5 Family Friendly Places to Ski and Snowboard with the Kids
Looking to make the most of the winter weather this week? Here are 5 winter resorts for families who like to ski and snowboard. And for those of you whose kids own a Kid Power Band, make sure they wear it so they can rack up points while they ski!
Keystone, Keystone, Colo.: There’s plenty of outdoor fun on the resort’s beautiful 3,148 skiable acre property, including snow tubing, cat skiing, a 5-acre ice-skating lake, night skiing and “the world’s biggest snow fort.” After hours, Kidtopia offers family friendly scavenger hunts and loads of board games, foosball, giant Legos, crafts and much more. Stay two nights—1,200 lodging options are offered including hotel, condo or single family home accommodations—and kids 12 and under ski and ride the new River Run Gondola or Summit Express Chairlift free. Time your 2-day-kids-stay-for-free visit just right and you’ll be there for Monday night snowball launch and Wednesday night movies.
Aspen Snowmass Resorts, Aspen, Colo.: As the website boasts, you could spend your entire trip skiing and riding the Snowmass resort without ever covering the same ground twice! But if you’re traveling with kids, the resort’s Ski and Snowboard school is one place you won’t mind making repeat visits. The resort prides itself on kids’ programs that make learning fun for kids, 2–17, on four different mountains, including the ideal-for-first-times Buttermilk, which features the Hideout — an integrated play-and-learning ski school, for children 2 ½ to 6 years old. Child care is also available at the 2,300-square-meter Treehouse Kids’ Adventure Center, where Colorado-themed play rooms and fun supervised activities can create fun diversions for children, 8 weeks to 4-years-old.
Granite Peak, Wausau, Wis.: Families will find runs to suit every age and skill level with some of the Midwest’s most expansive beginner areas—and four lifts devoted to new skiers. The children’s ski school offers classes for kids ages 3–5, 6–8 with classes for kids 9–12 and those 13 and up looking to learn to ski and snowboard. Look for weekly ticket specials and special events like this week’s Mardi Gras Festival on Sat. Feb. 25. After a day on the slopes, nearby historic Wausau is worth a trip for a visit to Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum, which offers hands-on art- and nature-based activities and a wooded sculpture garden kids can run through, or to the Mead McMillan Wildlife refuge for a snowshoe hike.
Smuggler’s Notch, Jeffersonsville, Vt.: About 45 minutes outside of Burlington, the Notch was voted 2017’s No. 1 East Coast resort for kids by Ski Magazine. One reason: the resort does a great job creating age appropriate ski classes so preschoolers 3- to 4-years-old get their own class as do 5- and 6-year-olds right on up to teens 16-20 can have fun while they learn. A unique adaptive program for differently abled children and adults provides instruction and experiences tailored to the needs and goals of each individual with additional counselors and instructors on hand as needed (call ahead to reserve space). If you go this Thursday, check out the FamilyFun Magazine Winter Carnival—2:30 pm on the Village Green—featuring music and live entertainment, face painting, games, a bonfire, giveaways and an outdoor barbeque and at 8 p.m. Stowe, just 30 miles away, has cute restaurants—try PieCasso for pizza and the Depot Street Malt Shoppe—the movie theater, or the horse-drawn sleigh rides at the Trapp Family Lodge.
Okemo, Ludlow, Vt.: Easily Accessible from most major East Coast cities, Okemo is a favorite on Best-for-Families lists, because it has something for everyone. Serious skiers love its varied terrain, 4-alpine mountain areas, and dependable snow-making while the children’s ski and snowboard programs offer 6 levels of instruction for kids 2-14. Apres ski, there’s a multi-lane snow tubing park, snowshoeing, the Timber Ripper mountain coaster and much more. For parents who’d like an evening off, Okemo’s Kid’s Night out is a child care facility staffed by licensed professionals who’ll take kids swimming at the indoor pool, skating at the ice skating pavilion, or, chill with them over pizza and a movie.