Colorado Vacations 
Family Travel Colorado 
Your Guide to Visiting Colorado with the Kids
Colorado Ski Area Roundup - Quick Reviews of 23 Ski Areas in Colorado
Colorado
Ski Area List

When it comes to family skiing, some Colorado ski areas really make the grade.

Here is our list of Colorado ski areas with links to articles and websites.






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.















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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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. 







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Canvas tents and drafty log buildings have been
replaced by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?


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: Monarch Mountain offers 100% Nature-made snow
and 
a great family ski area. 




Arapahoe Basin, located near the summit of Loveland Pass, can be awfully cold and windy for skiing with little kids. On the other hand, its elevation makes for great early and late season skiing, so there is still good snow in the warm days of April. Also, while the big ski areas can feel overwhelming when you are shepherding children around, A-Basin still holds on to some of that small, family ski area feeling.


Known for its high, steep runs, moguls, and spectacular views, Aspen Highlands mostly attracts skiers with more advanced skills. Over 50% of its runs are rated "most difficult" and "expert". Still, the Kids Trail Adventure Map points out several fun spots for kids to find as they explore the mountain.


Aspen Mountain has no beginner runs, but our family still found plenty of fun cruising the blues. Plus it is nice to end up right in the heart of town at the end of the day, when the kids are hungry and need dinner NOW! Read more at our Family Travel Colorado.com article: Skiing Aspen with the Kids.


Beaver Creek first opened to the public in 1980, and was designed and built to resemble European ski areas and villages. Its rolling terrain allows for a wide variety of runs and its many amenities and activities make even the youngest feel welcome. Read our review: Family Skiing at Beaver Creek, Colorado.   


The town of Breckenridge originally served miners pulling gold and silver from the mountainsides. With the decline in mining, Breckenridge became a near ghost town. Then, in 1961, the Breckenridge Ski Resort was born. Today skiers enjoy over 150 trails.


Buttermilk at Aspen, is the most kid-friendly ski area we've visited. Our 7-year-old, especially, loved the long, easy slopes and the cartoon character cutouts decorating the trees. My favorite was the view of Pyramid Peak and Maroon Valley from the deck of the Cliffhouse cafeteria.


Copper Mountain, in the heart of Colorado ski country,  offers families over 25 different ski runs to choose from. As you face the mountain the runs get progressively harder from right to left, meaning that as kids (and their parents) sharpen their skills, they can graduate to more challenging terrain. We found the ski school to be well run, and the kids progressed exceptionally well each day they took lessons. Plus our 5-year-old fell in love with his beautiful blond ski instructor. "She was soo nice!" Read more at the Family Travel Colorado.com article: Ski Copper Mountain.


Isolated in a remote section of west-central Colorado, Crested Butte is known for its groovy and still small historic mining town plus more glitzy lodging at the base of the ski hill. The mountain, itself, rises to a distinctive peak. It does look like the crest on a blue jay's head. Be sure to check out the special programs for kids.


Small Eldora Mountain Resort, only 47 miles from Denver and a quick 30 minute drive up the canyon from Boulder, is the best close-in skiing families will find in Colorado. In fact, it is the only Colorado ski area to have city bus service from Denver and Boulder. But many families, especially those with beginner skiers or small children will find all the skiing their little snow monsters can handle.


Keystone Ski Resort prides itself on being family friendly. Evidence of its commitment to kids is everywhere. From the litttle red wagons provided for carrying your kids and gear in from the parking lot to the ice castle at the top of the River Run Gondola, Keystone works hard to make sure their littlest guests have a good time. But that doesn't exclude your teens who want to hammer the hard runs. There is plenty of black diamond terrain for them, too. Besides all that, Keystone is known for its night skiing and snowboarding as well. See our story about Skiing with the Kids at Keystone


Loveland Ski Area is one of the highest ski areas in Colorado, with many lifts and runs above timberline. Because of this, it is often one of the first ski areas in Colorado to open. But the real attraction for families is its close proximity to Denver. A shorter drive is easier on kids and parents, especially when traffic jams threaten. Also, while glitz and glam have infected so many Colorado ski areas, Loveland retains its small, friendly atmosphere that I remember so well from my own childhood there. On a budget? Some of the best pre-season ski-deals can be found at Loveland. Read our article about Skiing Loveland with the Kids.


