Dan Galleri, mountain host at SolVista Basin, doesn’t know what it’s like to wait in line to get in the parking lot at a ski resort.
“If I showed up at a ski resort and had to wait in line, I’d be having a bad day,” said Galleri.
Apparently, Galleri isn’t exaggerating when he says he only rides at SolVista, 2 miles off U.S. 40, about 10 minutes south of downtown Granby. And he definitely hasn’t witnessed the throngs of spring-breakers crowding the big-name resorts across Summit and Eagle counties. Otherwise, he’d know that parking lot, ticket window and lift lines are just part of the experience, especially during the busy spring season.
It’s a different scene, though, at SolVista, one of Colorado’s eight “Gems,” smaller ski areas and resorts designated affordable and family-friendly by Colorado Ski County USA. Families hang out together, the sounds of highway traffic are completely
out of earshot, a great cup of coffee costs a joyous $2 and the people are downright pleasant.
One of the ways SolVista keeps it down to earth is with volunteer mountain hosts. Galleri and Ken Taylor can’t remember the year the Broncos beat the Packers in the Super Bowl, but they’re pretty sure that’s when they began their stint as volunteers. As two of the resort’s original hosts, they’ve been returning lost gear to their owners, flowing cars through the parking lot, guiding visitors to the best trails for their abilities and helping folks out since about 1998.
“Nobody tells us what to do, we just make sure that the guests have a positive experience,” said Galleri.
I joined the two for a sunny morning snowshoe tour. We didn’t come close to covering the 15-plus miles of Nordic and snowshoe trails, but I did make new friends. Taylor showed me the marks on aspen trees where deer scraped the velvet off their antlers. I learned about the area’s winter adventure races and how to identify evidence of pine beetles in the tree bark. We stopped to admire sweeping views of the Indian Peaks Wilderness and a few hours passed quickly. With so much silence, I forgot about the ski runs close by.
“Where I get the biggest bang is on a snowshoe trip,” said Galleri. “People are just always amazed — ‘This was so beautiful, I can’t believe I never thought of trying it before.’ They thank me for twisting their arm to go.”
In a place that gets 300-plus days of sunshine a year, arm-twisting really isn’t necessary. Reservations for a guided tour are recommended, though. For $23, you get gear, a lift ride to the top and a guide. Anyone’s welcome to trek up the ski runs, but a mere $5 gets you one lift ride that drops you off right by the trail system.
After lunch, Galleri was anxious to show off the runs on his home mountain. On the Quick Draw Express lift, we chatted with a young, Midwestern mom who admitted that Sol Vista was the only place she skis. “No, wait. Tell everyone it’s terrible,” she laughed, when she found out I’d be writing about it.
While some Coloradans don’t even know where SolVista is, others recognize it as one of the state’s best-kept ski secrets.
“So many people have driven by on (U.S.) 40 a billion times and never knew it was there,” said Galleri. “For years, though, Sol Vista was the only place I’d ever gone to. It’s the family part that I like the best. I starting coming here when my kids were little and I couldn’t ski with them. I guess it’s a dad thing, hoping my kids don’t get hurt out there by some maniac. We just don’t allow maniacs. It’s family-friendly. We do everything we can to make sure a family — mom, dad, kids, grandparents — have a good day.”
It’s not just Galleri, Taylor and the other mountain hosts looking out for the guests. Instead of laughing, the liftie actually encouraged me as I nearly wiped out getting off the lift. Galleri and I cruised down a mellow groomer, perfect for my fifth day of the season. Within minutes, Galleri spotted a lost scarf, and picked it up to pass on to ski patrol. No experts flew by at 30 mph, and when I was ready to graduate to harder terrain, an entire hillside of blue runs awaited.
