Colorado has an abundance of ski areas, and just about every one of them has a ski school for kids. Most of them offer some sort of child care. However, while almost all Colorado resorts are kid friendly, some go the extra mile to make kids happy. They have special kid-themed trails and are located in towns that offer other interesting kid-friendly activities. In general, when cold weather strikes, kids do better at resorts that have gondolas, which is a common asset amongst these featured resorts.
When Vail Resorts made Ripperoo their mascot, they found a sure-fire way to appeal to kids. Ripperoo is the Vail Resorts' answer to Disney. He is a skiing actor dressed up as a dog, who entertains the kids in the lift lines, and even joins their ski class. Each of the Colorado Vail-owned ski areas has Ripperoo. He's sort of like Santa Claus. However, in addition to Ripperoo, Keystone has tubing. Tubing is a great way to break up a ski week. Hours are from 12 to 4 p.m. Kids at least 42 inches tall can use the adventure point tubing hill, and smaller kids can use the smaller hill at the Keystone Nordic Center. Additionally, since there is very little skill involved, it's an effective way to assuage the egos of children who just don't take to skiing and riding. You can get your kids excited about going to Keystone by letting them see the Kids Korner pages on the Keystone website, and downloading and printing the Keystone coloring book pages. Keystone has a fully developed mountain village, with plenty of on-mountain and near-mountain lodging. Families should consider renting a condo, which comes with a fully equipped kitchen.
P.O. Box 38
Keystone, Colorado 80435
Adventure Tubing: (970) 496-4386
Nordic Center: (970) 496-4275
Breckenridge is another member of the Vail Resorts family. Their kids program is called Snow Monsters, and kids can get excited about their trip by visiting the Snow Monster website. The resort has three childcare centers, as well as a "sick and sad" room, for kids who just can't get into the whole skiing thing. The dedicated staff will provide alternative activities. Additionally, the nearby Mountain Top Children's Museum, located on Park Avenue South near the Village of Breckenridge provides fun learning activities when the kids want to take a day off from skiing. The Breckenridge Recreation Center offers Kids Night Out, which is an active alternative to babysitting. Kids get dinner, and enjoy a variety of projects. Breckenridge has some mountain lodging, as well lodging within the town itself. Free bus service to the slopes is available through the Breck Free Ride.
P.O. Box 1058
Breckenridge, Colorado 80424
If you're not familiar with the Aspen area, you might not know that it actually comprises of four ski areas, which include Aspen, Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk and Snowmass. While Aspen is associated with the rich, the famous and the beautiful, Snowmass is actually a down-to-earth family-oriented resort. The 25,000-square-foot Tree House Kids Adventure Center was completed in 2006 and offers a kid-friendly climbing gym, as well as other activities for kids. Additionally, Snowmass offers ski lessons for kids as young as 2½ years old. Kids under 6 years of age ski free. At the end of the day, the family can enjoy story hour and marshmallow roasting at the outdoor fireplace, which is located outside of the Snowmass Inn. Lodging is plentiful, and many of the condos are just a short walk from the lifts.
P.O. Box 1248
Aspen, Colorado 81612