, with a selection of greens lower down for beginners and a mix of blues and blacks higher up in equal proportion. All the trails are now lit with LED lighting to extend the skiing day into darker evenings

    There are plans underway to expand the beginner terrain and make the snowmaking facilities more extensive to ensure better coverage during the season from December to March. The resort is a year-round business with golf and other activities during the summer.

    Massanutten also has three terrain parks and a snow tubing park. To have a rest from the slopes and grab a bite you can head to Base Camp, where you can choose between sandwiches, burgers, pizzas, pasta, and salads.

    The restaurant recommends diners check for seating availability via Yelp or the resort app, as the restaurant is very busy at peak times.

    Alternatively, you can try the casual dining of the Campfire Grill where you can choose from hand-crafted pizza, camp stove chili, chicken dumplings, steakhouse burgers, and skillets among others.

    Off the Slopes

    There is plenty of choice for accommodation at Massanutten Resort both on and off the mountain.

    At the resort, you can choose between the hotel rooms of Massanutten Resort Hotel or a selection of townhouse condos with all the amenities you’d expect. Alternatively, there is Woodstone Meadows with its selection of larger four-bedroom condos which are off the mountain but still nearby.

    What we love about Massanutten Resort

    • Within easy reach from Washington DC and Richmond
    • Good choice of runs to satisfy all abilities
    • Accommodation is available on and off the mountain
    • Family fun at the snow tubing park

    Massanutten Resort Stats

    Summit Elevation:2925 ft / 891.54 metres
    Skiable terrain: 70 acres
    Lifts:7
    Runs:18

    See also: Best Virginia Ski Resorts for Families

    20. Boyne Highlands

    Michigan

    Boyne Highlands
    Photo by Rachel Kramer licensed under CC BY 2.0

    Fun for Kids

    Kids from the age of 3-12 can take part in lessons offered by experienced instructors who are fully certified. The resort uses an award-winning technique to get first-timers confident on their skis. Called Terrain Based Learning the system uses shaped snow features to control skiers’ speed and posture. This leaves the skier feeling in control which in turn alleviates fears and anxieties.

    Classes are available for individuals or groups of similar ability and the resort also offers a flexible family lesson to enable the family to learn together. Additionally, cross-country skiing lessons are available for ages 7+.

    Family Skiing

    The Lower Peninsula of Michigan is a continual draw for tourists, flanked by Lake Huron and Lake Michigan for summer visitors, while the Huron Mountains offer a variety of sports during the winter.

    The regional airports of Harbor Springs, Pellston Regional, and Traverse City Cherry Capital are all serviced by the major domestic airline carriers.

    There are two Boyne ski resorts on the Lower Peninsula, Boyne Mountain, and Boyne Highlands, which are about 30 miles apart and managed by the same company. Boyne Highlands is slightly larger with 435 acres and a vertical drop of 552 ft (168 m).

    Boyne Mountain has livelier nightlife, while Boyne Highlands is more relaxed and low-key. Both resorts have activities beyond skiing including zip lines, winter horse trails, tubing, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing.

    Off the Slopes

    There is plenty of choice of lodging from upmarket hotel rooms and condos with full kitchens to home rentals. Other chalets and condos located around the resort are designed with an Alpine theme. The Main Lodge Hotel epitomizes luxury if you’re in search of indulgence.

    What we love about Boyne Highlands

    • Easy to get to with good roads and nearby airports
    • The ski school uses its own learning system
    • Plenty of resort lodging and an upmarket hotel in the Main Lodge

    Boyne Highlands Stats

    Summit Elevation:1290 ft / 393 metres
    Skiable terrain: 435 acres
    Lifts:10
    Runs:55

    See also: Best Michigan Ski Resorts for Families

    19. Stratton

    Vermont

    Most Beginner Ski Runs

    Stratton
    Photo by Jon Buckley licensed under CC BY 2.0

    Located on the highest mountain in Southern Vermont, Stratton has excellent snow, rapid lifts, a great variation of runs, and a high percentage of beginner trails. Plus, beautiful surroundings and a fantastic collection of non-ski activities.

    Fun for Kids

    The high-quality, resort-run childcare accepts kids from six weeks old, and they can begin private ski and snowboard lessons in three years. Groups are kept small – only three per instructor – to maximize individual attention. 

    Family Skiing

    Older kids can join group lessons with their peers or tear it up in one of five terrain parks. Start in the Progression Park, designed to get beginners to grips with the snow park features and move up from there.

    Off the Slopes

    Adults will love the slope-side, European-style village with its range of accommodation styles, spas, fitness center, shops, bars, and family-friendly restaurants. And the proximity to Manchester – only 20 minutes away – means a change of scene or a whole host of other amenities is on hand if necessary.

    What We Love About Stratton:

    • Kids as young as three can take private or small group ski or snowboarding lessons.
    • The European-style alpine village.
    • The tube park, ice rink, and other kid-friendly activities.
    • Snow parks for all levels, from beginners up to extreme athletes.

    Stratton Stats

    Summit Elevation:3875 ft / 1181 metres
    Skiable terrain: 670+acres
    Lifts:11
    Runs:99
    Parks:5

    See also: Best Vermont Ski Resorts for Families

    18. Bretton Woods

    New Hampshire

    1. Bretton Woods
    Photo by Mt. Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce licensed under CC BY 2.0

    Nestling in the heart of New Hampshire’s White Mountains, Bretton Woods, is a slick operation offering quality accommodation, well-organized skiing, and a welcome for families. The resort wins numerous annual awards, proving its popularity.