SolVista consists of East Mountain and West Mountain, with about 1,000 feet of vertical drop from each. Between the two, learning lifts service a small bunny hill. Greens and gentle blues cover East Mountain and mostly blacks drop from West Mountain. The setup makes it easy for newbies to gradually advance to harder terrain. And the great part for parents is that everything funnels back into the Base Lodge
In time for the opening of the 2007-2008 season, the SolVista crew made $5 million in renovations to the lodge, which includes a remodeled cafeteria with indoor and stunning outdoor seating. Additions also include a sit-down restaurant, the Slopeside Grill. It’s casual enough for a mid-day meal, but it’s also a welcome (and affordable) break from burgers and fries. Huge windows allow parents a perfect view of the bottom of East Mountain, the bunny hill and the (free!) sledding hill.
Those who may have visited SolVista years ago would be shocked by the growth. New homes dot the ranch landscape and lodge renovations seem to have cut the base parking lot in half. You’d think such major development might turn away SolVista devotees. But not Galleri.
“I think (the real estate development) is going to promote even more of a friendly place, because the people moving here are just fantastic. They’re meeting more people from the neighborhood, and they all just seem to be happy. It’s almost like being at King Soopers, where everyone asks if you’re having a good day, if you’re finding everything OK. Everybody’s in a good mood and they pass it on.
Besides families, SolVista is making appeals to the mountain bike crowd. As the snow melts and the spring mud dries, the ski hill becomes a maze of downhill and cross-country trails, all built by local riders. Colorado mountain bikers visit the resort much for the same reasons skiers do — it’s an affordable local’s secret and a great place to ride.
If You Go
SolVista Basin at Granby Ranch www.granbyranch.com
From the Editors: We spent a heap of time making sure this story was accurate when it was published, but of course, things can change. Please confirm the details before setting out in our great Centennial State.
The little sorrel mare plunges joyfully through the powdery drifts, like a carousel horse freed from its pole. Her shaggy winter coat is frosted with snow and when she pauses at the hilltop, she snorts steam and her sides heave with the effort. Yet, she pulls at the reins, seeming eager to push on.
But not yet.
The view from here needs to be savored — silvery snow and dark evergreens are cast against the blue-jay sky over the Rocky Mountains.
It’s one of several unexpected treats experienced while visiting Colorado ranches in winter. Dude and guest ranches have long been a mainstay of summer tourism in the West. These days, however, at least a dozen Colorado guest ranches stay open part of each winter, finding ways to entertain visitors with their snowclad wonders.
On this particular day at the award-winning C Lazy U near Granby, riders include a Loveland couple, whose grown children gave them the ranch weekend getaway as a gift.
Lorrie and Janice McLaughlin can’t believe how much there is to do.
“We thought we’d just come up here, sit in front of a fire and read our books or take naps,” Lorrie says. “We’ve hardly opened our books!”
Bundled up in winter coats and gloves, they’ve been on the daily morning hay ride to feed the horses in the pastures. They’ve been snowshoeing, and they’re planning on ice skating later on the groomed pond.
“It’s just been wonderful,” Janice says.
Though neither have been avid horseback riders before, they’ve enjoyed riding in the snow.
“I figure if I fall off, I have something soft to land on,” he says.
Guest ranches transform themselves for the seasons, yet use most of the resources they have at hand.
At Devil’s Thumb near Tabernash, west of Winter Park, summer guests ride horses, hike, fly-fish and go on hayrides. In winter, it becomes one of the state’s premier places for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Devil’s Thumb boasts more than 60 miles of groomed trails, so visitors can tromp or glide through new scenery each day. In winter, hay gives way to sleigh rides and hikers don snowshoes. (Don’t worry — anyone can do it!)
An experienced guide leads snowshoe or cross-country ski excursions, or you can grab a map and head out on your own. It’s a calm experience: Silence surrounds you and there are no lift lines to endure or impatient skiers to mow you down. If you choose to go with one of the guides, he or she will tell you all the local lore — how Devil’s Thumb (a rock formation that looks like a giant thumb sticking out of a mountain side) got its name — plus some local history, as well as identifying various mountain ranges you can spot from these high meadows.
