Colorado Vacations 
Family Travel Colorado 
Your Guide to Visiting Colorado with the Kids
Family Ski Resorts in Colorado
Colorado
Family Ski Resorts

Choosing a ski resort for your Colorado vacation with the kids depends on several things:
  • What kind of ski resort you want  
  • your budget
  • your time frame, and 
  • the kid-friendliness of the resort



Winter Lodging Options for your Colorado  Ski Trip with the Kids

From rustic cabins to five star resorts, Colorado offers families a variety of choices for tucking the children in.

See our article about the
Best Hotels for a Colorado Christmas Vacation with the Kids.

Photo: The Hotel Colorado in Glenwood Springs creates a fairyland of twinkle lights for the winter holidays.



Article:
Visit the Prettiest Places
in Colorado
 
 with the Kids

From the
Far View Lodge
in Mesa Verde
to Eagle's Nest
on Vail Mountain,
follow this link to the
Most Scenic Places
in Colorado
for families
.
 












Kids Who Ski Keystone 
find long, sweeping runs, special kid zones, a terrain park with several runs of graduated difficulty, and at the top of the River Run Gondola - a tubing hill and an ice castle.


 Photo: Part of the A-51 Terrain Park at Keystone









Summertime or wintertime, renting a cabin is a great option for families on vacation in Colorado.

Check out our list of great cabins to rent.

From fancy to frumpy, most cabins in Colorado are available year round. 





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Colorado Hotels have come a long way.



Canvas tents and drafty log buildings have been
replaced by
elegant inns
and plush accommodations.


Photo: Colorado hotels like The Little Nell in Aspen, offer vacationing families posh quarters close to blue-ribbon outdoor recreation.

 

Read our
articles about
Colorado's Luxurious Lodges.







Did You Know?


Ruthie's Run, on Aspen Mountain, is over 55 years old. It remains one of the most demanding downhill race courses in North America. 

Such greats as Buddy Werner, Franz Klammer, and Pirmin Zurbriggen schussed to World Cup victory there. 

Kids with good intermediate skills can easily navigate the upper part and say they have skied Ruthie's Run!


Photo: Ruthie's Run is served by Ruthie's chairlift at Aspen Mountain ski area. 








Did You Know?


The average  snowfall for the 26 major Colorado ski resorts is 295 inches per year.

Some areas (Loveland, Wolf Creek) recorded an average of 400
inches or more per year.

Photo
: Kids ski in a
major snowstorm at Winter Park





Colorado girl skiing at Monarch
Photo: Colorado slopes call adventurous 
families looking for fun in the 
fresh air and sunshine.



Photo: The Promenade at Beaver Creek Village
lines the bottom of the ski runs there. 

Sagas have been sung about skiing adventures, and many parents want their own kids to experience the song of the slopes. But a family ski vacation has considerations that just weren’t a part of the equation when Norse heroes ventured into the mountains.

Modern day parents look for amenities like a ski concierge to help get the moppets and gear to the lifts, boot warmers to keep little feet toasty, and marshmallow roasting around a fire pit at the end of the day.

Kinds of Ski Resorts

The term “ski resort” is used in many different ways, and it can be confusing when you are looking for the right place to spend your family vacation. 

In Colorado there are several categories for places to ski and services for the skiers: 

Ski Areas

Any place where people go to actually ski and snowboard is a ski area. Some call themselves resorts, some don't.

Most ski areas in Colorado are Alpine (or downhill) ski areas. They have chairlifts that take you up the mountain and slopes cut through the trees. Some ski areas have gondolas (trams) or ski cats (big tractor-like vehicles) to get you up the mountain. 



Photo: The Number 2 chairlift at Loveland Ski Area lifts skiers
to spectacular views and a cozy warming hut.
  

A few ski areas in Colorado are Nordic (or cross-country) ski areas, with groomed trails across meadows and through the woods. 

Most all ski areas have a lodge at the base where you can buy lunch and warm up on a chilly day. Several have warming huts scattered around the slopes as well. 

Ski Towns

Several ski areas in Colorado have bona fide towns at the base of the ski area, and in these cases, both the town and the ski area are considered the resort. These incorporated municipalities have all the services that go with a town. Think libraries, parks, museums, a police force, clinics or hospitals, and grocery stores.  Also, towns tend to have a good number and variety of restaurants and shops. 


