Best Colorado Ski Resorts for Kids

Family-Friendly Snowmass & Beaver Creek

Many of Colorado’s ski mountains are great for families, but two are especially inviting because of their variety of trails, top-notch ski schools, and recent upgrades.

Skiing and snowboarding families who come to Colorado to sample the champagne powder this winter have many incredible resorts to choose from, including world-renowned Vail or the more low-key locals’ mountain, Sunlight Mountain Resort in Glenwood Springs.

But two ski resorts in the Colorado Rockies stand out for families, namely because they offer incredibly varied terrain for all levels. They have green cruisers for novices as well as black-diamond moguls for experts, and every type of trail in between. Everyone in the family can spend the day having fun on the same mountain.

These family-friendly ski resorts have ski school programs that are top-notch, with super friendly and professional instructors. Plus, each is unveiling some incredibly cool improvements for the 2007-2008 season.

Snowmass

Snowmass ski area (one of four in the Aspen/Snowmass family of mountains) is consistently named one of the top resorts in North America for families. It’s known for its wide-open, groomed trails. Its longest one is 5.3 miles long from top to bottom. Snowboarders love the three terrain parks, with superpipes and a beginner’s pipe. The variety and number of trails is impressive: 91 different routes can keep all ability levels busy all day–or even for a week’s vacation!

Children who enroll in the Snowmass Ski School will check-in at the brand-new, $17million Treehouse Adventure Center. It’s being dubbed the “focal point for kids’ programming” in the new Snowmass Base Village. Before or after lessons, kids can scale the state-of-the-art climbing wall, play interactive games just for preschoolers, crawl through a Beaver Lodge or jump in Trout Haven.

Also new this year is the mid-mountain Elk Camp Meadows beginner’s area, with six acres of terrain exclusively for novice skiers. The area has its own quad and two surface lifts.

Once the lifts close for the day, activities for families abound in Snowmass Village. Choose from Kids Krafts at the Ticket Pavilion, or Storytelling and Singalongs around a fire pit near the Pokolodi Lodge.

Beaver Creek

The children’s ski instructors at Beaver Creek have wonderfully upbeat personalities and make learning to ski fun for kids. Preschoolers as young as three are introduced to the sport on gentle terrain and the special “magic carpet ride” tow lift. Older, experienced kids can immediately hit the mountain’s whopping 148 trails, which are categorized as follows: 19% beginner, 43% intermediate, 28% expert.

This year Beaver Creek introduces the new eight-passenger Buckaroo Express Gondola. The ride is just 3.75 minutes long (great for short attention spans) and offers access to beginner learning terrain.

Family-friendly afternoon and evening entertainment includes ice skating parties on the Plaza’s outdoor rink, plus storytelling and s’mores around the new outdoor fire pits. Looking ahead, the resort will host the first Cookie Kids Fest, March 13-15, 2008, sponsored by Cookie magazine with kids’ concerts, activities, and plenty of treats and surprises for the whole family.