Best Ski Resorts for Children

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Top 5 Ski Resorts for Children

Copyright Getty Images Scott Markewitz

While most ski resorts offer some type of kids' programs, some resorts go above and beyond in catering to families. The key to making the best of your ski vacation is to be discriminatory about where you take your family, and to select one that will serve your family's unique needs.

If you want to plan a family ski vacation, look for resorts that:

  • Have a significant amount of never-ever and beginner terrain.
  • Have modern, updated chairlifts (and a magic carpet, on the bunny slope) that are easy to load and unload.
  • Offer kids' skiing packages.
  • Employ instructors who specialize in teaching children.
  • Offer kids' programs with dynamic, on-the-snow and off-the-snow training.
  • Provide quality, interactive daycare services, if your little ones aren't quite old enough for the slopes yet.
  • Offer additional winter fun activities, like tubing, skating or sledding, in addition to skiing.

The following ski resorts are all prime options for family ski vacations. Read on for the top 5 ski resorts for children.

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Jiminy Peak, MA

Copyright Peter Cade / Jiminy Peak

Jiminy Peak is home to the KidsRule Mountain Camps, which provides ski and snowboard lessons for children of all ages and experience levels. KidsRule educates proper safety and etiquette on the slopes, as well.

The resort also offers special multi-week ski and snowboard programs during the winter months. The Mountain Adventure is a seven-week program for 6-17 year olds that teaches ski and snowboard skills and safety every Saturday and Sunday for two hours.

The ski resort also has the only mountain coaster in the North East. The Coaster also allows its passengers to control the speed of their car across 3600 ft. of twists and turns, so the ride can be as leisurely as you wish.

More About Jiminy Peak:

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Killington, VT

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Killington Resort consists of six mountains—Killington Peak, Snowdon, Rams Head, Skye Peak, Bear Mountain, and Sunrise Mountain. Killington is the largest ski resort in the Eastern United States. Rams Head is home to an express quad lift, giving families better access to novice trails that all meet in one location, making it easy for families to split apart for a few hours without getting lost.

Rams Head is also the hub for all of the kids’ activities on the mountain. The Mini Stars Slide and Play is a program for young children which alternates between ski and snowboard lessons and indoor activities, such as team building. The Super Stars program is offered for children 7-12 years old, but only includes ski and snowboard lessons. You can also find options for teenagers, too. The SnowZone program at Rams Head is a ski and snowboard lesson program designed for 13-18 year olds.

More About Killington:

  • Killington Ski Resort
  • Killington Mogul Camps
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Mammoth Mountain, CA

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Mammoth Mountain Ski resort is located along the east side of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Mammoth has 28 ski lifts, including 3 gondolas. The resort is praised by extreme skiers for its eight unbound terrain parks and the world-famous 18 ft. Super Pipe and 22 ft. Super-Duper Pipe.

While Mammoth Mountain is a prime destination for advanced skiers, it is also a fun place to bring the family. Mammoth has one of the longest ski seasons in North America (November to June), which gives families more flexibility in scheduling their trip.

Wooly’s Adventure Summit is Mammoth’s newest Tube Park and Snow Play area. With six 400 ft. long lanes, Wooly’s provides a get-away from the busy slopes while maintaining the adventure. If your kids aren’t ready for tubing, Wooly’s Summit also has a Rotundo and an animated adventure amongst snow sculptures. The resort also offers themed ski and snowboard lessons for children of all ages. The Stormrider Teen program offers practice on the park and pipe area of the resort.

More About Mammoth Mountain:

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Park City Mountain Resort, UT

Image Copyright Getty Images Kevin Arnold

Park City Mountain Resort offers signature kids' programs, with an emphasis on a safe and fun learning environment. The resort promises lesson groups have a maximum of five skiers, in order to guarantee each child gets individual attention during the lesson.

Lesson groups are divided based on age. The Signature 3 programs caters to 3-and-a-half year olds to 5 years olds, with the Signature 3 Superstars program dedicated to children who ski at a more advanced level than their peers. Signature 5 lessons are available for 6-14 years olds. Both freestyle camps and lessons are a Park City specialty, ensuring safety, fun and learning in the mountain's terrain parks.

Park City's Snowmamas blog is a great resource for families, providing useful information about family vacations at Park City.

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Sierra-At-Tahoe, CA

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Sierra-at-Tahoe is a ski resort south of Lake Tahoe in the El Dorado National Forest. The resort's terrain is 25% beginner, making it an ideal location for a family ski trip.

Sierra-at-Tahoe has four Adventure Zones for kids. The Wild Mountain Ski and Snowboard Lessons operate in these zones, which each exhibit a certain mountain theme that relates to the resort. The zones feature terrain that is related to the specific theme, and animated characters educate children on local history and animal species while they learn to ski.

For example, the Bear Cave zone educates children about the native black bear as they begin their ski and snowboard lesson. The Gold Rush zone teaches children to properly bank turns as they chase the infamous "Black Bart." The Pony Express zone and Teepee Town zone are trails during the lesson that provide sound effects and animated horses and Native Americans to enhance the experience of your child's ski "adventure."

During Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, the resort provides fun activities for children such as sack races, snowman building contest, and obstacle courses.

While Sierra-at-Tahoe is a great resort for skiing and snowboarding, consider Blizzard Mountain for a day of snow play. Blizzard Mountain is a large tubing area located away from the hustle and bustle of the slopes. It has two lift-accessible tubing lanes, and a fenced-in snow area for families to build snowmen and have snowball fights. Children can meet Ralston, Blizzard Mountain's Polar Bear mascot, and take a picture with him as a memento.

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Smugglers' Notch, VT

Copyright Smugglers' Notch Resort

Smugglers' Notch is a ski resort area in the Town of Cambridge, Vermont. It consists of Morse Mountain, Madonna Mountain and Sterling Mountain. At 2,610 ft., Smugglers' Notch is the fourth largest mountain in New England.

Smugglers' Notch deems itself "America's Best Family Resort." With a variety of children's programs and activities, it's easy to see why.

The resort has 8 heated outdoor pools, 4 waterslides, an Aqua Jump and a giant water trampoline. If your children prefer the adventure of the outdoors, they might be interested in the ArborTrek zip line canopy tour, where children can soar through the trees of the mountains on what Travel+Leisure Magazine called one of "The World's Coolest Zip Lines."

Smugglers' Notch also offers a variety of programs for all age groups. Children who are 6-10 years old can participate in the Adventure Rangers program, which offers group lessons for skiers and snowboards, and afternoon activities such as a magician show and a variety of movies. Mountain Explorers is a program for 16-17 year olds, which includes hiking, ice skating, and swimming, as well as ski and snowboard lessons. Smugglers' Notch has activities for all seasons that are guaranteed to entertain your child, regardless of age. Smugglers' Notch has many other programs for children and teens, too.