In the Rocky Mountain State of Colorado, you’re spoiled for choice when it comes to ski destinations, but which are best for families? As a local, I’ve raised twin boys on the snow and I’ve been to them all! The top things on my mind are accessibility, facilities and most importantly, affordability and my top three meet these criteria:
Due to COVID-19, safety measures were put in place by the State of Colorado which impacted the 20/21 ski season. These included physical distancing, mask-wearing and increased sanitization standards. In Summit County, home to several key ski resorts including Keystone and Copper Mountain, there was limited capacity for indoor and outdoor dining and vacation lodging was limited to 2 households per unit. In Routt County which is home to Steamboat Resort, group gatherings were limited and contact tracing was required at all restaurants. Such restrictions are not anticipated to continue into the 21/22 winter season.
From endless kids activities including snow-tubing and sleigh-rides to abundant accommodation to suit every budget; it’s not hard to see why Keystone is one of the best ski resorts for families. The terrain is perfect for families with varying abilities to stay on the mountain together and there’s even a beginner area at the top of Dercum Mountain for those starting out. Keystone has families in mind every step of the way even with convenient slope side parking and free wagons to cart your gear (plus your kid’s gear)! If you’re not staying at the resort, nearby towns of Dillon and Silverthorne have great budget friendly options where you’ll be able to also find some good value eats including franchise restaurants and family diners.
Copper is the best mountain for families who have the same skiing ability because the mountain naturally splits the slopes neatly into three distinct sections, beginner, intermediate and advanced. If you’ve got little ones, the child care is hard-to-beat and the Woodward Copper Barn is great indoor training facility with foam pits and trampolines. And then of course there’s the tubing hill with magic carpet: exhilarating, hassle-free, and safe tubing. Hands down, it’s one of the best family experiences I’ve enjoyed, ever. Stay in one of the three base villages or nearby towns of Frisco, Dillon and Silverthorne. Free parking is available but you’ll need to hop on a potentially crowded (but free!) shuttle bus to the villages. When it comes to stocking up on groceries, a trip over to Frisco is your best bet, 10 to 20 minutes away.
Unlike some other Colorado ski destinations, altitude sickness isn’t a problem at Steamboat which can sometimes ruin family ski vacations. Admittedly the location is far from Denver but its “Champagne Powder” is the lightest powder skiing I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing, and something I’d recommend for every family. Essential for every family-friendly ski resort, child-care facilities at Steamboat don’t match those at Copper Mountain but they still do a great job. Head downtown and you’ll find many good value dining options including Johnny B Good’s Diner and Steamboat Smokehouse. To feed the family for less, Walmart, Natural Grocers, City Market, Wild Plum, and Safeway are all here. Even if you’re in ski-in/ski-out lodging, it’s just a short 10 to 20-minute drive to practically anywhere within the city.