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Colorado is almost synonymous with skiing. With 300 inches of snow falling upon its rocky and varied terrain every year, is it any surprise? Consistent high elevation, sunny skies, and gorgeous scenery make Colorado the go-to skiing location for thousands of eager family skiers every year.
Naturally then, the “centennial” state is home to 30 ski resorts that cater to all capabilities, interests, ages, and budgets. There’s a long list of ski resorts that offer a wide range of amenities, activities, and convenience to meet everyone’s needs.
Considering this, I’ve shortened the list only the best and have written a small piece about what each has to offer, so that you can choose the best kid friendly ski resort in Colorado for your next family ski vacation.
Make sure to grab our FREE Ski Trip Packing List so you don’t forget any of the essentials!
Choosing The Best Colorado Ski Resort
Truthfully, with so many different ski resorts in Colorado, choosing the best Colorado ski resort family vacation can be a bit of a challenge. If you’re heading to any of the Vail resorts, make sure to sign your elementary age kids up for the Epic School Kids pass so they can ski free, or if you’re headed to Southern Colorado, the Power Pass gives kids 12 and under a free season pass. Below, we’re sharing some of our favorite things about the best family ski resorts in Colorado, so you can narrow down the best place for your Colorado ski holiday!
Arapahoe Basin Colorado
Best For Budget Skiers, Laid Back Families, Young Kids
Location: Dillon Colorado
Adult Ticket Price: $79
Child Ticket Price: $39
Where to Stay near Arapahoe Basin: Gateway Mountain Lodge
If I could send every ski family to one resort in Colorado to ski with kids, I would send them to Arapahoe Basin. I honestly feel like it’s the best family ski resort in Colorado. It’s easily one of the best values for skiing in Colorado, and the terrain is incredible (which is really what matters most). While A-Basin (as the locals call is), doesn’t have much in the way of frills (in fact, the lodge will make you feel like you stepped back in time), it’s the most kid friendly Colorado ski resort. If you’re looking for a luxury Colorado ski resort, head to Vail, but if you want a family friendly Colorado ski resort where you can just have fun skiing together (on incredible terrain), this is the place to do.
A-Basin is an old school type of ski resort. The lodge is an old A-frame, the food is filling and won’t break the bank, and on a normal year, no one will blink an eye if you hang out in the lodge with a toddler or a baby for the day.
It’s the kind of place where no one really cares what you’re wearing, and that you’ll regularly get cheers from the chairlift if you’re doing an awesome job flying through the powder.
As a ski parent, I love Arapahoe Basin because the beginner area and the Pallavicini lift (the area with the best and steepest skiing) are right next to each other. That means that one parent can ski with the kids in the beginner area while the other one takes a lap on the Palli lift (at Vail, we would take 3 lifts just to ski the terrain we wanted from the beginner lift). Once your kids move beyond the learning area, you’ll appreciate that the whole front side of the mountain funnels everyone into one place, so you never have to worry about losing someone.
Want to know more about Arapahoe Basin? Check out our full guide here.
Loveland Ski Area
Best No-Frills Discount Colorado Ski Area
Adult Ticket Price: $89
Child Ticket Price 6-14: $35
Lesson for Kids: $129
Where To Stay near Loveland Ski Area: Historic Windsor Hotel
Loveland Ski Area is the closest ski area to Denver, and without weekend traffic you can be here in one hour from the Denver metro area. If you want to ski near Denver and don’t want to battle the traffic mess, Loveland is the best Colorado ski resort for your family.
Known for being incredibly family-friendly, as well as affordable and accessible. The highlight of the terrain is that as it goes up Loveland Pass, the ski resort actually skis over I-70’s famous Eisenhower tunnel.
Loveland ski resort is divided into 2 separate areas, Loveland Valley and Loveland Basin. Loveland Valley is the place to go for the best beginner skiing in Colorado. It’s incredibly kid-friendly and allows kids who are learning how to ski a nice safe place to learn without lots of advanced skier traffic. Tickets to Loveland Valley are just $50 for adults and $30 for kids. Loveland Basin is the larger and main part of the resort that has terrain for all ability levels, and a higher priced lift ticket. They also offer childcare if you want to ski without kids for a day or two or if your kids need a break from skiing.
