I'm in planning mode for a family trip in February, most likely to begin the Tues or Wed after President's weekend and last for 3-4 ski days. Planning early because I want to use miles and points to help with airfare expense.
The numbers: 3 kids, ages 7, almost 4, and 2 and time of trip. All never-evers, have only seen snow on the ground once or twice. Wife is essentially a never-ever; I took her out to Big Mountain back before we had kids, her first ski trip, and she hasn't skied since. Me: 6-10 days per year in west, advanced intermediate. There may or may not be another family with similar stats coming on the trip with us.
Locations I've considered: DV; Snowmass, Steamboat. The last few years, I've done a guys trip to the PC area and have reasonable, gaper tourist knowledge of the area, thus DV was my first thought. When I was a kid, our annual family trip was always at Snowmass, so I'm kinda familiar with its offerings, but it's been a long time since I was there. Steamboat is because I was reading older posts and saw several people speaking in favor of it as a family destination.
My basic requirements in order of importance: never-evers and wife have lots of fun and want to go on a family trip again next year. To me, that means great kids ski school and general programs (do any resorts have sort of a day-camp like drop off thing for the younger kids?); activities other than skiing for the kids - tubing, sleigh rides, etc; and a spa for the wife to go to after kids get dropped off and I go skiing (she might ski one day, but to her it's work and not fun - she'd be perfectly content to go to ski school, take a few pictures of the kids, and then go get pampered for a few hours and have a few drinks until everyone re-unites). Lastly, easy logistics, both in terms of getting there from Atlanta and not having to be a pack mule for all the kids gear (within reason; I suspect there will be some of that no matter what). Naturally, I want to ski a lot, but I'm going to do at least one other guys trip in the spring, so my skiing on the family trip is not nearly as important and making sure the rest of the family is super psyched about being in the mountains in Winter.
Budget - sort of my last consideration, assuming I get my flights for free or close to it. I'm willing to pay up for slopeside access and avoid being a pack-mule as much as possible. And to keep cold, tired kids (and wife) off of trams and buses in the afternoon.
Given all of the above, I'm sort of leaning Steamboat (or DV) due in large part to the logistics of getting there and the non-skiing amenities for the family requirements mentioned above. Snowmass seems the equal in may things, with the possible exception of access. With that said, while I don't necessarily mind popping for ski-in/ski-out at DV if the primary goal is getting the family psyched about the sport and mountains, that type of lodging at DV can get out of control expensive in a hurry.
So, help me out here - Steamboat? What else am I missing that should be on the list? Mammoth perhaps? Something in Summit County?
Many thanks in advance to those of you who've been there and done that before me.