    Fun for Kids

    Lessons for skiers at Bretton Woods are aimed to be adaptable. There are private one-on-one lessons, where the instructor can concentrate on goals, or the lesson can be opened out to include family and friends who want to learn together.

    For nippers, aged 4-6 years, the Snow Play private lesson introduces youngsters to equipment and movement. The instructors understand all students are different, enabling them to guide kids at their pace. The lessons last for 60 min and then parents are updated on progress.

    Family Skiing

    As New Hampshire’s largest ski area Bretton Woods trails across three mountains and 464 acres. Widely wooded there are 63 trails and 35 glades to choose from. The resort has 23% of runs for beginners, 28% for intermediate, and 49% for advanced.

    With the highest elevation of 3100 ft (944 m), the vertical drop of 1500 ft (457 m) provides plenty of variety on the trails. Average snowfall is around 200 inches, while extensive snowmaking covers 92% of trails.

    Considerable investment means Bretton Woods has New Hampshire’s only eight-passenger gondola, as well as four high-speed quads. During vacations, the resort can get busy, but this extra uphill capacity will keep queues down.

    Bretton Woods has extensive Nordic skiing, for classic or skate skiing across varied terrain. Ski rental and repair are located on-site.

    Getting a bite to eat on the mountain can be as leisurely or quick as you like. The newly opened Rosebrook Lodge at the top of the Skyway Gondola gives some great views across to Mount Washington.

    Larger appetites can follow with salads, soups, and gourmet burgers. There are two additional cafes, Peaks Café, and Crystal Hills, for meals on the go.

    Off the Slopes

    Bretton Woods offers plenty of on-site upmarket lodging. This can be in the grandeur of the Mount Washington Hotel, the Bretton Arms Inn, or The Lodge and Townhomes. Outside of the resort are hotels and inns, as well as numerous condos and homes for rent.

    What we love about Bretton Woods

    • A well-thought-out and managed ski and snowboard resort
    • Great food variety on the slopes but a bit pricey
    • Busy during the vacations but fast lifts keep skiers moving

    Bretton Woods Stats

    Summit Elevation:3100 ft / 944 metres
    Skiable terrain: 464 acres
    Lifts:10
    Runs:98

    See also: Best New Hampshire Ski Resorts for Families

    17. Alyeska Ski Resort

    Alaska

    Alyeska Ski Resort
    The mountains of the Kenai Peninsula reflect in the unusually calm waters of Turnagain Arm as skiers ride the lift to the top of the run at Alyeska Ski Resort in Girdwood, Aalska.

    At first sight on the map, Alyeska Ski Resort may look like the back of beyond, but dig deeper and you will find a civilized, family resort with some great skiing and some of the best views around.

    Fun for Kids

    Lessons are best booked in advance, especially for youngsters under four and for groups of similar ability but different ages. Lessons generally take place at 11 AM and 2 PM and can be booked for one or two hours.

    Family Skiing

    Situated 40 miles east of Anchorage and its international airport, Alyeska is next door to the small town of Girdwood and its 2000 inhabitants.

    The main ski area is composed of different facets of the same mountain, including alpine bowls, some tree skiing, as well as a few groomed, tree-lined runs lower down which are ideal for beginners.

    The highest elevation is 2750 ft (840 m) so there are plenty of longer, top to bottom runs for intermediate skiers. 11% of runs are classed as beginner, 52% classed as intermediate and 37% classed as expert. Freestylers can also play in the terrain parks and mini pipe. There are six lifts in total, including a faster tram as well as two magic carpets lower down.

    A possible downside of the big scenery is the big weather that can accompany it. The exposed maritime setting can lead to occasional wild storms, which lead to trail closures.

    This also explains the phenomenal snowfall of 650 in (1650 cm) at the summit. The whole resort covers a colossal 1400 acres, of which 113 acres are covered with snowmaking.

    The northern latitude reduces daylight hours and so floodlit skiing takes place from Thursday to Saturday 4-9 PM.

    Off the Slopes

    In spite of the remote location, family accommodation is straightforward, courtesy of Hotel Alyeska, which is close to the base of the tram, making ski-in ski-out easy for the whole family. The 304-room hotel has several restaurants, a pool, hot tubs, a spa, and a fitness center.

    Outside of the resort, the local town of Girdwood has a selection of condos and Bed & Breakfasts. If you decide on a break from the slopes there are activities such as a glacier boat tour or Anchorage Museum, which is aimed at kids.

    What We Love About Alyeska

    • Alyeska and Alaska, in general, are well known for their vast and panoramic scenery
    • During weekdays lift tickets at Alyeska are cheaper
    • There are reduced packages for beginners which include lift tickets, lessons, and equipment rental.

    Alyeska Stats

    Summit Elevation:3939 ft / 1200 metres
    Skiable terrain: 1610 acres
    Lifts:7
    Runs:76

    See also: Best Alaska Ski Resorts for Families

    16. Sunday River

    Maine

    maine sunday river
    Photo by Udi h Bauman licensed under CC BY 2.0

    Sunday River has a vast array of trails — totaling over 130! There is plenty for your family to do on their winter vacation and no one will get bored too quickly. There is a range of lesson options for adults and children who want to boost their skiing skills this season.

    Fun for Kids

    For the kiddos, there is ice skating at the Grand Summit Hotel if they get tired from being outdoors all day. There is a SnowSports School that offers lessons for children in skiing and snowboarding — and even snow biking! Families can choose between day lessons and season-long programs if their local to the area.

    Family Skiing

    Sunday River has the ability to make snow and they ensure that it’s groomed to perfection for their guests to enjoy. There are eight peaks that are interconnected through the trail system and with 15 lifts, guests have spread apart from each other so even on busy days the mountain doesn’t feel too crowded.

