Best Family Skiing Holidays Too (North America)

We’re not in the Alps anymore Toto… Skiing in North America is different to skiing in Europe, there are more mountains and more space, which in some resorts means more room for beginners – kids especially.

Quite a few North American ski resorts are putting the work in for your kids, building special parks and ski runs and ski lifts, running great ski schools and providing plenty of entertainment for non–ski–kids. These few seem to be working the hardest.

You only have to be two months old to be welcomed intoVail’s Small World Nursery where their clientele ranges from infants to toddlers to preschoolers. There you can spend either a full or half day getting pampered and played with while your parents attack the ski slopes. For kids ready for ski school there are plenty of options, from whole camps to private tuition. You can even get a video analysis of your form or have a group private lesson with the rest of your family - assuming your ski bunny parents aren’t going to embarrass you too much. As well as learning the basics Vail has a kid’s snow park, beginner’s only terrain runs and a race course for beating Dads on.

Whistler has a special ‘ust for ski kids’area to ensure that all those pesky parents let you strut your ski stuff. It’s also got one of the largest ski school programs anywhere which allows you onto good terrain on both Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains via ‘magic carpet’ lifts. For more whimsical tastes, Blackcomb has a Children’s Adventure Park which has runs that lead you though an ‘enchanted’ wood and a castle, and for kids who prefer snowboarding to skiing there’s the ‘Big Easy Terrain Garden’. Some of the green runs are designated just for kids and if ski school giver you ski skills you can take part in some night skiing.
Whistler’s childcare centre caters for the three to 48 month age group and there are ski schools and ski school camps for kids up to 12 years old which you can book your kids into for a day or a couple of weeks.

Steamboat Steamboat has a non- skiing Kindergarten, called the ‘Kiddie Corral’ which will look after your little ones from six months to six years, Ski Kinder once you hit three and a half, and proper ski schools for ski bunnies from seven to 15 years of age. But my-first-skiing-lesson can take place from two and a half years! Steamboat’s program splits kids up into age groups as well as skill level so as not to offend sensitive teens. If they get good enough your kids might like to try the night skiing, and if they don’t then dog sledding, ice skating, sleigh rides and snowmobiling sound equally fun.

In Aspen the best skiing for beginners is on Buttermilk Mountain, which even sounds child-friendly, but the Snowmass village with it’s easy access to the slopes might be better for younger families. It has a designated skiing family zone with a treasure hunt type trail, a racing arena and a snow park. Aspen also has a reputation for having some very good ski schools.
Very few ski resorts can come close to Aspen when it comes to non-skiing activities, so your little ski bunnies can be distracted by skating, curling, swimming, husky sledding, snowmobiling, or even a trip to the opera, if you have kiddy culture vultures? If your kids won’t ski you can still bring them here and enroll them in a holiday club teaching them something else entirely – cooking school anyone? And there are programs for babies as young as eight weeks old – though they don’t makes skis that small...

Winter Park offers child care for tiny two month olds to big boy six year olds. Their care includes giving skiing parents a pager for peace of mind…but that won’t help if you’re the one who falls over skiing. By the looks of their Kid’s Adventure Center they may have just as much fun as you do. Winter Park’s ski schools will take ski kids from three years old and they have a cool video play back lesson where you get to watch yourself and improve your ski form with advice from the ski school teachers. There’s also a designated beginners area called ‘Discovery Park’, but don’t let the slightly naff name put you off, it’s got good views of the best of the slopes, a few adventure trails and a race course for first timers.

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