Best Ski Resorts Near Denver For Families

Two young kids holding skis in Beaver Creek, Colorado
Photo Courtesy: Gunjan Prakash

Colorado has a wide variety of ski resorts near Denver for families of all ability levels, from beginner to expert! Whether you’re a beginner skier, an expert snowboarder, or both, Colorado ski resorts offer many options for both snowboarders and skiers alike as well as non-ski or snowboard activities. Finding the right resort that has everything you want for your winter vacation in Colorado with kids can be tricky to navigate. Ultimately, it comes down to personal taste, skill level, location, and budget. A winter getaway near Denver at kid-favorite resorts like Breckenridge or Vail is always a top choice. If your family is looking for a smaller ski resort geared more toward learning, the list we offer has great choices depending on your family’s needs. Keep reading to find out more and plan your next family ski adventure in Colorado!  

Related: Walking in a Winter Wonderland: 5 Kid-Friendly Activities in Vail

5 Best Small Ski Resorts in Colorado Near Denver

Let’s start with some of the lesser-known, smaller ski resorts near Denver! When looking for ski resorts in Colorado near Denver for families, they should be conveniently located, affordable, and easily accessible. These 5 small ski resorts are within approximately 2 hours of Denver International Airport, making them ideal for a great winter vacation in Colorado with kids. Additionally, all of these best small resorts near Denver are included in the GEMS Card, which is a great way to save when skiing and snowboarding. All of these resorts are friendly to beginners, making it a great place for those in your family who are just learning as well.

Loveland Ski Area

A family posing for a photo and holding skis at Loveland Ski Resort in Colorado
Photo Courtesy: Ski Loveland

Just 53 miles west of Denver, Loveland Ski Area is a family-owned ski resort featuring wonderful terrain for all ages and ability levels. For beginners, the Loveland Valley part of the resort is best and the Loveland Basin, on the east side of the Continental Divide, offers “smooth groomers and mellow cruisers, wide-open bowls, deep powder, moguls and glades” for more experienced skiers and riders.  

With private ski and ride lessons for ages 3 and up, FREE snowcat skiing, and a terrain park, you are surely able to accommodate all of your family’s winter vacation needs. Loveland Ski Area offers a variety of passes and an unrestricted, affordable 4-pak making it one of the best ski resorts in Colorado.  Because it is the first ski area on the I-70 corridor, you can avoid the hassle of traffic moving higher into the Rockies toward the Eisenhower Tunnel.  Loveland is known to get loads of snow, allowing you to enjoy the powder and not the crowds. 

Activities For Non-Skiers

While there is no lodging and few amenities on-mountain, you will enjoy a smaller, more intimate feeling while skiing here while staying near Denver during your winter vacation in Colorado.

Choose Expedia to find a hotel stay near Loveland Ski Area here!

Arapahoe Basin

Three skiers wind through the powder at Arapahoe Basin.
Photo Courtesy: Arapahoe Basin

Already open for the 2023/2024 season,  Arapahoe Basin is a great ski resort in Colorado for families for a weekend getaway near Denver. Located about 2 hours from Denver International Airport, Arapahoe Basin (known locally as A-Basin) is known for its long season. Because the summit elevation is over 13,000, A-Basin opens early in the season and can run late into spring as well. Situated on the Continental Divide, it is perfect for a family winter vacation in Colorado because it provides both beginner and intermediate runs. It also has steep areas for the more experienced skiers in your family. Plus, there are ski and snowboarding group lessons for kids ages 3 and up. 

Be sure to check out their terrain status for up-to-date information on which runs are open for the season. It is always recommended to visit Colorado ski and ride resorts during the weekdays or afternoons on weekend days to ensure a less crowded experience. Click here to see what season passes are still available as this is the best way to experience Colorado resorts. It’s the most affordable way for a family to enjoy the slopes.

Activities For Non-Skiers

Please note, A-Basin has limited family amenities and you may have to find accommodations outside of the ski area or plan on a picnic. Be sure to keep Arapahoe Basin on your list of great resorts near Denver as it surely is one of the best small ski resorts in Colorado!