    Off the Slopes

    Sunday River is known for being one of the higher-quality resorts but it still ensures that it keeps the ambiance of a smaller family-friendly area. Families can check out the small town of Bethel to grab a bite to eat off of the mountain and do some shopping.

    What We Love About Sunday River:

    • Great snowmaking capabilities to ensure good snow coverage
    • Night skiing available on the weekends and on holidays
    • A vast array of trails interconnected together
    • The nearby village of Bethel for dining options and other activities

    Sunday River Stats

    Summit Elevation:3140 ft / 957 metres
    Skiable terrain: 878 acres
    Lifts:18
    Runs:135

    See also: Best Maine Ski Resorts for Families

    15. Granite Peak at Rib Mountain State Park

    Wisconsin

    Granite Peak
    Photo by vxla licensed under CC BY 2.0

    Family Skiing

    Well established since 1937 and among some of the very first resorts in the USA, Granite Peak provides reliable, family skiing in the Midwest. Spanning one wooded mountainside the resort covers more than 200 acres with more than 60 runs and a vertical fall of 700 ft. If you enjoy tree skiing Granite Peak has plenty of challenges.

    Runs are equally split between green and blue, so there is plenty of scope for practicing beginners, although several black runs are dotted over the resort. Recent upgrades include the lift system, which includes one six-seat and two four-seat high-speed chairs.

    Of the four terrain parks, two are designed for kids, which are located close to the Santa and Blitzen lifts, that service the nearby beginner area. Amenities at Granite Peak congregate around the base area with all you need for a day’s skiing, including rentals, ski school, lift tickets, food & drink, and lockers.

    Fun for Kids

    Granite Peak is well geared up for lessons for kids right through to adults, using certified instructors. For new and beginner skiers aged 3 to 12 years (snowboard lessons start from 7+) the One-Day Lesson Programs are particularly popular and need booking early.

    Lessons are available Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and holidays and can be taken in the morning or afternoon or as a full day with lunch provided. For more experienced kids there are two progressive courses spread over three weeks.

    The first, The Rail Riders program teaches the fundamentals of freestyle skiing. While the second course teaches youngsters to improve their downhill skiing and snowboarding, as well as using the lift system safely.

    If you want a change from skiing one afternoon, kids can work off some energy at Sylvan Tubing Hill in nearby Wausau, which has six slopes. You don’t even have to climb the hill; a lift drags you to the top on the tube.

    Off the Slopes

    For lodging, Granite Peak is just a 10-minute drive from downtown and nearby Wausau is a further 10 minutes. Both towns are large enough to feature a diverse range of restaurants, as well as hotels, motels, and rentals to suit all pockets.

    What we love about Granite Peak

    • Granite Peak is a mid-size resort, which will satisfy beginners and progressing skiers
    • Recent lift upgrades should ensure queues are kept to a minimum
    • Lessons are comprehensive and even include freestyle skiing

    Granite Peak Stats

    Summit Elevation:1942 ft / 592 metres
    Skiable terrain: 155 acres
    Lifts:7
    Runs:58

    See also: Best Wisconsin Ski Resorts for Families

    14. Lutsen Mountain

    Minnesota

    lutsen
    Photo by Jereme Rauckman licensed under CC BY 2.0

    This largest ski resort in Minnesota was originally founded in 1948 by George Nelson and it has remained family-owned to the present day with Charles Skinner, the ski area pioneer, and the current owner. Initially, the nearby Sawtooth Mountains close to Lutsen Mountain remind many of New England, but this is wilder territory especially when you take the spectacular drive to Lutsen Mountain along the Shore Road of Lake Superior.

    Fun for Kids

    Lessons for kids are kept under the reins of Kinderschool, which offers two levels of lessons for the youngest skiers. Level I kids learn to put on their skis properly and how to ski a gentle slope. Lesson 2 moves on to stopping, turning independently, and improving confidence.

    The Mountain Rangers classes enable older kids to choose between four different difficulty levels, which have progressively more difficult activities. Private and semi-private lessons are also available where more individual tuition is required.

    Family Skiing

    Both young and old are always impressed with the surroundings of Lutsen Mountain. Whether looking inland over the Superior National Forest of birch and pine or over the quiet waters of Lake Superior spreading to the horizon.

    The mountains are Lutsen may not be the highest at 1088 ft (331 m) but they make up for it with a vertical fall of 825 ft (251 m). The skiing ranges over a massive 1000 acres offering a total of 95 runs.

    The difficulty of runs is fairly evenly split giving good variety for beginners and experts. 18% of runs are beginner, 47% intermediate, 25% advanced, and 10% expert. Snowfall for the season stretches to 120 inches, while snowmaking can easily maintain 231 acres.

    Lift facilities include an eight-passenger gondola, a six-passenger high-speed chair, a triple chair, and four double chairs. Traversing the four mountains making up the resort Lutsen Mountain has a reputation for wide cruisers and diverse terrain. Regulars say the best-kept secret is the 60 acres of tree skiing runs.

    For a break from skiing, you can try out one of the two terrain parks, where you can jib, and find banked corners, rollers, and jumps.

    Off the Slopes

    Featuring a variety of studio and condominium units, the ski-in ski-out, Eagle Ridge Resort is set amidst the flanks of peaceful Sawtooth Mountain. With a restaurant, swimming pool, and sauna you will question ever going home at all.

    Other local hotels and lodges are available, many of which line the shores of nearby Lake Superior.

