One, Two, Ski!

Winter may be months away, but now’s the time to start planning your dream ski vacation. To add some inspiration, here are a few of our favorite family-friendly ski resorts:

Smuggler’s Notch Resort; Smuggler’s Notch, Vermont

This resort offers three big mountains of skiing and snowboarding, tube sliding and dog sledding, plus amenities for families like babysitting, children’s lessons and two tween-only centers. For indoor play, families will love the FunZone, equipped with a 45-foot obstacle course, a giant double-lane slide, volleyball and mini-golf. 

Northstar-at-Tahoe; Tahoe, California

This resort is perfect for adventure-loving families, and it’s a great destination to try new things. For the slopes, families can (temporarily) forgo their skis and try out snowscoots, snowbikes, tubes and the skifox. Kids will also love the resort’s live music, free ice skating and bungee jumping, and indoor activities like jewelry and candle making.

Okemo Mountain Resort; Ludlow, Vermont

Okemo Mountain Resort was created with families’ needs in mind. Kids can choose from skiing, snowshoeing, snowtubing, wagon rides and moonlight snoeshoe tours, or take refuge from the cold at the indoor pool and golf course. Families will also love Saturday movie nights, s’more-making at a local tavern and nightly bonfires. Plus, the resort offers free skiing and riding for children 6 and under.

Taos Ski Valley; Taos, New Mexico

With skiing and snowboarding lessons for all ages and an 18,000-square-foot Children’s Center, Taos Ski Valley caters to the whole family. Taos’ nursery offers services for infants and preschoolers, while its ski school teaches children as young as three the basics of navigating the slopes. The surrounding town and village offer plenty of family-friendly lodging, from inns to full-service resorts.

Snowmass; Aspen, Colorado

Boasting a terrain garden and 22-foot snowboard superpipe, Snowmass offers some of the best skiing in the Aspen area. Families can choose from a variety of discount packages, and when it’s time to head inside, parents can visit the nearby village (filled with great shopping and restaurants) while kids explore the Treehouse Kids’ Adventure Center, which features interactive themed rooms and movie nights.

Squaw Valley; Olympic Valley, California

The site of the 1960 Winter Olympic Games, Squaw Valley offers visitors breathtaking views of Lake Tahoe and a dose of US Olympic history. High Camp at Squaw Valley boasts an ice rink perched at the top of the upper mountain, a gentle beginner terrain and the “Ski with a Pro” program for kids. There’s also a climbing wall, cable car rides, snowtubing and snowshoe tours.

Ski Butternut; Great Barrington, Massachusetts

Ski Butternut has amenities for riders of all ages and experience levels; young children learn the basics of skiing and snowboarding in the SKIwee or miniRIDER programs, while older kids enjoy the mountain’s 22 downhill ski trails, 110 skiable acres and 12 lifts. The mountain also offers clubhouses and a children’s center, and families will love the area’s many lodging choices, ranging from quaint inns to motels. 

Ski Big Bear/Woodloch Resort; Lackawaxen, Pennsylvania

Ski Big Bear and Woodloch Resort together offer a discounted Family Ski And Stay Package, which includes everything from lift tickets to nightly entertainment. The slopes offer skiing, snowboarding and tubing, but families can also check out The Eagle Institute (to scout for bald eagles), NorthEast Wilderness Experience (for hiking, snowshoeing and climbing) and Triple W Riding Stables (which offer horseback riding on a secluded and spectacular mountain top).

Frost Valley YMCA; Claryville, New York

At the largest YMCA camping site in the nation (Frost Valley covers 6,000 acres in the Catskill Mountains) families can enjoy cross-country skiing on back-country trails and along glistening streams and small group lessons on weekends. Kids can take a break from the slopes with maple sugaring and equestrian programs, and families can stay in rustic cabins or inns.

The Pines Lodge, A RockResort at Beaver Creek, Colorado

This resort is a winter wonderland for families, boasting a spectacular location and plenty of action-packed fun. Parents will love the resort’s nightly entertainment and award-winning restaurant, as well as the facility’s free internet access and valet parking. Meanwhile, kids will flip for the plentiful outdoor activities (like skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, sleigh rides and even hot air ballooning) and the hot chocolate and cookies that greet them after a day in the snow!


Jonesing for fresh powder, but don’t have time for or an overnight excursion? These nearby ski resorts make great ea at day trips from NYC:

HUNTER MOUNTAIN, HUNTER, NY: Nestled in the he heart of the northern Catskills, Hunter Mountain is known for its beautiful views, luxury spa and slopes that accommodate all ability levels.

WHITEFACE LAKE PLACID, WILMINGTON, NY: Bo Boasting an Olympic Center and a spectacular ular location, this stateof-the-art ski resort features two mountains, Gore and Whiteface, and offers activities ranging ing from disc golf to yoga.

MOUNT PETER, WARWICK, NY: This family-operated Hudson Valley resort boasts an impressive pressive title: it’s the oldest ski resort in the state of New York.

MOUNTAIN CREEK SKI RESORT, NJ: Located in nor northern New Jersey, this resort features 41 trails, 11 lifts and one of the region’s only all-terrain parks.

CAMPGAW MOUNTAIN, MAHWAH, NJ: This nearby by resort offers live family entertainment in the lodge each night.

STRATTON  MOUNTAIN RESORT, STRATTON MOUNTAIN, VT: Stratton  offers a winter activity for everyone. Families can an go tubing in the park, snowmobile through the mountains or spend a day cross-country skiing.

—Matthew Thaler

Photo courtesy of Okemo Mountain Resort.