A guide to the best ski resorts in Europe, the US and Canada chosen by expert family travel writers.
A family trip to powdered slopes has been high on our travel agenda for quite some time now. Our kids have never seen snow and every year we promise ourselves we would make up the lack of snowmen building and snowball fights in their childhood with an amazing trip to the mountains.
However, organising a ski trip for the whole family is not as easy as it seems. Plenty of websites recommend ski holidays but once you start drilling down into family friendliness, difficulty of slopes and ease of transport, things get complicated fast.
So, I decided to take a shortcut and ask for advice to the people who know best: family travel bloggers with personal experience of family friendly ski resorts.
I asked them to share their favourite ski destination for families, the reason why they love it and a photo.
The result is this guide to family ski opportunities in Europe, North America and Canada. All I need to do now is pick my favourite: where would you go?
Looking for even more snow holiday inspiration? Don’t forget to also check out our article about White Pod, a gorgeous eco-friendly mountain resort in Switzerland.
Best ski destinations for families in 2018
Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links and if you make a purchase through them we may make a small commission at no extra cost to you whatsoever. the links included reflect the personal selection of the writers interviewed for this post.
The first recommendations comes form Jurga, author of ‘Full Suitcase’. Her choice falls on Alpine Lodge Trubsee, in Switzerland
One of our favourite ski destinations with kids is Engelberg in Switzerland, and in particular Trübsee area. We love staying at Alpine Lodge Trübsee (check prices and availability here) which is located on the mountain and in the middle of the big ski area. It’s a magical feeling when all the day visitors leave in the evening and you have the whole place virtually to yourselves.
With slopes for all levels, Engelberg-Titlis ski area is a great choice for families. However, the majority of slopes around Trübsee are intermediate, so it’s best for families with kids who can ski already. For group ski lessons you are better off staying down in the village.
But there is so much more to see and do in Engelberg-Titlis area than just skiing! One of our favourite activities is snow tubing right next to the hotel. Our kids end every day snow tubing and stay at the snow park till it closes. In addition, you can go snowshoeing, ride a snow scooter, or even sleep in an igloo.
Every time we visit, we try to take a break from skiing and go all the way to the top of Mount Titlis too. The views over the Alps are incredible and you can walk inside the glacier cave that is accessible all year round. Another highlight is the highest suspension bridge in Europe; just try not to look down!
We are going back for the third time in a row, and for someone who doesn’t usually return to the same place more than once, I guess it says it all.
Lake Louise, Canada
Dawn from 5 lost together recommend Lake Louise Ski resort in Banff, Canada
Lake Louise Ski Resort in Western Canada is one of our favorite family ski destinations. Located in Banff National Park, Lake Louise offers terrain for all abilities, tons of snow, and majestic views. Best of all, the ski school is fabulous and our kids loved their time with their instructors and new friends.
For children under 5, they have a licensed childcare facility on site allowing parents plenty of time on the mountain. The daycare even will take 3 and 4 year old out for twice daily ski and snow play sessions.
Aside from skiing, there are lots of other snow sports to do in the Lake Louise and Banff area. You can enjoy ice skating around the ice castle on Lake Louise. Our kids loved renting snowshoes and going on a winter hike.
Families with older children would enjoy renting ice cleats and walking Johnson Canyon. Dog sledding is another epic Canadian experience available. Once you tire of the cold, you can warm up in the area’s hot springs and many cafes. Lake Louise makes a perfect winter wonderland getaway that the whole family will enjoy.
Whitefish Mountain Ski Resort, Montana, USA
Nicole from The Passport Kids recommend Whitefish Mountain Ski Resort, Montana, USA
If you are looking for a family friendly ski resort our recommendation is the Whitefish Mountain Ski Resort in Montana, USA. The resort offers many family friendly amenities and activities including daycare and kids ski & ride school directly on the resort.
Whitefish Mountain Resort has an extensive kids center, equipment rentals and lesson programs to offer families with kids of all ages from infant and up. The ski hill has a great variety of terrain from beginner to expert which will allow everyone in the family to find their favorite ski slope.
The resort offers some ski-in, ski-out accommodations if that suits your family, which can allow older kids to come and go as they please. Enjoy some outdoor winter fun with snowboarding, skiing, snowshoeing or sledding; then cozy up by the fire with some hot chocolate.
The resort and city of Whitefish offer a small town American feel where life slows down for a while but still offers a great selection of hotels, restaurants, and shopping.