    What We Love About Lutsen Mountain:

    • It’s a larger resort aimed at family vacations
    • Beautiful setting with the Sawtooth Mountains and Lake Superior
    • Varied ski in ski out accommodation

    Lutsen Mountain Stats

    Summit Elevation:1688 ft / 515 metres
    Skiable terrain: 393 acres
    Lifts:8
    Runs:62

    See also: Best Minnesota Ski Resorts for Families

    13. Mammoth Mountain

    California

    Mammoth
    Photo by Marty B licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

    As you may have gathered from the name, Mammoth Mountain is huge and there is plenty to do and see for everyone in the family. With over 3,500 skiable acres — you’ll have no problem staying entertained for the entirety of your vacation. It’s no wonder Mammoth is such a popular destination during the winter months!

    Fun for Kids

    For young kids (and teenagers!) Woolly’s Tube Park is a great break from skiing and the high-speed lanes offer a revitalizing rush of cold winter. The park offers scenic gondola rides, which are a big hit with the little ones as they can see the view from a bird’s eye view.

    Family Skiing

    If you want to take a break from the slopes for a few hours, the family can put on some Nordic skis or even snowshoes and try cross-country skiing at Mammoth Mountain! The resort also has guided snowmobiling adventures for those who want to take in the mountain scenery from a different point of view.

    Off the Slopes

    At the base of the mountain, visitors can find a wide range of dining options as well as lodges that will happily host them for the duration of their stay. The village often offers live music to entertain guests as well as a lively scene including activities such as karaoke! For the parents, there are plenty of adult beverage options to wind down the evening with.

    What We Love About Mammoth Mountain:

    • Impressive lift infrastructure within the resort
    • Neatly groomed and well-maintained tubing park
    • Beginner runs that are separate from the main trails
    • All ski bases are connected with a free shuttle service

    Mammoth Mountain Stats

    Summit Elevation:11053 ft / 3369 metres
    Skiable terrain: 3500 acres
    Lifts:25
    Runs:150

    See also: Best California Ski Resorts for Families

    12. Vail

    Colorado

    If you’re going on a family ski holiday, why not go with the best? Vail is one of Colorado’s oldest, and most well-known ski resorts. It’s famed for its great snow, excellent facilities, and endless activities for the whole family.

    Fun for Kids

    One of the main reasons Vail is so popular with families is the excellent Adventure Ridge fun zone. The young and the young at heart alike can have fun snow tubing, sledding, snow biking, snowmobiling, and riding the snow coaster. And don’t miss the outdoor ice rinks.

    Family Skiing

    There’s plenty for everyone in Vail, where the 195 trails are well split across all ski levels. Teens and expert skiers will love playing in the famous backcountry bowls of light, deep powder. And beginners will enjoy the many nursery zones, easy slopes, and a ski school that accepts children from three years old.

    Off the Slopes

    Don’t worry if you can’t ski yet. Adventure Ridge is accessible by gondola. And once you’ve worked up an appetite, stay up there for dinner at the child-friendly restaurants.

    What We Love About Vail:

    • Adventure Ridge fun zone.
    • Terrain for all the family.
    • The kudos for skiing in one of Colorado’s most famous resorts.

    Vail Stats

    Summit Elevation:11,570 ft / 3526.54 metres
    Skiable terrain: 5317 acres
    Lifts:31
    Runs:2

    See also: Best Colorado Ski Resorts for Families

    11. Mad River Mountain  

    Ohio

    Ski Resort 7

    Mad River Mountain ski resort has been attracting families since it opened in 1962. Midway between Bellefontaine and Marysville, just off Route 33, the resort is close to Peninsula, and just a few minutes from the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Mad River has the claim to have the largest snowmaking system in the whole of Ohio.

    Fun for Kids

    There is plenty of flexibility when it comes to lessons at Mad River Mountain. Kids on either skis or snowboards from 4 to 14 can learn either in private lessons one-to-one or as a small group of family or friends.

    Lessons can be booked as half-day in the morning or afternoon or as a full day. All abilities are catered for, ranging from beginner, intermediate and advanced

    Family Skiing

    The skiable area at Mad River Mountain extends to 144 acres across the face of the hill. The 20 trails are mostly green and blue with a few black runs in the form of glades and moguls. The resort has 11 lifts in total with the six chairlifts taking skiers to the top elevation of 1460 ft (450 m).

    The annual snowfall is low at 36 in (91 cm) but the resort has invested heavily in snowmaking equipment, where the 130 snow cannons now cover all the trails. There are two beginner areas, which are quieter and away from the crowds, and two terrain parks for older kids.

    For a break from skiing the tubing park provides thrills and spills for the whole family. A conveyor lift takes the legwork out of scaling the 1000ft hill. All comers are welcome so long as you are taller than 42 inches.

    Mad River Mountain resort is well organized with full equipment rental, lockers for storing your gear, and a large ski lodge with a cafe, bar, and areas to relax.

    Off the Slopes

    Mad River Mountain resort has partnered with two local inns, where you can get discounted rates for accommodation. Alternatively, there are hotels, condos, and homes for rent in the nearby towns of Bellefontaine and Marysville.

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    What We Love About Mad River Mountain

    • The resort is compact making it more relaxing for families
    • The snowmaking covers all the trails
    • The lessons can be adapted to the family’s requirement

    Mad River Mountain Stats

    Summit Elevation:1460 ft / 445 metres
    Skiable terrain: 144 acres
    Lifts:12
    Runs:20

    See also: Best Ohio Ski Resorts for Families

    10. Hunter Mountain

    New York

    Hunter Mountain
    Photo by Rym DeCoster at licensed under CC BY 2.0

    Hunter Mountain is one of the most popular ski resorts in the Catskills region and for great reason — as it boasts of the “Most Powerful Snowmaking System in the World” that has the ability to cover 100% of the trails within the park.

