Ski season is a highly anticipated time of year for families who can”t wait for the first reports of snow. Ski resorts beckon families with powder-covered mountains, terrain parks, cozy lodges, and more. We’ve had a chance to visit some of the biggest mountains and resorts to determine which ones are best for families. The following resorts have received recognition by editors and member reviews as Family Favorites, making this list your go-to source for choosing a great ski destination to visit this winter.
Written by Lissa Poirot
Sheraton Steamboat Resort
This list may feature many luxury resorts, but we also love what Starwood Resorts did with this Sheraton hotel. The Sheraton Steamboat Resort underwent a multi-million, multi-year renovation that was completed in 2014, adding mountain suites for even more highly desirable accommodations to its already prime base village location. It features a ski valet for your gear, a ski rental shop, and a free shuttle to downtown Steamboat Springs. Nearly 200 traditional hotel rooms are available, as well as condos and mountain suites with up to three bedrooms available for larger families.
Stowe Mountain Lodge
One of the best mountains for East Coast skiing, Stowe Mountain in Stowe, Vermont has been a popular winter destination for nearly 250 years. In the last decade, the ski mountain has made impressive changes and upgrades, including the addition of the Stowe Mountain Lodge, a 139-room lodge with ski-in/ski-out access, to its slopes. Here, kids can take lessons right outside the door, or those too young for time in the snow can spend time at the Cubs Day Care at Spruce Peak, where most of the resort"s beginner trails are found. After a day on the trails, visit the lodge"s Blue Moon CafÃ© for some of the best aprÃ¨s-ski dinners in the state before returning to one of the rooms and suites with working fireplaces and kitchens.
Vail Village appears a few times on this list, and perhaps that is due to the number of great resorts like Tivoli Lodge, which are located right in the heart of the village and within steps of Vail"s Vista Bahn ski lift. Although this lodge is small â€“ just 66 guestrooms available â€“ it makes the cut as a favorite for families due to its spacious rooms with large soaking tubs, kitchenettes and fireplaces. Tivoli has been operating here since 1968, providing families with complimentary ski valets and snacks and beverages after a day enjoying Colorado"s powder. Even better? Kids 12 and younger stay free, and children 5 and younger can eat free.
Topnotch Resort & Spa
Stowe pops up on our list, thanks to the great amenities and accommodations found at Topnotch Resort. Located at the base of Mt. Mansfield and just minutes from Stowe Mountain Resort and Stowe Village, Topnotch itself is spread out among 120 wooded acres for a true alpine getaway. Ski and board rentals are available at the resort for families heading to Stowe and its ski school, but families can also enjoy cross country skiing at the resort, as well as snowshoeing, ice skating and sleigh rides. An indoor, heated swimming pool with a cascading hydro-massage waterfall and hot tubs are also available to enjoy, along with a teen-friendly spa. The resort provides traditional rooms, hotel suites, and rental homes with up to three bedrooms, kitchens and extra space for larger families.
The only full-service hotel located in Snowmass, which is one of the most family-friendly mountains in the Aspen area, the Viceroy Snowmass is also an upscale resort with ski-in and ski-out amenities. The property opened in 2009 in the Base Village and provides nearly 200 different room sizes, including residences with up to four bedrooms for families to enjoy. Every room has a kitchen (or kitchenette) and laundry facilities, as well as oversized soaking tubs, DVD players and fireplaces. While kids as young as 2.5 years of age can take lessons at Snowmass, young children can also enjoy the Treehouse Kids" Adventure Center, which is just two blocks or a shuttle ride from the hotel. The center even provides aprÃ¨s-ski activities so parents can enjoy a romantic night out. There are also snowmobile rides, snowshoeing, dog sledding and plenty of other options for fun on the mountain.
One of the newest properties in Park City comes with upscale amenities and services associated with the Waldorf Astoria brand. The Waldorf Astoria Park City, which opened in 2009, is within access of Deer Valley, Park City and the Canyons ski areas â€“ more than 4,000 acres of ski terrain all within minutes of your hotel. Guests can select from guestrooms with kitchenettes or one-bedroom residences with living and dining areas, washers and dryers and jetted tubs. Home residences (two to four bedrooms) are also available through the hotel. Don"t feel like cooking for the family? The hotel offers full-service and grab-and-go dining, as well.
Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa
Each room is privately owned (although identically decorated) in this grand resort that provides the amenities of the Westin brand with a condo-style rental vacation. The Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa is perfect for families visiting Beaver Creek with its onsite ski rentals, ski valets and gondola. AprÃ¨s-ski activities are family-friendly (including chocolate chip cookies at the base of the mountain) and kids can enjoy a supervised, camp-like children"s program and heated swimming pool when they aren"t taking lessons and swooping down the mountain.
The Wyoming Inn isn"t located on Jackson Hole Mountain, but instead is located in town. That doesn"t mean it"s not a great hotel for families wanting to ski in the <a href="Grand Tetons though. This small, 68-room hotel is just minutes from Jackson Hole Mountain"s skiing and ski school, and offers a budget-friendly alternative to the closer resorts. Rustic rooms with fireplaces, small refrigerators, microwaves and free Wi-Fi are comfortable and stylish, and families shouldn"t miss the made-to-order breakfast before hitting the slopes. When not on the mountain, the inn provides easy access to the town"s restaurants (many are within walking distance), shopping and attractions.
Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise
Located in Canada"s beautiful Banff National Park, the 554-room Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise is just 10 minutes from Lake Louise"s 4,200-acre ski area. The resort provides a free shuttle to Ski Louise, where kids ages 5 to 12 can participate in supervised skiing (or boarding for ages 7 to 12). Children can also enjoy a supervised Children"s Playroom at the resort during ski season, especially good for children under 5 while parents and older kids hit the slopes. The resort also provides more winter fun, such as snowshoe tours, ice skating and sleigh rides. After a day on the slopes, families can refuel at the resort"s restaurants before retiring to a room with modern alpine dÃ©cor.
Four Seasons Resort Vail
Nestled into the heart of Vail Village, the Four Seasons Vail opened in 2010 with 121 rooms and suites, as well as a pool of residences for families, all within easy access of Vail mountain and its lifts. When not on the slopes, kids ages 5 to 12 can enjoy the Kids For All Seasons kids" program, and â€˜tweens and teens can enjoy the Young Adults Club. Hearty meals pre- and aprÃ¨s-ski may be enjoyed at the resort"s Flame restaurant, and then families can enjoy alpine dÃ©cor in rooms and suites with mountain views, fireplaces and large soaking tubs.
Four Seasons Resort Whistler
Another Four Seasons makes the cut, this time in Canada"s Whistler ski area, which hosted the 2010 Winter Olympics. The Four Seasons Whistler is located in the Upper Village, just a short walk from the center of town and its shops and restaurants. The resort"s Ski Lite program helps skiers hit the slopes, while the Ski Elite Program provides instruction. Families have 273 rooms, suites and townhouse accommodations in which to choose, all with fireplaces for long winter nights, and may also gather around the central fireplace located in the signature Fifty Two 80 Bistro & Bar.
Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort
The Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort is actually located in the heart of Lake Placid and not the slopes of Whiteface Mountain, but it makes the list because of all it has to offer, as well as its close proximity to the mountain, where two Winter Olympic Games have been held. Guests can enjoy the village and visit the Olympic museums and attractions, while enjoying rooms and condo-like suites with kitchens and separate bedrooms. Drive a short distance to Whiteface Mountain (which doesn"t offer its own ski-in/ski-out accommodations) to enjoy ski and snowboard lessons. After a day on the slopes, more winter fun may be had at the resort, which offers dog sledding, toboggan rides, cross country skiing, ice skating and ice hockey on Mirror Lake. The fact the resort won"t break the bank is nice, too!
Marriott Mountain Resort & Spa
The Marriott Mountain Resort & Spa is a bit more friendly on the wallet than some of its neighboring counterparts. Located in the Lionshead base area, which is within walking distance of the Eagle Bahn Gondola and shopping and dining, the hotel includes more than 300 rooms, suites and condo rentals with up to three bedrooms and full kitchens to provide a home-like environment. Onsite dining provides meals throughout the day, and when not skiing or enjoying <a href="Vail"s winter snows, the Marriott also has indoor and outdoor pools and hot tubs.
