Mommy Frog's Note: It's a hoppin' good time to save on an Epic Ski Pass for 2018-2019! If you plan to hit the slopes, consider the 4-Day, 7-Day and Epic Ski Pass for the most savings and flexibility!
Looking to hop over to Colorado for a family ski trip? With tons of family ski resort options, the Denver area is a great destination for skiing. Not to mention, Denver International Airport is the largest airport in Colorado (25 airlines and over 188 nonstop destinations), making it an easy city to fly into. From the laidback Arapahoe Basin to luxurious Beaver Creek, you'll find an abundance of ski resorts within a few hours of Denver. Here are some of the best family ski resorts near Denver and the Denver airport!
Best Family Ski Resorts Near Denver
The best family ski resorts near Denver are within about two hours of the Denver International Airport and easily can be reached by car or shuttle when the roads are clear. Distances are based on traveling from the airport itself as opposed to the city of Denver, which is actually about 23 miles closer to the ski resorts. That’s good news if you will be coming from the city of Denver itself!
Undercover Tourist has hopped into ski vacation planning and can help you get a jump on savings. You can save money on advance purchase lift tickets for both Beaver Creek and Vail as well as for Breckenridge and Keystone. Even more hoppy news is that we're now offering 4-Day, 7-Day and Epic Passes for the 2018-2019 ski season that include Arapahoe Basin!
Located about 80 miles from the Denver airport, Arapahoe Basin (also known as A-Basin) is a local’s mountain with affordable lift tickets. It has a little old school charm with a laid-back vibe. You may not find a lot of high-speed chairs (OK, one) or a ton of groomed snow, but you will find plenty of fluffy powder and extreme terrain. It boasts a high summit at 13,050 feet and 960 acres. Any spring skiing fans out there? Woot woot! A-Basin has a long ski season, sometimes opening in October and running until June or July. Come for the warm-weather skiing, and stay for the “beach” BBQ parties in the warmer months. This mountain is best for experienced ski families (intermediate to advanced) and offers no frills. Just skiing the way it used to be. If you are a traditionalist, where skiing is about just skiing, then this is the place for you.
Keystone Ski Resort
Keystone is 99 miles and less than two hours away from the Denver Airport. This large resort (over 3,000 acres) is very family friendly with great terrain, excellent ski school programs, daycare and something for everyone. The resort is spread out over three peaks and five bowls. There are a variety of amenities such as shopping, Kidtopia events, the world’s largest snow fort to play in, a tubing hill, a Nordic center, ice-skating rinks and more. Keystone offers some of the best night skiing in Colorado and claims to offer the longest ski day in the state. Its award-winning A51 Terrain Park (with its own lift) is one of the best you’ll find, so if you have “park rats” in your family, Keystone is a must-stop.
Breckenridge is an excellent family ski resort set in a bustling historic mining town. It is located 104 miles and under two hours from Denver. You’ll discover plenty of terrain for every skier ability in your group, and it offers a ton of beginner and intermediate trails that are perfect for families. Breckenridge has the highest lift in North America, but with those bragging rights come potential issues with altitude sickness, so take some caution to prepare your family for altitude at this high ski resort. Tubing, ice-skating, snowmobiling and Nordic trails and a recreation center are nearby, but not right at the resort. They have a great ski school and daycare services.
There is nothing like Vail. Located about 120 miles from Denver, this massive ski resort is the largest in the state, with over 5,289 acres. There is a variety of terrain to keep everyone happy, from wide-open beginner and intermediate groomed terrain to the famous bowls of light powder. In addition to skiing and snowboarding, you’ll love the family fun available at Adventure Ridge, such as tubing, snowshoeing, kids snowmobiling, a Forest Flyer Mountain Coaster and ski biking. Vail has three villages with ice rinks, restaurants and great service. It’s fancy, but in a laid-back sort of way.
Beaver Creek is Vail’s sister resort. If you want a luxury ski resort with long runs, fast lifts, meticulous grooming and short lift lines, then Beaver Creek is worth the drive. It’s about 15 to 20 minutes past Vail. Beaver Creek has 1,800 skiable acres and 150 trails. Beaver Creek is not a budget-friendly resort, but it does come with perks like great service, free warm cookies at the end of your ski day, family programing, weekly fireworks and a posh ski village complete with escalators, fire pits, an ice rink and a performing arts center. There are a lot of ski-in/ski-out accommodations and great restaurants from casual to fine dining.
Other factors that go into choosing a ski resort
You want to find the one of the best family ski resorts near Denver for your crew. When comparing ski resorts (besides distance from Denver), you might consider a few other factors in making your decision such as:
- When you want to ski. Some resorts have longer ski seasons than others.
- Crowds. Breckenridge and Vail draw larger crowds than some of the other resorts.
- Grooming. Vail and Beaver Creek are well known for taking particularly good care of their snow.
- Price. Keystone and Breckenridge are more reasonably priced than Vail and Beaver Creek, and that extends to lift tickets, lodging, parking and activities. Kids ski free at Keystone with certain lodging reservations!
- Size of the mountain.
- Type of terrain. The good news is that both learning and experienced families will all be happy at Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge or Keystone.
- Family fun off the mountain. Look into other family fun activities like tubing, family programming and other winter fun activities like dog sledding, snowmobiling, or ice-skating.
- Here are some ideas for ways to have family fun beyond the ski slopes. Find a resort that appeals to your sense of adventure.
If you want to compare the best family ski resorts near Denver with other resorts in Colorado, or even in Utah or California, check out this quick-glance Ski Resort Decision Matrix to help narrow down the best location for your family. While it may be hard to choose, know that you really can’t go wrong.
Once you have made a decision on where to visit, it’s time to book your ski vacation reservations. The good news is that all of the best family ski resorts are close enough that you can stay at one resort and hop (with a relatively short drive) over to another ski resort during your stay to check out more than one location. Once you have made a decision about which ski resort(s) you want to visit, you’ll need to book your flight, find a rental car, snag a hoppin’ deal on ski hotel and purchase discount lift tickets. Then you’ll be on your way. Hoppy (ski) trails to you!