Photo: Maryna Zhukova via 123RF

With winter fast approaching, it’s time to start planning your family adventures for the snowy season. Skiing always looks like fun, and with a bit of preparation, you could be on your way to some of the best family-friendly ski areas in the country.

Pros and Cons of Family Skiing

Skiing is an activity that many families love, but it does take some investment. The pros and cons below can help you decide if it’s the right fit for your family.

Bonding Time

You can’t overstate how vital family bonding time can be. Kids are more likely to open up and share about their lives when they engage in another activity with you. It’s hard to talk while actively skiing, but the sport involves quite a bit of downtime — the car ride up and back, breaks at the lodge, and time on the lift all provide the perfect opportunity to get some quality time. Something to keep in mind: If you have children who can’t participate in skiing, it might feel isolating to be the one sitting out.

Physical Activity

Skiing is one of the best forms of physical activity since it’s a full-body workout. Even when you’re not actively skiing, balancing with the boots and walking to the lodge count as a good workout. Be prepared for sore muscles the next day. Even active families might notice the toll a skiing weekend can take!

Outdoor Adventures

Spending time in nature is good for our mental, emotional, and physical health. Combining a family activity with outdoor physical adventures is one of the best ways to spend your time, especially during winter when we tend to stay indoors more often. Of course, heading outdoors always has risks. Ski valleys can see severe weather, so your plans could get canceled at the last minute.

Lifelong Investment

Skiing is a sport that can turn into a lifelong passion for your kids and family. It’s not an activity that will fade away as they age. However, be aware of the costs associated with skiing. For a family of four, the gear and lift passes alone can be several hundred or several thousand dollars. If you’re traveling and need lodging, that cost adds up quickly.

Photo: Iakov Filimonov via 123RF

Tips for a Successful First Trip

If you’re planning the first skiing adventure for your family, take the time to ensure it goes as smoothly as possible with these tips.

Rent the Gear

Even if you think skiing will become a permanent family hobby, renting gear for everyone the first time out is best. For kids, renting for several years can be more cost-effective until they wear the same size for more than one season! Don’t forget goggles, a helmet, and proper jackets, gloves, skis, and boots. Coordinating with bright colors can make your kids easier to find on the slopes, too.

Invest in Lessons

Parents who are great skiers often want to save money and teach their kids themselves. While this approach is fine, you’ll likely have a much better adventure if the kids get individualized instruction from someone other than mom and dad. Many resorts also have designated areas for lessons, so your kids might get access to a less crowded hill as they learn the ropes. While the kids are in class, the adults can take turns getting in more challenging runs. Tackling those black diamonds now means you’ll be excited about the bunny hill as a family later.

Plan Two Days (At Least!)

Skiing as a family means you’ll need plenty of breaks. Factor in travel time up and down the mountain, and you’ll definitely want at least two days of skiing to maximize your trip. If you live close to a ski area and don’t need overnight lodging, plan to head up for two days or two weekends in a row. Consistent practice will help lock in the new skill for your kids so they’re ready next season.

Set Reasonable Goals

The best adventures come with reasonable expectations. Don’t promise your kids a family run down the resort’s famous slopes. You’ll want to see what kind of progress everyone makes before committing to something too dangerous. Instead, set goals that are attainable for your kids and the adults.

Best Skiing Spots for Families

If you’re looking for the best place to go on a family ski adventure, there are plenty of fantastic slopes throughout the country. These spots all have good lodging options, various run difficulties, non-skiing activities to entertain the kids, discounts and kids-ski-free options, and pass choices to accommodate several budgets and time constraints.

Western Region

Taos Ski Valley, New Mexico

Keystone Resort, Colorado

Dodge Ridge, California

Lake Tahoe, Nevada/California


Chestnut Mountain Resort, Illinois

The Highlands, Michigan

Cascade Mountain, Wisconsin

Eastern Region

Catamount Ski Area, New York

Jiminy Peak, Massachusetts

Stowe, Vermont

Wisp, Maryland

Take the leap and plan a family skiing adventure this winter – it might just become an annual tradition!