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5 cozy ski resorts to take the family during the holidays

Dec 20, 2011, 6 a.m.

Top ski resorts aren't just for athletes and daredevils, and there's nothing to say that even if your downhill racing days are behind you that you can't enjoy the scenic surroundings of a cozy ski resort in winter. For those of you looking for great spots to treat the whole "fam damily" to a bona fide Holiday vacation, we've rounded up the 5 best family ski resorts in the country.

Deer Valley Ski Resort (Park City, Utah)

Find out for yourself why people say Utah ski resorts have "the greatest snow on earth" by paying a visit to the Deer Valley Ski Resort in Park City. Located just a short drive from downtown Salt Lake City, Deer Valley was brought to worldwide prominence as a site for numerous Winter Olympic activities in 2002 -- and although its popularity has grown steadily ever since, it's still one of the top ski resorts in the country for cozy family vacations.

Smugglers' Notch Resort (Smugglers' Notch, Vermont)

With a name like Smugglers' Notch, you know you're in for one heck of an interesting family vacation -- either that, or you've just been cast as an extra in an old Hollywood western. Since the latter's not the case, those of you living on the east coast have just discovered the best of the best among family ski resorts . This place is geared toward kids of all ages, with a kiddy care center for the under-3 crowd and constantly chaperoned teen centers. Meanwhile, kids over the age of 55 can get reacquainted with the slopes or stay toasty by the fire in one of 3 day lodges.

Vail Ski Resort (Vail, Colorado)

For a ski resort to be cozy, it doesn't have to be devoid of excitement or innumerable activities. Evidence of that can be found at the Vail Ski Resort in Colorado, one of the country's top ski resorts that's home to Holidaze, which takes place the entire week leading up to Christmas and features ice skating shows, Holiday concerts, blissfully in-tune carolers roaming everywhere you go, and plenty of activities for the kids. Vail also has a bustling nightlife, great dining, and enough shopping to fill a dozen Christmas wish lists.

Sun Valley Ski Resort (Sun Valley, Idaho)

Idaho's not the first place that many people think about when they're planning a ski vacation -- and that's precisely the point, especially if you want a place that steers away from pretense and is, at its core, just a great place for families to come who enjoy winter skiing activities. Dating back to 1936, the Sun Valley Lodge offers a range of lodging from cottages that max out on the cozy factor to condos that make you feel as if you've just stepped up in life.

Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort (Lake Placid, New York)

If you're the type of funster who enjoys supporting a noble cause while you're cavorting among nature with the kids and grandkids, consider a visit to the Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort where eco-friendly practices play as important a role as great snow. Lake Placid's also a two-time Olympic champion, having hosted the winter games in 1932 and again in 1980 (where hockey fans will recall the "Miracle on Ice" took place). As far as top ski resorts for families go, you can't do much better than the Golden Arrow's blend of history and contemporary sensibilities.

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