Choose Hotels.com to reserve a stay near Arapahoe Basin now!

Cooper

A view of the aerial tram at Ski Cooper in Colorado
Photo Courtesy: Ski Cooper

Opening up in December, Cooper offers an authentic Colorado ski experience. Be sure to add Cooper to your list of ski resorts to visit near Denver! Cooper has terrain for all ability levels and a very family-friendly atmosphere. In close proximity to Denver, just under 2 hours, Cooper is easily accessible for skiing and riding families. Another bonus is that Cooper is close to the bigger and more popular Copper Mountain Ski Resort. Your family can ski both of these great resorts within 35 minutes of each other if you spend a long weekend up in the Rocky Mountains. Ski lessons at Cooper for ages 3 and up are more affordable than many of the large ski resorts in the area. Unique to Cooper is the Chicago Ridge SnowCat Ski Tours, which is a must-add for a memorable visit.

Activities For Non-Skiers

Ridgeview Cafe is an ideal meeting place for families off the slopes. This mountain yurt is located between the main ski lifts at Cooper. Choose to dine here, or at one of the other 2 options at Cooper. Or, choose Katie O’Rourke’s Irish Pub, North America’s highest-altitude Irish Pub for a burger or some fish and chips. If you’re staying in Leadville, the closest town for lodging and additional dining options, be sure to check out some of the historic sites this old mining town is known for. Cooper is one of the best small ski resorts in Colorado for families for a weekend getaway!

Use Booking.com to reserve a stay near Cooper here!

Eldora Mountain Resort

Photo Courtesy: Eldora Ski Resort

Eldora Mountain Resort, just outside of Boulder, is a local favorite because of its proximity to the front range. It’s a mountain that offers adventure for all ability and age levels, all within 1.5 hours from Denver International Airport. Plus, it’s an easy trip from Boulder, which is a great place to stay for an extended Colorado winter weekend getaway. However, it has become popular, so traffic can be challenging on the weekends. With affordable passes as well as an IKON pass member, it can be an affordable option for your family with some planning ahead. 

Eldora is the only Colorado ski resort served by Denver’s RTD public transportation for a sustainable option to deal with traffic. Additionally, parking is free if you choose to drive. Eldora opens on November 17th for the 2023/2024 ski season and has 9 ski lifts with 680 acres of skiable terrain including the Woodward Mountain Park zone. Here, kids can enhance their skills in a specially designed-terrain park! Plus, the ski school has group lessons for kids ages 4 and up. Eldora is a nice alternative to the large resorts up the I-70 corridor, making it one of the best ski resorts in Colorado for families for a weekend getaway. 

Activities For Non-Skiers

After your day on the slopes, be sure to check out their 6 restaurants, featuring a variety of foods and drinks to wind down your day.

Choose Expedia to book your stay near Eldora Mountain Resort now!

Granby Ranch

A view of the slopes at Granby Ranch, featuring dozens of skiers and a chair lift.
Photo Courtesy: Granby Ranch

90 minutes west of Denver, Granby Ranch is an easy ski resort to access from Denver International Airport. Granby Ranch, another great ski resort in Colorado for families for a weekend getaway near Denver, offers both beginner and more advanced trails. On-site lodging and many alternative winter activities to enjoy beyond skiing and snowboarding make this a desirable place for a Colorado ski vacation near Denver with kids.  Because it’s a  lesser-known ski resort in Colorado, it’s easy to slow down and enjoy the atmosphere of this ranch. 

Due to its affordability, your family can also take ski or ride lessons.  For those family members who are non-skiers or riders, snowshoeing tours may be the perfect addition to their winter holiday or just soak up the sun on the Granby Ranch Grill patio. As you sit, sip, and munch, enjoy the panoramic views of the Rocky Mountains.

