Colorado’s best family-oriented ski areas


Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.

Week of November 16-23, 1995

Colorado’s best family-oriented ski areas
Cheap around-the-world airfares
Nova Scotia in midwinter
Tricks for flying with your kayak
Safe sea kayaking in Canada’s Gulf Islands
Taking young children around the world

Colorado’s best family-oriented ski areas
Q: We’re looking for a family-oriented ski vacation in Colorado for the Christmas break. We have a 5-month-old, so finding slopes with day care is important. We are meeting friends and would like to find the best resort within, say, a 60- to 90-minute drive from Colorado Springs.
John Sage
Seattle, WA

A: Since most ski areas these days offer extensive child care and kid-specific ski school facilities, finding a family-friendly Colorado resort won’t be a problem, as long as you’re willing to spend about two hours in the car. No matter which one you choose, you’ll
need make your day care and ski school reservations well in advance, as these popular programs fill up quickly. Consider Copper Mountain Resort–about 120 miles from Colorado Springs–where anyone under 14 qualifies as a child (they just upped it from 12) and where kids stay free with adults in all of Copper’s affiliated hotels and condos. While you enjoy Copper’s ultra-high
steeps or long cruisers, your 5-month-old will be well-taken care of in their nationally renowned day care program called “Belly Button Babies”–open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. ($47 per child). Three- to 4-year-olds can sign on with Copper’s “Belly Button Bakery,” a slopeside facility that combines child care with introductory skiing lessons ($47 per child, including lunch
and equipment; no lift ticket necessary). Copper also has one of the best-ranked ski schools in the country, with more than 100 instructors in their children’s program alone; a full-day group lesson for ages 4-14 will run you $55, including lunch. Lift tickets and equipment rental are extra. If you’re still not swayed, consider this great deal on kids’ multi-day lift tickets:
Three- to six-day passes will cost you only $10 per day, and they’re good all season. For more information and reservations, contact Copper Mountain at 800-458-8386.

Another good option is Winter Park, also about two hours from Colorado Springs. Their structured child-care program for 2-month-olds to 5-year-olds runs daily from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and costs $45 per day, including lunch (reservations are mandatory). Winter Park also offers a variety of ski school plans for different ages; group lessons start at $60 per day, including lunch;
equipment rental is extra. For information and reservations, contact Winter Park at 303-726-5514.

Just to round out the list, there’s always the old Colorado standby–Vail. With its three elaborate Children’s Skiing Centers–complete with snow parks, adventure zones, and class races–Vail lives up to its go-the-distance reputation in the kids department; full-day group lessons start at $62 per day. Their Small-World Play School, with locations at both Vail and Beaver
Creek, accepts kids between 2 months and 6 years old for $55 per day, including lunch (reservations required). For more information, call Vail at 800-475-4543, or check out “Short Courses” in our November 1993 issue.

The Q&A archives | Ask the travel expert

©2000, Mariah Media Inc.