With fantastic early bird deals available for the 2019/20 North American ski season, now’s the time to start researching destinations. But with so many great resorts to choose from, it can be a daunting task. So, who better to ask for recommendations than our own North America ski experts, the Blue Powder Travel team?
Here are seven that they believe offer an amazing – and easy – ski holiday experience for all families, whether skiing is your life, or this is the first time in your life.
Three of our favourite USA family ski resorts
Just 15 minutes by road from Aspen (North America’s No.1 voted après ski destination) is her equally beautiful sibling, Snowmass. But while Aspen likes to stay out partying every night, Snowmass prefers spending time with families and entertaining the kids.
It’s the biggest resort of the four in this area with runs from absolute beginner through green, blue, black and double black challenges. And because extreme skiers tend to stick to Aspen and the Highlands, Snowmass slopes always have a relaxed, friendly and uncompetitive feel. It offers something for all the family.
- the convenience of Snowmass’s 95% ski in/ski out accommodation with access to three other mountains of white paradise on your one lift ticket, all linked by a free shuttle bus.
- running wild with your little Vikings on Ullr Night, an all-winter wonderland party held every Friday at Elk Camp in honour of the Norse God of Snow (and Thor’s stepson!):
- Take an evening gondola ride, go tubing, ice skating, snowbiking,
- Sip hot chocolate by the bonfire
- Dance to live music
- Warm up with fun kid’s activities and entertainment in The Tent.
- how kid-friendly Snowmass is with its interactive children’s centre, customised kids ski trails, Kids’ Ski School, Kids Ski Free deals and more
- all the free Very Important Kids afternoon activities happening every day of the week for families after the ski day ends
- the 20 Snowmass restaurants offering kids menus – with the easy option to enjoy a day or night out in cosmopolitan Aspen (as a family, or couple) whenever you choose.
Like the idea of a wild west ski holiday experience amongst cowboys, horses and friendly locals aplenty? Then ya’ll saddle up and ride for Steamboat, a 4-hour transfer from Denver.
With generous kid’s ski programs and free ski deals – plus lots of on-ski and non-ski activities for all ages – Steamboat has earned its stars and stripes as one of America’s favourite family snow holiday resorts.
You’ll love the:
- huge range of great value, ski-in/ski-out accommodation, central ski school and family-friendly resort design
- ski activities and deals such as:
- Snowsports Ski School where kids can learn to fly off a real ski jump,
- Kids 12 and under ski free with a 5-or-more day adult lift ticket
- the Little Red Wagons to carry everyone’s gear
- jaw-dropping and giggle-triggering adventures such as:
- Outlaw Mountain Coaster and its 6,280 feet of dips, waves, turns and 360-degree – what’s not to love!
- Old Town hot Springs and its 230-foot waterslides, floating obstacle course, aquatic climbing wall and 8 pools
- Winter horseback riding to spot elk, moose and deer
- bumper cars on ice at the Howelsen Hill Ice Arena
- never-go-hungry dining options such as Freshies, 8th Street Steakhouse, Carl’s Tavern kid’s menu and big booths, Ciao Gelato and the Original Western Style BBQ Buffet at the top of the Steamboat Gondola.
If you like the idea of a lesser-known ski holiday destination then you’ll love the enchanting, high-end village of Northstar, Lake Tahoe. This compact resort’s blend of California-calm vibe, alpine village panache and on-mountain exhilaration gives it a sophisticated European feel – just an hour from Reno Airport (RNO) or 10 minutes from Truckee (KTRK).
With its brilliant beginner’s area, stunning groomed slopes and thrill-a-second advanced tracks through redwood forests, there are plenty of ways for everyone in the family to turn up the fun dial, whether they’re learners or experts.
You’ll love the:
- upscale shopping, refined dining and accommodation options, from apartment style condos at Tahoe Mount Resorts to 5-Star Ski-in/Ski-Out lodging at The Ritz.
- smart Terrain™ beginner teaching area is designed to get new skiers and snowboarders navigating the slopes confidently and quickly
- mountains of non-ski family fun on and off the snow such as:
- the 200-metre snow tubing hill
- ice skating under the stars
- roasting S’more chocolate marshmallow sandwiches around the fire pits
- movie theatre and bowling alley
- Food, glorious food such as:
- family go-to option Le Waf, a Leige Waffle.
- comfort food at Rubicon Pizza Company
- coffee and ski-fuel breakfasts at Inxspot
- The Epic pass includes Northstar, as well as Whistler, Heavenly, Park City, Telluride, Perisher (2021) and a host of other family-friendly resorts.
Four of our favourite Canadian family ski resorts
If Willie Wonka created a ski resort, it would probably look a lot like Whistler. Not only is the setting fantastical, so is the variety of fun and adventure awaiting kids of every era.
And if you love the idea of being able to taste and gorge on everything, easily and conveniently located, then Whistler is your chocolate factory.
