Best Ski Resorts in Colorado for Beginners

Does your family ski? We live in Colorado within an hour or so drive to a variety of ski resorts. Our kids have grown up skiing from a young age and have experienced lessons at Ski Cooper and Beaver Creek.

We probably wouldn’t be biased in saying that Colorado has some of the best ski resorts for beginners. In fact, there is so much to do, you won’t ever run out of activities. Let’s break down some of the best ski resorts in Colorado for beginners.

Colorado’s ski mountains and ski towns have much more to offer for families than just skiing. There’s snow tubing, sledding, ice skating and even dog sledding!But the best Colorado ski resorts for beginners, most importantly, have great terrain for beginners, and an even better ski school. Read on for where to find a family ski resort right for you!

Insider Tip: Skiing is a fairly expensive sport. We do have ideas on where and how to find affordable ski lessons for the kids.

Elk Camp on Snowmass Mountain is where you will find the alpine coaster and snow tubing hill.


Snowmass is the most family friendly of the Aspen Snowmass mountains. Not only does it boast over 3,000 skiable acres, which is the second largest in Colorado. But it is all very convenient. Many of the lodges are ski in ski out. And, those that aren’t in the base village are located literally steps from the lifts.

The new base village has so many fun things to do. And, is connected to the upper village by the skittles gondola.

Your kids are going to have a blast should you decide to stay at Snowmass Village. Skiing is the most popular activity. But there’s also an alpine coaster, ice skating, snow tubing, snowmobiling, and dog sledding tours.

We spotted quite a few people skinning up the mountain. Not as popular an activity for families. But a great workout.

The resort not only has plenty of activities to choose from, but also several events during the winter that will make your experience that much more incredible. Snowmass has several different lodging options available such as a hotel room, condos, and other vacation rentals.  

Our family stayed at the Limelight Snowmass during the winter and loved the location, oversized rooms, included daily breakfast, large hot tubs and fun decor.

We’ve also visited Snowmass during the summer and stayed in the Top of the Village condos. These had lots of space to spread out and a slopeside location.

Riparoo’s Cabin in Ghost Town on a snowy day in Beaver Creek.

Beaver Creek

Skiers year after year come in from all over the country to enjoy the mountain views along with the chance to race down the slopes of the Beaver Creek Ski Resort.

Beaver Creek is conveniently located only a 30 minutes drive from the Vail Eagle County regional airport.

Even if you have a son or daughter that’s a bit timid at first, by the end of the first day that they’ll be having so much fun that they won’t want to leave. 

  • Beaver Creek Resort has an amazing ski school as well as excellent ski instructors for those that are in need of lessons. You’ll also realize just how serious and committed they are about your safety. They’ve added fun terrain specifically for beginners.
  • Beaver Creek has a number of different downhill runs that are suitable for every level of expertise, along with several cross country trails as well. 
  • Jack Rabbit Alley, Ghost Town and Little Brave are sure to delight your kids.

After a wonderful day of skiing, head on over for tons of shopping and eating at great restaurants, along with the chance to skate on their ice skating rink that’s found in the middle of the village.

There are many lodging experiences that are all conveniently located close by. This is definitely one of our top choices for best ski resorts in Colorado for beginners.

Enjoying warm chocolate chip cookies at Beaver Creek. Cookies combined with a great ski school and beginner terrain make this best ski resorts in Colorado for beginners.
Warm chocolate chip cookies greet skiers as they come off the mountain at 3 p.m. at Beaver Creek.

Warm, fresh-baked cookies are handed out at the base of the ski mountain at the end of the ski day. Your kids will certainly appreciate these delicious free cookies.

Once the kids are a bit more advanced skiers, you will most certainly want to migrate your ski vacations from Beaver Creek to Vail, with its expansive back bowls and Bavarian village life.

Steamboat Springs

We love the town of Steamboat Springs. Here, Colorado cowboy culture meets ski culture.

While Steamboat Springs is known for ranches and champagne powder, kids and adults alike also enjoy their winter sledding fun. Steamboat Mountain boasts 17 lifts, 170 trails and 2965 acres of skiable terrain. It is definitely the place to head in town for a robust ski experience. But unique to ski resort towns, Steamboat Springs also has a small ski hill right in town.

Night skiing at Steamboat Springs.

Howelsen Hill ski area is small but mighty. Continuously operating longer than any other ski area in Colorado, Howelsen is home to seventeen alpine trails and nine Nordic trails. And, it also has a sledding hill.

The Howelsen Hill snowmaking teams blow a 20 foot tall hill of snow that is know as the community sledding hill. The hill continues to grow as snow accumulates. This sledding hill is open daily from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. The snowmaking team also grooms the sledding hill sporadically. It is completely free, and there is plenty of parking.