Activities For Non-Skiers

Granby Ranch is 30 minutes away from the larger ski resort, Winter Park. It’s also very near the YMCA of the Rockies, which is a wonderful place to enjoy a Colorado winter weekend getaway. At the YMCA, your kids will enjoy a variety of indoor and outdoor activities including ice skating, snow tubing, basketball, and swimming just to mention a few. Again, your family has the opportunity to visit these two best ski resorts in Colorado for families that are in such close proximity to each other.    

Traveling to Colorado for a weekend getaway? Add these Colorado Snow Tubing and Sledding Spots for Families to your itinerary! 

Book a homestay at Granby Ranch through Vrbo now!

Best Bigger Ski Resorts in Colorado Near Denver

Colorado is well known for the best ski resorts such as Breckenridge, Vail, Beaver Creek, and more. We are lucky enough to have so many great ski resorts in Colorado in the Rocky Mountains in such close proximity to Denver for families and kids to enjoy. Though the traffic on I-70 is also famous, there are ways to enjoy the beauty and splendor of the slopes. This list of family ski resorts near Denver will help you narrow down which resort will best suit your family’s needs for your Colorado winter weekend getaways. 

Winter Park Resort

A family of four wearing brighting colored snowgear stands in skis at Winter Park on a clear blue day.
Photo Courtesy: Carl Frey, Winter Park Resort

Winter Park Resort is consistently named the #1 Ski Resort in North America! Winter Park is the best ski resort in Colorado to visit when you want to avoid some of the traffic of I-70. Just two hours from Denver, the two distinct mountains of Mary Jane and Winter Park are both wonderful family slopes.  Mary Jane is geared more toward difficult runs and expert skiers. Beginner and intermediate skiers should stay on the Winter Park side of this family ski resort. You will discover more kid-friendly terrain as well as the BOEC adaptive skiing for people with disabilities on the Winter Park side. The Ski and Ride School is open for private lessons or group lessons (ages 4 to 14), but remember to book these lessons in advance! 

Activities For Non-Skiers

If you are looking for some off-slope activities, strap on some ice skates at the Winter Pavillion for some family ice skating! Other activities include horseback riding at Snow Mountain Stables or taking a sleigh ride through the trees. Enjoy the Coca-Cola Tubing Hill or head to Hideaway Park for some free sledding. Your family can also enjoy touring the mountain on a snowcat or soaking in the hot springs at the Hot Sulphur Springs Resort.  For an unforgettable adventure, book a snowmobile tour with Grand Adventures Tours, either guided or unguided. Nearby, you can visit or stay at the YMCA of the Rockies, where you will find the Nordic Center with groomed trails and the chance to go dog sledding.

There are also so many local restaurants and cafes to enjoy during your winter vacation in Colorado while staying with kids at Winter Park. Start your morning at Wake ‘N’ Bacon or have crepes and coffee at Goody’s. Don’t miss the best pizza at Pizza Pedal’r! What an unforgettable family vacation you can enjoy at Winter Park, one of the best Colorado ski resorts for families! For more adventures, check out all the things to do in Winter Park

Learn more by reading our Exciting Colorado Getaway for Families: Snow Mountain Ranch -YMCA of the Rockies!

Book your stay in Winter Park here with Hotels.com!

Keystone Resort

A family of four wearing snowgear stands on an assortment of skis and snowboards at Keystone.
Photo Courtesy: Shannon Fox

With free parking, kid-friendly entertainment, and ski-in, ski-out, options, Keystone Resort is a favorite family ski resort near Denver! A great way to help save at Keystone Resort is to take advantage of the kids ski free lodging deals for your winter vacation in Colorado, which allows kids under the age of 12 to ski free for all 2+ night stays. In terms of skiing, Keystone has various runs and an A51 Terrain Park for all abilities. Keystone Adaptive Center offers adaptive skiing lessons for people with disabilities or other special needs too. These include one-on-one instructions or group lessons available upon request.  Advance reservations are required for these special lessons.  This is a wonderful option for a family member with special needs who wants to enjoy the snow during your winter vacation in Colorado.  

