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Resort Guide 2023

Top 10 Family-Friendly Resorts in the West

You can never guarantee the perfect ski day for your littles, but you can sway the odds in your favor by heading to one of these resorts.

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Smart ski parents know that you don’t show up to an unfamiliar ski area or resort on a whim with the littles in tow and expect to have stress-free ski day. When you’re trying to get your kiddos to love skiing as much as you do, you can’t afford to rock up to ski resorts that aren’t well equipped for families. It’s a recipe for disaster, believe us. While you can never guarantee the perfect ski day with little shredders, you sway the odds in your favor by doing some basic research ahead of time to make sure the ski resort you pick has reasonable terrain for little beginners, is accessible, has a great and affordable ski school, and amenities that will entertain the littles when they run out of steam on the slopes.

Resort Guide 2023: Top 50 Resorts in North America

According to readers, the following 10 resorts in the West know what it takes to make families feel welcome, safe, and comfortable, and ranked them highest in the Family Friendly category of the 2023 SKI Reader Resort Survey.

Top 10 Family-Friendly Resorts in the West

No. 10: Snowbasin Resort, Utah

Score: 8.33
Other Strengths: Challenge, Terrain Variety
Weaknesses: Nightlife, Après

Snowbasin Lifts RG23
Snowbasin has world-class terrain and snow but an indy-resort vibe that makes it perfect for families. (Photo: Courtesy of Snowbasin)

What Readers Say

“All around five stars. The employees at all levels and in all categories treat you like family no matter the day or conditions—they’re always friendly and helpful!”

“Great terrain. Excellent lift and dinning facilities. Varied terrain and lift access spread crowds quickly. New middle bowl chair has greatly enhanced the flow for separating advanced and expert skiers from family ski zones.”

“It is a world class resort that has kept the small, local resort feel. We tailgate with the whole family every Saturday. With kids, grandkids, etc., there are 22 of us. Great family memories.”

No. 9: Winter Park, Colo. 

Score: 8.38
Other Strengths: Challenge, Terrain Variety
Weaknesses: Dining, Nightlife

Winter Park RG23
Winter Park has enough terrain for all abilities to satisfy everyone in your motley crew. (Photo: Courtesy of Winter Park)

What Readers Say

“Family friendly resort. Variety of green, blue, and black runs. I learned to ski at WP in the ’70s. Family trips with many memories.”

“Friendly people, good snow, and good bumps.”

“Great mountain with many terrain options. Excellent value for the price. Location couldn’t be better with either 1:45 min drive from DIA or the option of the Ski Train (exclusive to WP).”

No. 8: Beaver Creek, Colo. 

Score: 8.49
Other Strengths: Grooming, Overall Satisfaction
Weaknesses: Nightlife, Value

Beaver Creek Lodging RG23
It’s all about convenience and comfort at Beaver Creek, making it a go-to destination for families who can afford it. (Photo: Courtesy of Vail Resorts/Brooks Freehill)

What Readers Say

“Beaver Creek is THE BEST FAMILY RESORT on the planet, PERIOD.”

“First time visiting this year. We were able to take the skier’s shuttle from town up to the mountain so that made it super convenient and the family could go at different times. Definitely plan to come back!!!! The cookies are a bonus.”

“It’s the ultimate family resort, no matter what age your kids are… from toddlers to young adults in their 20s or 30s.”

No. 7: Whitefish Mountain, Mont.

Score: 8.49
Other Strengths: Value, Overall Satisfaction
Weaknesses: Access, Dining

Whitefish Service RG23
Your kids will learn how to ski, like, really ski, at Whitefish. (Photo: Courtesy of Whitefish Mountain Resort)

What Readers Say

“Went there as a kid with the family, skied there in college with my girlfriend turned wife. Now I take our family there. North side is where it’s at!”

“Friendly hill with fantastic character.”

“Huge value. Great terrain, limited lift lines, friendly locals. Very authentic. When the weather is good, the views match or beat anything. Place isn’t crowded so a few days after a great storm, you can still find stashes of powder.”

No. 6: Keystone Resort, Colo. 

Score: 8.51
Other Strengths: Access, Terrain Variety
Weaknesses: Après, Nightlife

Keystone Grooming
There’s a reason families flock to Keystone: the variety of terrain spread across three peaks and a learning pod at the top of the River Run gondola. (Photo: Vail Resorts)

What Readers Say

“Good housing to walk to lifts. Easy to get to from Denver. Family friendly for large groups.”

“Keystone is my go-to for balance. With great terrain, great value, and friendly people, I will keep coming back.”

