We are a Connecticut family with a 5 and 7 year-old who have skied for three seasons and love it, and we are hoping to take our first ski trip out west this season. I've enjoyed reading several threads here on EpicSki with great advice on mountains and resorts for families, but very few of them mention the scenery. One reason I'd like to take my kids skiing out west is that this would give them a taste of the majesty and grandeur of the rockies and other mountains out west, something they haven't experienced. I didn't start skiing until I was on the east coast (though I skied once at Mammoth and once at Heavenly pre-kids). As a kid, though, I went on several summer hiking trips in Colorado and I want my kids to experience some grand mountain scenery. So I'm hoping that some EpicSki members could point us to some mountains that combine great skiing for families with young intermediates with truly impressive and grand mountain vistas.
To provide a bit more context, my 7-year-old son and 5-year-old girl are comfortable on all the blues on the Vermont mountains they've skied (including Jay Peak, Okemo, Mt. Snow, and some other places). Since we also have a 9-month-old who won't be skiing this winter and who would probably be with a parent not skiing on that particular day, it would be nice to ski somewhere with ski in/ski out lodging (or at least lodging very convenient to the lifts) so that the entire family can rendezvous at lunch. Also, we'd probably need to be reasonably close to a major airport. So I think that Telluride, Crested Butte, Aspen, and Grand Targhee (to name some examples) would be off the table. Finally, we'd like a place with good ski school for the 7 and 5 year-olds, and ideally good childcare so my wife and I can drop our (then 1 year-old) off for one day to enjoy at least a day skiing together. As for timing, it might need to be the first week of January, though mid-March is another possibility.
In addition to the general call for suggestions that give special emphasis to the scenery, I have some more specific questions on that front. First, how does the scenery at Utah's premier mountains compare to some of the options in Colorado? Is Utah as impressive? Second, it sounds like Steamboat would be a great family mountain, though I get the sense that the scenery may not be as dramatic as the Summit County mountains. Is that accurate?
Thank you in advance for thoughts and suggestions!