A unique feature at Keystone is night skiing!  This is a wonderful option for those in your family who wish to extend their slope time long after sunset. Keystone has a strong ski school program where your kids (ages 3 to 14) will surely love to improve their skills or learn how to navigate the slopes for the first time! Lessons are available at the much quieter side at Mountain House, which is the perfect spot to find lodging so you can simply walk to check in for your lesson. Wagons are also available throughout the resort for your use to haul all of your winter gear, or kids who have lost their energy after a long day on the slopes! 

Activities For Non-Skiers

Your kids will love finding the World’s LARGEST Snow Fort atop Dercum Mountain! This is a nice alternative to a day on the slopes. Keystone also offers multiple off-mountain activities including snow tubing, stable sleigh rides, and ice skating. Playgrounds and forts abound around the base to keep kids entertained the entire time during your Colorado winter weekend getaway.

Choose Expedia to book your stay in Keystone now!

Copper Mountain Resort

Two skiers on the slopes at Copper Mountain, one of the best ski resorts near Denver for families
Photo Courtesy: Copper Mountain Ski Resort

Just off of I-70, you can find Copper Mountain. A mountain for all ages that is near Denver, it’s definitely one of the best ski resorts in Colorado for families for a weekend getaway! Copper Mountain has multiple green and blue runs for beginners in addition to advanced trails up the mountain in this naturally divided ski resort. The Copper Mountain Ski School has lessons for ages 3 to 17. Not to mention, there are three villages connected by the shuttle system, making this resort kid and family-friendly and a wonderful place to spend a quick Colorado winter weekend getaway! Plus, children under four ski for free, making it more affordable for young families! 

For the trick riders, be sure to try out Woodward Mountain Park, a network of terrain zones that are progression-based. Copper Mountain also offers Adaptive skiing through the BOEC along with Breckenridge and Keystone resorts.  

Activities For Non-Skiers

For those non-skiers, or on days where you are looking for alternative activities, Copper Mountain also offers ice skating, snow tubing, snowshoeing, and an alpine coaster, called the Rocky Mountain Coaster. Running during the winter and summer, it’s a fun way to get down the slopes without skiing or riding! For a unique activity with kids, wander through the Snow Maze. Or, visit the Green Acres Snow Play and Sledding Zone when you need a break from the slopes during your winter vacation in Colorado. 

One last unique experience at Copper Mountain that is not ski or ride-related is The Barn. This 19,400-square-foot indoor action sports playground filled with foam pit jumps, spring floors, trampolines, and more is sure to be a haven for your family during your winter vacation in Colorado. But, because Copper Mountain is a very popular ski area, be sure to take your Colorado weekend getaway trip during off-peak times, or even during the weekday, to avoid traffic!

Reserve your stay in Copper Mountain here with Hotels.com!

Breckenridge Ski Resort

Families mill about Breckenridge Ski Resort on a sunny winter day.
Photo Courtesy: Gunjan Prakash

Breckenridge Ski Resort certainly tops our list of the best ski resorts in Colorado for families for a weekend getaway! This popular resort is busy during the ski season, especially on weekends and holidays. However, we cannot miss including this resort in Colorado near Denver.   

Peaks 8 and 9 have a majority of the beginner learning areas, hidden adjacent to many blue and green trails. Advanced skiers may prefer Peak 7 or Peak 6. Kid Adventure Zones are scattered across five peaks and have well-groomed trails for all abilities.  And, family zones are well-marked with yellow diagonals. There are even four terrain parks! The Breckenridge Ski and Snowboard School also offers lessons for kids ages 3 to 14. Of special note is Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center  (BOEC), which provides adaptive skiing and snowboarding sports programs for individuals around the world. Check out their winter programs as skiing and snowboarding are sports that should be enjoyed by all!

Just a reminder that Breckenridge is located at a base elevation of 9,600 feet, so allow extra time during your Colorado weekend getaway to acclimate to the higher altitude. Drink plenty of water and allow time to rest during your winter vacation in Colorado.  Learn more about visiting Breckenridge this winter on our Guide To Skiing in Breckenridge With Kids! 

