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Holiday Events and Festivities at Colorado’s Ski Resorts

As temperatures drop in the mountains and the weather forecast finally says snow, Colorado’s resorts are ready to ring in the winter holidays with lodging packages, fun family activities, and a variety of festive holiday events. Featuring sleigh rides, torchlight parades, holiday fine dining on the mountain, skiing with Santa in his natural habitat, and New Year’s fireworks across the state, guests at Colorado’s ski resorts can celebrate the winter holidays as they were meant to be experienced.

Below are highlights of some of the holiday activities and programs visitors can enjoy in the coming weeks:

Arapahoe Basin

Santa and his Elf Visit, December 24

Celebrate Christmas Eve with the A-Basin family. Santa is rumored to be making an appearance from 10 am to noon in the base area and will be taking some turns with his elf and anyone who wants to join. Santa’s journey will include stops in the A-Frame, the Pika Place Learning Area and the Molly Hogan Learning Area early in his visit to A-Basin. After visiting the skiers and riders in the Learning Areas, he will head up the Black Mountain Express Chairlift for some turns on the lower mountain followed by a lap or two on the Pali Chair. You may even see him around lunchtime in the Black Mountain Lodge. The Summit Choral Society will be spreading cheer throughout the Base Area Plaza and A-Frame with Christmas Carols from 10 am to noon.

For more information, go to arapahoebasin.com/events.

New Year’s Eve in the Mountains, December 31

Ring in 2017 with a special dinner by Chef Christopher Rybak in a beautiful mountain setting. Celebrate New Year’s Eve with New York at 10 pm with live music, a glass of champagne, party favors and a balloon drop. Part of A-Basin’s Moonlight Dinner Series, this dinner features an extensive four-course menu with a variety of foods to fit any palate. Limited seats remain and this dinner will sell out, so reserve your space now and bring in 2017 in elegant mountain style. For more information, go to arapahoebasin.com/dinners.

 Aspen Snowmass

12 Days of Aspen, December 20-31

During the 12 Days of Aspen, charming downtown Aspen becomes a winter wonderland of holiday cheer. From free ice skating, visits with Santa, and Santa’s reindeer to s’more-making parties, art, ornament-making, and stocking-decorating workshops, the 12 Days of Aspen provides a great afternoon activity or fun après-ski entertainment for locals and visitors. The celebration finishes on New Year’s Eve with two fireworks shows over Aspen Mountain amid prix fixed dinners and free flowing champagne parties. For more information, visit aspenchamber.org

The Holidays in Snowmass, December 6-31

December 6-24, children with a Christmas wish can write their own personal letter to Santa and drop it off in Santa’s Mailbox located on the Snowmass Mall. The Snowmass Sun will feature select letters in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Snowmass Village lights up for the holiday season on Saturday, December 10 at 5:30 pm with the Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony at the Snowmass Chapel. Mr. and Mrs. Claus will be on hand to celebrate the kick-off with cookies, hot chocolate and carols.

The Snowmass Village Mall and Base Village will come alive with Santa’s Magical Village from December 21-24 between 2 pm and 4 pm daily. Boys and girls can take complimentary photos with Santa and holiday carolers will be on-hand to sing favorite songs such as “T’was the Night Before Christmas,” “Little Drummer Boy,” and “Oh Holy Night.”

On New Year’s Eve, guests and locals are invited to experience the Torchlight Parade and Fireworks. The Torchlight Parade will begin at 5:45 pm and anyone eight years or older is invited to be part of the trail of lights down Snowmass mountain. Later in the evening, a fireworks show will take place over Snowmass Village at 10 pm.

New Year’s Eve at the Limelight Hotel, December 31

In conjunction with Aspen 82, the Limelight Hotel is hosting a New Year’s Eve shindig from 9:30 pm to 2 am that will include two DJs, an open bar with high-end liquor and Veuve Clicquot champagne as well as plenty of hors d’oeuvres. Early bird pricing starts at $150/person.

Beaver Creek

Beaver Creek Captures Refined Holiday Elegance – Tree Lighting Photos

From Nov. 25, 2016 through Jan. 9, 2017, Beaver Creek’s montage of classic, refined elegance and whimsical enchantment is found and felt at the resort’s every turn throughout the holidays.  Festivities commence Friday, Nov. 25, 2016 with the 36th Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony, Ice Skating and Fireworks Show in the Beaver Creek Village, complete with children’s crafts and activities..

Beaver Creek Loves Kids – WinterFest – photos – December 17th – 31st, 2016

Beaver Creek Loves Kids 6th Annual WinterFest is back! Celebrate the season with performances, activities, WinterFest characters, parades, contests, holiday lights and more!  Activities occur each day on the Village Plaza during après ski hours – join us for excitement in the Village after a day of excitement on the slopes. All WinterFest activities are free and fun for “kids” of all ages.

Breckenridge

Saturday, Dec 3, 2016: Race of the Santas

Join hundreds of holiday enthusiasts of all ages, dressed in festive costumes, race down historic Main Street, Breckenridge. We encourage those who can withstand the thin mountain air to start at the front of the pack, as the top finishers will be awarded Ullr helmets and prize packages. Not a runner? Walk, jog or skip through the 6-block course. Children dressed in holiday costumes are welcome to join their parents in the Santa Race. breck

New Year’s Eve Celebration

Bring in the New Year with a boom by watching a spectacular array of fireworks. You can find best visibility from downtown Main Street. Weather permitting, catch the Torch Light Parade flowing down the Breckenridge Ski Resort.

Cooper

Santa to Visit Cooper

Santa Claus will be paying a visit to Cooper again this year. Bring your Christmas wishes to Mr. Claus’s sleigh near the Children’s Center. His schedule is busy this time of year, so keep an eye on skicooper.com for the exact date and time of his visit.

Christmas and New Year’s Eve Celebrations

Cooper will become a holiday hotspot on Saturday, Christmas Eve, with fresh-baked Christmas cookies, eggnog, hot toddies, live Christmas carols and a model train running around a trimmed tree. The fun doesn’t end with Christmas, on New Year’s Eve there will be an apres-ski New Year’s Eve celebration, complete with appetizers and a champagne toast. For more information visit skicooper.com.

Copper Mountain

Christmas at Copper, December 24

Christmas Eve brings along another visit from Santa himself, as well as a children’s Glowstick Pageant and a Torchlight Parade down the Main Vein trail. This is a chance for guests to meet Santa and enjoy holiday festivities in Burning Stones Plaza. Before you head home to set out the milk and cookies for old St. Nick, enjoy a festive fireworks display over the mountain.

New Year’s Eve Celebration, December 31

Say goodbye to 2016 and hello to 2017 with a USASA Rail Jam, a children’s Glowstick Pageant, a Torchlight Parade and – of course – a mountain-side fireworks display. Elevate the evening with a special holiday Moonlight Dine & Ski. Guests can take the American Eagle chairlift up to Solitude Station and enjoy a fine dining experience. Post-dinner board or ski down the mountain by moonlight and gather for a celebratory cocktail in Center Village.

For more information about holiday events at Copper, visit www.coppercolorado.com.

Crested Butte

 

Santa Day, December 10

Crested Butte Mountain Resort is sponsoring a “Santa Ski and Crawl” in an attempt to break the Guinness Book of World Records for the number of skiers in full Santa costumes. Participants need to be decked out in a full Santa suit in order to participate. CBMR is offering $23 lift tickets for those in full costume and lodging deals for participants when booking with Crested Butte Vacations. The Santa suit must have a top, bottom, hat and beard. You can make your own suit, use an old one or purchase one from us. After the group ski, a pub crawl will start on the mountain and finish at various watering holes in downtown Crested Butte. More information can be found at www.cbsantacrawl.com

Light Up Night, December 10

Join us at the Lodge at Mountaineer Square for some holiday cheer from 6 pm to 8 pm. Hot chocolate will be provided and s’mores can be roasted over fire pits. Santa will be there to hear what is on your wish list and to have photos taken with kids. 

 

Christmas Eve at Crested Butte Mountain Resort, December 24

Resort guests can watch Santa come down the mountain in a sleigh pulled by a snowcat and then stay to watch the Crested Butte Ski and Ride School perform their famous torchlight parade down the front side of the mountain. Santa will be on the Butte 66 deck to take photos with kids.

