Colorado is home to some of the top family resorts for skiing and snowboarding worldwide. With its myriad powder-covered mountains, this winter sports paradise is a world away from Los Angeles city life. It’s also an easy travel destination, thanks to direct flights and short drives from the airport. From phenomenal ski and snowboard terrain to other enchantments such as ice-skating, sleigh rides and fat biking, Colorado is the perfect place to connect with your family in the great outdoors this winter.
There were so many moments during our family mountain getaway in Keystone and Breckenridge where time seemed to stand still. I highly recommend both of these ski towns to Angelenos with kids because they are easy to access from L.A. and easy to navigate after you arrive. Spending less time trekking around and more time unplugged in the fresh mountain air definitely made our visit all the more rewarding.
Easy access from L.A.
Part of the appeal of booking a family ski vacation in Colorado is that you can get direct flights from both LAX and Burbank to Denver. You’ll need a car to get around for this vacation, preferably one with four-wheel drive so you can manage the snow.
Breckenridge and Keystone are close to Denver, and traveling between these mountain towns can be easily done in the span of one trip. After our flight to Denver, we drove an hour and a half to Keystone. This super family-friendly destination will ignite your passion for winter sports. For adventurous adults, Keystone offers the largest night skiing operations in all of Colorado.
After Keystone, we went to charming Breckenridge. There was something for everyone in this quaint resort town — exquisite restaurants, sublime mountains and a rich cultural heritage. Interestingly, Breckenridge is celebrating its 60thanniversary. We learned more about how this popular resort town transformed through the decades at an exhibit, “60 Years of Breckenridge Ski Resort History in 60 objects.”
What to do
I highly recommend beginning any ski vacation with a kids’ ski lesson to get familiar with the mountain and the area. It’s a great way to introduce another learning opportunity and it’s way easier than Mom or Dad trying to teach them. Because we were on new mountains, we booked lessons with phenomenal instructors at the River Run Ski & Ride School in Keystone and at the Peak 8 Ski School location in Breckenridge. I also suggest getting all your rental gear organized and securing your reservations before you go. We rented our gear from Breck Sports and got it delivered right to our condo in Keystone and were able to return it in Breckenridge.
In addition to skiing and snowboarding, there are plenty of other outdoor winter activities to explore. The Keystone Scenic Sleigh Ride was a fun way to take in the scenery and explore the area. We all cozied up under wool blankets in our horse-drawn sleigh that traveled through the picturesque Soda Creek Valley. One evening, we went ice-skating on Keystone’s 5-acre lake. And in case you want a bit more rugged outdoor adventure, Gold Run Nordic Center in Breckenridge offers Fat Bike tours, private lessons and equipment rentals.
While in Keystone, we stayed at The Lone Eagle Condominiums. This property offered a true ski-in/ski-out experience that really elevated our stay. The condos are walking distance from abundant dining and shopping options at River Run Village. Having convenient access to the slopes and to the village area made everything so easy. They had a heated hot tub, a huge gym and a washer and drier in our condo — a sensational addition to any family-friendly trip.
In Breckenridge, we had the pleasure of staying at One Ski Hill Place, a RockResort. Once again, we had ski-in/ski-off access to the mountain, which made it so comfortable and easy for a family holiday. The more you can get closer to the mountain and the less time you have to spend schlepping, the better your visit will be. This luxury lodge boasts gorgeous alpine views overlooking the mountains, a bowling alley, a game room, an indoor pool and a hot tub.
After visiting Breckenridge, we stayed overnight at Gaylord Rockies Resort. This is a great stop for families bookending their flights to and from Denver. This impressive resort had so many options for family-friendly activities and entertainment that it seemed like a destination within itself. So after your flight, I recommend getting your vehicle and going straight to Gaylord Rockies to settle in for the night before heading out to Keystone.
In Keystone, we dined at Ski Tip Lodge and learned that this property was formerly an 1800s stagecoach stop. It’s a great place to go if you have someone to babysit the kids and you’re craving a fancy dining experience in a cozy atmosphere that’s steeped in history.
While in Keystone Lodge, we also enjoyed some delicious American cuisine from our window table overlooking the Keystone Lake at Big Horn Bistro. In Breckenridge, we fell in love with the creative artisan pizza and homemade sourdough bread from Tin Plate. And the gourmet American cuisine from Aurum was yet another culinary highlight in Breckenridge.
Whether your family is dining out, skiing out of a RockResort, or just gazing out on the alpine majesty, Colorado will elevate your family snow time into magical memories this winter season.
Margot Black is a travel writer who lives with her family in the L.A. area.