If you’re looking for one of the best deals on Colorado skiing, check out the Loveland ski season pass. Not only does it allow you free skiing at Loveland, but it has one of the most extensive reciprocal ski-free programs that we’ve ever seen, giving you free skiing at tons of other Colorado ski resorts.
Best Wild West Ski Resort in Colorado
Best for getting a taste of the Wild West, multigenerational ski trips, and lower elevation to avoid altitude sickness
Location: Steamboat Springs, Colorado
Adult Ticket Price: $199
Child Ticket Price 5-12: $139, 12 and under ski free with an adult purchasing a 5+ day ticket
Where to Stay: Gravity Haus Steamboat
Also Read: Best Ski In Ski Out Lodging in Steamboat
Steamboat Springs may be known as “Ski Town USA” and its remote location may have you feeling like you’ve escaped to another world. Despite producing 88 skiing champions, Steamboat has a soft spot for families, making it one of the best family ski resorts in Colorado. You’ll first notice this from the many wagons leaving the rustic, “cowboy-esque” ski village for the slopes. This means less lugging for all the family and more energy for the slopes! And there truly are slopes for all types at Steamboat.
You’ll find the typical thigh-burners for the weathered skiers and the gentle slopes for the beginners at this Colorado family ski resort. And if you’re not a regular skiing family or would just like to brush up everyone’s skills, there’s an on-resort ski school offering half-day and full-day skiing lessons.
Ever the kid-friendly Colorado resort, Steamboat is kitted out with a kids-only magic carpet lift to blow the little ones away! And of course, plenty of lifts to let parents rest their weary feet. And for an even more luxurious après-ski treat, we why not try out Strawberry Park Hot Springs? Not only is Steamboat one of the best kid-friendly ski resorts in Colorado, but there’s so much to do in the area, making Steamboat one of the best Colorado winter vacations.
Best Colorado Ski Resort Fun Things For Kids
Location: Keystone, Colorado
Adult Ticket Price: $169
Child Ticket Price: (Ages 5-12)|$104
Full-Day Ski Lesson for Kids: Pricing starts at $189
Where To Stay at Keystone: Hyatt Place Keystone – BOOK FAST – It’s affordable and fills quickly
Also Read: Best Ski In Ski Out Stays in Summit County Colorado
If you’re looking to get a big resort feel without the crazy price tag you’ll find at Vail, then consider taking a family ski trip to Keystone.
Keystone is a large ski resort of 3,000 acres covering 3 peaks and 5 bowls. The ski destination lies only 100 miles from Denver, though weekend ski traffic can easily turn that into a 3 hour drive, so plan on staying near or at the resort.
Keystone is a great family ski resort that’s only about 2 hours from the Denver Airport (though with traffic it will take 3 hours to get there and can easily take 4 hours to get back to Denver on a Saturday or Sunday). We love that Keystone has free parking, a family-friendly ski resort village, and lots of ski resort entertainment that the kids will love. Best of all, if you’re looking for ski-in and ski-out accommodations, there are plenty to be had here (though some of them will require a walk across the Keystone Village area).
If you’re looking for places where older kids ski free, you’ll love that Keystone lets kids under 12 ski free when the family books a stay of over 2 nights.
Keystone also claims to have the world’s largest snow fort at their Kidtopia kid-designed resort area. here kids can build their own snow forts, hang out with other kids, watch parades and fireworks, and enjoy daily warm cookies. Best of all, most of the Kidtopia events are free to all kids. We love that Keystone works so hard to be known as one of the best Colorado ski resorts for kids, making it a perfect Colorado family ski resort. Keystone also offers snowshoeing, tubing, and ice skating in the village. While Keystone is on its own, it’s quickly becoming one of the best Colorado ski destinations for families.
If you’re looking for more of a challenge, check out the extensive A51 Terrain Park (yes, it’s good for all abilities of skiers and riders) or their snowcat tours.
