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Resort Guide 2022

Find Out Which Resorts Were Voted Best in the West for Families

Great family resorts have some combination of terrain variety, skier amenities, convenient lodging, and friendly service. Here's our list.

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The family ski vacation just may be the unicorn of ski travel. It’s not just about waist-deep pow and dancing in your ski boots, anymore, and the questions swirl: How do I find the best ski schools? Which resorts have a good inventory of slopeside lodging? Is there anywhere where won’t spend a gazillion dollar? Each resort on this list won’t check all of those boxes, we can promise that each one has features that most appeal to ski families. There are the top family-friendly resorts according to the 2022 Reader Resort Survey.

Top 10 Resorts in the West for Families

10. Beaver Creek, Colo.

Score: 8.22
Other Strengths:
Nightlife (#3), Lodging (#9)
Weaknesses: Overall Satisfaction (#34), Variety (#33)

Beaver Creek Family
(Photo: Vail Resorts)

What Readers Say

“Great family mountain with terrain for all levels of skiers. Lots of activities right at the base including restaurants, ice skating, music, après.

“It’s Disney World in the mountains. No better place in America. Best family resort around.”

“Having green slopes at the top of the mountain makes my wife very happy. And if she’s happy, I’m happy. She does let me take runs on other parts of the mountain. The only place(s) I avoid are Grouse Mountain and the double blacks. I don’t do well in moguls or trees/glades.”

“I really enjoy about Beaver Creek is the limited crowds compared to other large Vail resorts. I can always seem to find lifts and runs that are fairly empty. Atmosphere is great, but does not have the nightlife like Breckenridge. Just laidback skiing and riding.”

9. Banff Sunshine, Alb.

Score: 8.24
Other Strengths: Access (#4), Dining (#9)

Weaknesses: Value (#30), Snow (#27)

Banff Sunshine Family
(Photo: Banff Sunshine)

What Readers Say

“I would recommend Sunshine to anyone and everyone. The first time I visited Sunshine, I had very young children and I wasn’t a skier yet. It was seeing Sunshine that made me decide I wanted to learn to ski. My whole family loves it and I have seven children.”

“This is where I ski, I would recommend this ski resort to beginners all the way to experts. This resort is special to me because it’s family friendly, great terrain for any level skier or boarder, hotel in the village just steps from the chairlifts and the views—I never get over those mountain views.”

“This has been the resort I’ve skied at since I was 7. The staff are great, the snow is amazing. Lots of different runs to choose from and still discovering new ones. I’d recommend this resort to anyone and ability.”

8. Snowbasin Resort, Utah

Score: 8.27
Other Strengths: Dining (#7), Nightlife (#8)

Weaknesses: Local Flavor (#32), Overall Satisfaction (#31)

What Readers Say

“Snowbasin is amazing. Their ski school is great and the bunny hill is excellent, but one needs to be at least comfortable on Western blues to get the most out of the resort. It’s practically in my backyard, and I skied 50 days there this season. Please tell everyone it’s awful so I can keep skiing there without crowds.”

“I have skied at Snowbasin for 57 years, it has come a long way. Great place to ski with family and friends.”

“Best all-around family-friendly resort. No on-mountain lodging which keeps the crowds down, but an amazing rapport with amazing skiing for all skill levels! Just 40-45 min from Salt Lake City airport. ”

7. Loveland Ski Area, Colo.

Score: 8.38
Other Strengths: Family (#3), Lodging (#6)

Weaknesses: Challenge (#28), Value (#26)

What Readers Say

“A locals’ mountains with great terrain and reasonable prices, family feel and friendly staff. Definitely gives you the ski quality of the bigger places without the high price tag.”

“Loveland is close to Denver, always has great deals on tickets and lunches, more affordable than other ski areas in the same area. They have a 4-pack deal that gives you separate lift tickets to share with friends and family. No other ski area does this; most passes are just for that one individual. The Terrain is great and views overlook the Contenental Divide.”

“I’ve skied Loveland off and on for decades, and during the Covid winter it was my primary location, though I have had season passes in previous years also. It’s the best value in Colorado, an amazing partner resort list with a pass, affordable prices on food, tickets, rentals, etc., and a short and easy drive.”

6. Winter Park Resort, Colo.

Score: 8.42
Other Strengths: Lodging (#2), Grooming  (#2)

Weaknesses: Challenge (#31), Variety (#30)

 

What Readers Say

“Friendliest locals/employees on the planet. Family friendly, with something for everyone. A great place to send the kids skiing and meet them for lunch at: the base when their babies, Snoasis when they’re growing, at the Jane when their grown!”

“I am probably pretty bias towards Winter Park. I have skied there every year (except this year) for my whole life. My dad carried me in a chest pack skiing right after I was born. When my brother was born (14 months apart), I had to learn to ski on my own. My parents met at Winter Park volunteering in NSCD (both of them got lifetime season passes for volunteering for more than 15 years). When my family moved to Missouri when I was about 5, we kept our house out in Colorado and we still went out skiing every year. Being homeschooled allowed us to ski for a couple of weeks and sometimes even a month or so.”

