The Top 5 Dreamiest Ski Resorts for Families

published Dec 14, 2021
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Credit: Whitefish Mountain Resort

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I have an embarrassing admission, at least for Colorado-based parents like myself.  When our toddler gets old enough to ski, we probably won’t be going to ski resorts for the sport. Not when fireside s’mores, indoor pools and spas (with treatments for littles) await! Sure, skiing is fun … but as the self-proclaimed indoorsiest person in my state, we will probably just hit the trails for an hour or so before soaking up all the apres-ski pampering.

And no wonder. In addition to skiing amenities like doting ski butlers, loaner equipment, and lessons galore, ski resorts have also rolled out all the stops to show parents and their kiddos a good time on and off the slopes.

Here, I rounded up some of the top ski resorts to know and love — including several suggested by my expert friends. 

Credit: Copper Mountain

Copper Mountain, Frisco, Colorado

“We’ve skied all over with our girls and the instructors at Copper Mountain not only make it fun to learn, but are extremely knowledgeable and compassionate,” says Hillary Locke Mujica, mom of two (ages 9 and nearly 5), and owner/designer at The French Leur and editor of Colorado’s AvidLifestyle magazine. “We love to sneak a peek on them during their lessons and we’re always impressed with how much they learn each week. Plus, they always end the day with huge smiles and tired legs!”

She’s not the only in-the-know Coloradan I know and love who recommends Copper — a place so adored that they may want to rebrand it (ahem) Gold. “Our kids, now 12 and 9, both learned to ski in Copper’s ski-school program, and now they’re both better skiers than I am,” says my friend Hilary Oswald, a writer and editor based in Littleton, Colorado. “When they were small (and I could still keep up with them), we felt comfortable on the mountain because it’s divided pretty well into greens (West Village), blues (Center Village), and blacks (East Village), so I didn’t worry about accidentally ending up on terrain that they couldn’t handle …. You can hang out on one part of the mountain all morning and still have plenty of trails to explore. Nobody gets bored!” Plus, the resort has amenities that range from the helpful (on-site child care) to the ultra fun (a “barn” stocked with activities like a skate bowl and Olympic-grade Flybed trampolines). 

Credit: Whitefish Mountain Resort

Whitefish Mountain Resort, Whitefish, Montana

Insiders call this storybook town less than an hour’s drive from Glacier National Park the “next Aspen” for good reason. Its less-trammeled, 3,000-acre ski resort breaks out all the stops for wee ones, including a kids center with art classes and storytelling that children 6 months to 6 years can enjoy while their parents hit the slopes for some much-deserved quality time. Stay at the nearby Lodge at Whitefish Lake for cowboy-guided sleigh rides drawn by draft horses and ice fishing with the pros in heated “shanties” right on the lake. My hubs and I just took our son to Whitefish and I guarantee we will want to go back every single year — it was that perfect.

Credit: Deer Valley Resort

Deer Valley Ski Resort, Park City, Utah

Ski valets who take the headache out of schlepping gear are only the beginning of the bliss at this 2,000-acre ski resort — so proud of its powder it trademarked it “The Greatest Snow on Earth.” But they’ve got reason to be boastful about Deer Valley, especially when you’re traveling with little ones in tow.

On the activities list: a topnotch ski school and magical exploits like horse-drawn sleigh rides, dog sledding, and snowshoeing tours. Someday, we’re going to splurge on a stay at St. Regis Deer Valley … where families are treated to nightly s’mores by the fire pit on the Astor terrace, derby car races, and even all-ages yoga.  

Credit: Spruce Creek

Spruce Peak, Stowe, Vermont

Western ski resorts get most of the fanfare, but for mountain-loving families on the East Coast, Stowe is a fan fave. The former 19th century lumber camp is now home to some of the region’s best skiing, plus a luxe resort with myriad lodging options — whether you prefer a traditional lodge room (starting at a whopping 450 square feet) or private cabin. 

Wintry thrills abound, whether you want to skate the al fresco rink, snowmobile through storybook forests, or swim in the snow — yes, snow (you can access both sides of the indoor/outdoor pool via a swim-out tunnel kiddos love.) Proof the place is ready to pamper all ages: the spa has “Princess Pedicures” for ages 4-12 for your kid, and CBD Sports pedis for you.

Fans of “The Sound of Music” will want to stop in or stay at Trapp Family Lodge — the Bavarian-style retreat that the real-life Von Trapp brood founded (on a whopping 2,500 acres) in 1942. Don’t miss the chicken schnitzel sandwich with lingonberry mayo in the Bierhall.

Club Med Les Arcs Panorama, Bourge-Saint-Maurice, France

Credit: Club Med

With travel restrictions lifting, I had to include one glamorous, far-flung ski resort on the list. And no surprise that my ultra-glam friend Nikki Ekstein, Travel Editor at Bloomberg Pursuits and mother of a 2.5 year old, had a glitzy one to recommend. “We went to Club Med Les Arcs Panorama in the French Alps as a family in January 2020,  when my little one was about nine months old and the first mumbles of COVID were rippling around the world. Getting there was a trek but daycare (from four months, separated by age group, for about $250 a week) was incredible, and located on the same floor as the ski-in/ski-out locker room. Pop off your skis and pick up your kids — what’s better than that?”

Credit: Club Med

And if you thought the Club Med “All-Inclusive” thing was just for sandy beaches, think again. At Club Med Les Arcs Panorama, everything from your lift tickets (and expertly guided lessons!) to your meals and cocktails is included in your rate. More fondue, si vous plait.