Activities For Non-Skiers

Breckenridge offers many activities for non-skiers as well. Find a sledding hill and go tubing with your kids! Sleigh rides, ice skating, snowmobiling, or cross-country skiing are all fun winter activities to incorporate into your winter vacation in Colorado. Be sure to visit Breckenridge’s Nordic Center to learn more. Ride the alpine coaster, Gold Runner, which is thrilling in the snow! In town, make a reservation at the Recreation Center for fitness, rock climbing, swimming, and ice skating. Visit Isak the Troll near Stephen C West Ice Arena and the High Line railroad playground after your indoor ice escapades!

Breckenridge also has a charming mountain downtown with shops, restaurants, and coffee shops to relax while taking in its beauty and allowing time to acclimate. Massages and spa treatments are available to skiers and non-skiers alike. Another great option for kids during your Colorado winter getaway is to visit Mountain Top Museum. It is open 7 days a week and would offer a nice indoor activity if the weather gets too cold during your winter getaway.

Related: A Guide To Breckenridge In The Winter With Kids

Where To Stay In Breckenridge With Kids

A family of three skis down a slope with a view of Beaver Run Resort & Conference Center behind them.
Photo Courtesy: Beaver Run Resort & Conference Center

Wondering where to stay in Breckenridge with kids? Many families love One Ski Hill Place – Peak 8, a stunning ski-in/ski-out lodge located at the base of Peak 8. The resort also offers a shuttle to get around town. Also located at Peak 8, the Grand Colorado Resort offers ski-in/ski-out access as well as equipment rentals. At the Beaver Run Resort, guests can enjoy ski-in/ski-out access to slopes for all skill levels, accessible by a nearby ski lift. 

For more suggestions, check out our list of where to stay in Breckenridge with kids this winter.

Use the Families Love Travel Booking site to reserve your stay in Breckenridge here! Sign-up is complimentary!

Related: Best Ski Resorts In Utah For Families

Vail Ski Resort

Photo Courtesy: Andrew McGuire

Vail Ski Resort is a popular ski destination for families across the United States! Just over two hours away from Denver, this well-known Colorado area is often frequented for Colorado winter weekend getaways. It appeals to luxury travelers with three different villages, offering many accommodations in town, fine dining, and upscale shopping as well as one of the best ski resorts in Colorado for families. 

On top of the town’s beauty, Vail also has excellent long-groomed runs that accommodate beginners and intermediates alike. With seven back bowls where you can find moguls, steep terrain, and tree runs, this will surely appeal to more advanced skiers and riders. Vail also has three different villages (one with a daycare center!)  Check out the ski and ride school if you’re interested in adult or child lessons for ages 3 to 15. Adaptive skiing is also available through the Vail Adaptive Program, making it accessible to people with varied abilities. Remember that Vail is very popular, so to avoid crowds, ski early in the day and stay away from the main base area.

Activities For Non-Skiers

Off the slopes, you can also enjoy many winter activities in Vail during your winter vacation in Colorado. Take the kids for a scenic gondola ride to overlook Vail Valley or trill your kids on the Forest Flyer, the area mountain coaster. Try tubing, snowshoeing, or even kids snowmobiling! Ski biking may be a new adventure in the snow for your family during this winter getaway in Colorado. Don’t miss the wonderful restaurants open for dining, including Vintage and La Tour.  Find all the activities Vail has to offer your family for your winter vacation at the best ski resort in Colorado. Should you want more affordable lodging, however, consider staying in Silverthorne, Frisco, Eagle, or Avon instead. 

Compare hotel prices in Vail on the Families Love Travel booking site! Sign-in is complimentary!

Beaver Creek

Two boys in full snow gear stand next to a sign reading "Experts Only" while skiing at Beaver Creek.
Photo Courtesy: Jamie Levine

Beaver Creek is another one of the best ski resorts near Denver for families! Two+ hours from Denver but 30 minutes from Eagle County Regional Airport, stay here for a one-of-a-kind experience. Beaver Creek is so unique, that you’ll have to head to the mountaintop to reach its expansive green runs! 