Christmas Dinner at Uley’s Cabin, December 25

Uley’s Cabin is an epicurean adventure in Crested Butte and is hosting a special Christmas meal to bring good cheer. Guests will board a sleigh ride to a cabin nestled in the woods, where a five-course prix fixed dinner and a roaring fire wait. The entire meal has a French flair, making each course unique, yet familiar in that the cuisine is definitively Colorado, evocative of the valley in which you’ll be dining. We invite you to experience something that is both adventurous, yet comforting. Reservations can be made at www.skicb.com/uleys. For more information about holiday events and promotions at Crested Butte, visit www.skicb.com

Eldora

Annual Ugly Sweater or Elf Costume Contest, December 24

Eldora Mountain Resort will be hosting its 3rd Annual Ugly Sweater or Elf Costume Contest. Break out your best ugly sweater and join other holiday enthusiasts for our group picture. Then take a run or two and end your day with a party on the deck with live music with food and drink specials in the bar. There will be prizes for the best ugly sweaters and elf costumes. For more information, visit www.eldora.com.

 Granby Ranch 

Holidays at the Ranch, December 23 and 24
Visit Santa at the base from Noon to 2 pm daily and catch him on the slopes from 2:30 pm to 3:45 pm. Meet at the bottom of the Quick Draw at 3:45 pm to join the Santa Ski Down where you can take the last run of the day with other skiers and riders led by Santa. Following your day of skiing and riding, visitors to Granby Ranch can celebrate Christmas Eve with a service at the Base Lodge at 5 pm on December 24.

New Year’s Eve Festivities, December 31 

Granby Ranch guests can ring in the New Year at a family dance party from 5 pm to 10 pm. A glow stick parade, torchlight parade, and fireworks begin at 6 pm. Enjoy a special three-course meal at Granby Ranch Grill or do New Year’s Eve in style at the VIP Party for those over 21. For more information, visit www.granbyranch.com.

Carve out some serious family bonding time this December in honor of Colorado Family Ski Month and take advantage of the following events and activities:

Keystone

 

Kidtopia Mountaintop Spectacular

This winter, Keystone presents the inaugural Kidtopia Mountaintop Spectacular, featuring a weekend of festive on-mountain fun for the entire family from Dec. 16-18. This free event will showcase a variety of activities and Kidtopia programs that make the resort a top destination for families, including nightly firework displays, a torchlight ski parade led by Keystone’s Ski & Ride School, and a mountaintop celebration where guests can enjoy free snow tubing, snowcat photo opportunities, live music, hot cocoa and fireside stories with Santa. Kidtopia will animate the mountaintop with Bigfoot adventure walks and a ski patrol-dog meet and greet, plus a special lighting ceremony of the world’s largest Snow Fort to create an unforgettable weekend.kidtopia

 Keys to Kidtopia

Keystone’s Kidtopia continues to redefine the family resort experience with free activities and events on and off the snow every day of the week starting Friday, Nov. 25. Throughout the month of December, select Kidtopia offerings will feature special Colorado themes in honor of Colorado Family Ski Month, including opportunities to create unique Colorado keepsakes at Face Painting and Craft-er-Noon activities, and learn interesting facts about Keystone and Colorado at Starquest Night Sky Exploration. For a full lineup of daily Kidtopia offerings, including family favorites like the Saturday parade and fireworks, visit keystoneresort.com.

 

Santa Claus is Coming to Keystone

The big guy himself will be on-hand beginning Saturday, Nov. 26 and will make appearances throughout December, before he embarks upon his prior obligations. From photo opportunities, skiing, parades and a PJ Brunch, to the Mountaintop Spectacular, Santa Claus will be in resort Dec. 10, 17, 18, 19, 22 and 23. Locations of his appearances are available at keystoneresort.com.

 

Loveland

Ski and Ride Loveland with Santa

Skiers and snowboarders who venture to Loveland around Christmas time can find themselves riding the lifts and slopes with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Visit www.skiloveland.com for more information.

 Monarch

Santa Skis Monarch, December 24

Santa skis, snowboards, and spreads Christmas cheer all-day on Christmas Eve. Photo ops with children are available, if you can catch him on the mountain.

 New Year’s Eve Torchlight Parade and Fireworks Show, December 31

Skiers and riders are invited to participate in the 36th annual torch parade at Monarch Mountain. Festivities will kick off around sunset with music, food and drink specials all culminating in an incredible fireworks display over the mountain. For more information, visit www.skimonarch.com.

 Powderhorn

New Year’s Eve Torchlight Parade and Fireworks, December 31

Powderhorn Mountain Resort will host its annual Torchlight Parade and fireworks on New Year’s Eve. There will be live music and drink specials all evening. Join us during the day for our Kids Multi Week Programs Preview Day. Pick your program, meet the coaches, and visit with other skiers and snowboarders over pizza and then head out on the hill for the Torchlight Parade. For more information, visit www.powderhorn.com.

Purgatory Resort

Celebrate the Holidays with Friends and Family at Purgatory Resort in Durango

Santa and Mrs. Claus will visit the ski beach, arriving via horse-drawn sleigh so the reindeer can rest up, on Saturday, December 24. Guests will enjoy a special Christmas dinner buffet, live music, holiday kids’ movies, après ski hot cocoa and s’mores, Kids Night Out at the Den Childcare Center, and more throughout the holiday week. Special events during Christmas week include:  Never Summer snowboard demos, Specialty Cocktail Hours and Scotch Tastings, “Picasso & Vino” painting classes, Holiday Wreath Making, and more.

New Year’s Eve Torchlight Parade and Fireworks

Purgatory Resort will usher in the New Year with a Torchlight Parade and fireworks display, followed by a New Year’s Eve party with Durango’s favorite blues band. The Den Childcare Center offers a special celebration for children.Resort guests can enjoy horse-drawn sleigh rides, alpenglow snowshoe tours with spectacular views, dog sledding, and more fun on the snow. For more information and packages, visit www.skipurg.com.

 Steamboat

Steamboat Holiday Festival, December 18

Resort guests can celebrate the holiday season Steamboat style by watching Santa ride down the slopes on horseback and meeting some of his reindeer friends. Guests can participate in the stocking scramble and collect free holiday treats at surrounding stores and restaurants. Additional festivities include cookie decorating and a special holiday concert. The party continues after dark with a torchlight parade and fireworks followed by night skiing.

Holiday Sleighride Dinners, December 24-31

When the sun sets, the adventure begins. Take a snowcat-drawn sleigh ride under the stars to Ragnar’s, where you’ll enjoy a spectacular Scandinavian five-course dinner. Enjoy a luxury snowcat ride to Four Points Lodge, where northern Italian favorites will be served family style. Or leave the snowcats behind and enjoy a horse-drawn sleigh ride at Haymaker with beautiful views of the mountain.

Torchlight Parade and Fireworks, December 31

To ring in the New Year, the Steamboat Snowsports School treats guests to spectacular on-snow parades down the mountain lit only by torches. In conjunction with the torchlight parade, a fireworks display will illuminate the sky, providing a perfect ending to the evening.

Christmas Brunch and New Year’s Eve Dinner at Hazie’s

Guests at Steamboat can celebrate on top of the mountain and enjoy a fabulous holiday brunch at Hazie’s restaurant featuring eggs benedict, bourbon French toast, thick-cut maple bacon, hand-carved meats, soups and salads, fruits and cheeses, and a mouthwatering dessert display including a chocolate fountain. In addition, on December 31, Hazie’s will be hosting a mountaintop six-course dining experience with complimentary admission to the Korbel New Year’s Eve Party.

For more information, visit www.steamboat.com.

Sunlight Mountain Resort

Free Ride Demo Days with Santa, December 17-18

Sunlight Mountain Resort hosts its annual Free Ride Demo Days with Santa winter party on December 17-18. Take a spin on the latest skis and snowboards for free all weekend long, plus kids can take a run with Santa on Saturday, Dec. 17. Plus, Sunlight and Bighorn Toyota will be giving away a pair of Sunlight’s Limited Edition 50th Anniversary skis and snowboard by Meier. Follow Sunlight on Facebook for updates on events and giveaways. For more information visit www.sunlightmtn.com.

