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Colorado Family January Ski Deals

I understand that January is one of the best months for snow and skiing in Colorado. January is also Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month.Many of the resorts let kids under 5 ski for free (check with each resort individually) – but maybe they have not yet learned HOW to ski (or snowboard).  So where are the best places to learn the sport, to have a fun and easy get-away and spend some quality time with the kids? Read on!

5th Grade Passport

If you have signed your fifth-grader up for the Passport program (there’s still time – the deadline is January 31) or the School of Shred. The kids are entitled to a free lesson in January (which also includes rental equipment). Just make sure that you make reservations (and it’s easier to get the paperwork done before you go).

Echo Mountain

If you are looking for the least expensive, lots of fun and close – Echo Mountain is the best bet. It is a small property outside of Evergreen (and takes just 40 minutes to get there from my house in Highlands Ranch). They have a couple different lesson options that are perfect for families. The first is the parent and me class for youth age 3 and a parent. The second, is the transferable 6-pack which can be shared among family members and can be used all on one day or over multiple days.

Vail Resorts

Vail Resorts (Vail, Breckenridge, Beaver Creek, and Keystone in Colorado) offers a premium lesson called the Ultimate Four. The Ultimate Four is the perfect cross between group lessons (which can have up to 10 kids) and private instruction (which can be expensive). Ultimate Four is a premium group lesson that limits the number of people in the group to just four participants (thus the name Ultimate Four). At just $260 per child, it is more affordable option than private lessons – a bit more expensive, but well worth it. The kids get great one-on-one time with the instructor (plus extra time on the hill, a separate place to meet instructors, and lunch).  Ski School is easy to find at the heart of Lionshead in Vail.
The town of Breckenridge always has a fun host of events during the month of January. This year is no different! The month begins with Ullr fest starting on January 8 – where the whole town pays homage to the Norse God of  Winter, Ullr. Snow Sculpture Championship featuring teams from all over the world  celebrates it’s 22nd year (January 30, begins the public viewing of amazing snow sculptures). In addition to the fantastic happenings in town, Breckenridge is celebrating their 50th season with all kinds of events in town and on the mountain!
Keystone is absolutely kid friendly especially with programs like Kidtopia.  See the amazing snow fort, go disco tubing (tubing to music), do arts and crafts, take in the Medieval dinner with the whole family, or fireworks atop the mountain.  Kidtopia schedule is: December 27 – January 3; January 13-16; February 4-5; February 17-20; March 10-14; and March 17-21.


Practice, practice, practice. There is a reason why they say that three times especially, if you are learning how to snowboard or ski. Loveland Ski area is once again offering the deal when you purchase a three-lesson package, you get a FREE season pass (so you can practice what you learn in those lessons all season long). Loveland also offers “Hookey Days” where you can play hookey on work or on taking care of your kids and ski for just $20.  The next one is on Thursday, January 12, 2012.

Arapahoe Basin (A-Basin)

Sundays in January at A – Basin are Super Sunday where first time lessons cost only $75 for first time lessons and half-day group lessons.

Crested Butte

Looking for an amazing deal? Book a two-night stay get free day of lifts, lessons and rentals at Crested Butte Mountain Resort. The best part – it includes EACH person on the reservation AND applies to both kids and adults. For details, information or reservations contact Crested Butte Vacations at 800-600-2803.

SolVista Basin

SolVista’s The Get on the Snow Program (GOTS) is a great opportunity for people that have never skied or snowboarded before to learn at an affordable cost. After learners complete two ski or snowboarding lesson days, they graduate with a GOTS season pass to SolVista Basin (which also offers 20% discount on retail).  Details and restrictions apply.


Sunlight offers the Learn to Shine lesson program – a three day program which includes ski or snowboard rentals, a lift ticket package, and two hour-long lessons for $325.

Town of Frisco

I can’t say that I have ever thought much about the Town of Frisco, it was just a place I drove through either to get to Breckenridge or for gas on the way to Copper or Vail. This year, I have had the opportunity to spend some time in the tiny town that is typically listed on the news as one of the coldest places in the state – and it has totally changed my opinion. Our adventure started with tubing at The Adventure Park. Then we ate at Butterhorn (which was one obviously one of the hot-spots in town since there was a 45 minute wait to get in there). For those who like the boutique shopping (as opposed to Wal-Mart Shopping which is also available) there are several cute shops in town which are all easily accessible (park once and then walk town).

Devil’s Thumb Ranch

Downhill or Alpine skiing is usually the only skiing that we hear about in Colorado. It is the big brother that gets all the press and everyone ignores Cross Country. That is not true at Devil’s Thumb Ranch. Just 65 miles west of Denver and 15 minutes west of Winter Park Ski Resort. Devil’s Thumb Ranch is a fantastic family-friendly retreat with more than 100km of groomed and tracked cross country ski and snowshoe trails. You can rent the equipment right at the ranch, go on a wagon ride, or take in a day at the spa (free Yoga classes). The hotel is amazing with a cozy rustic feel with all the details of environmentally friendly facilities. I have never been in a hotel location where it was so apparent that people really do love their job and want to share what they can about the location and the ownership. Plan to take the whole family or make it a romantic getaway (The beer pairing dinner is also completely FANTASTIC)! They have events all winter long.