After a day on the trail, you might catch the afternoon sleigh ride, complete with a stop for hot chocolate and marshmallows roasted over an open fire. If all that has taken its toll on your winter-soft body, opt for a massage to smooth away the day’s exertions. Devil’s Thumb has a full range of body therapies. New luxury log cabins (all with award-winning environmentally efficient geothermal heat) and a remodeled main lodge create coziness with an elegant edge. And if you crave fine dining, you don’t need to drive into nearby Winter Park to get it.
One of Grand County’s best restaurants, the inelegantly named Ranch House may be located in a barn and conjure images of chicken-fried steak, but the cuisine is definitely upscale. The Colorado lamb is a must-have dish, but everything else on the menu, from naturally raised beef to free-range chicken, is equally delectable.
And this is no ordinary barn, either. The Broad Axe Barn is an 1850s structure from Indiana that was moved here and restored. On its lowest level, there’s a gorgeous cherry-lined cask-shaped uncorking and wine-tasting room and a private dining room. The cellar houses one of the finest wine collections in the state.
A European-style breakfast comes with your room, and includes hard-boiled eggs, cold meats, rolls, cereals, fruit and juices — enough fuel to let you pursue another day of fun.
Though some guest ranches cut out horseback riding in winter, not all do. C Lazy U has an indoor arena for days when it’s just too cold for comfortable riding or the snow’s too deep for the horses to navigate. But on days when they can stay outdoors, guests get to ride into the drifted hills for an experience far different from summer riding.
Guests, like the McLaughlins of Loveland, can ride out on the hay wagon in the morning and help feed the herds of well-tended equines, who come trotting up to the wagon, eager for breakfast.
They also can skate on the pond, which is cleared for that purpose, or borrow snowshoes and head out for the broad pastures enclosed by surrounding hills. Cross-country skiing also is popular.
But the highlight of every day is what might be called “the driveway luge.”
Guests choose their ride from a herd of Flexible Flyer sleds, load them in the ranch pickup and board a van, which takes them out to the highway — and the head of the 1/3-mile-long driveway. The wide gravel driveway slopes gradually down toward the ranch, curving just enough to keep you alert. If you go off the driveway, most likely it will be into a soft bank of snow. But if you stay on it, you can reach speeds of what seems like 25-30 mph, pretty fast when your face is about six inches off the ice and your knit cap is threatening to blow off.
This is fun with a capital F.
Depending on the number of guests participating, you can get in about three runs for the hour the driveway is closed to traffic while sledders indulge in this insanity. (Rumor has it the driveway luge was invented by a bored winter ranch staff after a few beers one night.)
You will need to participate in all these activities to burn off the lavish meals served at the C Lazy U. Breakfast might be a three-egg ham and cheese omelet, or even eggs Benedict, with sweet rolls, fruit, juice and toast or muffins. Lunch is likely to be a choice between two entrees, after a salad and homemade soup, with dessert to follow. Dinner will be a sumptuous affair, with family-style platters of fried trout, rosemary roasted chicken and fettuccine Alfredo followed by bowls of veggies and baskets of bread. And more dessert, of course.
The rooms are as sumptuous as the meals. Fat, soft furniture and Western-themed bed linens fill rooms as big as some houses. Don’t miss the chocolate horse lollipop on your pillow.
There’s also a sledding hill (not as wild as the driveway!) for kids and a heated outdoor pool, which is a warm place to soak even in the snow. A workout room, recreation room with game tables and a huge fireplace in the lodge all draw guests who want to indulge in indoor activities.
“I would have never thought there’d be so much to do (on a ranch) in winter,” Lorrie McLaughlin says. “We’re going horseback riding again this afternoon.”
“As long as we get back in time for the sledding!” Janice adds. They might even come back next summer for the fishing and mountain biking. Not to mention the homemade peach cobbler.