Silverton

Opening Day Weekend/New Year’s Bash, December 30January 1

Guests visiting Silverton for opening weekend can ring in the new year with packages starting as low as $449 that include three days of guided skiing, daily lunch and apres drinks, a welcome party and a huge New Year’s Eve bash. Silverton limits its daily visitors so it is a great place to avoid holiday crowds and focus on what matters: steeps and powder. For more information visit http://silvertonmountain.com

 Telluride

Mountain Village Holiday Prelude, December 17

Telluride’s Mountain Village will be transformed into the North Pole for this year’s Holiday Prelude celebration. The day will be full of holiday movies, train rides, Santa, live reindeer, ice skating and more. The Telluride Conference Center will come alive with decorations, lights and more from 1 pm to 5 pmas it converts into Santa’s Workshop. Children can share their Christmas List with Santa, make holiday ornaments and enjoy holiday classics such as Mickey’s Magical Christmas, the Polar Express and How the Grinch Stole Christmas with free hot chocolate and popcorn. Parents can relax in the Parents’ Lounge. Other activities will include a free train ride throughout Mountain Village, a live Reindeer petting area, an official tree lighting ceremony with Santa and carolers and the North Pole on Ice, a performance by the Telluride Figure Skating Club. For more information, visit www.tellurideskiresort.com.

Vail

Vail Snow Daze – Dec. 9-11, 2016

Celebrate the start of winter with snow, après, and free concerts at Vail Snow Daze. Spend the day on the mountain, visit the sponsor expo village and demo the latest gear, après at parties throughout the village, and wrap up the night with live music. www.vail.com/snowdaze.

 

Vail Holidaze – Dec. 16-18 and 31 2016

Vail Holidaze is the perfect place for family celebration this holiday season, as the town and mountain come alive with lights, sounds, events and cheer during the month of December. Embrace the holidays with the annual tree lighting ceremony and lantern walk. On New Year’s Eve torchlight ski down and fireworks, ring in the New Year Vail style with the Torchlight Parade, followed by fireworks at Golden Peak. Watch as ski instructors and Vail locals form a glowing train as they ski down Golden Peak with glowing sticks followed by a fireworks display.

Winter Park Resort

Torchlight Parade and Fireworks Show, December 24

A Christmas Eve tradition since 1978, the slopes of Winter Park will be aglow with the annual Torchlight Parade and fireworks show. The Christmas Eve Torchlight Parade is one of the most beloved Winter Park traditions. The event begins with Christmas carols around the bonfire at the base of Winter Park Resort, next to the Zephyr Lift at 4 pm. At 5:30 pm, a procession of torch-bearing skiers and riders begin their way down Lower Hughes trail, followed by Santa Claus and his merry helpers. A spectacular fireworks display and snowcats adorned with Christmas colors light up the slopes in a Christmas tree formation to conclude the festivities.

Immediately following the show at 6 pm, visitors are welcome to attend Christmas Eve interdenominational services located in the lower level of the Balcony House and Catholic Church services located in West Portal Level 4. Services are scheduled to last about an hour.

Santa can also be found both in the Village as well as on the slopes in the days leading up to Christmas Eve. For more information, visit http://www.winterparkresort.com.

Wolf Creek

Visit from Santa, December 24-25

Santa will make his annual visit to Wolf Creek during one of the snowiest months. While the reindeer take a rest, Santa will be delivering toys and exploring the mountain greeting guests, spreading holiday cheer and handing out traditional Christmas candy canes. Visit http://wolfcreekski.com for more information.

Killer ski deals for Labor Day Weekend!

The time has come. Yes, I mean Winter is coming…not in the Game of Thrones kind of way – but in the We Love to Go Outside and Play sort of way. Ski deals start big-time Labor Day weekend. The mountains have already reported dustings of snow so this may be the year to take up skiing or snowboarding. Try something new. Here are some of the best deals that you can score this Labor Day Weekend.
 
FREE Lift Tickets For Kids. There are two different programs in the state for kids to get into the sport of skiing/snowboarding.
·         Vail’s Epic Ski Kids. Vail’s program is free for kids Kindergarten through 5th Grade. Get four days at each of Vail’s Colorado resorts including Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone. Plus, it includes one free first-timer lesson (with specific Dec/Jan dates for the lesson). To get the pass you have to take your kiddo and their proof of age/grade to a Colorado Ski and Golf location. Lines can get long, so be patient. But hey, it’s free right? Blackout dates do apply.
·         Colorado Ski Country’s 5th Grade Passport (and 6th Grade). Colorado Ski Country USA’s 5th grade Passport Program provides participants with three free days of skiing or snowboarding at each of their 20 member resorts. They also offer a 6th grade Passport Program. Sixth grade provides participants with four days of skiing or snowboarding at each of their resorts for just $105 if you register before Wednesday, November 30th, 2016, and only $125 until Tuesday, January 31st, 2017. Plus, the program offers 5th graders who have never skied nor snowboarded the chance to receive one full-day beginner, level one group lesson, and an equipment rental package for absolutely free. Just sign up for the Passport Program.
·         Arapahoe Basin. The Kids Free 2 Ski program returns again this year. Kids age 6-12 receive two free days at A-Basin with NO blackout dates and no purchase necessary. Parents should register their child on our eStore or at one of our Front Range ski shows by NOVEMBER 6, 2016, to get two free ski days. Bonus: if your child is a first-time skier or snowboarder, they receive 50% off one half-day a.m. class lesson – which also comes with a lift ticket.
 
Junior Trade Program. The best deal in town for kid’s equipment is the Junior Ski Trade program at Colorado Ski and Golf (Ski and Sport/Boulder Deals) locations. The easy-on-the-budget program provides deeply discounted prices on full set-ups (skis, bindings, poles, boots, safety check) for both new and used equipment for children and teens who take advantage of this annual update program. The advantage: annual exchange of equipment “grows” with the kids allowing them to be in the right-sized boots and right sized ski or snowboard. The cost for the entire first season on used equipment starts at $99.99 or starting at $199.99 for a brand new equipment set-up. (Normal single day rental is typically somewhere around $30). For every subsequent season the child participates in Junior Trade through Colorado Ski & Golf, customers get a 50 percent in-store credit on their initial purchase price towards updated and re-fitted gear. Early birds get the widest selection of sizes and brands. The program is available to youth snowboarders at a slightly higher price.
 
SKI REX. THE ski equipment sale is SkiRex at Colorado Ski & Golf Locations (Colorado Ski and Sport/Boulder Ski Deals). The buyers have been cramming their Aurora warehouse with special purchases on skis, snowboards, boots, outerwear, and accessories from factory overruns, closeouts, and unsold inventory from regions where snow and sales were low last year. The sale starts Friday Sept. 2 at 8am and then runs for two full weeks untilSunday, Sept. 18.
 
With the help of Keystone Resort, the Park Meadows location of Colorado Ski & Sports will be the go-to spot for families. Along with the bargains, an outdoor playground will rule under the big tent in the parking lot. Kidtopia, Keystone’s season-long free family programming, will animate the area with craft activities, a bounce house for energetic young jumpers, and opportunities to meet the resort’s ski patrol dogs as well as Keystone’s beloved canine mascot, Ripperoo. Burton’s Riglet Park, a learn-to-ride obstacle course for little tykes, will be staffed by two instructors to introduce future riders to their first snowboard experience on an artificial snow surface with mini bumps and ramps from Thursday, Sept. 1-Sunday, Sept 4.
 
PowderDaze. The Christy Sports Powder Daze ski and snowboard sale returns to Denver exclusively at the Christy Sports Event Center: 8601 W Cross Dr in Littleton,Colorado next to the Southwest Plaza Mall. Open 10am – 8pm Daily, August 26 through September 6 with all Ski gear, Board Gear and Apparel up to 70% OFF! Plus, exclusive pass deals available at Denver Powder Daze Only!
 