Email me if you know of any great Denver deals!

Don’t want to miss any of Mile High Mamas’ contests and events? Be sure to sign up for our weekly email newsletter so you can forward these great deals to your friends.

You can also follow me on Twitter (GeeWhy93).  If I find a great deal during the week, I’ll tweet it out.


8 Amazing Fitness Apps for New Year’s Resolutions

Like many other women, I could eat all the calories I wanted and not gain a single pound…until I was pregnant with our first child. Suddenly my metabolism slowed down and it seemed pounds were flocking to my midsection like never before. Naturally, I’ve had to turn to cardio workouts and calorie counting to help stave off the unwanted poundage. Being a lover of all things apps, naturally I’m always looking for ones to aid this process. Let’s take a look at some of my personal favorites:

Mama Drama: December Birthday Blues

Dear Mama Drama:

My three-year-old daughter has a December birthday and we are inundated with toys and “stuff” from our very generous family. We appreciate their gifts, but are all a bit overwhelmed by the amount of new toys. My daughter tends to leave them strewn about the house bouncing from one activity to the next, then struggles to clean them up usually ending in a meltdown.

We need ideas to help find some balance with it all.

(photo credit)

~Appreciative, But Overwhelmed Mama

When kids save the drama for their mama

There are two types of kids. Kids who behave better for other people than for their parents and kids that are better behaved for their parent than other adults.

My boys are better for other people. At school they are respectful and hard-working. I’ve been know to act incredulous whenever someone compliments me on my well-mannered sons. Pleased, but surprised, nonetheless.

At home, they are loud, messy, and

What is Truly Important – Cherishing Those in Your Life

We have closed the book on Christmas 2011 and as we look forward to ringing in 2012 this weekend, I am reflecting on those in my life and those who have shared it.

As I get older and watch my children grow up, I continue to gain insight and wisdom into what is truly important…it is what our elders have told us all along. It’s family and friends and those who love you and you love.

My children and I watched The Grinch Who Stole Christmas on Christmas Day. I always understood the message, even when I was a child, that Christmas isn’t something that comes from a store or comes wrapped in packages, boxes or bags.

Denver Deal: Celebrate New Year!

There used to be a jingle from a TV commercial that my sister and I sang. It went something like “everything you wanted, you didn’t get for Christmas – is on sale now at SEARS.”  While, I can’t honestly say I am a big Sears shopper. I do love the deals that you can get just after Christmas – plus, there is no guilt when I get to purchase something for myself. I don’t hear this tiny little voice saying, “you should be buying something for the kids.” They are all hopped up on sugar, and they will be occupied with their new toys for at least a week or so (I hope). It seems like every store in the mall (and otherwise) have fantastic sales. While, typically the Christmas stuff is well picked over by the next day, we went to Target near us today and there were still some good finds!

Celebrate Noon Year’s Eve

My kids are usually so excited to try to stay up until midnight and see the New Year in. I usually am good at convincing them that the celebration is done at 10 p.m. when we see the ball drop in New York. But, a couple times we have gone to the fun celebration at the Children’s Museum for Noon Year’s Eve.

Celebrate New Year’s Eve in the Mountains

There are several ways to celebrate the New Year in the mountain towns including: Keystone’s Icestravaganza Celebration (plus, I am told the snow fort at the top of the mountain is up), Vail’s Largest New Year’s Party at Dobson Ice Arena, Breckenridge’s New Year’s Torchlight parade and fireworks, and Beaver Creek’s Kids Winter Wonder Parade

Mile High Holidays

Denver comes to life during the holiday season, with twinkling lights, hotel deals, festive parades, special events and much more. Make time, make memories…make a night of it! Some of Denver’s best hotels are offering fantastic deals. Take advantage of a great get away with hotel rooms starting at just $52.80! The deals go through the New Year!

Echo Mountain

Echo Mountain is teaming up with Evergreen Lake for a brand new event, the Winter Festival, to be held Saturday, February 4, 2012. Kicking off the day, Echo Mountain will host the Snow Dash Extreme 5k, an adventure race around obstacles on the mountain. The afternoon will be taken over by Evergreen Park & Recreation District at Evergreen Lake with a snow mountain bike race, a snow sculpture competition, figure skating exhibition, sleigh rides, and other exciting winter sports.

See what is happening at our Ski Deals page.

Email me if you know of any great Denver deals!

Don’t want to miss any of Mile High Mamas’ contests and events? Be sure to sign up for our weekly email newsletter so you can forward these great deals to your friends.

You can also follow me on Twitter (GeeWhy93).  If I find a great deal during the week, I’ll tweet it out.