La Molina and Masella, Spain
Thass from Family Off Duty recommends Spain
The skiable domain Alp 2500 in the Pyrenees is home to two ski resorts: La Molina and Masella. Together they offer 135 km of ski runs! It is Catalonia’s largest skiable area and only two hours away from Barcelona (easily accessible with daily buses during the winter season). With a vertical drop of 935 m and 117 ski runs it is perfectly suitable for beginners and family holidays.
Masella and La Molina resorts have all the facilities for a great winter holiday (modern ski lifts, snow cannons, ski schools, restaurants etc). There are enough runs for all skiing levels.
The resorts offer everything from very easy green runs at the bottom to some more challenging looking red and black runs (which we did not attempt to visit with our daughter). Many of the runs take you through and between the trees. In February we didn’t feel that it was crowded at all further up the slopes. The queues at the lifts were fairly minimal too.
You can go right to the top of the mountain in the Masella resort (La Tosa – 2,537m) and ski again to the bottom via the blue runs La Carena, Dues Estacions and La Corda. Our daughter, then 6 years old, was able to ski these runs and loved it.
La Rosiere, France
Kirstie from The Family Adventure Project recommends La Rosiere, France
The French resort of La Rosière has everything an active family could need, including the chance to ski into Italy for a day and eat pizza on the slopes. Unlike lower resorts, you can ski as early as Christmas and often right till the end of the spring. 160 kms of skiing offers pistes for all levels; our teens particularly enjoyed the snow zone adventure park. But the fun isn’t limited to the skiing.
We enjoyed an exhilarating Paret Sledge descent into the sunset as Mont Blanc was preparing herself for sleep in the distance. We had a lesson in ice hockey and formed a family team. If you have your ski legs but would like to try them out in the air, there’s also the opportunity to hire a snow kite.
And if you like going up, the Espace San Bernardo International Ski Area provides what feels like the longest drag lift in the world. It will transport you up above the long sunny slopes on the French side into shady, powdery descents on the north face of the mountain. Here the architecture and food take on an Italian twist. There aren’t many places you can ski two countries in a day…
Katja from Globetotting recommends Morzine, in France
If I could only choose one European resort for a family ski holiday it would be Morzine. Admittedly, I’m a little biased given that my family has keys to a chalet there but nevertheless, this French Alpine village is one of my favourites.
As well as being a ski resort, Morzine is an authentic mountain village filled with characterful wooden chalets, rustic farmhouses and charming restaurants serving typical Savoyarde food.
There’s lots going on year-round, both on and off the mountains, making it a great destination even for those who aren’t that keen on skiing (it’s hugely popular with mountain bikers in the summer months). But for those who do love to ski, this is wonderful resort to choose. Morzine forms the heart of Les Ports du Soleil, a 650km ski area with runs for all skill levels, from gentle beginner slopes to challenging off-piste tracks.
The only downside is the altitude; Morzine sits at just 1000m, which means in a bad season the snow can be patchy on the lower slopes. But don’t let that put you off, it’s just one more reason to stop skiing early for a glass or two of gluhwein.
Jennifer from Our Galaxy Family recommends Dachstein, Austria
If you are looking for spectacular views from all around and many winter sports head to Dachstein, Austria.
My family (of 5) stayed at the luxury Dachsteinkonig resort for two nights and truly enjoyed just walking across the street to hit the slopes. At the bottom of the mountain there are the “bunny slopes” so the kids can be taught to ski and you may also sled (if you are staying at the resort sleds are free to use!)
The resort and ski company both have ski schools for adults and children. The ski lifts passes are also very reasonable, for my 11 year old son and the passes were about 50 euro. If you are looking at heading there I do recommend it as it is such a beautiful area! There are plenty of attractions nearby such as Halstatt (very scenic village), Salzkammergut/Salt Mine (we didn’t get to them), & the Hoher Dachstein (glacier).
Vintage Resort, Coloado, USA
Maggie from Milana’s travels recommends Vintage Resort in Colorado, USA
Winter Park, CO is the perfect ski destination with young kids! We stayed at the Vintage Resort, where Winter Park Village (and the ski slopes) are just a short cabriolet ride away.
They have ski school for young kids as well as a child care center for younger kids right by the slopes so you can ski while your kids are taken care of in a fun environment.
Right by the resort is a tubing park, so you don’t even have to drive to enjoy some snow tubing. One of our favorite parts of Winter Park was the kid sized snowmobiles. We haven’t seen those before and our daughter had a blast riding them! I highly recommend Winter Park for a winter getaway with young kids. Aside from skiing, there is a ton to do with young kids!
I hope this list gave you many ideas on where to go for a fun filled family ski holiday! Do you have more tried and tested resorts to add?