Ski Area Deals:
·         Arapahoe BasinThe A-Basin Transferable 4-Pack is just $179! Available online or at Front Range Shows through September 6. Coolest part about this ticket is that it is fully-transferable with NO blackout dates. The 4-pack goes on sale Friday, August 26, 2016, either in person at a Front Range ski show or online at our eStore. It *cannot* be purchased at the mountain. Price is subject to change, and this is the lowest price of the season, so Labor Day weekend is definitely the time to buy!
 
*Powder Daze exclusive* – the adult A-Basin Elevation 4 Pass (ages 15+)plus one day for yourself or a friend – $159. This deal is ONLY valid at Christy Sports Powder Daze show sale in Littleton.The adult (age 15+) Arapahoe Basin Elevation 4 Pass gives the pass holder FOUR days of skiing with NO blackout dates. It is non-transferable (good for one person). When purchased at PowderDaze, the pass holder gets a FIFTH ticket for themselves or a friend loaded onto their pass (there are no blackout dates on that ticket). 
 
·         Steamboat – Steamboat  has several deals. Their deadline for many of their season pass, multi-day and multi-mountain pricing deadlines are Sept. 5:https://www.steamboat.com/seasonpass so act quickly! They also have some amazing packages including Labor Day (incl. lodging, tickets toWild West Air Fest and BOGO gondola tickets); OktoberWest (incl. lodging discounts, OktoberWest beer tasting ticket discounts and BOGO gondola tickets); Fall Breakaway package (free night of lodging when you book two or more); and other great deals as you look ahead to winter deals can be found here: https://www.steamboat.com/plan-your-trip/deals-and-packages
 
·         Crested Butte – Crested Butte takes the four-pack one notch up with a 6-pack and come back to see my favorite summer get-away! The six-pack includes five winter tickets and one summer ticket. $149 inclusive, limited to 1 per 18+ adult present. You can use the summer lift ticket for remainder of summer 2016 or summer 2017. Summer ticket expires end of summer season 2017. Score the PowderDaze 2-Night stay deal $329 inclusive.  $189 inclusive for extra nights. Booking starts November 17th.  Based on availability. Plus, they have a special kids 3-pack group lessons/lift for just $300 inclusive. Ages 3-14 for ski, 7-14 for snowboard. 1 per child per season.  Blackout dates apply, Non-transferable, non-refundable on all these offers.  Most expire on 4/9/2017
 
·         Copper – Copper will be offering a 5-for-4 Pack for just $169. This includes 5 days of skiing and riding at Copper with no blackout dates. There will also be Copper Season Passes and the new All Access Pass on sale as well at PowerDaze.
 
Copper also has some other fun events coming up including Copper Country on September 3 & 4  The annual Labor Day celebration includes free live music, kids activities and a fine arts exhibition. And, Unleash the Fierce Weekend happening the following weekend, September 9  -11. It’s a multi-day experience that stems from the Dirty Girl Mud Run. Instead of just the run this year, we’ve turned it into a weekend of girl power focused events. There’s a Wine Night Friday the 9th, the run and Girls Night Out on Saturday the 10th then a Bennies & Bubbly brunch and golf tournament on Sunday the 11th.
 
·         Winter Park – Exclusive offer at PowderDaze: Get 4 passes for $179 with a 5th Day FREE! Also, if you buy a 2016-17 Adult Winter Park Season Pass (or Route 40 Pass) get the same kids pass for free. Offers are non-transferrable, all people must be present to purchase pass. No blackout dates.
 
·         Eldora – Season passes are on sale now on their website but you can also score at Deal at PowderDaze… 4-Pass special of $149 available at the show. This pass is non-transferable and non-refundable, so just for one person but it is a great price for 4 amazing days of riding. 
 
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Spring fun + ski deals for next season (act NOW!)

As ski season comes to a close again this spring, many of the ski areas close this weekend. Some will stay open through next weekend thanks to the great snow we’ve had in the last weeks. There are some great fun and great deals out there still to be had.
 
Epic School Kids. Vail Resorts is once again offering FREE passes to kids that will be in Kindergarten through 5th Grade next year. Bring this year’s information to a Colorado Ski and Golf (Ski and Sport, Boulder Ski Deals or Colorado Springs Ski Deals) location along with your kiddos and a dose of patience. Kids will get four days at each of the Colorado Resorts owned by Vail (Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, and Keystone) plus a beginner lesson which includes equipment on the same day as the lesson.  *There is also a Utah specific program at Canyons/Park City so tell your friends/family that live in Utah.
 
Copper Mountain. Along with the sale of their 2016/17 Season passes and 4-packs, Copper announced a Kids Ski Free with the purchase of an adult season pass until June 1.  Copper has Apres Ski fun planned for April 9 and April 16 with live music. Woodward will present it’s final winter camp on April 9-10, and Sunsation end of season party will take place on April 16-17 (Even though the season will actually go one weekend past this planned event). Sunsation is complete with a free concert, slope soakers and a bikini contest.
 
Crested Butte. Crested Butte announced it is holding the 2015/16 price for their 2016/17 season passes when you purchase now.
 
Arapahoe Basin. Arapahoe Basin will stay open longer than several other resorts. They start their spring concert series (on Saturdays) beginning on April 30.
 
Breckenridge. Breckenridge has fun events including free concerts through April 24. End of the Season party will be on April 24, Closing Day! Grab your favorite cowboy hat and other Western wear and join the party! The Ski Hill Grill will be offering a variety of BBQ items, drink specials, a mechanical bull and music on the patio.
 
Loveland. Spring Fling Indie Demo and live music featuring Chain Station will help the fun on April 9. The 2016/17 Season passes will go on sale April 11. Get them early to get the best deals. (The pass includes days at Crested Butte, Monarch, Purgatory and Powderhorn).
 
Steamboat. Steamboat is Springalicious! In addition to the give-away that you can register for on their website, there are tons of great Spring deals in Steamboat. Celebrate spring with concerts, the cardboard classic and live music. Be part of the closing weekend fun this weekend – April 9 and 10.

Snowmass. It might be spring, but Snowmass really knows how to celebrate a good winter! April 9 at Base Village look for lots of fun including a DJ, Family activities (face painting, dunk tank, bouncy house). Sunday, April 10 the weekend ends with Schneetag, a ridiculous event in which teams of four descend the slope in a homemade craft and try to cross a pond at the base. Bonus points are awarded for airtime, creativity and costumes. Then the last day of the season, April 17, after a full day of skiing participate in the “La Ultima Fiesta,” the party at the base of the gondola revs up at 2pm on the patio at Ajax Tavern, where you will find drink specials, a BBQ pit and taco bar, giveaways, and live music (including a mariachi band).

 A few product notes:

I was able to try the Oakley Prism Technology goggles a couple weeks ago. They are amazing! The definition in the snow is great – especially for skiing on sunny days when you are going between sunny areas and shaded areas. They said it would enhance the contrast and visibility so I could actually see what I was boarding toward. Oakley Prism is definitely worth the money if you board (or ski) a lot!
 
It doesn’t matter if it is great weather of spring skiing or mid-winter cold, I always ride with my turtle fur. I recently discovered that they also make a turtle fur that has a hole for my ponytail. I have been running with that this spring.
 
Obermeyer. Let’s face it. Kids grow. I love that with Obermeyer you can have your kids clothes grow with them with the I-grow extended wear clothes. Plus, they go out of their way to make the kids not seem “babyish” (which is saying something from my teen daughter). 
Photo: Beaver Creek
 
 
 
 
 

Putting Ski, Swim and Stay to the test at Sunlight Mountain Resort

Mile High Mamas has frequently touted Sunlight Mountain Resorts’ Ski, Swim and Stay package as Colorado’s most affordable family ski vacation (normal rates start at just $99 and kids 12 and under ski free). However, it wasn’t until last weekend that we could finally personally endorse this staycation at Glenwood Hot Springs Lodge, Pool and Spa that includes swimming at the world’s largest natural hot spring and a whole lot of family fun.

Ski

skisopris1Colorado’s megaresorts often get all the glory while many of our state’s smaller “Gem” resorts get overshadowed. Just 12 miles outside of Glenwood Springs, Sunlight Mountain Resort flaunts a full day of skiing for half the price without the lines and parking fees.  Sounds too good to be true? I almost thought it was when my family arrived at this local’s mountain and glanced warily at the mere three chairlifts on Compass Peak.  I was happily proven wrong. By day’s end, we had barely put a dent in the 67 trails on 680 skiable acres. 