Event round-up: Noon Year’s Eve, Extreme Rodeo & More!

Saturday. 2012 arrives with a bang at downtown Denver’s annual New Year’s Eve fireworks display. Snag a spot on the 16th Street Mall for the best view of this year’s display—10 DJs will be set up along the Mall to spin tunes before the countdown begins. When the fireworks are ready to launch, they’ll sync up their sets to accompany the sparkling show overhead. Families with youngsters can come for an early show at 9 p.m.; revelers waiting for the official turn of the calendar will get their own show at the stroke of midnight. 9 p.m. Saturday and midnight Sunday. Downtown Denver. Free.

Saturday. It’s become a tradition all its own: Noon Year’s Eve takes over the Children’s Museum of Denver, ringing in 2012 with kid-friendly festivities. The new year arrives early with Times-Square-style ball-drops every hour, on the hour (hey, it’s midnight somewhere, right?). Dance to music on the museum’s plaza and jump on sheets of bubble wrap to create flame-free “fireworks.” Little ones can also listen to stories, work on art projects and, for $2 each, take rides on Vern’s Mini-Train. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Children’s Museum of Denver, 2121 Children’s Museum Drive; 303-433-7444. Activities included with museum admission: $8 for guests ages 2 to 59; $6 for 1-year-olds and seniors age 60 and older.

Saturday. New Year’s Eve gets wild at the Denver Zoo’s “Zoo Year’s Eve.” Part of the seasonal Zoo Lights celebration, Zoo Year’s Eve features DJ Curtis spinning danceable tunes in the Gates Wildlife Conservation Education Center, plus face-painting and New Year’s-themed crafts. Zoo Year’s Eve is a good idea for families with young kids who might not make it to midnight—count down the final seconds of 2011 a few hours early, beginning at 9 p.m. Remember: Sunday brings the last night of Zoo Lights until the 2012 holiday season. 5-9 p.m. Saturday. The Denver Zoo, 2300 Steele St.; 303-376-4800. Admission is $9 for adults, $7 for seniors age 65 and older, $5 for kids ages 3 to 11. Get $1 off admission with a nonperishable food donation.

Saturday. Celebrate the New Year in true Western style at the New Year’s Eve Extreme Rodeo in Loveland. The holiday hoedown features cowboys competing in four daredevil events: bareback riding, saddle bronc riding, bull riding and freestyle bullfighting. To save a little cash, special $8 tickets for kids age 12 and younger are available in advance at the Budweiser Events Center box office. 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Budweiser Events Center, 5290 Arena Circle, Loveland; 970-619-4100. Tickets are $12-$25. Buy tickets at or call 877-544-TIXX.

Saturday. Head south for a classy New Year’s Eve with the Colorado Springs Philharmonic. The “Three Rocky Mountain Tenors” concert—starring Max Ferguson, Matt McMahan and Joseph Mikolaj—includes a mix of classical works with fun, poppy tunes. For instance, Donizetti’s “Una furtiva lagrima” gets thrown in the mix next to “On the Street Where Ysou Live” from the musical “My Fair Lady.” Expect music by composers Rossini and Glinka as well as selections from “The Music Man,” “Company” and “The Phantom of the Opera”—plus a funky Stevie Wonder tune for added groove. 8 p.m. Saturday. Pikes Peak Center for the Performing Arts, 190 S. Cascade Ave., Colorado Springs; 719-520-SHOW. Tickets are $19-$57, with children’s tickets starting at $12. To buy tickets, call or visit

Kathleen St. John

Colorado receives $17.9 million Race to the Top education grant

After three failed attempts, Colorado has finally landed a Race to the Top grant.

“We’re extremely happy,” said state Education Commissioner Robert Hammond. “Obviously there’s been a lot of hard work and disappointment in the past. Even though this is a reduced amount, we believe it will be extremely helpful.”

Colorado was one of seven states that won money for this round of Race to the Top. The fund was set aside for finalists that didn’t receive money in the second round.

Nine states were eligible for a share of $200 million provided by Congress. Colorado received $17.9 million.

The year I was given the gift of death for the holidays

We had a fabulous holiday yesterday but money was tight for many of my family members. This caused me to reflect upon Christmas 2008. Instead of giving each other gifts we didn’t really need that we would then exchange for gifts we really wanted, my sister-in-law Jane came up with a plan.

“This year, we will give each other experiences!” she announced. She then expounded this would entail spending time doing some kind of memorable activity together.

I loved the idea. I never know what to get most members of my family and building memories seemed like a much better alternative.

Unless they are bad memories.

New Year’s Eve Events

The Martini Shot Dance Party at Stargazers

Dec. 31: Dance music by The Martini Shot, hors d’oeuvres buffet, complimentary champagne toast at midnight, and party favors. Doors open at 8 p.m. Table seating starts at $35, general admission $25. 10 S. Parkside Drive, Colorado Springs, 719-476-2200

Children’s Museum of Denver

Dec. 31: Join us when we transform