Best Family Friendly Ski Resorts in Colorado [PHOTOS]
When it comes to taking the whole family to the slopes, most of the resorts are ready for you. They want your business, obviously, and have designed their slopes, schools, terrain parks and amenities with you, the spouse and the kids in mind. Almost all Colorado resorts have the facilities for you and the kids, but which one should you visit? Here are some of Colorado's best.
Ski Town, USA not only offers some of the best snow in the world, and is very family friendly. Great programs like the Kids Ski Free and Steamboat MountainWatch Technology compliment the natural terrain that offer great options.
One of the best things any mountain can offer--besides all the things that humans can create--is an area of the mountain where beginners and kids can do laps. It's great to have a section with no surprises, where you can just leave the mind behind, make leisurely turns, and not worry that you are going to end up on the edge of a cliff with no other way down because you didn't memorize the trail map or pay close attention to the signage. This is the Sunshine Express at Steamboat, and yes, it is as pleasant as it sounds. There are no black diamonds if you keep the lift on your right. Plus you are right near the restaurants at Rendesvous Saddle, so you don't have to come down off the mountain all day if you don't want to.
If you are looking for an adrenaline rush, the 'Boat has you covered. Terrain parks of all sizes (I won't call Rabbit Ears a 'kids' terrrain park, because as an almost 40 year old man, it is my park of choice), half pipes, groomers, steeps, cliffs, glades, and much, much more. Steamboat is a favorite among locals because it is just an amazing place to ski and ride. Whatever your level, it is a world leader. The town is one of the best and most unique in the ski world. Plus, because it is not on I-70, crowds are much more manageable, even on weekends.
Copper is the perfect place to go if you want to park your car and not get in it again until you leave. The whole area is built around the skiing and riding, and the fabulous village is matched by the fabulous mountain. Woodward at Copper, a training facility for extreme athletes, is one of their most interesting non - alpine offerings. The rest of the village offers plenty for kids and adults.
Copper has naturally divided terrain. The west side of the resort is perfect for beginner and intermediate skiers and riders. The rest of the resort offers a vast area to play to the heart's content. Free CAT skiing gives access to a backcountry terrain inside the ropes.
Though Copper's size is similar to many other Colorado resorts, the place just feels massive. Something about it just makes it feel huge. Put it this way, if you family can ski every run at Copper in a week, you'll know you've ripped it!
An Colorado blessing should sound something like "May all your days be like a weekday at Keystone". Translation, may your days be wide open, beautiful and void of annoying crowds. Keystone is nestled in a valley in a spot all its own. It's easy to access, actually closer to DIA than Breckenridge or Vail, but far enough away from the major highways to stop the mob scene.
Plus, the groomers at Keystone are just amazing. Let your imagination make you the Super G champion, racing to the podium, over the jump, and wait! Here comes a huge turn! OMG! The run goes on and on and on. Keystone's groomers have few equals. They are a great place for the family to stretch it out and have some fun.
The real ace in the hole for Keystone is that it has something no other Colorado resort has--night skiing. Don't want that powder day to end? It doesn't have to. Parents, I probably don't even have to explain why this could be a huge factor in your time spent in the mountains. Sure, most resorts have activities at night for you and kids, but night skiing? The kids could sleep for weeks after your trip to Keystone.
Consistently lauded for their learn to ski and ride programs, Beaver Creek is an amazing mountain on the west side of the Vail Valley. It has an interesting setup, with much of the beginner terrain on the top of the mountain, offering people with less experience an unbelievable view while they learn to ski and ride.
Plus, anyone who wants to feel what a World Cup downhill course feels like can brave Birds of Prey, one of the runs that is a regularly used by international competitions. Standing in the middle of it and imagining those racers flying down as fast as they can is sobering. It's like standing on a wall, and those guys and girls go down it as fast as they can. Unreal.
Like Nothing on Earth is their tag line, and in many ways, we have to agree. Vail is just huge. For some, it may be too big. With that size, though, you have unlimited options.
You can stay in a couple of different village areas at the base (Lionshead or Vail Village), or you can stay in the surrounding town, or even towns nearby. Both of the village areas are lively and diverse.
There is every kind of skiing and riding you can imagine and then some. The back bowls at Vail, one of the reasons that 10th Mountain Division Army Veteran founders founded the resort, are almost mind boggling. From one end, you can see skiers on the other side and they look like little tiny specks because they are so far away. Plenty of room to make big turns.
Vail's name is as big as its skiable acreage, and you can see it climbing into the mountains from I-70, so there can be some crowds to deal with, especially on weekends.