The terrain is varied with about 75 percent rated as beginner or intermediate–from gentle pitches to steeps–with stunning views of 12,966-foot Mount Sopris in a feather-light duvet of white. The terrain park offers jump lines that are small (for mom), medium (for daughter) and large (for son). 

After skiing for a couple of hours with bubbly mountain hostess Ivy, we wanted to ski some trees.  “I have just the place!” and she took us to Joslin Glades where we stopped (literally) in our tracks.

“You realize this is a double black diamond run,” Hadley choked out.

“I’ve been with you all morning. You’ve got this,” Ivy reassured.

And that is how my kids skied their first ever extreme terrain, slowly navigating the well-spaced evergreen glades so narrow it was like entering an elevator shaft of powder. The kids emerged shocked, triumphant and bathed in the memories of that forest for many years to come.

(Joslin Glades)

(Joslin Glades)

Fast facts:

  • All trails lead to the base so Sunlight is the perfect place for kids to flex their independence by skiing without Mom and Dad.
  • The 2.5-mile beginner Ute trail was once the longest run in Colorado.
  • Sunlight is home to Heathen, one of the steepest runs in the state on the resort’s famed East Ridge with a 52-degree pitch.
  • My daughter raved that her bacon-cheeseburger at the Grill was the “best ever,” while the red chili and onion rings won my vote.

Snowmobiling

snowmobilesunlight1Go to Sunlight Mountain Resort’s TripAdvisor page and you’ll find raving endorsements for their snowmobile tours, otherwise known as “Smile-mobiling.” Cheesy pun aside, this might be the most fun you’ll ever have on a snowmobile with their one-hour Family Tour or 2.5-hour Adventure Tour. We opted for the latter.

After getting outfitted with helmets and a debriefing on our Ski-Doos, we set out along the freshly groomed trail to explore the White River National Forest’s whirl of white.  Our guides Tyler and A.J. adapted our tour to our comfort level, allowing us to frequently gape at the 360-degree views of Mount Sopris, the West Elk Mountains, the Flattops Wilderness Area and the Tri-County Point, a unique geographical location where three Colorado counties (Garfield, Mesa and Pitkin) meet.  

The climax of our 30-mile adventure was when we arrived at Baylor Park’s expansive meadow, a scene that could have been lifted from a classical landscape painting were it not for my kid-in-a-candy-store husband free riding at top speeds. Our kids were thrilled to switch places and drive for the first time, leaving snowy billows behind our snowmobiles in powdery contrails.

(Baylor Park)

(Baylor Park)

Unfortunately, our storybook day did not have a perfect ending when, on our ride back, my husband and son’s snowmobile slipped off the groomed trail. Ty and A.J. quickly went to work, leveraging it out of the powder with various tools.  Bode and the snowmobile emerged unscathed while Jamie had a bloody lip and banged-up knee but was still in good spirits.

“Kids, your dad protected Bode from getting hurt. He did what’s called ‘taking one for the team,’” I observed.

“I’m the best airbag ever,” Jamie boasted.

Hot Springs, Food and Fun

Rand McNally and USA Today recently voted Glenwood Springs the Most Fun Town in America so what’s all the fuss about? Glenwood Springs is a real ski town but without the steep prices and pretentious attitudes. Average room rates are still under $100, so that means you can afford to get out and enjoy yourself. Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park is a  year-round attraction with rides, an alpine coaster and laser tag that complements a long list of mountain activities. 

(Glenwood Hot Springs)

(Glenwood Hot Springs)

Hot springs gush from the earth in Glenwood Springs and no visit is complete without a soak at Glenwood Hot Springs Resort. The historic sandstone bathhouse has been completely renovated and the spring delivers three and a half million gallons of hot water every day to the pool.Tip: The minerals did wonders for my husband’s sore muscles, as did a massage at their Spa. Stay at the 107-room Glenwood Hot Springs Lodge for easy access, best prices and a free breakfast buffet.

We also indulged at Iron Mountain Hot Springs, the area’s newest hot spot with 16 mineral hot springs soaking pools of various temperatures. Our timing was perfect. As we soaked in the freshwater family pool with a jetted spa overlooking the Colorado River, the town’s annual fireworks display was shot from nearby Two Rivers Park in conjunction with the Sunlight Mountain 2015 Ski Spree. Put this weekend on your agenda for next year.

One-of-kind shops and restaurants abound in historic downtown. You’ll find some of the best burgers (with 18 dipping sauces) and adult shakes in Colorado at the GRIND where they locally source grass-fed beef, butcher everything in house and GRIND them fresh every day. There is a small arcade in the back and guaranteed, your kids will be begging for more of their balsamic and honey-dressed Brussels Sprouts.

 Chalk up all these adventures and eats for one big, sunny win at Sunlight Mountain Resort. Thanks to them for hosting and congratulations to our grand prize winners for our Sunlight Ski, Swim and Stay contest.

 

Eldora Mountain Resort: Braving the Elements

Not all ski days are created equally and sometimes–no matter how great the resort–the weather just doesn’t cooperate. Thus describes last Saturday on the mountain. My husband was on a winter campout with the Scouts while my kids and I opted for the more sane option: skiing Eldora Mountain Resort.  Or so we thought. 

Eldora is a true local’s mountain. You won’t see fur collars or high-speed lifts here. Eldora is for the purists, where brown-bag lunches reign and the RTD “N”  route conveniently delivers oodles of skiers from downtown Boulder 21 miles up the canyon to the base, avoiding the I-70 gridlock. With just 680 skiable acres, this resort is about quality, not quantity as upslope snow storms provide sensational snow, backed up with one of Colorado’s most comprehensive snowmaking system that covers 100% of alpine skiable terrain on trails. No snobs allowed, unless you’re of the powderhound genre.

The mountain has naturally divided terrain that makes it easy for families to progress–from the Little Hawk Family Zone to the extreme bowls of Corona and west ridge. The family zone has several short, simple green runs, as well as several intermediate-level options for transitioning to the larger lifts. The problem is navigating over to the Challenge Mountain and Indian Peaks areas, where you need to take a quick shuttle to the base. We opted to avoid the hassle and just ski the more challenging terrain and with two inches of fresh snow, Eldora had all the makings for the perfect ski day.

eldoraEnter: Mother Nature.

I’m Canadian and a firm believer that there is no such thing as too-cold-weather, only inadequate clothing. However, my little half-breeds begged to differ and after two hours braving snow devils and bone-chilling wind on the (normally fun) cruiser trails off the Indian Peaks quad lift, we took a warm-up break in the Timbers Cafeteria with their delicious sticky buns and hot chocolate. We braved the conditions for Round 2, lasting only 1.5 hours that time before calling it a day…but not until after a pizza, burger and chili lunch. Priorities you know. 

Disappointed, we chalked it up to bad luck.  Five years ago, we had our very best ski/ride school experiences ever at Eldora. My son Bode is a great skier now but we had some speed bumps along the way.  When he was 3, he was fearless and indomitable on the slopes. At age 4, he was much more cautious but by kindergarten, he had turned downright fearful. I resolved to do something about it. Or rather, I decided to have someone more skilled and knowledgeable than me to do something about it so hired PSIA Level III Ski Instructor Nate Emerson was, hands down, the best thing that has happened to Bode since he discovered Minecraft (high praise, indeed).

On our drive to the resort, Bode faked a leg injury so we knew we needed the very best experience possible and he got it. At the end of their lesson, grumpy, fearful Bode was chasing Nate down the mountain, playing imaginary games like catch-the-dinosaur, dodge ball and basketball, all the while unknowingly learning new skills that made him more confident and capable. As it turns out, just telling a kid to point their skis and go down the mountain is not an effective teaching method. And that, my friends, is why I am not a professional but Nate is. 

We may not have had a memorable ski day this year but the great thing about Eldora–the closest resort to the Front Range–is there can easily be a next time.

