Best Types of Ski Vacations (RV Friendly)

Amelia ArvesenJanuary 17, 2024

Best Types of Ski Vacations (RV Friendly)

The snow is piling up in beautiful places, you and the kids are getting restless, and winter seems like it’s dragging on. Sounds like it’s time to take the family on a ski vacation. It’s the perfect reason to get out of the house, stretch your legs, and find adventure near or far, even if you’re a first-timer. 

To take the guesswork out of planning, we’ve compiled a guide to RV-friendly ski vacations for families—from day trips to week-long excursions. We also provided ideas for making it affordable with budget-friendly swaps and stress-free with overnight camping recommendations.

Get planning so you can play in the powder and make winter memorable!

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How Much Does a Family Ski Vacation Cost? 

Compared to hiking, trail running, and even biking, skiing is one of the more expensive outdoor activities. But it doesn’t have to break the bank as long as you’re savvy. The cost of a family ski vacation can range from $50 per person per day, or it could cost well beyond $1,000, according to Family Skier, all depending on where you go, what gear you have, and how long you’re gone.

Skiing family on a ski vacation

Staying local rather than flying somewhere, for example, can save you hundreds on airfare, as can camping instead of staying in a hotel. The RV Industry Association compiled data on comparable 4-person camping vacations versus 4-person air/hotel vacations, and found that the average daily cost of camping vacations was nearly 50 percent less than air/hotel vacations.

That’s a lot of dough to use elsewhere. Here are a few more ways to save money by swapping the non-obligatory indulgences for adventurous and creative options:

1. Borrowing or renting gear over buying everything new

2. Packing PB&J lunches instead of dining in the cafeteria

3. Aprés tailgating rather than eating at one of the resort’s restaurant

4. Camping in an RV or camper van over booking a hotel or Airbnb

5. Visiting your local mountain instead of flying to a destination resort

6. Trying Nordic or cross-country skiing rather than downhill skiing

7. Either buying early or waiting for mid-season lift ticket deals and packages

8. Opting into family lessons/lift tickets to bundle costs

9. Going for a half day instead of a full day 

How Do You Plan a Family Ski Vacation?

It’s helpful to know your budget before you start planning where to go, which is why we went over it first. Can you afford to visit a destination resort, such as Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in Wyoming, Mammoth Mountain in California, or Vail Resort in Colorado? Or is staying local more within your means? Both kinds of experiences come with their own set of pros and cons but overall can be equally fun for the whole family. 

Other factors to consider when deciding where to go and for how long include your family’s skill level and familiarity with the sport, whether anyone in your family needs lessons and/or gear.

Once you’ve decided on your destination, you can plan out your accommodations. Of course, you know we’re partial to camping, so below, you can find a list of RV-friendly resorts that will let you stay the night. It’s totally feasible to bop around to winter-friendly campgrounds and RV resorts, especially in destination ski towns that are used to all kinds of tourists. 

Here’s a quick and non-exhaustive list that you can fill out and think through as you plan:



-Number of travelers

-Length of stay


-Gear check

-Meal prep

-Lessons and lift tickets

Campervan on Snowy Tundra

Timeline for Planning a Family Ski Vacation

Months or weeks before the trip: Decide on a day or multiple to go and purchase your lift tickets or passes in advance, if possible. This will save you time when you get there so you have more opportunity to ski. This is also when you decide mode of transportation and where you want to stay, if you’re planning an overnighter. Search for RVs and Stays nearby.

Night before departure: Load up the car or camper with gear and snacks, and prep lunches or meals for the trip. Download your lift tickets or passes as well as a map of the mountain to somebody’s phone, just in case you don’t have service when you’re up there (though the lodge will probably have WiFi but this will save you from fiddling with your phone). 

Day of: Head up to the resort earlier rather than later. Follow the parking attendants and shuttle directions, if applicable. Rent gear and check on timing for returns. Drop anybody off who needs lessons and take note of when lessons end. Grab a paper map of the mountain (as backup and for keepsakes). Then head out onto the snow. Either stick together or devise a meetup plan.

Afterwards: Depending on energy levels, spend some time walking around the resort village, people watching, and soaking in the vibes. Sometimes this is a good way to wait for traffic to die down if you were just visiting for a day. If you have a little leftover money in the budget, grab appetizers, hot tea, stickers, or other little things. Aprés indulgences can add up quickly, so this is a good time to remind yourself of the pre-prepped hot meal waiting for you back at your rental. 

Which Resorts Allow RV/Camper Vans to Stay Overnight? 

Many ski resorts allow a limited number of overnight campers in designated lots or campgrounds, sometimes only as long as they’re self-contained. 

Here are some of the ski resorts across the country that allow camping, and we encourage you to check on your local areas for this type of accommodation.

Crystal Mountain in Washington

Steven’s Pass in Washington

The Summit at Snoqualmie in Washington

Mount Bachelor in Oregon

Schweitzer Mountain Resort in Idaho

Whitefish Mountain Ski Resort in Montana

Grand Targhee Resort in Wyoming

China Peak Mountain Resort in California

Lake Tahoe Area SNO-Parks

Powderhorn Mountain Resort in Colorado

Wolf Creek Ski Area in Colorado

Sipapu Ski Resort in New Mexico

Gunstock Mountain Resort in New Hampshire

Mount Snow Resort in Vermont

Appalachian Ski Mountain in North Carolina

Ober Gatlinburg in Tennessee

Check out this blog for pricing, availability, and more details.

RV- and Family-Friendly Ski Vacation Itineraries 

Below you’ll find three choose-your-own-adventure-style itineraries categorized by cost and accessibility that you can apply to almost any destination. 

Day Trip Ski Vacation: Most Budget Friendly

Preparation: Purchase lift tickets and lessons (if needed)

Wake up at dawn to beat the lines and snag the best parking. Early bird gets the first tracks. Pace yourselves, check in on everyone’s energy levels often, and take breaks so you can make the most of your day up there. And don’t forget to bring snacks and drink water.

Weekender Ski Vacation: Intermediate Planner

Preparation: Purchase lift tickets and lessons (if needed); choose RV resort, ski lot, or campground and make any necessary reservations; book a four-season RV, camper van, or trailer; or alternatively, make reservations at an Outdoorsy Stay

Get the most out of your weekend by leaving on Friday night (or better yet, Thursday if you can swing it), so you can head to the hill on Saturday. Spend the day making turns and finding fresh powder. If you’ve got the energy, spend Sunday morning on the mountain before heading home 

Week-Long Ski Vacation: Most Expensive Options

Preparation: Purchase lift tickets and lessons (if needed); choose RV resort, ski lot, or campground and make any necessary reservations; book a four-season RV, camper van, or trailer, or alternatively, make reservations at an Outdoorsy Stay

When planning a longer ski vacation, you have more time to visit different destinations, like hopping from one ski resort to another. Build in some rest days to sleep in, explore town, play cards in the RV, and go to bed early. Your legs will thank you.

Convinced yet? We promise that ski vacations aren’t as complicated as maybe you’ve been led to believe, and we hope this guide gives you some confidence to go for it. Know that we’re always here for you if you’re in need of rentals, whether it be RVs or Stays.

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Amelia Arvesen, Outdoorsy Author

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