There are so many fun things for kids to do in Steamboat Springs. In addition to skiing and sledding, they will want to visit at least one of the three candy stores.

Insider Tip: The Steamboat Grand offers a variety of condos, many with kitchens for dining in. The ski valet will take care of getting skis to the slopes. So no need to worry about helping the kids schlep theirs over.

Powder and blue skis for our Copper Mountain family ski vacation.
The perfect blue ski day with 8″ of fresh powder on our Copper Mountain ski vacation.

Copper Mountain

You’ll quickly discover why Copper Mountain is amongst the best family-oriented skiing resorts in the country, and especially an ideal choice for beginners. The resort is located just a little over an hour drive from Denver. 

  • There you can take advantage of their many activities with your family, which include skiing, uphill skiing, ice skating, zipping along on their Rocky Mountain Coaster, tubing down their tubing hill.
  • Also don’t miss the Woodward Barn. It’s an indoor playground that has action sports for kids and includes trampolines, foam pit jumps, tumble track, a skate, scoot, and BMX zone.   
  • While there may be several downhill runs that are perfect for beginners and intermediates, they also have slopes that are for advanced skiers. 
  • The town of Frisco that’s nestled far below is something else that’s neat to visit.
  • This ski area is broken up into three villages, East Village, West Village, and Central Village. Each village has a chair lift, while the Central Village is where you’ll find the most restaurants and entertainment.  
  • Just make sure you realize that parking reservations at their resort are something new that they require this year. Parking is still free along with their shuttle service.  

As you can see, there are so many fun things to do at Copper Mountain. All you need to do is head there and follow the fun. If you’ve never skied before, this is a great place to get started!

Insider Tip: Copper Mountain is also fun in the summer.

Ski Cooper is a small resort with few frills, but so friendly and easy.

Ski Cooper

At Ski Cooper, they boast not only the softest snow surface in Colorado but also a variety of different terrains that are perfect for every skill level.

You may not know it, but they also have a history of being one of the oldest, yet most friendly alpine ski resort in the state, dating all the way back to 1942.

The soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division were actually the first skiers to cut the trails at Cooper Hill when they were participating in training exercises. 

Ski Cooper offers an affordable 5 pack of lessons for kids.

You’ll find ski lessons, as well as clinics that they hold regularly, shorter lines, and costs that are actually affordable for those of you with a big family.

With 59 different trails, 5 lifts, and over 470 acres of skiing opportunity awaiting you, there will be plenty of open room for skiing and exploring.

Make sure that you stop by their Irish pub that’s located in their main building, where they have delicious burgers and great drinks.    

Sunlight Mountain Resort

If you’re longing for a skiing experience where you can escape the crowds along with the unnecessary overpricing, our last resort on this list would be a great option for you. At Sunlight Mountain Resort, they offer not only skiing and snowboarding for activities, but also cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling. 

  • When you’re needing a day off from thrilling activities, there are the towns of Carbondale and the historic Glenwood Springs where you’ll find wonderful places to shop.   
  • The resort is home to the world’s largest natural hot springs that you can soak in at the end of a fun-filled day. 
  • The resort also offers 2-hour skiing lessons at a reasonable cost for beginners. Another fabulous perk of staying with this resort is that children 12 and under ski, swim, and stay for free! 

Honorable Mention: Best Ski Resorts in Colorado for Beginners

We would be remiss if we didn’t also mention a couple of other great ski resorts in Colorado for beginners.

Keystone is known for its family-friendly atmosphere and fun family events such as Kidtopia.

Winter Park is easily accessed from Denver via the Ski Train, and is a local Colorado favorite.

No matter if it’s your first time skiing, or it’s the first time you’re bringing your kids with you, any of these ski resorts mentioned above will be the perfect ski destination for your family.

What do you think the best ski resorts in Colorado for beginners are? Where did you go and how was your experience? Leave a comment below!

Best Ski Resorts in Colorado for Beginners

Liana Moore

Liana Moore is a third-culture kid with a hangover from those days that is a severe case of wanderlust. She is more comfortable driving the cliffs of Amalfi, Italy or the dirt roads of Costa Rica or attempting to decipher the street signs of Osaka, Japan than navigating the theme parks of Disney World. But she loves it all. She doesn't believe a vacation is complete without an adventure. Her husband and kids know well that "adventure" often is code for mishap or challenge and it usually results in a good story. They seek outdoor experiences whether in the mountains, on a beach or in the jungle of a tropical country. Her favorite vacation is... all the ones she hasn't yet taken, as well as those she plans on taking again. And, that list is so, so long. But she continues to extensively explore her home state of Colorado, spends lots of time wandering Texas, California, New Mexico, Costa Rica, Mexico, Norway and has even explored Kazakhstan.

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