Best Colorado Trick Skiing + Free Snowcat Skiing
Location: Frisco, Colorado
Adult Ticket Price: $159
Child Ticket Price: (Ages 6 – 12): $99
Where To Stay: Cambira Hotel
Also Read: Best Ski In Ski Out Lodging in Summit County Colorado
75 miles (around 2-3 hours in traffic) from Denver, Copper Mountain is an easily accessible Colorado ski resort for families. In fact, if you ask around Colorado locals for a family-friendly resort, you might hear Copper Mountain mentioned a few times.
Why’s that? Well, everything is accessible on foot, to begin with. From on-resort condos situated in the central village to a number of kid-friendly restaurants within easy reach – comfort is sorted. Moreover, the shuttle for West Village, the ski school location, is also placed right in the village center.
Our favorite thing about skiing at Copper Mountain with kids is Woodward at Copper. Woodward is an indoor action sports complex that’s designed just for kids. Woodard is available at Copper Mountain for children to learn new skills and park features in several different settings, depending on their skill level. With 9 distinct ski and snowboard parks, as well as an indoor training area with a foam pit, trampolines, and indoor ramps with roller skis. The whole program is intended to assist kids in developing the abilities necessary to safely execute them on their own in the terrain park.
The free snowcat skiing to some of the most advanced terrain on the mountain will undoubtedly astonish your advanced skiing kids, making this one of the best family ski resorts Colorado has to offer. Most ski kids dream of going heliskiing or snowcat skiing at some point in their lives, but the significant costs that come with trips like that (as well as the frequently inaccessible locations in Canada and Alaska) make it a fantasy for most. What would your ski-loving teenager think if they could snowcat ski while on a Colorado family ski trip? It’s going to blow their mind.
If you want to add some non-ski days to your Colorado ski trip, I highly recommend enrolling your children in another action sports session at Woodward or for their open barn times. If you’re searching for an exciting pastime after dinner, head 15 minutes east to the Dillon Ice Castles.
Best Colorado Resort For Variety and Best Colorado Ski Town
Location: Breckenridge, Colorado
Adult Ticket Price: $147
Child Ticket Price: (Ages 5 -12 ) | $96
Full-Day Ski Lesson for Kids: $225
Where To Stay at Breckenridge: Grand Lodge Peak 7
Also Read: Best Ski In Ski Out Lodging at Breckenridge
Across Breckenridge Resort’s 2,903 acres are a total of 23 lifts, and an average snowfall of 304 inches! One of Vail’s many resorts you’ll find it adheres to the expected kid-friendly nature of these well-established resorts.
We love skiing at Breckenridge and think it’s one of the best family ski resorts in Colorado because you get the experience the whole town while you’re there since the resort is nestled right up to the town. We love that Breckenridge has lots of fun shopping and restaurants but without the insane crowds and high prices of Vail. We think that Breckenridge is one of the best ski towns in Colorado.
When you ski at Breckenridge, take note that the mountain is VERY LARGE, with 5 different peaks, all offering different terrain styles. Make sure to put a safety plan in place for when you get separated on the ski hill.
Here’s where to ski at Breckenridge with different skiers:
Beginners – Peak 8
Intermediate Skiers – Peak 6 and 7
Advanced intermediates – Peak 9
Experts – Peak 10 and the top of Peak 8
If you’re looking for a Colorado ski resort with kids that give you lots of terrain variety as well as a great Colorado ski town for families, consider Breckenridge on your next Colorado ski holiday.
Best Colorado Luxury Skiing and Extreme Ski Terrain
Location: Vail, Colorado
Adult Ticket Price: (Ages 13+) |$219
Child Ticket Price: (Ages 5 – 12) |$89
Full-Day Ski Lesson for Kids: (ages 5-14) |$265
Where to Stay at Vail: The Lodge at Vail
Also Read: The Best Family Friendly Ski Lodging in Vail
Vail is the grandfather of Colorado ski resorts. Founded in 1962, some of its original structures and accommodations still stand today, giving this resort a classic, timeless feel.