If You Go
At least a dozen Colorado guest ranches remain open some part of the winter. Some, such as Tarryall River Ranch, Sylvan Dale, Deer Valley and Peaceful Valley, offer simple retreats for those who want to curl up in front of a fire and read a good book, and maybe watch the wildlife wander across a snowy landscape.
Others, such as the Home Ranch, Vista Verde and Latigo Ranch, offer a full array of winter activities, including cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, sledding, ice skating, sleigh rides and snowmobiling. Some are open during the holidays, providing a picture postcard-style Christmas. A few, including Aspen Canyon, offer activities (guided snowmobile trips) but no accommodations that time of year.
For information about winter guest ranch rates and activities, contact the Colorado Dude & Guest Ranch Association at 866-942-3472 or www.coloradoranch.com. The association will send you a free guide and answer questions.
To contact the ranches in this story:
C Lazy U Ranch: (970) 887-3344 or www.clazyu.com
Devil’s Thumb Ranch: (800) 933-4339 or www.devilsthumbranch.com
The sun has set and the nearly full moon will soon be rising over the Colorado peaks. Skiers and snowshoers group outside the lodge at Devil’s Thumb Ranch, bindings latched and stomachs churning. It’s time to eat.
They are the first wave of participants on the annual Grand Huts Association progressive dinner at Devil’s Thumb Ranch 65 miles west of Denver near Granby, Colorado. In this earn-your-calories version of moonlight dining, more than 200 winter warriors will slog and glide on a five-mile, five-course eating journey through the Rocky Mountain night.
Located 11 miles north of Winter Park, Devil’s Thumb is arguably Colorado’s premier winter resort for snowshoers and Nordic skiers. The 5,000-acre spread features well over 100 kilometers of trails groomed for skate and classic skiing, plus a host of packed routes for snowshoers only. The dinner track begins with an easy half-mile trek to the ranch’s barn and stables for appetizers.
Inside, between harnesses and horse stalls, tables sit covered with cheese, crackers, fruit, sushi, pizza, tacos, cider, hot chocolate and wine. Hungry hands could wrangle up a dinner’s worth of grub right here.
In the summertime, Devil’s Thumb offers all the accouterments of an a la carte dude ranch. They feature close to 50 horses, a sleigh-pulling donkey, a mule that didn’t appreciate the Grand Canyon and a dairy cow who’s willing to be ridden.
“It’s bareback, of course,” says stable manager Jill Eichler. “At 2,300 pounds, it’s hard to fit him under a saddle.”
From the barn, the route winds past the ranch’s 16 cabins on an electrically illuminated trail. Beyond the last accommodation, electrons stop and candle power begins, with luminarias marking the route. Unlike the paper bag version, these consist of candles burning inside one-gallon milk jugs whose tops have been trimmed off. They’re spaced about every 20-30 yards along the trail.
The route angles slowly uphill through an open meadow. Across the valley, moonlight caps the mountain crest with a tiara of shimmering luminescence. Diamonds of light sparkle in the darkness below. The still night feels cool but not bitterly cold. Crusty snow crunches under foot. In the distance, the lonesome whistle of a freight train echoes along the tracks.
Through this valley, the nonprofit Grand Huts Association plans to build a string of backcountry huts linking Berthoud Pass to the south with Grand Lake to the north. The eco-friendly outposts would shelter skiers and snowshoers in the winter and hikers and bikers come summer.
For diners, only the winding line of luminarias appears ahead. The ultimate destination, the Soup Yurt, remains hidden, leaving first-timers to ponder how much farther there is to go. Finally, when least expected, it suddenly looms dead ahead.
Invented by Mongolian nomads, modern yurts are circular structures with conical roofs, making them look like colossal cupcakes. Strong, cheap and easily wood-stove heated, they make excellent backcountry ski shelters. Some diners welcome the warmth and choose to savor their choices of tomato bisque, cheddar cheese or tortilla soup inside. Others opt to sit and slurp out on the deck.
