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6 Family-Focused Colorado Ski Resorts

Where to head for spring skiing family time

By Lisa Blake

Ask Colorado parents what the key to happy ski days are and they’ll spout tips on packing extra layers, sunscreen and snacks; making sure the weather is nice and the mood is sunny; and, most importantly, keeping it positive and fun.

Colorado ski resorts know happy kids mean happy parents and that’s the ticket to a lifelong love of the sport. Here are our top Colorado ski resort picks for families.

Arapahoe Basin

Summit County’s no frills A-Basin is one of the few ski hills where guests can park lift-side, set up a grill and bring the dogs for a fun day in the sun. The simple layout makes it easy to retreat to the car for lunch or breaks throughout the day. Little skiers can practice on the bunny hill a stone’s throw away and the new three-story base area Kids Center features brand new kitchen, dining and restroom facilities with kid-sized furniture, along with a play area of low balance beams, soft obstacle courses and balance boards where kiddos can hone motor skills to take to the hill. Kids under six ski free every day and the Basin offers Kids Free 2 Ski first-timer class lessons.

Arapahoe Basin

Copper Mountain

Start at the base area’s Critterland, a fun zone with a mini tubing hill and tunneled snow den. For bigger kids, there’s full-size tubing and Woodward’s tricked out playground of trampolines, foam pits and ramps. Don’t miss the Alpine Rush Zip Line and West Lake ice skating rink. When it’s time to ski, Copper’s naturally divided trail network allows beginners to ease into the sport on the west side’s gentle, sloping terrain. Parents: Ask about the Kids Night Out program and enjoy three hours of free child care with games, crafts and movies.

Crested Butte

Shred it up in a kids’ wonderland at Crested Butte. Trails are designed specifically for wee ones, winding through trees and a mini Elk Avenue (Crested Butte’s Main Street) where littles can ski through and play in adorable façades, a bear cave, Forest Service lodge and gold-mining building. Take advantage of the resort’s Kids Night Out program and head to town for dinner and drinks while the kids whoop it up at the resort's Adventure Park with a rock-climbing wall, bungee trampolines, games and more.

Keystone

Families love Keystone’s Kidtopia for face painting, fort building, scavenger hunts, cookie hour, disco tubing, Wii, board games, coloring, foosball, giant Legos and more. There’s a Family Ski Trail where kids can ski with mascot Riperoo. There’s the Sunday Pajama Brunch at Bighorn Bistro and free front-row family parking just steps from the gondola. There are wagons and chauffeurs to help schlep gear and a Kids Ski Free program available to families staying two or more nights. This place is made for families.
Keystone Resort

Monarch

This smaller ski hill is a Colorado favorite for its short lift lines, easy-access parking and varied terrain. Kids six and under ski free and kids under 12 are only $25. The wide, gentle bunny hill comes with a covered Magic Carpet conveyor belt and the mellow green runs off the Tumbelina Lift are never crowded. Have kids age 3 to 6? Hit up the Mini & Me program where parents participate in their child's lesson and learn valuable coaching strategies.
Monarch Mountain

Snowmass Village

When you’re not out skiing this world-class resort as a family, or watching your teen tackle the beginner terrain parks, cozy up to the campfire and enjoy interactive storytelling, sing-alongs and s’mores. On Friday nights, visit the on-mountain restaurant Elk Camp for an after-dark winter utopia of lights and slides, a Viking sledding hill, snowshoe tours and hot chocolate. The Treehouse Kids Adventure Center provides child care with themed playrooms and ski and snowboard lessons.

For more Colorado family vacation ideas, visit our winter activities page.