Breathtaking views at the top of the mountain are reserved for the beginners and intermediate skiers and riders in your family. What a unique experience on your weekend getaway in Colorado! With one of the lowest elevations of resorts in this area, it’s also ideal for families prone to altitude sickness. Red Buffalo Park offers snow sculptures and a kids’ adventure zone to explore. Check ski and snowboard lessons for the kids ages 3 to 15 so you may have a free moment on the slopes to enjoy the beauty of Beaver Creek. Adaptive equipment is available through Beaver Creek’s adaptive program.  

Activities For Non-Skiers

Beaver Creek Village is a quaint, charming mountain village to enjoy your winter vacation in Colorado! In the village, find an outdoor table to watch the remaining skiers and riders wrap up after your day on the slopes. In the pedestrian area, find restaurants and establishments as well as fire pits and outdoor ice skating. Be sure to stop in the Cookie Cabin every day at 3 p.m. for chocolate chip cookies and hot chocolate, a sure way to warm up on a cold winter day!

Each Thursday night, watch as the sky lights up with fireworks and lanterns for Thursday Night Lights at sundown. Looking for a unique date night? Enjoy a Winter Wine Excursion or be the first to make tracks on the slopes with First Tracks Beaver Creek, where you will enjoy breakfast at Allie’s Cabin after your run. These special events offer unforgettable memories during your weekend getaway in Colorado. Beaver Creek has much to offer families looking for the best ski resort in Colorado for a weekend getaway! 

Visit The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch During The Most Magical Time Of Year

Use Expedia to book your hotel in Beaver Creek here!

What To Pack For Your Winter Vacation in Colorado

Two parents holding their young toddler stand in the snow at Steamboat.
Photo Courtesy: Lenore Parr

When vacationing in Colorado in the winter, it is important to come prepared for the cold weather and the altitude. Here are some tips for what to pack for your winter vacation in Colorado with kids! 

  • Be sure to have a car or rent a car with AWD if traveling up the I-70 corridor, as it is required if conditions warrant it. Or, pack the chains for your tires to be prepared.  
  • If your winter getaway is a staycation and you are local, be sure to bring your own ski and snowboard gear. But, should you be flying in for your Colorado winter getaway, rent from a local ski shop. Bring your own boots, though, so you can have comfort for your feet on the slopes. 
  • Find a local ski shop, clip coupons, and check Groupon for any deals on rental equipment. Ski shops away from the ski base area are more price-friendly when skiing on a budget. Christy Sports is a great company to rent from, with more than 60 locations near various ski resorts. 
  • Pack all the hats, gloves, base layers, jackets, and snow pants your family needs. Making these purchases at a ski resort can be costly.  Be sure you don’t forget the other essentials like ski goggles and a helmet. 

Related: 12 Of The Best Ski Resorts In America For Families Of All Ages

Happy Travels!

Two kids skiing on the slopes at Beaver Creek Resort in Colorado, one of the best ski resorts near Denver for families
Photo Courtesy: Gunjan Prakash

We hope you liked this list of the Best Ski Resorts Near Denver For Families! From Copper Mountain to Vail, there are lots of options within a few hours of Denver for families to escape the city and enjoy a ski getaway. Have fun on your next family ski vacation near Denver, Colorado! 

*This post may contain affiliate links that may earn us a small commission, at no additional cost to you. Affiliate links in no way inform the hotels, sights, products, or other recommendations included in our articles. All opinions and recommendations expressed here are compiled from submissions submitted by the generous members of our Families Who Love To Travel community.

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Michelle Hamilton

Michelle Hamilton has been traveling since she was a few months old. Born in California with her heart in Switzerland, where her family is originally from, she now instills this wanderlust into her own three children. Michelle currently lives and works as a Pediatric Occupational Therapist in Colorado, where she owns an Air B&B, and spends her free time outdoors hiking, biking, or skiing. Having traveled much of Europe and Asia with her husband, she soon plans to "worldschool" her kids, merging an enriching education with her family's passion for travel.