When it comes to ski resorts, Colorado is pretty hoppin'! The "Centennial State" is home to more than 27 ski resorts, so when we frogs think of skiing, most often the first place we think of is Colorado. The Colorado ski resorts range in size from small hidden gems to some of the largest in the U.S.! Some cater to families and new skiers with plenty of activities off the mountain, while others thrill experts and diehard skiers. Whatever the size or amenities, they are all blanketed with that famous Colorado fluffy powder. Wondering which one to visit? We're toadally excited to share the seven best ski resorts in Colorado for families.
The 7 Best Ski Resorts in Colorado for Families
While you are sure to find great skiing at other Colorado ski resorts as well, these seven are some of our family favorites based on diversity of terrain, ease of traveling there and family friendliness. These resorts also hold the interests of the more experienced skiers in the family — ahem, like Mommy Frog, who has been skiing her whole life. They offer a range in budget, as that may also be a deciding factor for you. The best ski resorts in Colorado have something for everyone in a ski party, from beginner-never-ever skiers to the veterans ready to explore the whole mountain.
Psst! Did you know Undercover Tourist has hopped into ski vacation planning and can help you save money on your ski trip? You can jump to savings by booking hotel rooms, reserving equipment rentals and purchasing advance ski lift tickets for the best ski resorts in Colorado, including Vail and Beaver Creek, as well as Breckenridge and Keystone.
Steamboat Springs (aka “Ski Town U.S.A.”) has produced more U.S. Winter Olympic athletes than any other town in the country — 88 in total! You can drive there from Denver — it’s a 3 ½ to 4 hour drive — or you can fly right into Steamboat Springs nonstop from 15 cities (or connect from 350 other airports). The resort has a ski village with wagons, so you can load your tired kids (tadpoles to Flora and me) and all of your gear. We love little touches like this that make a ski resort super welcoming to families with young children. It helps make Ski Town U.S.A. one of the best ski resorts in Colorado for families! You’ll find a variety of terrain for everyone in your group at Steamboat. It offers just under 3,000 acres of skiing and some long, thigh-burning runs. It has night skiing, and there is plenty of fun off the mountain, such as natural hot springs, sleigh-ride dinners, tubing, ice skating, a mountain coaster and fun family events like festivals, Friday night fireworks and dance parties.
Aspen/Snowmass is actually made up of four ski resorts — Snowmass, Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk plus two nearby towns (Aspen and Snowmass). Each ski resort offers something a little different, allowing you to try out different ski resorts with one lift ticket. But they all boast about their famous powder! Buttermilk’s Hideout Children’s Center is a perfect place for kids to learn to ski. The Aspen/Snowmass area has an alpine coaster, tubing, snow cat dinners, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and touches the kids will jump for, such as free s’mores and après ski kid programming. There are several airports you can fly into, ranging from really close to a significant drive. Downtown Aspen is 3 miles from Aspen/Pitkin County airport, 70 miles from Eagle County Airport, 125 miles from Grand Junction and 220 miles from Denver International Airport. With a convenient location and plenty of family-friendly activities, Aspen/Snowmass is one of the best ski resorts in Colorado for families.
Arapahoe Basin is one of the best ski resorts in Colorado located closest to the Denver airport. Also called A-Basin for short, this affordable ski resort is popular with the more experienced skiers and locals. It has less expensive lift tickets than some of the other resorts and is one of the places you can choose to ski or ride if you purchase a discounted pre-season 4-day, 7-day and Unlimited Epic Pass. The mountain has a kickback vibe even though it has a lot of extreme terrain and a high summit at 13,050 feet. It is not a large resort, but it has plenty of fluffy powder in its 1,428 skiable acres and is less crowded than some of the other Denver area resorts. If you love getting in some early season runs or getting to ski in spring or summer, then you’ll find that A-Basin has the longest ski season — from October to June or sometimes July. This mountain is best for experienced ski families (intermediate to advanced), but it does offer intimate and affordable ski and snowboard lessons for all levels, including beginners. Kids' lessons include lift tickets and lunch for a fraction of the cost elsewhere. Arapahoe Basin offers no village or frills, but if skiing is more important than the extras, then it is definitely one of the best ski resorts in Colorado for you!