“Winter Park has the friendliest staff- both on and off the mountain. I felt the most welcome (and safe) at this resort and would absolutely go back. I love the variety of terrain and the seven territories! I’d recommend it to anyone with a family as the trails are great and their Discovery Park area is perfect for learning. What makes it special is that it was my local resort growing up in Colorado. And in the past 18 years, I’ve skied and snowboarded, I’ve never had an unfriendly conversation.”

5. Whitefish Mountain Resort, Mont.

Score: 8.53
Other Strengths: Dining (#8), Après (#5)

Weaknesses: Service (#29), Lifts (#30)

What Readers Say

“This secluded resort has $78 daily lift tickets and it is not crowded. I never waited long for a lift and some runs I had all to myself! Also with runs not be clogged with people I didn’t have snowboarders or other skiers flying and around me to the point I had to check where I was constantly on the ski run. The views of Glacier Park are amazing.”

“Whitefish is beautiful and has varied terrain. I would recommend this resort to all types of skiers and especially families. The lift ticket prices are reasonable and the snow was great. Even during the pandemic it was nice.”

“Great mountain for all levels. Love the small resort and small crowds. Amazing scenery. Tougher to get there.”

4. Keystone Resort, Colo.

Score: 8.79
Other Strengths: Variety (#3), Overall Satisfaction (#3)
Weaknesses: Access (#33), Family (#21)

Keystone Family
(Photo: Vail Resorts/KY McGuire)

What Readers Say

“This is my go to resort…. 20 minutes door to lift. I know the fun hidden places and love to help others have fun here. The areas for beginners are well segregated. I look forward to the new expansion.”

“Great for kids. Rewarding and varied terrain for adults (even at the expert level). Crowds are very manageable.”

“I love Keystone because there is something for everyone and the village is so neat! It has such a cozy feeling and there are things that my brother and I like to do along with things for my parents.”

“Keystone is fun if you want to ski and don’t mind having fewer dining/après options. The inexpensive lodging does make it quite attractive.”

3. Steamboat Resort, Colo.

Score: 9.01
Other Strengths: Lifts (#3), Nightlife (#2)

Weaknesses: Value (#22), Access (#19)

Steamboat Family
(Photo: Noah Wetzel)

What Readers Say

“My son loves Steamboat. He likes to fact that there are a lot of intermediate trails that are fun yet challenging. The food on the mountain is great. We love the Western charm and vibe of the area. The ambassadors really make you feel welcome when you’re at the resort. There is plenty of room to spread out and let ‘er rip.”

“Wonderful family area, great terrain from most lifts, many abilities can ride the lift together and ski what they want and meet to ride up again. Tree skiing is amazing, grooming is great, employees are extremely friendly.”

“We were there on a family trip. Snow was the best we ever skied. Kids could use a few more things to do at night on resort grounds.”

2. Deer Valley Resort, Utah

Score: 9.01
Other Strengths: Grooming (#2), Service (#2)

Weaknesses:
Variety (#30), Challenge (#31)

Deer Valley Family
(Photo: Deer Valley Resort)

What Readers Say

“As a newcomer to Utah I am highly impressed with all aspects of Deer Valley resort. From the beautifully groomed slopes, the friendly and supportive staff everywhere one turns, to the excellent dining opportunities Deer Valley is a first-class resort I have recommended to our-of-state family and to friends in Europe.”

“Wonderful grooming and a perfect family mountain. Love all the on-mountain dining options including Stein and St Regis as well as the DV ones. Variety is nice. I enjoy not being limited to cafeteria-style dining sometimes.”

“Deer Valley is the whole package. Overall, it’s a wonderful resort for families, friends, and powderhounds alike. With a variety of terrain options spread over all six peaks, there’s something for everyone. Luckily, they can make so much snow that even on a low-snow year, you’re guaranteed to have plenty of options—and with the best grooming at that. To top it all off, the staff is helpful and kind, the food is better than any other resort, and the access is incredible.”

1. Sun Valley, Idaho

Score: 9.17
Other Strengths: Variety (#1), Nightlife (#1)

Weaknesses: Snow (#28), Value (#24)

What Readers Say

“Great family vacation spot with two mountains and lots of additional activity such as skating, sledding, sleigh rides, a variety of eating establishments, and very friendly staff and town people.”

“Sun Valley is just magical. The village and the Lodge can’t be topped. The mountain is perfectly maintained and has perfect pitch on every run. The history makes it fun to be a part of. The Holding family are supreme stewards of this jewel.”

“Sun Valley is simply special and one of those places where the whole is much greater than the sum of the parts. I am not sure how a place that gets this little snow can be so good. A trip to Sun Valley is an annual tradition the whole family loves. Great town with a perfect ski town vibe.”