5 Reasons We Love Skiing in Colorado with Kids

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A family ski vacation is one of the most rewarding experiences you can have  — and you won’t find a greater concentration of kid-friendly resorts, terrain and off-the-slopes activities than in Colorado. Ciao Bambino Family Travel Advisor Megan Norris not only lives there, but she and her family are avid skiers and she’s tapped into the character and amenities of all the major ski areas. Watch the video above, then read on for her advice. 

Best Tips for Skiing in Colorado with Kids
Kids give Colorado skiing a thumbs up!

Best Things About Skiing in Colorado with Kids

Ample Sunshine

Don’t underestimate the difference that sunshine makes on a ski trip! Colorado averages about 300 days of sun a year, which means you’re likely to have plenty of bluebird days on the slopes. Trust us, it’s preferable to cloudy skies (brrr) and pelting snow.  

Wide Range of Resorts

There are almost two dozen different resorts to choose from in Colorado, so it’s easy to find your ideal match. Are you and your family novices or more experienced skiers? Do you want snowboarding facilities or would you prefer no snowboarding allowed? Does your perfect resort include an Alpine-style village or a true Western town? Are you looking for luxury or are you on a budget? Part of the value of our trip planning service is helping you select the ski area that ticks all the necessary boxes.

Best Tips for Skiing in Colorado with Kids
Larger ski resorts have a vast selection of runs

Tons of Terrain

The mountains at Colorado ski resorts tend to be big, with a lot of different runs in each category. Vail, the state’s largest in terms of skiable acreage, has nearly 200 trails and about half of those are for advanced skiers; meanwhile, beginning and intermediate skiers have plenty of terrain to cover and aren’t stuck with the same few runs. Snowmass, Keystone, Winter Park and Steamboat round out the top five for size.

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Best Tips for Skiing in Colorado with Kids
Families appreciate being able to get in and out of Denver quickly

Easy Access

One big advantage of skiing in Colorado: it’s easy to get in and out. Direct flights to Denver are plentiful from both the East and West Coasts, and from there you can either drive up to the mountains or take a connecting flight to the major resort towns. Spend a couple of days in Denver on the front or back end to combine a quick city break with a family ski getaway.

Western Flavor

Classic Colorado towns like Steamboat, which is surrounded by working cattle ranches, and Telluride, important in the days of gold mining, offer the authenticity that makes this region distinctive. By contrast, ski areas like Vail and Beaver Creek are purpose-built around luxury and mass appeal, so if you’re looking for a true Old West vibe, be sure to pick the right destination.

Best Tips for Skiing in Colorado with Kids
Time your ski vacation right for Colorado’s legendary powder dumps

Essential Tips for a Colorado Ski Vacation

When to Go

Peak ski season in Colorado is December through January, with the best statewide conditions but also the coldest temperatures and highest prices for lodging. Thanksgiving is usually more affordable, though the conditions can be a crapshoot: You might get decent powder or you might have thin snow that leaves rocky patches exposed. While the major resorts make their own snow continually, the quality can’t compare to the real thing.

March is a sweet spot — it sees the greatest fresh snowfall and also tends to be warmer (helpful especially for families with young kids). If this is when your kids’ spring break falls, you’re in luck! 

Best Tips for Skiing in Colorado with Kids
No matter your kids’ ages and experience levels, there’s a ski area tailored for them

Best Resorts for Ages and Stages

    • Beginners and/or young children- Steamboat. They have a fantastic ski school and it sits at a lower elevation so it’s easier to adjust to if you are coming from sea level or have any issues with altitude. 
    • Vail/Beaver Creek- Lots of terrain to explore with something for everyone.  
    • Aspen/Snowmass-  
    • Telluride- I would save this for teens and older children.  They have more steep and advanced terrain. More difficult to get to as well. 

Favorite Colorado Ski Resorts for Families

  • In Vail, we love the European village, diversity of terrain and range of luxury accommodations. You’ll find plenty of non-skiing options too, like ice skating, wildlife viewing and snowmobiling. Although there’s not a sizable town to explore, Vail Village is home to lots of boutique shopping and restaurants within the pedestrian-only streets. It’s especially charming at the holiday time. 
  • Aspen/Snowmass has a large mountain and a great deal of varied terrain, yet it’s not as crowded as Vail. The town of Aspen is small, intimate and really family-friendly, with ample designer shopping and memorable dining — it’s the best luxury experience overall. There are four resorts to choose from, each with unique qualities: Buttermilk is best choice beginners and young children, while Snowmass offers a variety of long, wide intermediate runs. Save Aspen Highlands for the expert skiers in your family.  
  • Beaver Creek is a bit less crowded than Vail and only a short drive away, so you can ski both resorts in one trip. While there isn’t a village, the après-ski experience is fantastic, with fire pits and freshly baked chocolate chip cookies at the base of the gondola in the afternoons.
  • Looking to get off the beaten path? Try Telluride. It’s more difficult to get to but has an intimate, bona fide Western atmosphere combined with boutique shopping, nice dining and great skiing. The off-path location also means lighter crowds. 
  • Steamboat, more value-oriented than the resorts above, truly caters to families. Lodging is 4-star rather than 5-star and restaurants are casual, but the ski school is outstanding and the mountain is relatively compact and easy to navigate. It’s also at a lower altitude, a huge advantage if you are flying straight in from low elevations. 

Relevant Links:

Browse all destinations and advice for family ski vacations on Ciao Bambino

How to choose the perfect family ski resort

From toddlers to teens: Best family ski resorts for every age

10 tips for a successful ski vacation with teens

Family ski trips: Best of Vail and Beaver Creek with kids

A great family ski vacation at Beaver Creek Resort

Editor’s Note: Photos by Megan Norris.

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1 Comments
  • My daughter, who had never skied before in her life, loved it so much that she begged us to come back next year. My wife also loved being able to have some time to herself in the resort.

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