Expanded terrain, winter festivals and family-friendly programs combine to lure families to the mountains. Here are five resorts to consider.
1. MOUNT BACHELOR, BEND, OREGON
At this Cascade Range ski resort, you’ll find seven high-speed lifts, two tubing lifts and two beginner carpets. The detachable, quad Cloudchaser, this season’s new addition, adds 635 acres of new terrain. The Gravity School offers lessons to skiers and boarders beginning at age 3. The winter fun continues inside five terrain parks, a super pipe and groomed and tracked cross-country trails.
2. STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, COLORADO
This Rocky Mountain cowboy town is known for its champagne powder and casual, down-home atmosphere. In addition to a full complement of free programs for children, Steamboat Ski Resort has kids-only lifts and instruction areas with easy-to-access Magic Carpet lifts. Graduates move onto the Rough Rider Basin, where tepees, a fort and a kids-style terrain park keep young rippers happily engaged. Check out February’s festive Winter Carnival, now in its 104th year.
3. SMUGGLERS’ NOTCH, VERMONT
Tucked in Vermont’s Green Mountains, the resort boasts 78 trails over 300 acres of marked and patrolled acres. With a slew of special programs for children from 6 weeks to late teens, Smuggs, as its known among regulars, lures families with terrain parks, fun zones, game nights and fireworks.
4. BIG SKY, MONTANA Two new lifts debuted this season as part of a multiyear expansion program at Big Sky Resort. Board a new triple chair or the Powder Seeker, for state-of-the-art transport with six heated seats and a bubble cover for extra comfort. At neighboring Moonlight Basin, choose from powder-rich terrain as well as a new lift-served sledding hill.
5. KEYSTONE, COLORADO
There are hundreds of red wagons spread throughout Keystone, a Vail Resort, to ease the transport of little ones plus gear. The Kidtopia program offers a range of activities including giant snow forts, arts and crafts, ice skating, scavenger hunts and musical events. Stay two nights in resort lodging and kids 12 and younger ski and ride free.