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Where to Find Kid-Friendly Ski Resorts (incl. Skiing with Toddlers)

Where to Find Kid-Friendly Ski Resorts (incl. Skiing with Toddlers)

Skiing with young kids can involve a lot of logistics and you might want to pick a place to stay and ski wisely. Once your kids know how to ski and can run at least the greens confidently you can budget and go wherever, but when they’re small consider splurging.

There are a few things you should check when planning a ski trip with a toddler or preschooler:

  • Is there a bunny hill with a magic carpet there?
  • Can you find kids club at the hotel or next to the ski slope?
  • Are there other activities available at the resort?
  • Is the hotel ski-in/ski-out and if not, is there a shuttle?

Having family and friends who work at ski resorts in NH and VT, on top of having lived right by major ski areas in Utah and Colorado, we tried a fair share of US ski resorts and I must say… considering the high price tag we preferred going to Europe to ski.

What do you want to have when planning a ski trip with kids?

  • Magic Carpet Slope
  • Childcare Options (if you want to ski yourself as well)
  • Potentially a ski in & out option (you don’t want to lug equipment and kids)
  • Prices of ski lessons

You don’t have to book lessons for your kids, but I highly recommend it. It will save you and your kids much frustration and their learning will be slower.

Many claim that resorts like Breckenridge in CO or Snowbird in UT are kid-friendly ski resorts and while they are in theory, unless you live on the West Coast or nearby, or sleep on a pile of money, they’re not worth it (I lived nearby both).

ski t-lift
Ski school for toddlers

For example, a single half-day of ski school (group lessons) which is 2.5 hours at Breckenridge for one child is $310 + tax + tip (since instructors only get paid minimum wage). Plus, all lessons require a valid lift ticket or season pass to participate so add another $144 even for a 3 or 4 year olds. That’s a ridiculous amount of money!

Keystone in CO is a bit cheaper, at $254 + tax + $89 lift ticket for just 2.5 hours of lessons.

Snowbird in UT a bit cheaper, but will set up back $333 + tax, but at least lift tickets and lunch are included.

It’s safe to say that a child needs more than just one day of lessons to get good. When we calculated just these costs, excluding exorbitant lift tickets or even buying certain days on Epic Pass we realized that even the most bougiest ski resort in Europe will be cheaper and that’s including flights.

I literally paid less for 5 days of ski school which ironically happened to turn into private lessons in Austria than I would pay for ONE day at Breckenridge or Snowbird. And mind you, this was one of the more expensive ski schools.

Toddlers snowboarding

Skiing in Europe with Toddlers and Preschoolers

Many kids in Europe ski and it’s not an elite sport like it is in the US. As a result, various family hotels cater specifically to families with small children. You can find them in Austria, Italy and Switzerland.

They are obviously slightly pricier than if you just rented a self-catered apartment, but it’s worth splurging on, especially when you realize that it’s cheaper than US ski resorts without getting the same amenities.

Most family-friendly Alpine ski resorts are:

  • Tignes, France
  • Courchevel, France
  • Stoos, Switzerland
  • Zillertal, Austria
  • Cervinia, Italy

If you associate kinderhotels and family hotels with Disney and a bunch of screaming kids with crappy food, don’t fear: outside of the US family hotels are nothing like that. European kid-friendly ski resorts are stylish and offer amenities for children without sacrificing adult comfort.

Many provide baby equipment, like portable cribs, high chairs, baby monitors, strollers, and baby carriers so you don’t have to bring all that with you.

Family resorts offer you ski schools on the hotel slope or next to it without having to buy any lift tickets.

If parents want to ski on a bigger slope, there’s either a 5-minute shuttle or ski in/out (depending on the resort). You can drop the kids at the kids club open 12 hours a day without any extra charge.

Kids can enjoy fun buffets specifically for them, while parents are being served amazing tasting menus. Not to mention, quite often there’s also dinner entertainment so little ones won’t be bored.

Most of the family resorts and hotels have an outdoor and indoor pool on site, often with some slides for the kids. It’s not usual to also see some farm animals and options to book a pony ride or horseriding lesson.

Kid-Friendly Ski Resorts

Best Family Hotels for Skiing:

There are a few great kinderhotels that I can recommend specifically:

Alpenresidenz Ballunspitze, Austria

Sonnwies, Italy

Moar Gut, Austria

Grand Hotel Biancaneve, Italy

Marchenhotel Braunwald, Switzerland

You can find out more of kid-friendly ski resorts here on these websites:

Skiing in Austria

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