Monarch Mountain's tag line is "Real Colorado Skiing". And it kind of fits. Monarch is small (although at 800 acres, it still has plenty of room to keep the kids entertained), all its snow is natural, and it doesn't have the trappings of glitzy resorts. Monarch has the feel of many Colorado ski hills back in the day when the sport was more about the fresh air and fun and less about the value of the real estate lining the runs. We think the absence of the hustle makes for a better family experience.


The westernmost of all Colorado's ski areas, Powderhorn Resort sits on the edge of Grand Mesa, overlooking canyon country. The slopes lie just 45 minutes to the east of Grand Junction.


Purgatory Mountain at Durango Mountain Resort
suffers from an identity crisis, as the result of a name change - change back, but the long groomed slopes have stayed consistently good for years. Located 25 miles north of Durango, in the southwest corner of the state, Purgatory is known for its family friendly approach.


Once a training ground for elite 10th Mountain Division ski-solders, Ski Cooper is a tenacious little area that keeps on pro
viding family ski fun at reasonable prices, even when surrounded by glamorous behemoths like Vail and Aspen. Ski Cooper lies in the heart of Colorado's high country, on the Continental Divide, straight south of
Vail.


With 3,132 acres, Snowmass is by far the largest of the four Aspen ski areas. But with only 6% of its trails marked "easiest", it can be a tough mountain for little legs. Still, there are fun kids' trails to explore, and sometimes a live reindeer to visit near Rudolph's Run. It's also fun to watch the snowboarders and skiers compete to do tricks on Big Air Fridays in February and March at Snowmass.


Sol Vista Basin at Granby Ranch seems as if it was designed and built with the main intent of selling slope-side real estate. That said, and it isn't a bad little area for families, especially those who are just dipping their toes into skiing for the first time. Ticket prices are reasonable, and the ski school is structured to take care of beginning level skiers. And that slope-side real estate? When my 7-year-old developed a high fever in the middle of the day, it was great to ski right in, make him a cup of hot cider, and tuck him in bed without missing a beat.


Steamboat is the northernmost of all Colorado's ski areas. With 2965 acres and 165 trails, it is one of the largest in the state. According to  ColoradoSkiHistory.com, folks at Steamboat began to use the phrase "Champaign Powder" to promote their slopes in the 1950's.


In recent years, Sunlilght Mountain Resort has aquired for itself many of the trappings of the big, fancy resorts in the neighborhood (access to extreme terrain, more lifts, snow making). Somehow, the feeling in the lodge and on the slopes has stayed very personal. Our family has been hard pressed to find a place where we have enjoyed skiing more. An added bonus: the ski school had the best set up I've seen for teaching very young skiers.


Snuggled in a valley in the spectacularly rugged San Juan Mountains, the town of Telluride feels almost like an Old-West-Ski-Town theme park. But the town's streets were in fact laid out in the gold mining boom days, and Butch Cassidy robbed his first bank there. Rising to the south, gondolas and lifts take skiers to Telluride Ski Resort's undulating confusion of trails, offering a wide variety of terrain.


Vail has 5289 acres, making it easily the largest ski area in Colorado. (Keystone comes in at number 2 with 3148 acres.) And for families with energetic kids who have a high skill level, and plenty of stamina, it can be fun to try to ski the whole mountain. For the rest of us, Vail has plenty of beginner and intermediate runs to wear the children out and treat their parents to beautiful views. Watch for fun Kids' Adventure Zones to spice up the day even more. Read our article, Ski Vail, Colorado with the Family.
 


The citizens of Denver are the proud owners of their own ski area - Winter Park Resort. In fact, Winter Park Resort has five distinct areas within its boundaries: Winter Park, Mary Jane, Parsenn Bowl (attached to and above Mary Jane), Vasquez Cirque, and Vasquez Ridge. Because of its proximity to Denver, and its long history as a snowy playground for city dwellers, Winter Park has a reputation as a family  friendly area that is well deserved. Read more at our FamilyTravelColorado.com article: Skiing Winter Park Resort with the Kids.


Wolf Creek Ski Area, on the Continental Divide in the far southern reaches of the state, repeatedly takes the prize for the deepest snowpack of all Colorado's ski areas. With 20 percent of its trails suitable for beginners, 35 percent rated intermediate, and 45 geared for advanced or expert skiers, Wolf Creek meets the needs of all skill levels.


Related Articles at FamilyTravelColorado.com:

Skiing in Colorado with the Kids