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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.
Location: Dillon Colorado
Adult Ticket Price: $79
Child Ticket Price: $39
Ski Lesson for Kids: TBD
If I could send every ski family to one resort in Colorado to ski with kids, I would send them to Arapahoe Basin. However, you’ll only ever hear the locals refer to it as A-Basin or The Basin.
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 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.
Adult Ticket Price: $89
Child Ticket Price 6-14: $35
Lesson for Kids: $129
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.
Known for bein 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 beginner skiing. 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.
Loveland Basin is the larger and main part of the resort that has terrain for all ability levels.
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
Lesson for Kids: (ages 5-12) Regular Season |$199 Peak Season |$239
Steamboat Springs may be known as “Ski town USA” and it’s 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. 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. 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-days skiing lessons.
Ever the kid-friendly 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?
But if you’re looking to leave the ski boots at the door after a long say, you and your family can always have your groceries delivered directly to your door for a relaxing evening!
Location: Keystone, Colorado
Adult Ticket Price: $169
Child Ticket Price: (Ages 5-12)|$104
Full-Day Ski Lesson for Kids: Pricing starts at $189
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’s Nordic village offers spas, shopping, fine dining, and even daycare for the kids.
On approach to the resort, you’ll notice that there’s free mountainside family parking that leads onto the Gondola for ease of access. If that’s not enough, there are several kids-stay-free lodgings to pick from. And kids will just love this resort. They’ll be able to dive into the daily wacky Kidtopia activities that span from face painting and scavenger hunts to cookie baking and disco tubing!
When it comes to skiing (and even snowboarding!), there’s an on-resort skiing school that offers classes for all ages and abilities. For those adrenaline junkies of the family, there’s the award-winning A51 Terrain Park that’ll put their skills to the test!
This article will help you with everything you need to know to plan a ski trip to Keystone with kids.
Location: Frisco, Colorado
Adult Ticket Price: $159
Child Ticket Price: (Ages 6 – 12): $99
Full-Day Ski Lesson for Kids: TBA
75 miles (around 2-3 hours in traffic) from Denver, Copper Mountain is easily accessible 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 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.
Copper Mountain resort is also noted for its “naturally-divided” terrain. This varied terrain means that everyone can go at their own pace and learn without fear of judgment. The more westerly a slope is, the more suited to beginners it is considered. Continuing east, you’ll find harder slopes geared towards professional skiers.
Across their 2,465 total skiable acres, 23 total lifts, and even average snowfall of 304 inches, you’ll find attentive/friendly staff that’ll tend to your every need.
Location: Breckenridge, Colorado
Adult Ticket Price: $147
Child Ticket Price: (Ages 5 -12 ) | $96
Full-Day Ski Lesson for Kids: $225
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.
Breckenridge’s kid’s lessons are geared towards boosting kid’s confidence and getting them engaged while teaching them valuable, life-long skiing skills. And for those younger kids who aren’t ready to hit the slopes, there are three certified DayCare centers strategically placed throughout the resort for easy access. Not only will your kids enjoy exciting activities at daycare, but they’ll also be nourished with healthy lunches, snacks, and organic milk!
However, there are plenty of activities at Breckenridge that the whole family can take part in. There’s toddler-focused gym time that lets parents hang out and get a workout on with their little tykes.
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
Vail is the grandfather of Colorado ski resorts. Founded in 1962, some of its original structures and accommodation still stand today, giving this resort a classic, timeless feel.
Vails popularity can mean that it does get very crowded on the holidays, and you will pay a premium for just about everything at the resort from parking to dining, to ski gear.
This historical theme is something you’ll notice on first arrival into the nearby European style village, which stands only 30 minutes away from the nearest airport and a 2-hour drive from Denver (though weekend traffic can often turn that into a 4 hour drive each way).
Vail village is perfect for both exploring during the day and après-ski in the evening. Enjoy some world-class dining and even paint the town red at the weekly free concert block parties.
But the skiing is what we’re really here for, and it also offers plenty of that! There’s a pleasing mix of ski runs for beginners, intermediates, and experts.
There are some safe family learning zones and carefully groomed slopes for beginner-intermediates. However, you’ll see skiers enjoying the well-known powdered back bowls for experts.
If you’re looking for something besides just 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 terrain and many good programs that accommodate families well. However, I feel that it’s very overpriced, and you can get a much better value by skiing somewhere else.
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 the perfect place to bring the whole family to get in a few days of top-quality skiing and wintery fun!