Need to Know

  • There is a free shuttle that connects the two base areas but on a busy weekend, you’ll possibly be sharing it with all the ski school kids so plan for extra time.
  • Alternative transportation is available via the N route of RTD, it leave from the Boulder Transit Center. Detailed information about stops and times is available on rtd-denver.com.
  • If you’re looking for extra seating or simply a place to stash that diaper bag or backpack, families tend to congregate in the west wing of the Timbers Lodge where you’ll also find storage lockers.  Basket check rentals are available in Indian Peaks for $10 a day .
  • Arrive early. Eldora’s peak arrival times are generally between 9-10:30 a.m. on weekends so if you are planning on doing rentals or lessons, you’ll want to arrive by 8 a.m. to begin the process. Use the 10-minute parking area located right at the base to unload your family and gear before finding a parking spot.
  • For dining options, try the Indian Peaks dining area or Timbers Cafeteria. The food isn’t fancy but there is a wide variety of menu options. You may also try the Lookout on the mountain where you can find burgers, brats, hot dogs, sandwiches, salads, snacks, and more.
  • Adult Tickets: $84 – $89; kids are $49. Ski/Ride School: $129 Kid’s Mountain Explorer all-day (rentals, lift ticket, hot lunch). For the best deals on lift tickets, check Eldora.com and their Facebook page for information.

Nordic Fun

Eldora’s Nordic Center boasts 40 kilometers of cross-country skiing, skate skiing and snowshoeing through serene forests, expansive meadows and past staggering mountain backdrops. Though I consider myself a skilled alpine skier, my cross-country skiing pedigree leaves much to be desired so I was particularly excited to learn about their various packages. A popular tradition is the Women’s Tuesdays and Wednesdays.  No matter what your ability level or physical conditioning, this is an awesome opportunity to cross-country ski with women of your same ability level in a fun social setting with a continental breakfast, a gourmet lunch and four hours of instruction with their professional instructors.

Colorado Ski School 101: What Parents Need to Know to Ensure A Happy Experience

Becoming a new skier or snowboarder is easy in Colorado, especially for kids. Many resorts have reinvented ski school with new all-encompassing kids centers; creative kids ski programs that focus on fun, safety and learning; and value added lesson packages that fit every family’s budget. In Colorado, learning to ski is as easy as 1-2-3 and we’ve asked our friends at Colorado Ski Country USA (CSCUSA) to share some of their tips for learning to ski.

Lesson 1: Anyone Can Learn To Ski Or Snowboard. Across CSCUSA there are a myriad of learning programs covering all ages, abilities, and disciplines. Resorts offer imaginative lessons including groups, privates, semi-privates, family privates, adaptive, terrain park specific, bumps specific, kids’ telemark skiing, teens only, and more.

Lesson 2: Ski School Can Be Affordable, Hassle-Free And Is Often The Highlight Of Kids Resort Experience. January is Learn to Ski and Snowboard month in Colorado and discounted lesson programs and packages abound (see our round-up for details). Lesson packages sometimes include rental equipment, lift ticket and lunch. Kids love being with other kids while exploring parts of the resort designed especially for kids.

instructorLesson 3: Professional Instructors Focus On Fun. Colorado resorts employ the best in the business when it comes to ski and snowboard instructors, including many who specialize in teaching children. CSCUSA 2014/15 Instructor of the Year, Trish O’Connell from Steamboat Ski Resort, shares her expert advice on ways to ensure your child has a fun, safe and educational ski school experience.

What is the ideal age to start a kid skiing? Snowboarding?

This varies with each child. Most ski schools accept children in group lessons at 3-years-old. Snowboard equipment is now available for kids this age as well and many do great. If the child is potty trained, not in need of a nap, follows directions, and generally is comfortable with other kids and adults, they should do well in ski school. It’s also important that they are excited to ski! Pushing too early only sets them back.

What is the advantage of a full-day lesson over a half-day lesson?

A full day lesson provides a much better pace for children to learn. It allows them to develop a relationship with the instructor and the other kids in class. Having lunch as a group is often the most fun part of the day. Instructors are great at telling jokes and stories and doing different activities that help kids relax and enjoy the day. Typically, skills are introduced in the morning and the afternoon gives them time to practice and explore.
Trish O’Connell by Larry Pierce

What advantages does a group lesson provide over a private lesson?

Group lesson versus private is a choice that depends on each family and how the child learns best. Many, if not most kids, thrive in a group setting. They are used to being in school and often learn from watching others. It’s helpful for them to see their peers doing the same thing as they are. However, it totally depends on the child, some kids struggle with all the excitement around them and do better one on one.

When considering enrolling kids in ski school, where should parents start?

The resort website is a great place to start. If there are still unanswered questions, call the ski school directly. They are happy to assist and may help to put parents’ minds at ease.

What equipment is required for the student? What equipment does the resort provide?

Every resort is different but most resorts require kids to wear a helmet and almost all ski shops have them for rent. Skis, boots, ski clothing, goggles and good gloves or mittens are required for all skiers.

Is the ski pass included or sold separately?

This varies with each resort but most all resorts require a lift ticket.

What are the top three considerations parents should note when enrolling kids in ski school?

First of all, make a reservation. At busy times ski schools fill up. Second, make sure the child is dressed appropriately for the weather and everything is clearly labeled with their name. Dressing in layers is best. Helmet, goggles, good gloves or mittens, and sunscreen are essential. Third, note the time of lesson and arrive 15 minutes early to avoid stress. Also, be on time for pickup. The child will be anxious to show what they have learned!

What can parents do before the lesson to prep the child for ski school?

While it’s a good idea to talk about what the child can expect, I recommend keeping it brief. The more a child thinks about things the more stress it can cause, especially the unknown. Making sure they know there will be someone to take care of them and feed them is usually enough. Basics, like a good night’s sleep, healthy breakfast, and hydration are always good. Allowing time for a trip to bathroom before the lesson is a must. Many resorts have pictures and videos on their websites of kids in ski school. This can help ease their minds as well as let them know what to expect.

Talk about what ski schools do to keep kids safe during the lesson?

Safety is the main priority in ski school. Most resorts have special bibs for kids in preschool. They are brightly colored and easily identifiable to area employees. Lifts are slowed for them to get on and off and they will typically ride with an adult. Many areas have tracking devices for all kids in ski school. Also, instructors have extensive training in safety. The kids will be hydrated, wear sunscreen, kept warm, and fed when hungry! They ski on appropriate terrain. Most lessons incorporate Your Responsibility Code. Kids that come out of ski schools usually have the best etiquette and safety awareness of all those on the mountain!

What is taught to the kids about safety during the lesson?

Their safety and the safety of the other skiers is stressed as the top priority of the day. Your Responsibility Code is taught with the emphasis on always skiing in control! Instructors spend quite a bit of time on lift riding as well.

What can parents expect their kids to have learned after one lesson? Three lessons? Five lessons?

Again, different for every child but hopefully they will learn how to put on equipment, walk on their skis, glide and be able to stop after the first day. Three lessons typically has them riding a chairlift, turning, and comfortable on green runs. After five they may be exploring steeper terrain. Mental and physical development play a huge part in progress. Also, their desire to ski and motivation for skiing make a big difference. Skills acquired and actual achievement are not nearly as important as having them develop a love for the sport. If after a week they are still happy to put their skis on, even if they are only walking, it has been a success!

What would you tell the parent who is concerned about budget? Safety?

Of all the components of a ski vacation, lessons are the most important. Having a safe and independent skier is worth the expense. It is always a good idea to look online for deals. As for safety, every effort is made by the resort and the instructor to keep people safe. It is truly the top priority. Try not to let your fears show to your child. It is extremely hard to learn new skills if there is fear. One of the things that makes skiing fun is the excitement and adventure. It is part of the sport. Embrace it! (or at least embrace it in front of your child).

Why do you enjoy teaching kids to ski?

Kid are great! They have boundless energy, excitement and optimism. They are eager to please and impress. I am in awe of the trust they put in the instructor. They try their best to do what is asked of them and because they rarely think of consequences, they are usually successful. Teaching kids helps keep the kid in each of us going strong. Over a day’s time, I learn more from the kids then they probably learn from me.

Contest: Ski, Swim and Stay Giveaway at Glenwood and Sunlight Mountain Resort!

