Planning family vacations can be tough. Interests may vary wildly by child and ticket costs can add up quickly. Instead of making your next family getaway to the beach or Disney – consider heading to the mountains. There are family-friendly activities like alpine coasters, hiking, and biking, and plenty of fun to go around. Here are just a few of the many reasons families love ski resorts – on or offseason.
Adrenaline junkies rejoice because the alpine coasters at Steamboat (the longest in North America!), Aspen Snowmass, Copper Mountain and Purgatory will have you simultaneously clutching your seat and squealing in delight. Want an even bigger thrill? Go hot air ballooning, paragliding or whitewater rafting in Aspen or give mountain biking a try. There’s nothing quite like flying downhill at death-defying speeds. For another bucket-list worthy experience, try scaling the via ferrata in Telluride. A harnessed climbing route, you’ll circumvent a waterfall, which promises both crazy views and memories.
Summer ropes courses, galore. Many ski resorts have climbing walls, canopy tours, and zip lines to test your balance, agility, and endurance on a series of aerial adventures. Two of the best are Copper’s Wrecktangle and Snowmass’s Lost Forest. Both are ninja warrior style challenge courses with cargo nets, balance beams, and rope swings as some of the obstacles. If you’re serious about pushing yourself, both offer timed trials, but you can also just try the obstacles for fun.
Anytime you have the kids in tow, the entertainment bill seems to compound. But summer at the resort can be a fun family outing without breaking the bank. Aspen Snowmass and Telluride both offer free scenic gondola rides, while Steamboat has free movies on the mountain. You can hike just about anywhere, which won’t cost you a dime and many resorts free festivals or entertainment throughout the summer. And of course, the million dollar views are always included.
There’s simply no substitute for getting outdoors and disconnecting. Ski resorts are the place to get back to nature, put away the phone and not stare at a screen all day. Enjoy each other’s company playing putt putt at Copper or Purgatory or disc golf at Winter Park. And when baby bro starts to get on your nerves? There’s always paintball at Snowmass.
Ski resorts like Snowmass offer a VIK (very important kid) program, which is essentially a fully supervised day camp. While the children are busy with fun activities like hiking, biking, s’mores, and arts and crafts, mom and dad can sneak in a little R&R time or go off on an adventure of their own (whitewater rafting, backcountry Jeep tours, and hot air balloons are all nearby).
One of the challenges with family trips is it can be difficult to find activities for everyone from Uncle Jimmy to Little Bobby. Whether your kids are tots, teens, or you’re looking for multi-generational excursions that grandma and grandpa can participate in too, ski resorts have everything from active pursuits like hiking and mountain biking to lazy days at the lodge where the spa and hot tub await. They’re the ultimate place to make memories – together.
Lauren Monitz is a travel/food writer and social media influencer specializing in offbeat adventures. From becoming a certified viking in Iceland to blackwater rafting in New Zealand and ski biking at home in Colorado, she is on a perpetual mission to seek out the most insane local attractions she can find. She has bylines across the web from Thrillist and the Huffington Post to Eater and the Food Network. You can follow her (mis)adventures on https://thedownlo.com.