If the thought of a ski vacation leaves you dreading all the planning and gear schlepping, these ski resorts are here to make the whole experience much more of a vacation
The days are getting cooler, and before you know it, it will again feel like we are living in a snow globe. But, just like the fun we used to have by shaking the snow globe and watching the little white dots floating around, it’s just as magical to glide down a mountain by ski, snowboard, or sled and experience the magic together.
Finding all-inclusive ski resorts is almost as tricky as finding bigfoot. In fact, Club Med offers the only true all-inclusive resorts, but there are a few that come close. These ski resorts are ideal for families because they offer a level of service that takes the pain out of schlepping all that gear to the mountains. Bonus: we even found some that have great deals for kids that make it much more of an affordable winter vacation.
Smugglers Notch Resort, Vermont
Smuggs stand out among hundreds of ski resorts because you could go here with a group of family and friends, and both the people who ski and those who don't would have a full day of activities. It's easy to see why it's considered America's #1 Family Resort, with robust on and off-hill programming for kids of all ages. From heated indoor pools with slides, hot tubs, nordic skiing, snowshoeing, arts and crafts, and in the words of little kids everywhere, a "zillion" activities. Even trying, it would be difficult to participate in all their activities in one visit.
Their Mountain Experience Package includes everything but the food and rentals, and with three mountains to choose from, there is something for everyone in the family.
Fun for kids: Picture your kids yelling at the top of their lungs while running towards their favorite place, and that is the FUN ZONE 2.0. Bouncy castles, an arcade, a climbing wall, ping pong, laser tag, mini golf, and games are all in one place. They kick it up a notch with nightly entertainment like magic shows and bingo.
Club Med Charlevoix, Quebec
If you get giddy at just arriving and relaxing, knowing that everything is included in the package, then Club Med Charlevoix is what you are looking for. Everything from flights, transportation from the airport, meals, lift tickets, rentals, accommodations, lessons, kids programming, and childcare are included when you book your stay. UMM. YES, please. They've thought of everything.
You'll literally be blazing new trails at this newly opened resort. Multiple restaurants on site, a spa, and off-hill activities like snowshoeing and dogsledding are all available.
Fun for kids: The kids' programming is broken down by stages from baby to teen with activities to keep the whole family entertained all day long.
Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Wyoming
Imagine the motion of spreading melted butter on toast, and that is how it feels to glide along the powdery goodness at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. Maybe it's because it's in the Teton range of the Rocky Mountains, the vast size of the resort, or that it's known for being one of the best places for powder days that makes it such a treat. Their trained adaptive instructors provide programming for various needs.
The best way to get the most for your buck, including at-par Canadian pricing, is through their central reservation. Accommodation options range from typical hotels to ultimate luxury. The concierge services offer things you wouldn't expect, like home delivery of your ski rentals, purchasing groceries before you arrive and stocking your fridge.
Fun for kids: The kids' adventure map will help your kids explore secret areas to find all the treasures on both sides of the mountain. Then, take it up a notch and go for a ride with Santa's helpers! The Elk Refugee Sleigh Ride will have them feeling the magic, especially if you go around the holidays.
The transit system makes getting around Jackson easy and exploring activities off the hill. Exploring the area through snowshoe hikes is a good option for older kids or if you have someone who doesn't want to ski all day.
Blue Mountain Resort, Ontario
At Blue mountain resort, it's all lower mountain making it an excellent place for novice and intermediate skiers to explore. A full-service ski resort with both day and night skiing, there is enough of a challenge for those looking for blacks but with a good number of blues and greens. This car-free village will have you feeling like you are walking around in a Hallmark movie. With ski-in and ski-out options and one central base lodge, it's easy for everyone to regroup, even if you start on different hills.
Go for the winter sports, and stay for all the additional activities in the village.
Fun for kids: You can choose from included activities like sledding, heated outdoor pools, or additional activities like Plunge! Aquatic Centre and pottery making. If you enjoy skating, take the lift to the top of the mountain, where you can skate along a skating trail through the forest it's a bit surreal at night when it's all lit up.
Mirror Lake Inn & Whiteface, Lake Placid, New York
Sometimes you find a little gem of a place that's not directly near the ski resort but provides transportation to the hill and allows you to use high-end ski gear customized for you by a two-time Olympic alpine skier. Whatever your needs are, you can contact the front desk to help you plan and book your trip. This small luxury hotel has an onsite four-diamond restaurant, an award-winning spa, and an indoor heated pool that's long enough for adults to enjoy length swim. The staff at the hotel can package everything for you, including breakfast; lift tickets will need to be arranged separately.
Fun for kids: If you can get the kids out of the indoor pool, you can do outdoor activities like skating, hockey, snowshoeing, dog sledding, toboggan chute, cross country skiing. They kick it up a notch by providing cookies made by the restaurant and available throughout the day.
Holiday Valley, New York
Situated near a quaint town, Ellicottville, New York, Holiday Valley offers you the fun of a holiday without the huge hit to your wallet. Kids under 6 are always free, and junior rates are available up to age 11. There's also a mid-week kids stay free program to save you even more. Like we hear all the time, happy kids, happy parents; this resort takes this message to heart and focuses heavily on its kids' programming, from the names of the runs to the kids having their own clubhouse. It's kid-first world at Holiday Valley.
Fun for kids: Big and small kids will enjoy additional activities like the sky coaster, tubing, indoor pool, and s'mores to end the day.
Fairmont Banff Springs, Banff, Alberta
This spot is ideal for families looking for the ultimate in luxury and nature, so beautiful your favorite music starts playing in your head as you take it all in. Few scenes compare to the Canadian Rockies. Combined with the opulence and romance of staying in a castle-style hotel, your whole family will feel like you are the stars in a fairytale. The ski package at Fairmont Banff Springs allows you to ski at 3 of the best ski resorts in Alberta.
Fun for kids: Drop off your little prince and princesses at Kids at the Castle (supervised programming) on Friday and Saturday evenings, with hotel history tours, and bookable walks with a canine ambassador. Choose from over 30 resort activities, including trivia, bingo, scavenger hunts, paint nights, Bavarian curling, ice skating, live music, special holiday events, and more.