Since the trail to the yurt was largely uphill, the trail back is largely down. The luminarias lighting the route look like airport landing lights on a skinny, twisting runway. As the moon climbs, light intensity increases, making trees silhouetted against the snow look like Rorschach inkblots. Below, the lodge complex at trail’s end glows like a small city.
Not that many years ago, Devil’s Thumb was a funky little enclave used primarily by local cross-country skiers who didn’t want to brave the backcountry. It’s still a favorite of locals, but it’s grown into so much more.
In addition to the ridge cabins, the resort offers a geothermally heated lodge containing 52 studios and suites, plus 13 bunkhouse rooms down the road. The property features three restaurants, a wine cellar dining room, a full-service spa and a renovated barn with space to host weddings, meetings and events.
“The barn was brought in from Indiana,” says Christine Braford of guest services. “It’s a Civil War-era classic, reconstructed here.”
The neighboring day lodge provides the progressive dinner’s salad and entrée venue. With 35 local restaurants furnishing food, diners enjoy more eating choices than a preacher at a potluck. It’s all donated, in an effort to fund the Grand Huts Association’s first hut, which will be built in the backcountry at 11,000 feet off Berthoud Pass, an area that receives 450 inches of snow annually.
“We will have a cistern, indoor plumbing, solar power and propane for cooking. It will be an environmental engineering feat,” brags GHA representative David Maddox. “Over the years, progressive dinners have netted us over $50,000 toward its construction.”
Entrees devoured, it’s off to the ranch’s restaurant-tavern where dessert lies, a band plays and silent auction bids can be made on donated items. For those who still have room, s’mores fixings await beside the fireplace outside, and not surprisingly, many indulge. After all, guests at this dinner have earned their calories.
If You Go
GHA Progressive Dinner
Participants should be in appropriate physical condition and have experience using snowshoes or cross-country skis. Temperatures and weather conditions can vary from cold and clear to colder and challenging. Contact the Grand Huts Association (970-726-9877, www.grandhuts.org) for information and tickets.
Devil’s Thumb Ranch
The ranch lodge features 52 guest rooms that go from studios to two-bedroom suites. There are 16 individual cabins ranging from one-bedroom lofts to four-bedroom units with full kitchens and multiple baths. Contact Devil’s Thumb Ranch (800-933-4339, www.devilsthumbranch.com) for information or reservations.
Devil’s Thumb is about 11 miles north of Winter Park off U.S. Highway 40. About a mile before the town of Tabernash, turn east on County Road 83, take a right at the fork and follow Devil’s Thumb Road another three miles to the ranch.
Ouray may not have its own ski area, but when it comes to winter sports, there is plenty to keep you busy. This hamlet in southwestern Colorado enjoys an envious location in the heart of the San Juan Mountains. The town sits at 7,700 feet, and is surrounded by peaks that soar another 5,000 feet.
No wonder that some have called Ouray the “Switzerland of the Rockies.” Switzerland or not, this Colorado community is all about enjoying the outdoors. Speak to any of the shop owners along Main Street, and chances are that you will hear stories of other lives that have been abandoned for the allure of this Rocky Mountain village and its nature-loving lifestyle.
And it’s easy to see why.
The biggest winter draw is undoubtedly the Ouray Ice Park, billed as the first ice climbing park in the world. The park lies in the shaded, steep-walled Uncompahgre Gorge. The ice is formed by sprayers that divert water from the town reservoir to strategic locations along the canyon. The result is a safe, ice-filled wonderland.
While I had always enjoyed watching climbers, I hadn’t thought of trying it for myself. But then I heard about Kim Reynolds and her company, Chicks with Picks. Reynolds specializes in helping women learn to climb. Her enthusiasm for the sport is obvious. And though I was a bit hesitant about climbing at first, Reynolds chatted encouragingly while she explained the gear and how we would approach the climb. Then we headed out to the ice.
