Holiday travel experts: Pair of Tahoe ski resorts on top 10 list for most family-friendly

Casandra Karpiak | Wealth of Geeks
Skiers and riders enjoy a powder day at Diamond Peak Ski Resort.
Provided/Chris Bartkowski/Diamond Peak Ski Resort

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Heavenly Mountain Resort and Diamond Peak Ski Resort made the top 10 list of most festive, family-friendly ski areas in the country, according to travel experts.

According to the National Ski Areas Association, the 2021-2022 ski season was a record-breaker in terms of skier visits to resorts across the country. Travel experts have compiled a list of ski resorts packed full of yuletide cheer for all ages this holiday season.

The NSAA reported that U.S. ski areas had a record number of visitors during the 2021-2022 season, with 60.7 million skiers signaling that there is still a high demand for outdoor recreation activities.

“We’re lucky to have so many great ski resorts here in America, and they play a huge part in making Christmas special for so many,” said a spokesperson for Family Destinations Guide. “The resorts in this list have all the right facilities and go the extra mile to be family friendly, and that goes a long way, especially over the holidays.”

The full list includes: 

1. Smugglers’ Notch, Vermont

This family resort in North Jefferson is one of the most child-friendly destinations in New England while still offering something for all ages.

With eight lifts set between three different mountains, Smugglers’ Notch has trails for everyone from beginners to experts. With dedicated childcare staff for children of any age, it is easy for any group to find the perfect skiing-to-family time ratio.

Smuggler’s Notch Resort is one of the most popular and festive Christmas hotels in the ski resort scene. It’s the perfect location to add some holiday spirit to your ski trip this December.

2. Stowe Mountain Resort, Vermont

Stowe Mountain is one of the best ski resorts for children in America, and with 116 trains and a vertical rise of 2,360 feet, it has plenty of skiing for adults too.

Considered the birthplace of skiing in Vermont, the resort offers luxury stay options, including large, four-bedroom suites that give the entire family enough space to stretch out.

As well as skiing, Stowe has some great restaurants for refueling after a day on the slopes.

“Doc Ponds is our favorite casual apres-ski hangout with the most delicious chicken sandwich with maple mayo,” comments Karen Kelly, a food blogger from Seasonal Cravings.

3. Deer Valley Resort, Utah

There is no shortage of U.S. family ski resorts, but few offer the type of luxury of Deer Valley.

With daily tickets for the trails limited and snowboarders excluded from the property, this is really the place to go if you want to hit the slopes with optimum freedom. Kids programs across the property and Deer Park’s fantastic ski school make this all possible for the biggest skiing enthusiasts.

Just over half an hour from Salt Lake City, this resort offers a range of activities for the whole family including; dog sledding, snowmobiling, sleigh rides, and more.

4. Keystone, Colorado

Keystone is considered the destination for some of the top family ski vacations, and with a mindblowing array of varied terrain for all levels of skier, it is easy to see why.

Home to the world’s largest mountaintop snow fort and an array of mazes and slides, there are plenty of non-skiing goings on for the children.

As well as the abundance of trails and variety of accommodation options, children under 12 stay and ski at no extra cost, making Keystone an incredible offer for the entire family.

“Being a snowboarder, when Keystone has powder days, it’s really fun. It has long runs and a great park. It has epic views from the peaks. You can see Breckenridge ski resort! We love getting sushi in Dillon after snowboarding all day.” Pablo Fechino, The Happiness Function.

5. Steamboat Ski Resort, Colorado

Steamboat Colorado is another extremely popular name when it comes to family skiing in the USA. The vast expanse of this spectacular resort offers everything you would require from a classic ski lodge.

With scenic gondola rides, snowmobiling tours, horseback riding, ice skating, and its proximity to Steamboat Springs, there are plenty of extracurricular activities for all at this resort. If you are looking for adrenaline-pumping action aside from the skiing trails, this resort is also home to the Outlaw Mountain Coaster, one of the longest mountain coasters on the continent.

As a travel writer, Steamboat Ski Resort always sits at the top of any best ski resort list. I used to drive 14 hours from Los Angeles to Steamboat every winter because the skiing was that good.

6. Okemo Mountain Resort, Vermont

Okemo is another resort that one can turn to without a second thought when planning a vacation for the family. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve just learned the basics or you’re an advanced skier looking to progress; this resort has the terrain for you.

With slopeside daycare for ages 3-plus, and the Kids Night Out offering a range of activities, the parents can take some time off and explore the resort’s exquisite dining options.

7. The Mount Washington Resort, Bretton Woods, New Hampshire

Known as New Hampshire’s premier ski area, Bretton Woods covers a vast area of 464 acres, marked with 62 trails and three separate parks.

Extras like the snowmobile park, scenic gondola rides, spa, and the longest zip line canopy tour in all of New England make this resort one of the best-known for family vacations on the East Coast.

Music shows, storytellers, clowns, and even an apres ski party for the children ensures Mount Washington Resort is one of the friendliest towards children while providing a great time for the whole family.

8. Park City Mountain Resort, Utah

Known for being an Olympic venue in the past, Park City consists of two separate mountains, making it one of the largest ski resorts in the U.S. With each mountain offering a slightly different terrain, there is something for every skier or snowboarder.

With a variety of accommodation options, including plenty for larger groups, and a great ski school in the resort, the whole family will be catered for on the slopes. The Little Adventure Children’s Center also means that parents can comfortably take time out to ski alone while children under six are looked after.

“I love the convenience of the “town lift,” perfect for stopping in the historic town of Park City for a lunch break at the Main Street Pizza & Noodle,” comments Josh Dudick, a finance writer from Top Dollar.

9. Diamond Peak Ski Resort, Nevada

A ski resort that doubles up to offer views of Lake Tahoe? On this front, Diamond Peak is a rarity. The resort is also suited very well to beginners looking to spend a good amount of time on the slopes, so many families will find this checks several boxes.

If you have young children who are enthusiastic about learning how to ski, you can get them lessons at the Child Ski Center. It has its own learning area, lift, and an impressive instructor-to-child ratio of 1:5. If you have children under 4 who are excited to learn, private lessons can be arranged.

Skiers and riders enjoy a powder day at Diamond Peak Ski Resort.
Provided/Chris Bartkowski/Diamond Peak Ski Resort

10. Heavenly Mountain Resort, California and Nevada

This South Tahoe resort that straddles the Nevada-California border offers a range of activities to keep the entire family happy. With over 97 trails across thousands of acres, there is more than enough skiing for all skiers of every level, and lessons are on offer for children over 4.

With snow tubing and UTV tours available at the end of a scenic gondola ride, there are non-skiing outdoor activities. Meanwhile, plenty of shops, dining facilities, and a multiplex close by provide for those looking to unwind.

There is a reason why this ski resort is named Heavenly. John Dealbreuin from Financial Freedom Countdown comments, “Riding the gondola back on the California side on a clear day was definitely a memorable experience.”

No matter your family’s holiday traditions, you can find a resort with everything you need to make this year’s celebration one for the books. And with so many top-notch ski resorts located near popular Christmas towns, you can knock out two must-do items on your list with one vacation. 

From coast to coast, these festive family resorts should be at the top of your list when booking your winter getaway.

This article was produced by Media Decision, syndicated by Wealth of Geeks and distributed via AP.

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