Do you want to take your family on a memorable skiing vacation? While New York may boast the most ski resorts in the United States, the Centennial State (Colorado) has more than 30 incredible resorts to consider.
Thanks to a great Ski and Snowboard School and an unmatched vertical descent, the Aspen Snowmass Ski Resort is the best Colorado ski resort for families. However, there is hot competition with nearby resorts offering unique experiences too.
If you are road-tripping to a resort from Denver, your mountain adventure officially begins in Golden, CO – the closest mountain town to Denver. There are plenty of memorable things to do in Golden to kick your trip off right.
But for now, we take to the slopes and discuss the top family-friendly ski resorts in Colorado below.
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Best Family Ski Resorts in Colorado
The availability of gear rentals, ski instruction, and the number of low-difficulty routes are all things you should consider when looking for a family-friendly ski resort. We dive into the best ski resorts in Colorado, focusing on green, blue, and red routes.
However, if your family enjoys tackling black diamond routes, there are a handful at each resort. Grab your ski poles, and let’s go!
This ski resort is made up of four expansive ski areas in the Rocky Mountains. While there are no green runs on the mountain, your children will be ready to tackle the blue slopes after their first ski lesson. Alternatively, the Buttermilk ski area within Aspen features miles of beginner-friendly trails and terrain parks for the pros.
A major factor that attracts skiers to this area is the ski-in ski-out lodging and ease of traveling around. You and your family can effortlessly move between the four mountains to explore across the valley with access to more than 3,000 acres of excellent ski terrain.
The Little Nell is Aspen’s only Five-Star, Five-Diamond, ski-in/ski-out hotel. It features luxurious amenities, personalized service, breathtaking mountain views, renowned dining, and spacious accommodations.
This resort is ideal for beginners, thanks to the groomed slopes and professional yet light-hearted ski instruction. If you are one for early morning and late-night skiing, Keystone offers the longest ski day in the state of Colorado.
The resort offers access to three mountain peaks tucked away in the White River National Forest. You can explore over 3,000 acres of skiable terrain across 128 runs. The resort features 20 lifts, five bowls and is less than two hours from Denver International Airport.
In addition to great slopes, snow tubing, and ice skating, Keystone has the world’s largest snow fort that consists of tunnels, slides, and mazes. And if you and your family members are experienced skiers, you can also enjoy the A51 Terrain Park.
Consider staying at the resort’s lodging for more than two nights to enjoy free ski passes for your kids. You can also find plenty of incredible Colorado cabins with hot tubs for a relaxing soak after a long day on the slopes.
Beaver Creek offers families an entertaining vacation with weekly fireworks to celebrate the ski season! The Haymeadow learning area is perfect for beginners, and there are 150 runs across more than 1,800 skiable acres for intermediate and advanced skiers. The snowmaking system at Red Buffalo Park and the ski school keep the beginner slopes in excellent condition.
You can choose between ski-in/ski-out accommodation or staying in the suburbs and using the free shuttle bus system to the main bus stop. Beaver Creek is only a two-hour drive from Denver and offers long, well-groomed runs accessible by fast lifts.
Looking to unwind? Visit the Beaver Creek Village performing arts center for an entertaining show or a skate at the ice rink.
As Colorado’s longest continually operated ski resort, Winter Park offers history alongside state-of-the-art ski equipment. You can explore more than 3,000 skiable acreages on 166 runs using 25 lifts. As one of the skiing resorts nearest to Denver, it is easily accessed via the express train with a two-hour trip.
Winter Park has plenty of beginner runs and progressive terrain for all skiers. Is this your first family ski trip? Join a private lesson, and you’ll quickly progress from green routes to blue and even red ones. The resort has a tubing park, ski-in ski-out lodging, restaurants, and shops to help round out your incredible trip!
The high-speed Sunnyside Lift on the backside of the mountain can comfortably carry a family of up to six to the top. The resort has snow-making machines which keep the main slope in tip-top shape. A notable part of Winter Park is its longest run, covering 5.1 miles over a descent of 2,610 ft.
Vail is the largest ski resort in Colorado with over 5,200 skiable acres. But the wide groomed terrain with distinct learning zones makes it a perfect resort to learn to ski. Note that the ski school, however, only teaches children seven and older. Vail has three different villages and is about two hours drive from Denver.