Vail’s popularity can mean that it does get incredibly crowded on the holidays, and you will pay a premium for just about everything at the resort from parking to dining, to ski gear. That being said if you know that going into your Vail family ski trip, you can just enjoy all the amenities as well as the incredible Colorado ski terrain that you can access at Vail.
Vail not only has a wonderful kids ski learning area, but it also has some of the best expert ski terrain in all of Colorado.
If you’re looking for something besides just the legendary Colorado skiing, kids will enjoy the popular Adventure Ridge at the top of Vail Mountain. And to get there, you won’t have to trek; just take a calm, rolling Gondola to the top. Once there, kids can go tubing, snow-biking, snow-shoeing, and even enjoy a spin on a micro-snowmobile. How cool!
In the end, Vail has a lot of great Colorado ski terrain and many good programs that accommodate families well. If you’re on a budget ski trip or looking for discounted skiing, it’s not the place to go, but if luxury is your style, then you’ll love a family ski trip to Vail.
Read Next: Ultimate Guide to Cat Skiing
What is the Best Time to Ski in Colorado?
The best time to ski in Colorado generally falls between December and March, with peak conditions in January and February. However, the ski season can stretch from late November to late April, depending on the resort. Arapahoe Basin is often open in late October and stays open until May or later. Early and late-season skiing may offer discounted rates but less reliable snow conditions.
How Do We Choose the Right Colorado Ski Resort?
The “right” ski resort depends on your family’s needs, including skill level, amenities, and budget. Resorts like Vail and Aspen offer luxury amenities and diverse terrain, while smaller resorts like Eldora and Loveland might be more budget-friendly and family-focused. Consider the balance of beginner, intermediate, and advanced runs when choosing.
What Should We Wear Skiing in Colorado?
Wear moisture-wicking base layers, an insulating mid-layer like a fleece, and a waterproof, breathable outer layer. Don’t forget gloves, a beanie, and snow goggles. Dressing in layers allows you to adjust your clothing based on changing weather conditions.
Read: 8 Essential Pieces of Ski Clothing for Kids
Do We Need to Take Ski Lessons on a Colorado Ski Trip?
If you’re new to skiing, lessons can be a great investment, as they provide essential skills and safety knowledge. Most resorts offer group and private lessons for both children and adults. Some resorts offer family packages for lessons, making it more affordable.
If you are at least a solid intermediate skier and comfortable on skis, you can also consider teaching your own kids to ski. The basics aren’t too difficult to teach, and can stretch your ski budget significantly farther.
How Much Will a Colorado Ski Trip Cost?
The cost of a Colorado ski trip can vary widely based on factors like lodging, ski passes, lessons, and meals. Some Colorado resorts offer family packages that can provide savings. Research and book in advance to take advantage of any discounts.
The most budget friendly resorts in Colorado are Arapahoe Basin and Loveland, and the most expensive resorts are Vail and Aspen. Any Colorado ski resort can have great snow, so everyone can have great skiing no matter where they go!
How Do We Deal with Altitude Sickness when Skiing in Colorado?
Altitude sickness is common for visitors who are not acclimated to Colorado’s high elevations. Drinking plenty of water, avoiding alcohol and caffeine, and taking it easy for the first day can help. If symptoms persist, consider seeking medical attention.
Read: How to Avoid Altitude Sickness While Skiing
What Non-Skiing Activities Are Available in Colorado in the winter?
Most Colorado ski resorts offer a variety of other activities like sledding, snowshoeing, tubing, snowmobiling and even indoor activities like swimming pools and arcades. These can be great alternatives or additions to skiing for family members who want variety. If you’re near Silverthorne, make sure to check out the Ice Castles and buy your tickets in advance. We LOVE visiting there and the kids have such a blast exploring the Colorado ice castles.
Colorado is famed for its world-class skiing for a reason. Turning out Olympian skier after Olympian skier, alongside champions in all other winter sports – it’s the epicenter of all things snow in the US. That’s why it’s often considered that the best place for a family ski trip is Colorado. The wide variety of Colorado family ski resorts means that there’s something for everyone to ski in Colorado, so book at trip and take advantage of all the family resorts in Colorado.