Unlike many locations where you have to hike miles to find good ice, access is easy in Ouray. You simply park and hike into the park. It took us 30 minutes to reach the climbing spot that Reynolds had selected for my friend, Ben, and me. (Yes, she is happy to teach men as well.)
After checking all our gear and giving us a quick lesson, Reynolds scampered up the ice to test the route and show us how it is done. She made it look so easy!
Then it was my turn. At first, the feeling was awkward, and I was nervous. Then I learned to let the gear do the work for me. The crampons secured my steps in the ice, while carefully placed picks allowed me to pull myself up to the next step.
It was slow going at first, but I finally made it to the top of the 80-foot canyon wall. And what a rush! Then it was Ben’s turn. He had a smile on his face when he came back down.
After we got the hang of a few skills, Reynolds moved us to another spot in the canyon. One-by-one, we scaled those walls, too, all the while hearing the encouragement of other climbers in the park.
When we were tired, we stopped to eat the lunch we had packed in and watch the other climbers. There were climbers of every age, from age 10 on up. Folks come from all over the world to climb in Ouray. I heard several different accents throughout the canyon.
By the end of the day, we were exhausted, but happy. It brings an incredible feeling of accomplishment when you can scale a wall by your own power. Reynolds had made a convert out of me.
By evening, though, our sore muscles began to protest the day’s activities. This led us to Ouray’s other draw – the mineral hot springs. There are numerous hot springs in Ouray, but our first stop was the Ouray Hot Springs Pool. Smack in the middle of town, the 250 x 150 foot public pool has more than a million gallons of clear mineral waters. Best of all, the hot springs in Ouray don’t have the putrid sulfur smell typical of other hot springs.
It was relaxing to soak in the steaming waters, watching our breath in the cool winter air and taking in the mountain views.
Refreshed from our soak in the pools and a hearty meal at The Outlaw (see our article on Dining in Ouray), we were ready for more adventure the next day.
The sun shone brightly in a Colorado blue sky, and white snow shimmered from the nearby peaks. It was the perfect time to go snowshoeing. Armed with rented gear from Ouray Mountain Sports, we headed to Ironton Park, a valley south of town on U.S. 550.
Founded in 1883, Ironton was once a thriving mining community. Times got tough, however, and now a ghost town is all that remains. Today the Ouray County Nordic Council maintains four miles of groomed trails in the area. The multi-use trail runs past several buildings from the historic ghost town. You can still see wallpaper on the walls of some of the homes. It almost seems like the town’s inhabitants left only yesterday.
But the ghost town was just part of the fun. The trail ran across a wide open valley, and then through secluded forest trails, quiet and peaceful.
After a few hours of snowshoeing, it was time to try another Ouray restaurant (see Dining in Ouray) and hit another hot springs. There are hot springs at the Box Canyon Lodge, which has four redwood hot tubs on the mountainside behind the lodge, and at The Wiesbaden Hot Springs Spa.
As it was getting dark, we headed to The Wiesbaden to soak in its outdoor Lorelei pool. (The Wiesbaden also has an indoor Vaporcave with soaking pool.) Under a clear winter sky dotted with thousands of stars, we could unwind and savor the moment.
There are many experiences to appreciate when you’re visiting Ouray. On our last day in town, we decided to take one more hike. Though it was the dead of winter, we wanted to see the Box Canon Falls.
Located a short walk from town, the Box Canon Falls Park is perfect for those who love hiking, birding (a large population of Black Swifts lives in the canon walls during the summer) and natural beauty. A 285-foot waterfall plunges into a tight quartzite canyon, and the hike offers beautiful views.
The waterfall rushed beneath a large ice formation, its roar echoing off the canyon walls. Overhead, the sun shone brightly in another blue sky, and the air was crisp and clear. It was the kind of moment that makes you truly appreciate Colorado. And it was this kind of moment that will keep me coming back to Ouray.
