For families who love to experience the outdoors together, there aren’t many better ways to spend a spring break than on the snowy slopes. Downhill skiing and snowboarding are wonderful activities for the whole gang to get some fresh air and exercise, soak up some beautiful scenery, and mint some long-lasting memories—and they’re open to a wide range of skill levels. Whether you’re all complete newbies to the slopes, experienced veterans, or a mix thereof, a ski resort’s an awesome destination for a family vacation.
Let’s look into some of the features that make a ski hill especially well suited for family trips before spotlighting some specific examples perfect for spring break 2020!
Elements of a Family-Friendly Ski Resort
Depending on the age range, interests, and group dynamics of your family, just about any ski resort can work for a spring-break getaway, but there are certainly some basic features that make particularly major draws for these kinds of trips. A nice range of terrain is one: If you’ve got young children interested in skiing or riding, or there’s significant variation in family members’ skill levels, you’ll want to choose a resort with multiple runs spread across the beginner, intermediate, and expert ratings.
A resort offering ski/snowboard lessons for different age groups is another obvious plus, especially if some or all of you fall in the beginner category of things. That said, even experienced skiers and snowboarders can always learn something new!
Many resorts also provide various childcare programs for the younger crowd, which can be a huge help if parents and older kids want to spend some quality time on the trails together.
To keep everybody happy and interested, and to accommodate family members too young or simply not into skiing or riding, you’ll ideally want a resort with plenty of other activities and experiences on offer. These days, that describes most of the midsize and large ski areas, which commonly offer other winter outdoor fun—snow tubing, snowshoeing, fat biking, etc.—and, often enough, plenty of indoor fun, too.
And, to state the obvious: A resort hosting its own slopeside accommodations, or with plenty of lodgings close by, means you and the rest of the crew will get to spend more time on the trails and less time traveling during your spring break.
Some Top Family-Friendly Ski Resorts in North America
While we don’t have the room to round up a big list of great family-friendly ski resorts, we thought we’d throw just a few prime examples out there to jump-start your trip-planning.
Okemo Mountain Resort (Vermont)
This Green Mountain resort, which boasts the greatest vertical drop in Vermont (2,200 feet), has a fabulous range of trails for all skill levels, on-slope education for young and old alike at the Ski + Ride School, and a much-appreciated “Kid’s Night Out” program, which lets grownups get some alone time while the youngsters enjoy everything from movies and pizza to ice skating and swimming.
Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort (Massachusetts)
Set in the lovely, rolling Berkshires, Jiminy Peak is another ski area just about tailor-made for families. With 45 trails tapping its 1,150 feet of vertical, it’s got something for everybody, and off the slopes there’s loads of other things to do: from snowshoeing to strapping in for the Mountain Coaster or the Soaring Eagle Zip Ride. The Cub’s Den, meanwhile, provides a supervised playroom for young kids.
One of the top family ski resorts in the West, Steamboat maintains some 165 named trails up in the snowy Park Range of the Colorado Rockies. The place comes completely decked-out for family visits: There’s full-day childcare on offer in the Kid’s Vacation Center, dedicated lessons for adults and kids at the Snowsports Ski School, kid-only Magic Carpet lifts, and plenty else to delight besides the downhill runs and terrain parks, including the nearly 6,300-foot-long Outlaw Mountain Coaster and regular all-ages happenings such as the Winter Carnival. Oh, and did we mention that kids 12 and under ski for free when you buy a 5-or-more-day adult lift ticket?
Whistler Blackcomb (British Columbia)
You’d better believe the biggest ski resort in North America is well set up for families! Whistler’s celebrated mountain complex includes the Whistler Kids Snow School (including clinics for families to learn together) and Adventure Camps, plus childcare for different age groups and such off-slope kid magnets as the Tree Fort, Magic Castle, and Nintendo gaming lounges. There are also all sorts of family events on the calendar, among them the Fire & Ice Show, Whistler Kids Live, and Family Aprés: evenings in the Whistler Olympic Plaza offering kid-oriented entertainment and activities.
Hit the Slopes as a Family With Goggles N More Ski Masks
Make sure you’ve got the perfect eyewear for those sunny and snowy slopes on your family spring-break ski odyssey: Choose from our wide selection of anti-fog, UV-protective snow goggles and prescription lens inserts here at Goggles N More!