9 Best Ski Resorts On The West Coast For Families (USA)

by Robert Stanley | Updated On: June 27th, 2022
family wc

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From the heights of the Rockies stretching from Montana to Colorado and up to Alaska (if you look outside of the continental US) – the West Coast resorts are famous for their powder snow and their long and wider ski slopes. The coastal resorts – Washington, Oregon, and California – attract frequent snowstorms which repeatable dump fresh snow into the mountains.

If your planning your next family adventure, look no further than the resorts we’ve listed below. Packed with amenities, unique landscape, and quality skiing.

Our Top Picks

    9. 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.

    8. 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
    See also  2 Best Nevada Ski Resorts for Families

    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.

    7. 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.

    6. 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.

    5. 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.

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    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.

    4. 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. 

    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. 

    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. 

    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.

    3. 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.

    See also  3 Best Virginia Ski Resorts for Families (Near Washington DC)

    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.

    2. 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.

    1. 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.

    View Map

    Best Ski Resorts On The West Coast For Families (USA)

    #Ski ResortState
    1Alyeska Ski ResortAlaska
    2Mammoth MountainCalifornia
    3Bald Mountain Sun ValleyIdaho
    4Mt. Baker Ski Area Washington
    5Angel FireNew Mexico
    6Mt. BachelorOregon
    7Park CityUtah
    8Big Sky ResortMontana
    9Jackson HoleWyoming

    P.S If you’re thinking of heading East, then check out our Best East Coast Ski Resorts for Families

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