If You Go
Going with your family or a group? These luxury vacation rentals are perfect. The 1,400-square-foot units are located right on Main Street. For reservations, call 970-318-6546.
Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs
Ouray’s most popular lodge offers traditional one- or two-bedroom rooms to two-room suites with kitchens and fireplaces. The lodge backs to the mountainside on the edge of town right next to Box Canon Falls. www.boxcanyonouray.com
Colorado ski towns are often known for high prices, especially during their winter primetime. But vacationing in a mountain getaway doesn’t have to break the budget. The Winter Park-Fraser Valley area, 90 minutes northwest of Denver and surrounded by the Arapaho National Forest, offers a lot of cold-weather fun for $20 or less.
Snowshoeing and Cross-Country Skiing
Hiking and biking trails covering hundreds of miles of the Winter Park-Fraser Valley area make excellent snowshoe and cross-country ski trails when the snow falls.
The Winter Park-Fraser Valley Chamber offers free snowshoe tours departing from Hideaway Park every Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m. To check availability call 970-726-4118 or stop by the visitor center at 78841 U.S. Highway 40.
Devil’s Thumb Ranch (303-756-5600), at the base of the Continental Divide, has one of the best Nordic centers for cross-country skiing in Colorado.
Grand Lake Touring Center (970-627-8008) features a variety of groomed trails through forests and meadows for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and skating.
Granby Ranch’s Nordic trail system encompasses more than 15 miles of groomed trails, accessed with a snowshoeing lift ticket. Bring your own equipment or rent. For more information call 888-850-4615.
Snow Mountain Ranch’s Nordic Center offers cross-country ski trails that stretch more than 62 miles through 5,200 acres of high-altitude meadows. Call 888-613-9622 for more information.
The Colorado Adventure Park, located five minutes from the Winter Park Ski Resort, offers several snow activities, including a winter favorite, tubing. Zip down the hill in a traditional inner tube for a small hourly rate. For a faster thrill, try one of the park’s airboards, a new option that allows riders to veer left or right as they conquer the hill. For the little ones ages 3 and under, the Adventure Park offers complimentary sleds and a mini hill. Plus, don’t miss the snowscoots, tyke-sized snowmobiles for ages 6 and up . Call 970-726-5779 for reservations and information.
The town of Fraser’s famous Tubing Hill (970-726-5954) is another must-do. Its groomed (and well-lit at night) hillside and sledding tunes blasting from the top of the hill make for a fun atmosphere. Tubes can go down individually, or in gigantic blobs for more distance. At the bottom, riders drag their tubes to the lift, hook up and ride to the top on the tube lift. After the thrill of the hill, tubers can get something hot and tasty to drink in the warming house.
Winter Park Ski Resort opens the Intrawest Retail Village pond for ice skating during ski season. Skaters can glide to music, with mountains and the ski village as scenery. For individual pricing and family pricing please visit http://www.winterparkresort.com/events-and-activities/activities/activities/ice-skating.aspx or call 303-316-1564
The Cooper Creek Square ice skating rink lets skaters take to the ice for free. Bring your own skates or rent them for under $10 at Christy Sports or the Viking Lodge in the adjacent Cooper Creek Square shopping area.
The Icebox skating rink at the Fraser Valley Sports Complex also offers free skating, with the option of renting skates and participating in ice skating and hockey programs. Contact the Sports Complex at 970-726-5919 for hours and rental rates.
If You Go
For More savings, check out the Deals and Steals by visiting www.playwinterpark.com as well as for more information on winter activities in Winter Park and Fraser.
78841 US Highway 40
Winter Park, CO 80482
970.726.4118 | 800.903.7275
Photo Courtesy of Winter Park Mountain Resort.
From the Editors: We spent a heap of time making sure this story was accurate when it was published, but of course, things can change. Please confirm the details before setting out in our great Centennial State.