“Lots of ski run options across the three peaks. Very family friendly but the lift lines can get long for Outback peak.”

No. 5: Schweitzer Mountain Resort, Idaho

Score: 8.52
Other Strengths: Challenge, Overall Satisfaction
Weaknesses: Dining, Lodging

Schweitzer RG23
No lift lines, good snow, varied terrain, and a family-friendly vibe make Schweitzer one of the top under-the-radar ski destinations in the West. (Photo: Courtesy of Schweitzer Mountain Resort)

What Readers Say

“Schweitzer is the place to ski for great snow, varied and challenging terrain, high speed lifts and short lift lines during holiday weeks. It’s like having your own private ski resort. The on-mountain dining is good and the resort vibe is friendly, laid back and efficient. Christmas week 2021 was an outstanding, memorable experience we will never forget.”

“Very underrated. Non-corporate and friendly ambience. Very RV friendly.”

“We were there for fresh snow, so the expert areas took it easy on us. But this was by a wide margin the best tree skiing I’ve ever encountered! Schweitzer is also a 30-minute drive outside Sand Point, Idaho. All the restaurants and nightlife are there, so there’s basically no après scene at the resort itself. But if you prefer to ski, eat, sleep, repeat, I can’t recommend Schweitzer highly enough!”

No. 4: Copper Mountain, Colo. 

Score: 8.66
Other Strengths: Terrain Variety, Challenge
Weaknesses: Dining, Nightlife

Kid skier at Copper Mountain
Dare your kids to have a bad time at Copper—it’s hard to do. (Photo: Courtesy of Copper Mountain)

What Readers Say

“A great family resort, love the different areas for different skill levels. It can get crowded on some of the lifts, and they need more on-slope dining or break areas on the upper mountain.”

“Copper is a great family mountain. Varied terrain from steeps and blacks to greens for all skill levels.”

“Even though I don’t have kids, it’s clear that Copper Mountain is family-friendly. From tubing to the coaster and all levels of terrain, it’s easy for a family to have a great day at Copper.”

No. 3: Steamboat Resort, Colo. 

Score: 8.75
Other Strengths: Local Flavor, Terrain Variety
Weaknesses: Value, Lifts

Ski school lesson at Steamboat
Readers can’t say enough about Steamboat’s spectacular ski school programs. (Photo: Courtesy of Steamboat)

What Readers Say

“Great family resort. My wife and I hosted our two daughters and their families slopeside at Chateau Chamonix. Base area is a little congested but we hear changes are in the works.”

“Great family resort. Great terrain variety and excellent grooming. Ski school is top notch.”

“It’s an incredible family friendly resort. Their ski school is second to none.”

“Ranking due to two visits this year. Great mountain with lots to do. Come alone or bring your family, young and old alike.”

No. 2: Sun Valley, Idaho

Score: 8.9
Other Strengths: Lifts, Guest Service
Weaknesses: Value, Access

Ski family at Sun Valley
Take your little beginners to Dollar Mountain, Sun Valley’s beginner-friendly ski hill.

What Readers Say

“Always loved SV and would recommend it to anyone. Special place, beautiful mountain, well maintained, and family-friendly.”

“Good snow coverage with snowmaking, high speed lifts, vertical drop, proximity to home. Great family trip, recommend to others that don’t mind paying a little more to get a lot more out of it.”

“My only suggestion is when skiing with family of mixed beginner, intermediate, and advanced skills, the marketing department needs to better communicate that Bald Mountain is mostly intermediate/advanced. The website points out that even beginners can ski from the summit at Bald Mountain, but there are actually very few options. So it’s a challenge when the family wants to ski together.”

“No better resort for family skiing. Outstanding snow grooming. Great lodges and food. No lift lines. Very helpful guest services. Great ski school staff. Air travel is getting better each year.”

No. 1: Deer Valley Resort, Utah

Score: 9.05
Other Strengths: Guest Service, Access
Weaknesses: Value, Challenge

Deer Valley family
The level of guest service and amenities makes Deer Valley the No. 1 destination for families in the West. (Photo: Deer Valley Resort)

What Readers Say

“A great resort for the family but it lacks expert terrain.”

“Best overall for family, best customer/guest service in the country, as well as the food. Best snowmaking and grooming, friendliest and most attentive staff.”

“Customer service, instructors, food, and facilities are top notch. They have it all except no snowboarders. Family oriented.”

“Deer Valley is the best destination ski resort in the country. With a world class ski school, fine lodging and dining, and great accessibility from an international airport, there is no better place for your family to have your best ski vacation possible.”