    There are four separate and distinct mountain faces on Hunter Mountain, which allows guests a wide variety of terrain that spans from beginner-friendly to more advanced trails. No matter your ability level, you’ll be able to find trails perfect for you at the resort.

    Fun for Kids

    If your kiddos are new to skiing, Hunter Mountain provides in-depth lessons taught by experienced and qualified instructors. A quarter of the trails located on the mountain are beginner-friendly, so there will be plenty for your children to practice on once they learn the basics.

    Family Skiing

    Families can take on Hunter One for some great beginner to intermediate level terrain — while the more daring and experienced members of your group can head on over to Hunter West, which has steep double black diamond trails (some of the steepest in the Catskills!).

    Off the Slopes

    After a long day of skiing, families can hit the snow tubing lanes for a couple of hours or head to the lodge to relax and unwind. The resort also offers to snowmobile and snowshoeing if you’re looking to switch out your skis for a new experience.

    There is limited shopping on the mountain but there are plenty of dining options ranging from pizza, burgers, BBQ, and even sushi! Once the kids are tucked in for the evening, parents can enjoy a nightcap at the lodge.

    What We Love About Hunter Mountain:

    • Less than 3 hours from New York City
    • Wide variety of terrain (beginner slopes to double black diamond trails)
    • Spa treatments available
    • Top-of-the-line rental equipment available

    Hunter Mountain Stats

    Summit Elevation:3200 ft / 975.36 metres
    Skiable terrain: 320 acres
    Lifts:13
    Runs:67

    See also: Best New York Ski Resorts for Families

    9. Sugar Mountain

    North Carolina

    1. sugar mountain

    Set in the rural hills of North Carolina, Sugar Mountain is 120 miles northwest of Charlotte with its international airport and nearby Nashville in Tennessee. The resort recently celebrated its 50th anniversary and has become a firm favorite for locals and tourists looking for a more traditional ski resort.

    Fun for Kids

    Sugar Mountain prides itself on being a family-friendly resort. They demonstrate this with their policy where all kids, four and younger can ski for free.

    There are two ski schools for kids, the Sugar Bear Ski School is aimed at children from 5-10 and introduces them to the equipment and skiing. For older kids aged 7-14 the Polar Bear Snowboard School introduces kids to snowboarding techniques.

    The lesson price includes a lift ticket, equipment, helmet, lesson, lunch (on full days), and supervision.

    Ski and snowboard group lessons are available for all levels and abilities. Groups are created by ability level. Group lessons last for 1.5 hours. Group lessons are for skiers and snowboarders 8 years old and older.

    Sugar Mountain also offers childcare. Bookings are taken on a first-come-first-served basis and children must be at least one year old.

    Family Skiing

    Sugar Mountain offers plenty of tree cover with the runs running down through the tree line, creating plenty of interest and glades. The 21 runs fan down over one face of the hillside. In terms of difficulty, the runs are evenly split between green and blue, making Sugar Mountain ideal for beginners and those wanting to move on to intermediate runs.

    For the more advanced there are three black diamond runs and one double diamond black. There are five main lifts with the Summit Express taking skiers and snowboarders straight to the top.

    Snowmaking and grooming are well-established features at Sugar Mountain and 100% of the runs are covered for snowmaking. Some of the runs are additionally floodlit for night skiing.

    The resort offers equipment rental and ski clothing too. This is ideal for a beginner family, where you can try it before you decide to spend money on expensive ski equipment and clothing.

    Sugar Mountain has plenty to offer away from the slopes as well. The tubing park has chutes that are 700 ft long and which are serviced by a conveyor lift. Tubing sessions last for two hours and run from 10 AM until 10 PM under floodlights.

    Sugar Mountain also has a 10,000 ft.² outdoor ice-skating rink located next door to the tubing park.

    If you’ve ever wanted to try snowshoeing, Sugar Mountain will give you a guided tour around the resort. The intensity of the tour is guided by the participants, lasts one hour, and includes snowshoe rental.

    Off the Slopes

    While there is no accommodation at the resort there is a good selection of family-friendly hotels and inns in the nearby village of Banner Elk and the surrounding towns.

    Private condos and homes are also available to rent nearby.

    What We Love About Sugar Mountain

    • Sugar Mountain is a compact resort ideally set up for first-time family skiing
    • The snowmaking is comprehensive, covering 100% of the runs
    • There is plenty to do with a tubing run, an outdoor skating rink, and guided snowshoe tours

    Sugar Mountain Stats

    Summit Elevation:5300 ft / 1615.44 metres
    Skiable terrain: 125 acres
    Lifts:8
    Runs:21

    See also: Best North Carolina Ski Resorts for Families

    8. Angel Fire  

    New Mexico

    Angel Fire

    Angel Fire Ski Resort is high up in the Rocky Mountains of New Mexico and first opened its slopes in 1966. The cold winters make ideal conditions for winter sports, while warm summers draw in plenty of Texans for the golf. On the slopes, there are plenty of easy runs making it a great destination for families to ski together.

    Fun for Kids

    They start them young at Angel Fire, where kids aged 3+ (and sometimes even 2!) take part in private ski and snowboard lessons. These can be customized into one, two, and three-hour blocks, which can be further personalized depending on your goals.

    Although termed ‘private’, three other family or friends can make up a group of four, so long as they are of the same age-ability and pace. Group lessons are more economical and are available for kids aged from 3-12.

    Family Skiing

    At the base, the elevation of the resort is 8600 ft (2621 m), which rises to 10,677 ft (3254 m). The 2077 ft (633 m) vertical fall gives plenty of scope for the 81 trails running down the mountain.

