Big Sky Resort, Montana
50 Big Sky Road
Big Sky, MT 59716
Located between Bozeman and West Yellowstone, Big Sky Resort is the largest ski resort in the country. Montana’s top-ranked resort is very family friendly, with plenty of winter activities to enjoy, including ziplines, a tube park, bungee trampoline, sleigh rides and tours by dog sled. Big Sky operates both a child care center with optional ski lessons for children ages six months to eight years and an activity-filled kids’ club for children four years old or older that’s complimentary for resort guests. Overnight guests have several lodging options, from cabins and condominium hotels to mountain homes and luxury rentals, and children 10 and under ski for free by booking online with Big Sky Central Reservations. In addition to winter sports, adults can also enjoy spa services at Solace Spa and Salon, fitness classes at the Wellness Studio, as well as several dining options.
Jackson Hole Resort, Wyoming
3265 W. Village Drive
Teton Village, WY 83025
This fabulous ski resort just south of Grand Teton National Park is frequently mentioned as the best ski resort in America. Well known for being family-friendly, Jackson Hole has several activities geared towards children of all ages from ski and snowboarding lessons, ice skating, kids’ programs for preschool ages through 12th grade and day care for infants from six months to 36 months. During the winter ski season, Jackson Hole offers lodging specials, including a Ski Free Stay Free package for stays from four to seven days, and Kids Ski Free with a minimum of a four-night stay. Named one of Wine Enthusiast’s America’s Five New Foodie Cities, Jackson Hole has several dining options at the resort and in the town of Jackson. Top choices include Couloir Restaurant, Il Villagio Osteria and Roadhouse Restaurant and Brewery.
Park City Mountain Resort, Utah
1345 Lowell Ave.
Park City, UT 84060
Montana’s Big Sky may not be America’s largest ski resort for long. That’s because Park City Mountain Resort is planning an enormous expansion in 2015 that’s expected to surpass Big Sky as the largest resort. But that’s not the reason why families should visit one of Utah’s most popular ski destinations. The Park City Mountain Resort is very family friendly, with a variety of activities for children, including a ski and snowboard school and on Saturdays through March 21, a free two-hour kids’ après party. Additionally, a handful of independent operators provide childcare services in Park City. The resort has other great activities for kids, such as the Flying Eagle Zip Line, a sleigh ride for dinner guests of the Viking Yurt and the Alpine Coaster, suitable for children at least 54 inches or taller.
Mammoth Ski Area, California
10001 Minaret Road
Mammoth Lakes, CA 93546
Featuring the highest summit of any resort in California, Mammoth Ski Area is listed as Powderhound’s best ski resort in America from a recent reader’s poll. Also ranked the most family-friendly ski resort in the Sunshine State, Mammoth offers over 3,500 acres of skiing terrain, lodging packages and activities suitable for all ages. Families with children can take advantage of the resort’s childcare services, such as nurseries for infants and toddlers, playrooms for older children and all-day ski or snowboard lesson/childcare combos for children ranging from three to 12 years old. Beginner, intermediate and expert ski lessons are also available for kids 13 years and older. Additionally, for couples who would like to spend some extra time alone or socializing with friends, childcare services offers après and evening services. Mammoth has several dining and lodging options including at the resort or in the town of Mammoth Lakes.
Telluride Ski Resort
565 Mountain Village Blvd.
Telluride, CO 81435
What’s not to like about Telluride Ski Resort for families? It’s been named America’s best ski resort for three consecutive years from Conde Nast Traveler readers and top ranked for overall satisfaction, scenery and character from Ski Magazine. But what makes Telluride so appealing for families aside from its amazing powder, world-class terrain and children’s ski school are the number of other children’s activities, such as guided snowshoe tours, snowbike lessons, winter enrichment programs and a kids’ night out for children five and older on Tuesdays and Thursdays through winter. Telluride also has an onsite children’s nursery for infants and toddlers, in addition to ski lessons for ages 2.5 to four. The towns of Telluride and Mountain Village offers many choices for lodging and more than 50 restaurants from delicatessens and pizza joints to upscale steakhouses and French cuisine.
Randy Yagi is a freelance writer covering all things San Francisco. In 2012, he was awarded a Media Fellowship from Stanford University. His work can be found on Examiner.com Examiner.com.