Sunlight Mountain Resort and Glenwood Hot Springs and Lodge are giving you a chance to taste-test its űber popular Ski, Swim, and Stay package!

Imagine a great day on Sunlight’s 67 trails followed up by a nice rejuevenating soak in the World’s largest natural hot springs capped with a great night’s rest in the legendary Hot Springs Lodge. Sunlight Mountain Resort’s Ski, Swim, and Stay package truly is the Colorado ski vacation families can afford. Normal rates start at just $99 and kids 12 and under ski FREE!

sunlight2Conveniently located just 12 miles outside of Glenwood Springs, Colo., Sunlight gives you a full day of skiing for about half the cost of the Mega resorts. You’ll park for free, walk to the lifts, and never stand in line.With 680 skiable acres and 2,000 vertical feet, families love Sunlight because all trails lead back to the newly renovated base lodge where you can stow your brown bag lunch or order something hot from the grill. Sunlight is situated on Compass Peak and is home to one of the longest runs in the state, the 2.5 mile Ute trail which is a favorite among many of the resort’s loyal skiers and riders.

About 75% of Sunlight’s terrain is rated as beginner or intermediate, making it the perfect place for beginners. Here you don’t just learn to ski or snowboard, you learn to shine. Looking for something more challenging? Sunlight is also home to one of the steepest runs in the state. Named the Heathen, this trail is located on the resort’s famed East Ridge and drops out from under your boots at a breathtaking 52 degree pitch.

Rand McNally and USA Today recently voted Glenwood Springs the Most Fun Town in America. Glenwood was also ranked number 5 in the Top Seven Ski Towns in America. So what’s all the fuss about? Glenwood Springs feels like a real town, but has just as much fun as a big resort – only without the steep prices and pretentious attitudes. Average room rates are still under $100, so that means you can afford to get out and enjoy yourself.

hotspringsNo visit to Glenwood Springs is complete without a soak in the world’s largest hot springs pool. It’s the perfect remedy after an active day on the mountain. Afterwards, you can stroll to historic downtown where one-of-kind shops and restaurants abound. Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park is another year-round attraction that complements a long list of mountain activities. Add it all up, and there’s so much to smile about at Sunlight Mountain Resort. 

Contest

Sunlight and the Glenwood Hot Springs Lodge are offering Mile High Mamas:

1.)    Four lift tickets (2 adults, 2 kids)

2.)    Four lift tickets (2 adults, 2 kids)

3.)    Grand Prize (1 room night at Glenwood Hot Springs to accommodate a family of four including Pool Pass plus 2 adult lift tickets, 2 kids lift tickets).

Blackout Date: Dec. 19 – Jan. 3; Feb. 12 – 14; Mar. 18  – Apr. 3. Sunlight closes April 3. You may enter as many as five times. Increase your odds of winning by entering two more times, at Brave Ski Mom and MTN Town Magazine. Both of these fabulous sites are giving away a Grand Prize trip and two sets of lift tickets. All together, we’re offering 9 prizes!

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Denver Deal: Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month is January 2016

I grew up in Steamboat. And yes, we had skiing as our gym class in elementary school. After I had my kiddos I had not gone skiing in a long time mostly due to cost and I wasn’t sure if my kids would love it. Then when my son got his free pass in 5th Grade (back then there was not the Vail Epic School Kids offering it to Kindergartners) – he challenged me to learn snowboarding. The first time was not pretty (I could not figure out how to stop the stupid thing and was toted to the bottom of the ski area strapped to a sled provided by the lovely mountain staff). After that, I did get a lesson (on a cheap deal in January since it is Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month) and the rest is sort of family history. I love snowboarding. I can’t wait to go every year! It is great fun with the family and yes, you can even get DEALS to do it. If you’ve never been….start now!

Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month. We will continue to update you as we learn about great deals for Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month but here are a few to get you started. 

  • Arapahoe Basin – Arapahoe Basin Ski Area’s Super Sunday lessons are morning, half-day only (2.5 hours) and include a lift ticket. Adults (ages 15+) are $80 and children (ages 3-14) are $100. Equipment rentals are not included but guests can find alpine ski and snowboard rentals on-site at the Arapahoe Basin rental shop. Super Sunday lessons are available January 3, 10, 17, 24, 31 as well as Friday, January 8 as Arapahoe Basin participates in the World’s Largest Lesson. For more information, visit www.arapahoebasin.com.
  • Aspen/Snowmass + Limelight Hotel – New this year at the Limelight Hotel, the property introduces the Beginner Incentive Package that will make any newbie to the sport a skier for life. Offered in conjunction with the Aspen Snowmass Ski & Snowboard Schools, the package includes three full days of adult beginner lessons and four nights at the Limelight Hotel. Daily lunch is included in the experience, and the property’s local guides will escort skiers and riders to the slopes each day. Ski or Snowboard boot rentals, skis, snowboards and helmets are included. Guests also have the option to rent goggles, gloves, jackets and outerwear upon arrival from local retail partners.The package is valid during Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month from Jan. 2-17, 2016. Pricing for this all-inclusive package starts at $1,778 per person. Book now by visiting www.limelighthotel.com or calling (844) 854-3387.
  • Copper Mountain – Copper announces Ski and Ride School University: No More Excuses for Winter Sport Never-Evers. Inspired by National Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month, Ski and Ride School U offers newbies aged 18 and older a hassle-free and affordable option to catch the winter bug. For $199 the package includes:Three ski or snowboard lessons, Lift tickets, Equipment rentals, Close-in parking, Lunch on the 2nd and 3rd day. Plus, upon graduation and completion of the third lesson, Copper will award participants a free season pass so guests can progress further on the slopes for the remainder of the winter. Quantities are limited and the package must be purchased in person at Copper Mountain. For more information, please visit www.CopperColorado.com.
  • Eldora – Eldora Mountain Resort (EMR) is offering the Mountain Explorer Children’s Learn to Ski and Snowboard Package for $129. The day package includes an all mountain lift ticket, all day rental, and all day lesson, with snacks and lunch. Reservations are recommended; visit http://www.eldora.com/lessons.children.html for more information. For adults, EMR is offering the EASY 1-2-3 for $129. The day package includes one day of lower mountain lift access, all day equipment rental and 3.5 hour lesson (2 hours AM and 1.5 hours PM). Visit http://www.eldora.com/lessons.daily.html for more information. 
  • Loveland – All children (ages 4-14) regardless of ability who pre-purchase or complete 3 full day lesson packages receive a free, unrestricted season pass to keep practicing their skiing or snowboarding skills for the rest of the season. Children’s full day lesson packages include lesson, lift access, rentals (ski or snowboard) and lunch.  Full day lessons are from 10am through 3:30pm daily. Phone reservations are available or guests can register at the Loveland Valley between 8am and 9am. Participants who pre-purchase can enjoy the season pass all winter long. Pre-purchase price is $336 for ages 6-14 skiers & snowboarders (Includes Season Pass); $360 for ages 4-5 skiers (Includes Season Pass & early drop off)
  • Monarch – Kids ages 7 and up who have never been skiing or riding before, get the package including an all-day lift ticket, a ski or snowboard rental, a helmet rental, and a 4-hour group lesson for just $139. Plus, take the lesson package between the dates specified you will receive a free lift ticket for your next visit this season! Book the lesson on their website, skimonarch.com. (http://www.skimonarch.com/learn-to-ski-month/
  • Crested Butte – During the month of January, first time skiers and riders, ages 15 and older can sign up for a first time beginner adventure lesson with the Crested Butte Ski + Ride School fro $79. This package includes full-day ski or snowboard lesson, full day adult lift ticket (valid for limited lift access on the day of the lesson) and 1/ off a single-day equipment rental package. (Expires 1/31/2016).
  • Steamboat – Guests at Steamboat can build confidence while they learn in a safe, controlled, terrain-based environment with instructors that guide them every step of the way. Steamboat’s Learn to Ski/Ride Package opens the slopes with two days of lessons, rentals and lift tickets for just $199 from Jan. 4-31. Learn to Ski/Ride is available for adults and children ages 1st Grade and older. For more information, visit www.steamboat.com or call 800.299.5017.
  • Sunlight – Skier Appreciation Day at Sunlight (January 8) offers $20 lift tickets to all skiers and snowboarders with 100 percent of the proceeds being donated to the United Way of Garfield County. In addition, on January 10 Sunlight will host Student/Teacher Appreciation Day, with $20 lift tickets for students and free lift tickets for teachers.
  • If you got the Vail Epic School Kids, use your free lesson and equipment rental this month. Call to your favorite resort (Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, or Keystone) to make your reservation. 
  • Winter Park – Winter Park Ski + Ride School’s multi-week Fish Programs can accommodate children from age 3 to 14. With the 7 week Piranhas Program, 5 week Barracudas Program, or the 3 week Minnows Program, kids will have a blast while making new friends, and developing new skills on the slopes. Groups are broken down by age and ability level, from beginner to expert. Programs include instruction from the same coach each week, GPS tracking, and lunch. Programs for the month of January begin at $259 and may be reserved here:http://www.winterparkresort.com/plan-your-trip/lessons/kids-multiweek-lessons.aspx
  • Wolf Creek – Wolf Creek Ski Area offers a variety of ski and snowboard packages to help introduce never-evers to the sport. During the month of January, Wolf Creek is offering a four-week Camp Robbers clinic for kids. For $231 ($264 for non-Season Pass holders) lift ticket, ski rental, four hours of instruction, lunch, and snacks are all included each week. Children will be grouped with the same children and instructor each week for the clinic. Not only will the kids improve on their skills, but also this class design will encourage socialization and friendship over the four-week span. Mountain safety, fun races, and a terrain garden are all featured in this program. For more information, visit http://www.wolfcreekski.com
  • Estes Park, COJan 16, 2016 – Part of a two-day celebration of winter with many other events happening with clinics and igloo building.  This is a snowshoe only event. (It’s not just ski and snowboard month!)