    The skiing takes place on two faces of the mountain. The right-hand side has plenty of greens and blues running through the trees, while the left-hand section has blues but also plenty of challenging blacks. There is a good spread of ability with 21% of runs classed as beginner, 56% classed as intermediate and 23% classed as advanced.

    The extensive forest provides four dedicated glade trails, which are all classed as advanced terrain. The mountain is serviced by two high-speed quads, three doubles and a conveyor lift. For terrain park lovers, Liberation Park is located close to the summit and has jumps, beams, rails, rollers and funboxes.

    Annual snowfall at Angel Fire is 210 in during the season, which is backed up by snowmaking capability of 52% for the mountain and 85% for the beginner runs.

    Off the Slopes

    Angel Fire Resort is certainly remote, but the local airport offers flights with local Taos Air to major cities such as Dallas, San Diego, and Los Angeles mostly within two hours. In season a free shuttle bus operates between Angel Fire resort and the local airport.

    Accommodation at Angel Fire is convenient with numerous cabins, chalets, and condos with ski-in ski-out access for rental. The Lodge also provides quality hotel accommodation.

    What We Love About Angel Fire

    • It’s a quirky ski resort that offers a good variety of terrain
    • The resort elevation gives reliable snow backed up with snowmaking
    • There is plenty of ski-in ski-out family accommodation

    Angel Fire Stats

    Summit Elevation:10677 ft / 3254 metres
    Skiable terrain: 560 acres
    Lifts:7
    Runs:81

    See also: Best New Mexico Ski Resorts for Families

    7. Jackson Hole

    Wyoming

    Jackson Hole

    Jackson Hole Ski Resort has no shortage of varied terrain that is well suited for beginner skiers all the way to expert-level skiers. No matter who you’re bringing along on your winter ski vacation, there’s something for everyone — guaranteed. The snow quality is generally considered to be excellent at Jackson Hole and they get plenty of it every winter.

    Fun for Kids

    Mountain Sports School at Jackson Hole has more amenities than most ski schools and your children (or adult) family members will get thorough lessons on how to safely hit the slopes. They offer both private or group lessons, depending on your preference. Skiers must be 7 years old and above and kiddos will be grouped together according to ability level in the group classes.

    Family Skiing

    If your family is new to the whole skiing routine — you’ll want to check out the beginner runs via the Teewinot or Eagle’s Rest lifts. Luckily, there’s no need to worry about accidentally finding yourself on a black diamond run as all of the trails from these lifts are beginner-friendly.

    Jackson Hole provides lift tickets for beginner terrain only if you don’t think that your family will be ready for the next level quite yet. If you need gear, head on over to one of the local outfitters in town to get fitted and suited up.

    Your family can also try out cross country skiing, wildlife spotting, ice skating, and tubing all from the comfort of the resort.

    Off the Slopes

    If you’re looking to have a down day on your ski trip, why not head over to nearby Yellowstone National Park? Your family can check out the beautiful and stunning geysers while resting up for the next full day of hitting the slopes.

    Teton Village is at the base of the slopes and it has several options for lodging, including hotels and condos that are ski-in and ski-out. If you’re looking for a wider range of stays per your budget — nearby Jackson will be your best bet. They have plenty of shopping, nightlife, and restaurants to keep you busy in the evenings.

    What We Love About Jackson Hole:

    • The unique character of Teton Village (not a cookie-cutter ski village)
    • Some of the best expert terrain while keeping beginner options available
    • Close to Yosemite — beautiful views and plenty of wildlife
    • Many options for lodging that are suitable for all budgets

    Jackson Hole Stats

    Summit Elevation:10450 ft / 3185 metres
    Skiable terrain: 2500 acres
    Lifts:13
    Runs:131

    See also: Best Wyoming Ski Resorts for Families

    6. Mt. Baker Ski Area 

    Washington

    mt baker
    Photo by U.S. Forest Service- Pacific Northwest Region At licensed under Public Domain Mark 1.0

    Located just south of the Canadian border is Mt. Baker. This resort has one of the best reputations for immense snowfall, with a whopping 57 feet every season. 

    You’ll have a hard time finding a ski resort in the US that can compare to the volume of snow on a powder day. Naturally, this means there are a lot of people wanting to have a go on the slopes here. 

    Family Skiing

    Skiing at Mt. Baker is definitely geared more toward families with competent skiers and snowboarders. There are a number of groomed runs for the less experienced, but a lot of the enjoyment at Mt. Baker is found on their more extreme terrain, the in-bounds, and backcountry. 

    Mt. Baker is no stranger to heavy snowfall, combined with the rugged terrain, it makes for great skiing for the more advanced riders. 

    Expect quite a crowd on weekends following heavy snowfall. Otherwise, Mt. Baker is pretty uncrowded, making it a good option for families wanting to ski together. 

    Fun for Kids

    This is definitely a resort that is ski-focused. They don’t offer many activities for the kids, besides private ski lessons for children between three and four years old. Older kids are also able to attend group ski lessons. It’s also worth mentioning they don’t have childcare facilities. Parents with very young kids, be warned. 

    Off the Slopes

    Mt. Baker also boasts some great and unique off-slope activities. Wining and dining are one of the best ways to enjoy yourselves after a long day of skiing. For the parents, Washington offers some of the best beers in the country. 

    There is also a selection of lodging options available just outside the resort. Glacier and Maple Falls provide several good options in the ways of bed and breakfasts and cabins. For those wanting a bit more of a luxury feel, Bellingham has many hotels for you to choose from. 

