Little Ski Resorts, Big Fun for Families

We all love skiing mountains with popular names and lots of terrain, but let’s face it, big mountain resorts also have long lift lines, parking headaches and… well, they’re just really big. Sometimes, especially with kids, a smaller resort is the key to the perfect family ski vacation.

Sunlight Mountain, Glenwood Springs, Colorado:

Photo by DeAnna TreVizo, Drive The Image

Sunlight Mountain is arguably one of Colorado’s most family-friendly ski resorts. Located just minutes from Glenwood Springs, an outstanding destination unto itself, Sunlight features 700 skiable acres and a  2,000-foot vertical drop. With 75 percent of their terrain rated as beginner or intermediate, and some of the most affordable lessons in the country, it’s the perfect place to learn to ski or snowboard.

In addition, Sunlight Mountain is nextdoor to one of Colorado’s favorite vacation spots, Glenwood Springs. This town offers an array of family-friendly activities, like multiple hot springs venues and a nationally renowned adventure park.

Sunlight teams up with hotels all over Glenwood Springs to offer ski packages, and oftentimes hot springs passes are part of the deal. Check out Sunlight’s various Ski Swim Stay packages here.

Snowy Range Ski Area, Wyoming:

Photo courtesy of the Snowy Range Ski & Recreational Area

Just under three hours from Denver, Snowy Range Ski Area is remote, but for some families, it’s become a preferred ski destination in the Rocky Mountains. Its increase in popularity among Coloradans, especially Fort Collins’ skiers, is due in part to the fact that by skiing here, families can avoid I-70 ski traffic.

There are 250 skiable acres and a variety of trail types to choose from, including tree-lined forests. There are seven beginner trails, 12 intermediate trails and eight expert trails. The four chairlifts at Snowy Range Ski Area rarely, if ever, have a line.

Several Fort Collins families interviewed about Snowy Range Ski Area said that, in addition to being significantly less expensive to ski here, the area feels safe and they can allow their kids a little more freedom than at large ski resorts. In addition, there’s only one lodge, so meeting up with the family for meals is easy.

One drawback to skiing in this remote part of Wyoming is that there is only one small lodge hotel close by, but this list does offer lodging options in Laramie, which is about 40 minutes away.

Eldora, Nederland, Colorado:

Photo courtesy of Colorado Ski Country USA

A little over an hour from Denver and 40 minutes from Boulder, Eldora opened in 1962 and is the locals’ best kept secret. More than a few Coloradans grew up skiing on this mountain, which tops out at 10,600 feet.

There are 680 acres of skiable terrain at Eldora, and the resort boasts Colorado’s best snowmaking system, which keeps 100 percent of the groomed terrain covered despite the resort’s proximity to the Front Range.

Locals agree that there’s a great community feeling at this resort and they love the lack of commercialism. At Eldora it’s purely about the skiing, and for longtime Colorado skiers, that’s nostalgic.

While there are a few places to stay in Nederland, Boulder has an array of options from 4-star accommodations, like the St. Julien in downtown to inns and lodges outside of town. Check Eldora’s website for places to stay near Eldora

Categories: The Heidi Guide