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. Adults ski for just $18 a day and kids (under 12) and seniors (over 65) ski for $8.
Grand Lake Touring Center (970-627-8008) features a variety of groomed trails through forests and meadows for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and skating. A day pass is $12 for adults and $5 for kids ages 16 and under. Starting at 1 p.m., half-day passes cost $10.
Granby Ranch’s Nordic trail system encompasses more than 15 miles of groomed trails, accessed with a $5 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. A ski trail day pass is $15 for adults and $8 for kids and seniors, but is complimentary to Snow Mountain Ranch guests, YMCA of the Rockies members, kids ages 5 and under and adults over age 70. The Nordic Center also offers ice skating, sledding, tubing and snowshoeing. 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 $18 an hour. 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 ages 13 and up, $22 an hour). 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 ($10 for 10 laps). 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. Prices are $16 for an hour or $22 for 90 minutes. 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
Content by Stephanie Wilson
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.