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Just about every winter resort caters to kids and families. Some just do it better than others. Here in alphabetical order are six ski and snowboard destinations kids and their parents will adore thanks to a long list of activities and amenities, some of them new this season.
Aspen celebrates its 75th anniversary in the 2021/2022 season. The main mountain can be intimidating for newbies, kids and families who head to Buttermilk on the same Aspen/Snowmass/Buttermilk ticket, but the Hideout area is one of the best play-and-learn areas in the West. It’s designed for kids up to age 6, including a kid-sized superpipe. Ditto The Treehouse Kids’ Adventure Center in Snowmass, a 25,000-square-foot facility built by the same people who constructed Universal Studios.
Book an Aspen hotel here.
Beaver Creek, CO
A few miles from Vail, and much quieter, this full-service resort offers a better option for families, especially with its new-this-season 250 acres of terrain for beginners and intermediates. McCoy Park is a separate, family-friendly learning zone within Beaver Creek, featuring its own two lifts, 17 trails and wide-open easy glades to explore. There’s even a warming hut to thaw small fingers, toes, and noses over a cup of hot chocolate. And Beaver Creek Village is just down the road, boasting ice skating and other amenities.
Book a Beaver Creek hotel here.
Copper Mountain, CO
The Western Territory is an entirely new section of terrain on the west side of the mountain, geared exclusively for beginners, kids, and families. There are two family adventure zones and several new trails, and the territory is marked with information about the history of the area, which includes a rich (pun intended) mining history.
In addition to lessons for kids and adults, Copper is one of the few resorts to offer private family lessons, so everybody can advance together. Tubing and a mountain coaster are also offered here for even more family fun. Even more enticing for family travel is its proximity to Denver—just 75 miles away.
Book a Copper Mountain hotel here.
Deer Valley, UT
Deer Valley is always rated as one of the best resorts for kids and families thanks its limited child-to-instructor lessons and adventure terrain that includes furry mascots that both entertain and teach, including in an area called Oompa Loompa Land. There’s even a special trail map for kids, and it’s one of the few resorts in the USA with a state-licensed child care center for the diaper-set not yet ready for the slopes.
Book a Deer Valley hotel here.
Jackson Hole, WY
Despite is well-deserved reputation as a destination for adrenaline junkies, Jackson Hole is a great family vacation destination, too. Kids are transported to their own learning area via wagons hitched to the back of a snowmobile, which may be even more fun for the grown-ups taking photos.
For après-ski, or a day off the slopes, there’s a new ice skating rink in Teton Village and snow tubing at Snow King, on the other side of town. The National Elk Refuge is just outside town, and offers daily horse-drawn sleigh rides past thousands of the majestic creatures. Or, take a memorable day trip to Yellowstone National Park to see buffalo, trumpeter swans, and—if you’re lucky—a wolf or two.
Book a Jackson Hole hotelhere.
This legendary area is expanding its family-friendly amenities with two new additions this season. The new Eis Haus in the renovated village plaza offers ice-skating in the afternoons and evenings, with large built-in fireplaces for frost-free socializing. There’s also a new dinner sleigh ride on weekends to the log-cabin Bavarian restaurant, although this one is drawn by a snowmobile, not sturdy beer wagon horses. Skiing and riding lessons for kids include equipment, which is a great perk for the parents of youngsters still deciding whether they want to ski or snowboard.
Book your Taos hotel here.
In the Catskills just two hours from Times Square, this laid back resort is family-friendly, and mostly uncrowded. While there is no dedicated beginners or family-ski area, much of the right side of the mountain features easy, green groomed trails and wide-open glades. There’s also night skiing and riding.
Windham is also a standout for its adaptive program. Although many resorts have programs for kids, Windham specializes in getting children with physical or cognitive special needs onto the slopes, including on mono-skis. There are daily and season-long lessons.
Book your Windham hotel here.
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