After skiing, you can enjoy the ice rink, snow tubing, or a trip on the gondola. The best part of Vail Ski Resort is the free snowshoeing tours for ages ten and up from the Nature Discovery Center. Here you’ll learn about the natural surroundings and the Rocky Mountains.
Manor Vail Lodge is a condominium hotel, is located just steps from the slopes of Vail Village and Golden Peak. The lodge includes a complimentary ski valet, 20% off ski rentals, and daily breakfast, hot cocoa, and cookies.
Tivoli Lodge has the slopes at its backdoor and guests will find easy access to Vail’s winter fun, from snowshoeing to snow tubing, ice skating, and more. After a day on the slopes, enjoy the lodge’s afternoon tradition of complimentary fresh baked cookies, hot chocolate, hot cider, and tea. Guests also have daily access to Dryland Fitness & Spa with fitness classes.
Only an hour and a half from Denver, Copper Mountain offers an affordable ski holiday for your family. There are more than 25 beginner trails and more than 30 intermediate ones. If you are an experienced skier, there are more than 70 advanced and expert runs to tackle.
At the base of the resort, you’ll find the tubing carousel, mini tubing hill, and the Rocky Mountain Coaster. There is also a snow den with tunnels for children to explore. A Kids Night Out program offers three hours of childcare to give parents a well-deserved rest in the evening.
If you want to share an experience with your family, visit the West Lake ice skating rink or try the Alpine Rush Zip Line 30 feet in the air.
Steamboat Springs offers just under 3,000 acres of skiing and some incredible thigh-burning long runs. Here you can enjoy night skiing, natural hot springs, tubing, ice skating, and a mountain coaster with your family.
Book a full or half-day private lesson to get your family skiing in no time. Each Friday night during the ski season is celebrated with fireworks.
No matter where you stay, you can conveniently reach the slopes using the Red Wagon program. Set off on a four-hour drive to the resort from Denver or fly directly to Steamboat Springs Airport.
Located in Durango, Purgatory Ski resort offers an incredible festive season experience. After skiing on the slopes, your children can climb aboard the train for a trip to the ‘North Pole’. This Christmassy ride includes hot cocoa and a reading of the Polar Express.
You can also take a sleigh ride behind a draft horse through a snow-covered forest with stunning mountain views.
Plus, for every paying adult, a kid under the age of 12 can ski for free.
Breckenridge is less than two hours from Denver and offers beginner skiers gentle green trails at the base of Peak 8 and Peak 9. The relaxed pace is ideal for families learning to ski together. There is a great daycare service for those youngsters who are not yet ready to hit the slopes.
The resort has an ice-skating rink, sled hill, and an alpine slide. The resort is located at a high altitude and covers 2,908 acres of skiable terrain with 187 trails with 34 lifts. Your intermediate and expert family members will be kept busy with a seemingly limitless amount of blue runs.
Sunlight Mountain Ski Resort
Is your family superstitious? Alongside comfortable ski slopes, slope-side lodging, and a hot spring, there are ghosts to discover near Sunlight Mountain Ski Resort. Consider staying at the haunted Hotel Colorado during your visit to Glenwood Springs on your family ski trip.
Often a family ski trip will set you back a pretty penny! But Sunlight Mountain Ski Resort is one of the most affordable ski resorts in Colorado. It is 170 miles from Denver and offers affordable lessons, too. In fact, for every paying adult, a child 12 years old and under can ski for free!
This Ski Resort is set in the San Juan mountains near a historic mining town. While getting there requires a six-hour drive from Denver, this remote area of Colorado is spectacular and a great option for families traveling from Texas.
It is an ideal ski resort for kids and families of all skill levels. Telluride offers routes for all abilities and has a continuous descent of more than 4,000 feet from the top of Gold Hill.
When to Visit Family-Friendly Ski Resorts in Colorado
While winter is the obvious choice of season, many of the ski resorts on our list offer summer activities too! The school holidays during fall break, Thanksgiving break, and Christmas break are typically the busiest periods.
Opening and closing dates change annually depending on snowfall. Typically, Keystone ski resort is the first to open during October, and Sunlight Mountain ski resort is the last to open during December. If the snowfall is slow to arrive, ski resorts may limit access to some ski lifts during November.
Final Thoughts on Colorado Ski Resorts for Families
When looking for a family-friendly ski resort in Colorado you are spoilt for choice. If you are aiming for just a weekend away, consider some of the fantastic options near Denver mentioned above.
Most importantly, remember to book your ski passes ahead of time to ensure you have access to the best slopes!