Keystone, Colo. 80435
What makes Keystone one of the best ski areas for kids? The resort’s Kidtopia program is packed full of kid-friendly activities, like the Ultimate Snow Fort, which is sculpted from snow and open day and night. Kidtopia offers kids a winter play place, with tunnels, ice slides, towers, a drawbridge and even a light-up snow dragon. Plus, the ski resort has a tubing hill with five lanes of built-up snow walls and steep chutes. Tubers can slide individually or group up to four inner tubes together to form a sliding blob. The Nordic Center also offers a mellower version of the tubing hill for families with younger children. Keystone’s Adventure Passport – a lift ticket and activity package – includes free or discounted family-friendly activities around the resort area.
Winter Park, Colo.
Many a Denverite learned to ski at Winter Park. This popular local resort, just a 1.5-hour drive from Denver, has terrain for beginners and those who like to shred the slopes. Winter Park is especially good for kids just learning the ropes. For only $10, kids get unlimited access to the Galloping Goose, the resort’s two-person lift at the bottom of the easy runs on Mary Jane Mountain. Kids with full-park access can also use the other beginner areas, including the 125-foot “magic carpet” or conveyer belt lift and the 700-foot platter lift. Kids ages five and under ski free. Like most other Colorado resorts, there is a full-featured children’s ski school on-site.
Granby Ranch is one of the smaller ski areas near Denver and has been designated as affordable and family-friendly by Colorado Ski Country USA. Tickets here cost about half the price of other mainstream ski areas. Granby Ranch is a good place for kids, with a small bunny hill and easy access to the moderate runs nearby to allow young skiers to advance to harder terrain. All runs lead back to the Base Lodge, so it’s hard to get lost. Parents can easily meet up with more adventurous kids who want to head out on their own. There’s a free sledding hill for those who want to try something different.