Montage Deer Valley Resort
Park City"s Deer Valley Ski Resort in Utah is one of the country"s best ski areas, and for families looking for ski-in/ski-out access, the Montage Deer Valley Resort is a perfect option. The quiet resort is a 10-minute drive from Park City, and located atop Empire Pass for easy skiing, snowmobiling, ice skating, sleigh riding and more. A drop-off children"s center, the Paint Box, is available for kids ages 5 to 12; the Compass outfitting shop is the hub of activities; and a year-round, heated pool deck features a pool, wading pool and hot tub. An indoor pool is also available at limited times. Families can choose from more than 150 rooms, as well as more than 60 suites and residential rentals, many with fireplaces in which to warm up after a day on the mountain. They can also head to the fire pits situated around the resort and make S"mores.
Mountain Thunder Lodge
Situated within an easy, complimentary shuttle ride to the lifts of Breckenridge"s slopes, the Mountain Thunder Lodge is close enough to the trails and downtown Breckenridge to enjoy all of the area spoils. That is, until families are ready to enjoy the oversized space available for accommodations, including homes that can sleep up to 14. All accommodations are equipped with full kitchens to become your home-away-from home on your winter getaway. On the slopes, kids ages 3 to 13 can take lessons at the Breckenridge Ski and Ride School, and guests at Mountain Thunder have all access to One Ski Hill Place, its sister lodge, which has tons of fun. (It also made our list!)
Omni Mount Washington Resort
Dating back to the turn of the 20th century, the Omni Mount Washington is a grand hotel in the heart of the White Mountains of New Hampshire, near the Bretton Woods ski resort. While the main hotel itself isn"t on the slopes, it provides mountain views and families can have kids, ages 4 to 12, enrolled in the Alpine Club at Bretton Woods for lessons and supervised programs. The resort also operates the Lodge, which is located at the ski area. Back at the resort, horse-drawn sleigh rides, dogsled rides, cross country skiing, tubing and other fun is available for children to enjoy. Rooms at the hotel include a family suite, which provides more space and sleeping areas than a traditional room.
One Ski Hill Place
This luxurious lodge is the sister resort of the Mountain Thunder Lodge, meaning it has the same great Breckenridge skiing and amenities. The twist, however, is this resort is located directly on the slopes for ski-in and ski-out privileges, and Breck"s ski school lessons take place just outside â€“ families even have lockers for their ski gear so they won"t have to schlep it to their room. One Ski Hill Place also has a variety of family off-slope fun, such as bowling, a movie theater and an indoor swimming pool. The hotel rooms all have balconies with mountain views, and four-bedroom accommodations are available, with full kitchens, plus laundry facilities.
The Pines Lodge
A member of the RockResorts" family of resorts, The Pines Lodge is a small, boutique property with ski-in/ski-out capabilities that make it feel like a remote and private chalet in the mountains of Colorado. Guests can book condos or townhomes and have valets take care of ski equipment and groceries for an uber-easy vacation that is completely luxurious. This lodge was founded by Laurance Rockefeller! Families can access the Strawberry Park ski lift, within steps of the lodge, and tube on Haymaker Hill. Condos and townhomes provide kitchens, laundry facilities and separate bedrooms, with condos located in the main lodge and townhomes just 50 yards away. Kids 12 and younger can stay with parents free of charge.
The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe
Lake Tahoe is a popular ski destination in both California and Nevada. The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe is located in the Northstar-at-Tahoe resort in California, and brings all the Ritz luxury one expects to the ski retreat here. The hotel provides ski-in and ski-out access to four Northstar lifts, or enjoy the Ritz"s exclusive gondola, which will take your family directly to the Northstar Village. There awaits an indoor/outdoor, roller/ice rink as part of the winter fun, although back at the hotel kids may never want to leave the tubing slopes. The hotel also provides a kids" club for children, ages 5 to 12. When it's time for rest, 170 guestrooms and suites are available, including suites with fireplaces and balconies. Be sure to grab a seat in the Living Room, an alpine-decorated lounge where you can enjoy menu items from the hotel"s onsite restaurants.
Opened in 2011, The Sebastian"s mountainside location and close proximity to Vail Village quickly made it a popular choice for families visiting Vail. Within steps of the village and ski lifts, the resort also offers a variety of room sizes, including four-bedroom suites with full kitchens and laundry facilities, making it a convenient, albeit somewhat pricey, option. The extra price includes ski valets who take care of your gear, pop-up spas at the Sebastian base camp providing foot massages aprÃ¨s ski, a six-person SUV to move you about the area, including Golden Peak, and even a Little Chefs cooking program for the kids.
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