Photo: Many of the streets in the ski town
of Vail, Colorado are for pedestrians only.

Ski towns can be at the base of the ski area, with lifts coming right down among the shops, hotels, and parks. At other times, the towns are a bit removed from the ski area which may be served by a free shuttle bus system.

Base Areas and Villages

Sometimes a ski resort can be just a base area at the bottom of a ski area. When this is the case, the ski runs may come down to a zone with many condominium buildings and some restaurants in addition to the ski area’s lodge. Base areas tend to be less organized than towns, and although individual buildings may be beautiful, there is often a lack of zoning control and a less coherent feel. 


Photo: Sol Vista is a ski resort that includes a ski area (including a ski lodge)
 plus a base area of condominium complexes.

 


On the other hand, real estate developers have created villages with a tight rein on architecture and planning. The result is a pretty little hamlet with many of the amenities of a town. While absolutely delightful to the eye, and almost a fairyland for the kids, ski villages (and even some towns) can feel a bit like a theme park after a while.

 


Photo: An ice rink lies at the heart of Beaver Creek Village.

Resort Hotels

Within or near many of the towns, base areas, and villages, fancy hotels serve skiing families and call themselves resorts. These resort hotels offer a wide number of activities and services making it unnecessary for families to ever have to leave the facility except to ride the lift up the mountain to ski. They usually have several restaurants, pools, hot tubs, spa services, game rooms, activity programs for kids, daycare, and ski nannies. 


Photo: The Ritz-Carlton at Bachelor Gulch is a ski-in-ski-out resort hotel that
connects to the runs at Beaver Creek with a chairlift from its back door. 
 

Choosing a Ski Resort for Your Family 

So how do you go about choosing the right ski resort for your Colorado vacation? Several factors come into play. 


Budget

The least expensive skiing experience is at the ski areas that stand alone. Many local Coloradans and a fair number of visitors enjoy these slopes for a reasonable price. About an hour from Denver (depending on traffic and weather) families partake in skiing that is every bit as good as at more famous destination resorts. (See Loveland Ski Area)

Usually the least expensive lodging is at the unincorporated base areas, where you can rent a condominium. (For example, Keystone) The little kitchen in a condo allows you to save money on meals as well. Many base areas have vacation rental companies who will help you find and book a condominium for your family. (We like Summit Cove Vacation Lodging.)


The cost of vacations goes up when you visit ski towns and villages, especially if the place is a household name. (Aspen, Vail, Beaver Creek)  Some deals can still be found, but they are fewer and farther between than at the less well known spots. 


The most expensive vacations are at the resort hotels in the well known ski towns. During high season, the prices can stretch from the hundreds into the thousands of dollars per night. However, in most cases, you really do get what you pay for. (For example, read our reviews of the Vail Cascade Hotel and Resort, the Westin Riverfront Resort at Beaver Creek Mountain, and The Little Nell in Aspen.)

Time

The length of your trip will help you determine what kind of ski resorts to consider. Some families prefer to be close to skiing, even renting ski-in-ski-out accommodations to make the most of their vacation. 

Others know that skiing will only be a part of the experience, and are happy to head to a resort that is a bit removed from the slopes. Others want all the details (renting gear, ski school arrangements, cooking) handled so they can focus on enjoying the frosty air and beautiful scenery.

Kid Friendliness

Some ski areas don’t target the family market, and while they will deal with your kids, they don’t seem particularly enthusiastic about it. Other ski resorts (Keystone) go so far as to supply little red wagons to tote your tots and their equipment. 

On the ski mountains themselves, look for things like tubing hills, snow castles, and kid zones. Some ski areas like Vail have nature centers and activity areas at the top of the mountain. 


Photo: The deluxe snow castle at Adventure Point, near the top of Keystone's 
River Run Gondola is a favorite with kids. The view isn't too shabby either.


As you plan your Colorado ski vacation with the kids, it's easy to get lost in the smoke and mirrors of the glossy ads. Knowing the lingo goes a long way towards making the right decisions for your family.   

Happy planning!