Do you love skiing, but struggle to get your kids to enjoy winter sports as much as you do? Or is your whole family waiting excitedly for the first snow to fall? How about a ski getaway this winter with fun for you and your kids? If you’re looking for a great family vacation this winter, check out some of our favorite family-friendly ski destinations in the Northwest! With comfortable lodgings, great food and plenty of activities to do when you’ve had enough of the slopes (or to include those who don’t enjoy skiing as much), these resorts are the perfect place to find winter fun for the whole family.
Mount Bachelor Ski Area: Bend, Oregon
Located about three hours south of Portland, Oregon’s Mount Bachelor Ski Area offers a nice mix of beginner, intermediate and expert-level trails. With downtown Bend nearby, foodies and beer-lovers will enjoy the city scene. Mount Bachelor is a great option for families with young children; kids under 12 can ski for free with the purchase of an adult multi-day ticket at least four days in advance.
Food and Drink: Downtown Bend is home to over 20 craft breweries, many of which also offer excellent pub fair in their affiliated restaurants. Some of our top picks include Bangers and Brews, Immersion Brewing, and 10 Barrel Brewing.
Overnight Stays: In an effort to keep the ski area focused on the slopes and less on tourism, Mount Bachelor relies on the city of Bend to host its guests. Options range from the plush Wall Street Suites to the quaint and cozy Mill Inn Bed & Breakfast.
Off-the-Slopes Fun: For those who don’t love skiing (or do but want to add some variety, Mount Bachelor offers tubing and snowshoe tours, as well as guided sled dog tours! Nearby in Bend, another great activity is lava tube cave tours.
Big White Ski Resort: Kelowna, British Columbia
Big White boasts a base-height of almost 5,000 feet above sea-level, which makes for crisp, cold, and snowy conditions even on warmer days that might leave other ski areas rainy at the bottom of the mountain. Wrapping all of the aspects of your trip into one central location, Big White boasts 24 on-mountain restaurants and plentiful accommodations.
Food and Drink: Among the restaurants on Big White’s expansive campus are cafes, pubs, delis and nightclubs. You can head into the Blarney Stone Irish Tavern for a pint and some traditional Irish pub fare, or hit the 6 Degrees restaurant for a refined experience and upscale menu choices.
Overnight Stays: Overnight accommodations at Big White are available at several locations, and all can be booked through Big White Central Reservations. One of our favorite locations at Big White is the Sundance Resort, which features an outdoor heated pool with a water slide!
Off-the-Slopes Fun: Non-skiing activities at Big White include tubing and tobogganing, sleigh rides, skating, and snowshoeing. One of the coolest things you can do off-the-slopes around Big White, though, is their 60-foot-tall ice climbing tower, where you can rent gear and receive expert training to learn about the sport and learn how to ice climb.
Crystal Mountain Ski Area: Pierce County, Washington
Conveniently located less than two hours from the Seattle-Tacoma Airport, Crystal Mountain Ski Area offers unique lodgings and a stunning view of the Cascade mountains, including the tallest mountain in Washington, Mount Rainier.
Food and Drink: Crystal Mountain offers plenty of dining opportunities, but our favorite spot is the Summit House. Not only does this location offer refined fare and sophisticated touches on dishes like their steak and truffle frites, but the Summit House is also the highest elevation restaurant in the state of Washington.
Overnight Stays: Slope-side accommodations are available for overnight stays at Crystal Mountain, but for more luxury you can head ten minutes down the hill to the Alta Crystal Resort. Available lodgings at the resort include suites with fireplaces and kitchens, and you can enjoy an outdoor heated pool and hot tub.
Off-the-Slopes Fun: Guided snowshoe tours (which end in a chairlift ride to dinner) are among the snowy fun you can have without skis at Crystal Mountain, but the crown jewel of the ski area is the Mount Rainier Gondola. Up to eight passengers can ride together in comfort and warmth, and enjoy spectacular views of the Cascade Mountains and Mount Rainier.
Schweitzer Mountain: Bonner County, Idaho
Located in Northern Idaho, Schweitzer Mountain is famous for its powdery snow. With 2900 acres of skiable terrain, in addition to 32 kilometers of trails for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing, Schweitzer is certain to have something for everyone.
Food and Drink: Plenty of options for on-mountain and in-resort dining are available, but as always, we think it’s more fun to eat at the top. At Schweitzer, that means the Sky House. The summit lodge houses a full-service restaurant called The Nest, where you can enjoy local coffee and beer, as well as eats such as a grilled vegetable sandwich with house-made goats milk ricotta; and a pastrami hash with roasted red peppers, potatoes, caramelized onions, cabbage, pastrami and an over-easy egg.
Overnight Stays: Schweitzer offers overnight accommodations at two slope-side lodges, the Selkirk Lodge and the White Pine Lodge. Comfortable, cozy and welcoming, the Schweitzer lodges have a European feel that pays homage to the ski area’s Swiss and German roots.
Off-the-Slopes Fun: Snowmobile enthusiasts will enjoy a guided snowmobile tour which starts at the ski area’s 6,375-foot summit. Trails designated solely to snowmobile travel give you freedom that you won’t find at many ski areas. For those who want to stay cozy, the resort offers spa experiences at the base of the mountain.
Get the whole family together for a cozy mountain getaway this winter. With tons of fun both on and off of the slopes, these family-friendly ski locations in the northwest have something for everyone. You can rent your gear when you get there, but if you’re already prepared with all the skis and outdoor equipment you need, why not pack up your own vehicle and make a road trip out of it? Our friends at Sunset Kia of Auburn recommend the 2018 Kia Sorento for families who love winter adventures, with plenty of cargo room and an available ski/snowboard roof attachment to make sure you can fit all of your gear and your whole family!