Keystone Ski Resort
Keystone is a large family-friendly ski large resort with over 3,000 acres of terrain spread out over three peaks and five bowls. Keystone is 99 miles and less than two hours away from Denver International Airport. Kids will love learning to ski or snowboard in the ski school program as well as attending Kidtopia events, playing in the world’s largest snow fort, tubing, ice-skating, showing off new tricks at the award-winning A51 Terrain Park and more. Parents will enjoy kids ski free lodging deals, shopping, spas, a Nordic center, daycare center (for worry-free skiing) and restaurants. If you are always the last one off the mountain, then you can take advantage of the longest ski day in the state and stay for the extensive night skiing. It is also part of the 4-day Epic Pass, 7-day Epic Pass and unlimited Epic Pass. For the 2018-2019 season, you can purchase advance Keystone lift tickets here. Keystone is definitely one of the best ski resorts in Colorado, and a relatively short distance from Arapahoe Basin and Breckenridge.
Breckenridge is a great family resort situated 104 miles from Denver. It's one of the best ski resorts in Colorado for beginners because of its many wide and gentle Green trails and family learning zones. It's also great for intermediate skiers as they progress to the seemingly limitless Blue runs. Expert skiers in the group can explore entire areas of the mountain that will challenge them and keep them coming back for more. With just under 3,000 acres of skiable terrain and 187 trails, it’s pretty safe to say that there is something for everyone at Breck. When you step off the mountain at the end of the day, you are literally in the streets of a historic mining town with tons of shopping, restaurants, coffee shops and bars that are perfect to get your après on. Breckenridge does sit at a high altitude, so you’ll want to ease yourself into this ski town and maybe even take advantage of an oxygen delivery service to prevent altitude sickness. For family fun off the ski hill, there is a sled hill, art classes in town, scenic walks in the snow along ponds and rivers or find nearby tubing, sleigh rides, ice-skating, snowmobiling and cross-country skiing. The town has a beautiful recreation center with climbing walls, pools and athletic equipment. The ski resort offers daycare services for tadpoles not quite ready to ski. This mountain is a little more affordable than Beaver Creek and Vail, especially if you purchase multi-day lift tickets and is also on the 2018-2019 Epic Passes.
Vail is like nothing else and no doubt one of the best ski resorts in Colorado for families. It is the largest Colorado ski resort, with over 5,289 skiable acres. Every family member will enjoy skiing at Vail, from wide-open beginner and intermediate groomed terrain with family learning zones to the famous back bowls of light deep powder. Vail is located about 30 minutes from Eagle County Regional Airport and is about two hours from Denver, just off I-70. Take the kids for a Gondola ride up to Adventure Ridge for afternoon winter fun like tubing, free snowshoeing, kids snowmobiling, a mountain coaster and ski biking. Vail has three different villages (one with a daycare center) and has ice rinks, playgrounds, many restaurants and great services like ski valets. Vail is fancy, but in more of a laid back sort of way. As you can expect, Vail is a popular Colorado ski resort, but because it is so large, it disperses the crowds. If you will be skiing at peak times (like holiday times), it’s smart to start your day early and move away from the base areas. Vail is one of the Denver ski area resorts on the 2018-2019 Epic Passes without any blackout dates.
Beaver Creek is Vail’s fancier sister resort, although let's face it, Vail is fancy too. Situated about 30 minutes from Eagle County Regional Airport and about two hours from Denver, this beautiful resort nestled among the aspen trees is also about 15 to 20 minutes from Vail. Beaver Creek is a luxury ski resort that provides short lift lines and fast lifts to long, well-groomed runs — in fact, they groom 600 acres daily! Beaver Creek has 1,800 skiable acres and 150 trails. The gorgeous Beaver Creek Village is sprinkled with fire pits, helpful employees, family programming, performing arts center, an ice rink and one of our family favorites — free warm cookies after skiing. You can catch weekly fireworks on the mountain. There are many great restaurants from casual to fine dining. While Beaver Creek may be at the top of your budget, it’s quite nice. You can save money by buying lift tickets in advance through Undercover Tourist. These lift tickets are also good at nearby Vail, and both these resorts are also on the 4-day, 7-day and Unlimited Epic Passes you can purchase in the pre-season without blackout dates.
It’s a difficult decision to pick from all of the best ski resorts in Colorado for your family. Hopefully, our guide has helped narrow down your options. If the resort you choose is near another ski resort, you might hop on over for a day of skiing and riding to add some variety…perhaps scout it out for your next trip? We frogs have the travel bug and are always looking ahead to the next adventure!
Once you choose from the best ski resorts in Colorado, you might need help in reserving a rental car, finding a hoppin’ deal on ski hotel and equipment rentals, or purchasing discount lift tickets. Hop on over to all our other ski-related blog topics for more helpful tips on skiing with kids, ski school, getting the right equipment or clothing, ski safety and even sanity-saving tips to simply make it all easier.
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