    What We Love About Mt. Baker

    • Very heavy snowfall 
    • Excellent craft beer
    • Relatively uncrowded
    • Good expert terrain

    Mt. Baker Ski Area Stats

    Summit Elevation:5000 ft / 1524 metres
    Skiable terrain: 1000 acres
    Lifts:10
    Runs:38

    See also: Best Washington Ski Resorts for Families

    5. Bald Mountain – Sun Valley

    Idaho

    bald

    Owned by a gold-mining company Sun Valley resort still retains something of its wild west flavor, which attracts Hollywood celebs drawn to roughing it in style. Also, many retirees gravitate to the relaxed atmosphere to make Sun Valley home.

    Fun For Kids

    During the morning, the kids’ snow sports lessons are run by dedicated resort ski instructors. For the youngest, 3 to 5 years, the Alpine au Pair class is billed as a fun environment to improve skills and confidence.

    For older kids (6-17) the Dollar and Baldy Private Adventure lessons pack in the fun and the safety aspects of snow sports. Lower down the mountain 30 acres of glades are crisscrossed with Adventure Trails for kids.

    Family Skiing

    There are two mountains at Sun Valley, Bald Mountain, or “Baldy”, as it’s known to regulars, has plenty of green and blue runs. While nearby Dollar Mountain is an open, protected beginners’ area that also has a terrain and tubing park.

    With 3,400 ft (1036 m) of vertical fall and over 2,400 acres of varied terrain, Sun Valley has something for everyone. There are 13 lifts, 65 runs, a full-size terrain park, and best of all no lift lines. Some larger resorts moan that Sun Valley only receives 220” (5.6 m) of snow per season, but that’s still more than 18ft!

    Off the Slopes

    There is no ski-in ski-out lodging around the resort, so most skiers head to nearby Ketchum on the shuttle for its variety of simple hotels and upmarket lodges.

    What We Love About Bald Mountain, Sun Valley:

    • With its consistent, groomed slopes Sun Valley resort is pitched at intermediates, while the extensive kids’ amenities make it a family destination
    • Compared to other large US ski resorts Sun Valley never gets crowded
    • Sun Valley, Idaho has a charming and genteel vibe
    • There are various activities and lessons on offer for kids

    Bald Mountain, Sun Valley Stats

    Summit Elevation:9150 ft / 2789 metres
    Skiable terrain: 2054 acres
    Lifts:18
    Runs:120

    See also: Best Idaho Ski Resorts for Families

    4. Camelback

    Pennsylvania

    Camel back
    Image courtesy of Camelback Resort

    Camelback Resort has been voted #1 for the best skiing in the state of Pennsylvania for a reason. With so much to do and fun for the whole family, it’s well worth the visit.

    Fun for Kids

    From a childcare perspective, Camelback offers an $8 an hour nursery on the property at The Camel Care Center. If you have children who are new to skiing in your family, you can get a bargain by bundling rentals, ski lessons, and even lunch for them.

    Family Skiing

    There are a variety of runs that are great for beginners and for the younger skiers in your family, while also keeping quite a few trails that the more experienced skiers will enjoy as well. For the pros, the park features a couple of terrain parks and two half-pipes if they want to try out their tricks.

    While the mountain has a vertical of just 800 feet, they make up for it in other ways. There is plenty of space between trails and the resort feels quite roomy once you begin your day.

    Across the park’s 160 acres — you’ll find a whopping 34 trails. Whether you’re staying for a weekend or a week, your family is sure to stay entertained the entire time.

    Off the Slopes

    This resort and lodge is nestled in the breathtaking and picturesque Pocono Mountains and isn’t short on stunning views. Whether you’re looking to ski, snowboard, or even take the little kids snow tubing — Camelback has something for everybody to enjoy.

    If you’re going to ski in just one place in the Poconos — make Camelback your destination as you’re sure to make memories that will last the year until you can make it back to the resort next winter.

    What We Love About Camelback:

    • On property childcare
    • Bundled ski lessons for kids
    • Great for beginners and families
    • Trails are well spread out

    Camelback Stats

    Summit Elevation:2100 ft / 640.08 metres
    Skiable terrain: 166 acres
    Lifts:16
    Runs:39

    See also: Best Pennsylvania Ski Resorts for Families

    3. Big Sky Resort

    Montana

    big sky

    They called it Big Sky for a reason and spanning a total of 5850 acres it’s very apt, with more than enough for young and old to explore. Straddling the rugged northern Rockies, Big Sky is one of the largest resorts in North America.

    The popularity of Big Sky is undeniable but fortunately, its sheer size enables skiers to spread out, reducing lift queues and frantically busy runs.

    Fun for Kids

    Kids under six ski free and kids under 12 who enroll in a ski program get a free lift ticket on the day of their course. For the youngest skiers, between 3 to 6 years old, there is a mini ski camp, where lessons last half or a full day. If attention spans start to wander youngsters can transfer to the daycare of Lone Peak Playground.

    Family Skiing

    Family activities are inclusive at Big Sky. The skiing is over varied terrain, but at least 40% of trails are beginner or intermediate. Also, rather than limiting beginners to the lower runs, some blues and greens run down from the top to give great views.

    Off the Slopes

    Access to Big Sky resort is a breeze and families can fly into Bozeman’s international airport to make the easy 40-miles transfer by rental car. Big Sky has plenty of family-friendly lodging, most of which are ski-in ski-out and have outdoor hot tubs. Infrastructure is well developed with a ski bus to get around town to visit the varied restaurants and après ski attractions.