- How Whistler village sits at the base of the mountains, so you’ll never need to shuttle from point home to the slopes and back.
- The 1000+ ski instructors offering:
- Kids ski lessons and camp options
- Family private tours
- 4 fully licensed childcare programs for children aged 18 to 48 months and 3 to 5yrs.
- The smiles on your kid’s dials when they discover:
- skiing or boarding through the Magic Castle and Tree Fort on the mountain
- the Halfpipe Fam Jam and Coca-Cola Tube Park
- snowman building, tobogganing, mini hockey at Winter Olympic Plaza (with great local coffeehouses, restaurants and stores nearby)
- taking a dog sled tour through the forests.
- Fire and Ice Show every Sunday night
- Off slope adventures such as: ziplining, the Nintendo Gaming Lounges and outdoor hot springs
- The range of family friendly dining from pizza and pies, to sushi the Old Spaghetti Factory and a big Fast Tracks breakfast before a ski down the mountain.
- The Epic pass includes Whistler, Heavenly, Park City, Telluride, Perisher (2021), resorts of the Canadian Rockies and a host of other family-friendly resorts.
Panorama is a ski holiday gem that the locals would keep to themselves, if only they weren’t so friendly and inviting to visitors – especially families. The compact and cosy pedestrian village has all the dining, shopping and entertainment options you need.
The best part for families is that 75% of the resort is dedicated to beginner and intermediate skiers. At the same time, advanced skiers can find plenty of hold-your-breath excitement amongst the 1,100 hectares of skiable terrain.
- The 100% ski-in and ski out accommodation including Upper Village condos with direct access to beginner slopes
- The confidence building and fun beginner facilities and services such as:
- beginners area with a 135m long carpet lift
- Discovery Zone for first timer ski and snowboarders
- Snowbirds program – private 1-hour lesson for 3-5yrs
- Minis – group 2-hour lesson for 3-5yrs (3 kids max.)
- Family private ski lessons
- Great ski options for adults such as:
- Advanced nirvanas: Taynton Bowl, Devil’s Drop, Never Never Land and heli-skiing
- half/full day private or group, skiing with pros
- night skiing (even with the kids) on Friday and Saturdays
- The après-ski action of:
- hot tubbing in Canada’s largest mountainside hot spring pools
- Hiring fat-tire bikes for a peddle along the Nordic ski trails
- snowmobile tours
- sleigh or horse-drawn wagon rides
BIG WHITE, BC
From the champagne powder slopes to Canada’s largest ski-in, ski-out, ski-through village with pedestrian walkway, Big White knows what mums and dads crave from a family ski resort.
Providing mountain runs to suit all levels and abilities and as one of the best value family resorts around, Big White was always a sure thing for our Canadian list. Ski Canada Magazine agreed in 2016, naming it the country’s ‘Best Family Resort’.
- that this 100% ski in/ski out resort also offers kids aged 12 & under skiing for free
- the magical Okanagan Champagne powder snow on pristinely groomed runs
- the low elevation that makes for such comfortable days out on the slopes
- squeal inducing off-ski snow fun such as ice skating, snowmobiling, tubing, ice climbing snowshoeing and dog-sledding
- Great dining and entertainment experiences such as:
- homemade soups, sandwiches and marshmallow hot chocolate at The Globe
- Moose Lounge and Bistro for a quick breakfast or relaxing post-skiing
- horse-drawn sleigh rides to a cosy cabin in the woods for brunch or dinner.
- wine tastings and relaxing restaurants
SUN PEAKS, BC
Everything about this charming and intimate ski-through village has been carefully planned to ensure families feel right at home. From the pristine ski conditions for all ages and levels to the array of après experiences, Sun Peaks is teeming with Kodak and Instagram moments.
You’ll love the:
- helpful locals, safe pedestrian-friendly village, choice of ski in ski out accommodation, dining and activities
- kid-friendly weather conditions – 2,000 hours of sunshine a year, consistent snowfall from December through March and on average, just 10 below zero days
- Kids’ spots including The Candy Vault, Sneaky Scallywags, Mountain High Pizza and Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory
- easy to ski to and centrally located ski school and beginners area – the kids can ski runs aplenty whilst you safely watch them from an après bar – win/win!
- resort shuttles to Kamloops for grocery shopping and ice hockey matches
- unforgettable winter wonderland family adventures, from dog-sledding, sleigh rides, bungy trampolining and snow shoeing to wiener roasting, fondue nights, hockey and more.
Family ski holidays are precious moments. Being able leave behind life’s distractions to share time together in a beautiful part of the world, all doing something you love and sharing stories at the end of the day is a special experience.
The Blue Powder team have years of first-hand experience skiing and working at resorts all across North America. So, if you’d like some advice, recommendations and help planning a magical family trip in 2019/20, get in touch with us today.