    What We Love About Big Sky, Montana

    • Big Sky Ski Resort covers a large area, with lots of trails for all abilities
    • The size of the resort means there is little crowding or queuing at lifts
    • Yellowstone National Park is only an hour away and is open throughout winter
    • Most of the lodging is ski-in ski-out

    Big Sky Stats

    Summit Elevation:11166 ft / 3403.40 metres
    Skiable terrain: 5800 acres
    Lifts:36
    Runs:317

    See also: Best Montana Ski Resorts for Families

    2. Park City

    Utah

    park-city

    One of the largest ski resorts in the United States, Park City Mountain offers a huge amount of skiable terrain. Park City boasts 341 runs across 7,300+ acres of some of the best snow in the whole of the US.

    That being said, Utah is known for having some of the best powder in the country, so that’s a common theme for all of the resorts on this list. 

    Fun for Kids

    The kids will love activities like alpine rollercoasters, dog sledding, tubing, zip-lining, and more. There are also countless restaurants out there for a quick lunch in between skiing sessions.  

    Family Skiing

    The majority of the runs at Park City are geared towards more intermediate skiers, but because of its size, there are still close to 550+ acres of runs appropriate for beginners and kids. That’s bigger than some entire resorts!

    They also have an excellent ski school for ages three and up. And for families with kids under three years old, drop them off at the Little Adventures Children’s Center if you want to hit the slopes or shops for a few hours alone. 

    Off the Slopes

    Park City Mountain is located just 35 minutes away from Salt Lake City, meaning affordable accommodation is very easy to find for the whole family. For families wanting to stay in the resort, there is a huge host of lodging options, including gorgeous vintage hotels. 

    What’s more, being a full-blown historic mining town, Park City offers great things to do for those who want to take a break from the slopes.

    What We Love About Park City:

    • It’s absolutely massive
    • Plenty to do on and off the slopes
    • Close proximity to Salt Lake City

    Park City Stats

    Summit Elevation:10026 ft / 3056 metres
    Skiable terrain: 7300 acres
    Lifts:44
    Runs:341

    See also: Best Utah Ski Resorts for Families

    1. Mt. Bachelor

    Oregon

    bachelor
    Photo by U.S. Forest Service- Pacific Northwest Region licensed under Public Domain Mark 1.0

    Boasting a vast lift-accessible area that spans 4.300 acres, Mt. Bachelor offers a diverse terrain with light, dry snow. The mountain is also well-known for its long seasons as well as family-friendly zones that allow even younger skiers to have a blast on the slope making it our top pick for families.

    Fun for Kids

    Located in the West Village Lodge, Mt. Bachelor Daycare Center holds a qualification as a state-licensed daycare facility intended for children within the age range of 6 weeks to 10 years old. The facility is operated by friendly, highly-qualified staff that have passed strict background checks, as well as completion of a first-aid, food handler, and early childhood training classes.

    The programs offered at Mt. Bachelor Daycare Center include half or full-day ski and snowboard courses for kids aged 3 ½ to 5, a Snow Explorer package for kids aged 2 ½ and older, and two rooms dedicated for toddlers with a small group of 1 staff for 4 children for extra attentive care. Lunch is also included in the full-day program and can be added optionally for half-day program attendees.

    Family Skiing

    For older kids who want to experience the joy of skiing, Progression Park and The Lava Tube trails are intended for beginner skiers who want to familiarize themselves with the basics of skiing. First-time skiers can start from the Start Park to get the feel of sliding on snow. Volcano Adventure Zone offers a bit more adventure for the whole family, with natural rolls, dips, and twists through open glades on volcanically-shaped terrain.

    Off the Slopes

    Adults are also pampered with choices. From full-service bars, cafes, and mobile kitchens, all the way to Demo Center to try out new gears and many exciting events all year round, there’s no shortage of good time for the whole family.

    What We Love About Mt. Bachelor:

    • Wide range of activities for all ages
    • Ski trails that accommodate both beginners and experienced skiers
    • Well-equipped gear shop, with tuning and repair services
    • Rich culinary selections, ranging from light bites, and comfort foods, to local brews

    Mt. Bachelor Stats

    Summit Elevation:9065 ft / 2763.012 metres
    Skiable terrain: 4323 acres
    Lifts:15
    Runs:119

    See also: Best Oregon Ski Resorts for Families

    View Map

    Best Ski Resorts for Families (USA)

    #Ski ResortState
    1Mt. BachelorOregon
    2Park CityUtah
    3Big Sky ResortMontana
    4CamelbackPennsylvania
    5Bald Mountain – Sun ValleyIdaho
    6Mt. Baker Ski AreaWashington
    7Jackson HoleWyoming
    8Angel FireNew Mexico
    9Sugar MountainNorth Carolina
    10Hunter MountainNew York
    11Mad River MountainOhio
    12VailColorado
    13Mammoth MountainCalifornia
    14Lutsen MountainMinnesota
    15Granite Peak Wisconsin
    16Sunday RiverMaine
    17Alyeska Ski ResortAlaska
    18Bretton WoodsNew Hampshire
    19StrattonVermont
    20Boyne HighlandsMichigan
    21Massanutten Ski ResortVirginia

    West Vs East Snow Conditions

    Westcoast Resorts

    From the heights of the Rockies stretching from Montana to Colorado – the west coast resorts are famous for their powder & longer and wider ski slopes. The coastal resorts – Washington, Oregon and California – attract frequent snowstorms which repeatable dump fresh snow into the mountains.

    Eastcoast Resorts

    East coast resorts tend to have rolling hills and gentler slopes – but a higher chance of ice due to less frequent snow dumps and higher humidity. There is a higher reliance on snowmachines and some diamonds in the rough.

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