Winter Ski Directory. We’re thrilled to launch the Colorado Family Ski/Ride Directory that focuses exclusively on families–from daily lift ticket prices to the cost of childcare to where to get the best deals….all in one convenient place so you can compare and contrast. 

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Email me if you know of any great Denver deals!

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

Kids Eat Free Mile High Mamas has rounded up a huge listing of local restaurants where kids eat free or for a discount with a paying adult.

 

Winter Park: 7 Grand County Family Activities On and Off the Slopes

As I reached the crest of the first hill, I briefly paused to marvel at my exuberant family breaking trail. The snow whirled around them, casting alabastrine shadows that dipped and rose with the terrain as they hopscotched their way on skis down the mountain.

We were in Grand County. As the closest major destination resort to Denver, the Winter Park area is a veritable winter wonderland with a bevy of activities for the entire family–from snowmobiling to free ice skating at Cooper Creek Square to careening down Colorado’s fastest sledding hill at Colorado Adventure Park to warming up at the Foundry Cinema and Bowl. Our weekend was full of fun, laughter and (mis)adventures. And  yes, I’m referring to  when I got locked in the bathroom at Zephyr Mountain Lodge and the kids thoughtfully fed me Starburst under the door. It’s weekends likes ours where memories are made.

Ski Day

About 60 percent of Winter Park resort’s skiers/riders are from the Front Range, making it a local’s favorite with Seven Territories across 3,081 acres.ski The makings of an amazing ski day: Eat breakfast at Goody’s Mountain Creperie. Gorge on six inches of fresh snow while falling in love with this easily navigable mountain. Capitalize on fresh powder stashes off the Olympia Express Lift (an intermediate Mecca) and try some of the easier bumps at infamous Mary Jane.

We had a brush with mortality while lazily coasting under the Hi-Lonesome Express lift. My kids love skiing in the trees and this beginner’s area is brimming with fun just off the main trail. Jamie took the lead and as we followed him through the gladed obstacle course, he yelled at us to “STOP!” narrowly preventing us from following his course hat launched him over a creek, thus securing his future in the X Games. A few minutes later, Bode encountered a small jump and, panicked he’d end up like his father, opted to go around. Kind of. This is what a tree hugger (or sitter) looks like in Winter Park. treehugger

For pricing, ski school and deals information, be sure to read our Winter Park Ski Area feature in our Colorado Ski Guide.

Grand  [Snowmobile] Adventures

 While the rest of my family was born over convenient holidays, Jamie’s entrance to this world was December a.k.a. the busiest time of the year. snowHe’s usually overlooked but he was delighted when I surprised him with a guided two-hour snowmobile tour with Grand Adventures, located across from Winter Park Resort. The fact that my kids had never been snowmobiling added to the excitement as we were outfitted with top-of-the-line Ski-Doos with heated hand grips for the driver and passenger (times have changed since my rustic snowmobiling adventures of yesteryear).

Our group followed our hilarious guide Joe through the frosty expanse stipled with Ponderosa and  lodgepole pine, winding our way to nearly 12,000 feet along the Continental Divide. We cut the engines as we marveled at the views of the ski area and the glistening Fraser Valley, listening to the wind clinking through patches of hoarfrost crystals.

There is an extensive network of trails that wind through the Arapahoe National Forest so if you prefer to go it alone, another option is to try Grand Adventures’ two-hour unguided snowmobile rental. If you want to drive over to Grand Lake a.k.a. the Colorado Capital of Snowmobiling, they offer more than 100 miles of trails for the intermediate to advanced rider. Guess what Jamie wants to do for his next birthday? Note to self: don’t set the bar too high.

Foundry Cinema and Bowl

Magic 8 (Bowling) Ball

Magic 8 (Bowling) Ball

This retro-industrial-designed local’s hotspot in Winter Park is a one-stop shop for indoor fun with a full-service bar, concessions, gourmet grill serving up wood-fired pizza, 8 bowling lanes, two small movie theaters with stow-away snack trays (think airlines but with good eats), billiards, shuffleboard and arcade games. Following a long day in the snow, bowling was the perfect way to unwind…until I bowled my all-time low so sought consolation by sinking into the overstuffed leather couches in between gutter balls.

My son and I battled it out in another way. Me: “The women’s bathroom is the coolest I’ve ever seen with glowing, psychedelic hot-pink sinks!” Bode: “Oh yeah? The boy’s bathroom has TVs above the urinals.” We’ll call this one a draw.

Colorado Adventure Park

Winter Park Resort has a fun slope-side tubing hill that is convenient after a day on the slopes. However, if you want huge thrills, drive a few miles down the road to locally-owned Colorado Adventure Park, the largest largest and fastest tubing hill in Grand County (and maybe even Colorado). coloradoadventurepark They not only offer Tubing and Double Tubing (starting at $18/hour) but also Snow Scoots, mini Polaris 120 snowmobiles for kids under 5 feet or 130 pounds ($10 for 10 minutes around the groomed track). Purchase a s’mores kit (or bring your own) and warm yourself by the fire.

As we dragged our tubes over to the magic carpet conveyer belt, Hadley looked up at Colorado Adventure Park’s daunting slopes and proclaimed “I’m not going down that.” We retorted “Yes, you are.” “No I’m not.” Once at the top, she was relieved to see there were varying options, ranging from Green (beginner) to Black Diamond (expert) so she relented by taking the easy route. Predictably, she had a blast on this fast, steep and slick hill!

“Now, you’re ready for the Black Diamond run!” Jamie announced. The pitch was almost identical to her previous runs but had two small bumps. “I’m not going down that.” “Yes, you are.” Only this time she needed more forcible convincing and this is where you judge us as parents as Jamie carried her laughing 90-pound body to the hill before they both collapsed in a heap on the snow. The only person not laughing? Me. Note that their chaos caused my tube to shoot down without me.tube

Predictably, she had a blast, as did we all after a memorable weekend in Grand County.

Other Fun Happenings

(Winter Park's free wagons for transporting gear)

(Winter Park’s free wagons for transporting gear)

Dec. 31, 2015 – New Year’s Eve Celebration (Hideaway Park). Ring in the New Year with a huge fireworks display over downtown Winter Park. The show starts at 9 p.m., but there’s free sledding at Hideaway Park to keep everyone entertained leading up to the fireworks extravaganza.

Jan. 30, 2016 – Mary Jane’s 40th Birthday Bash (Winter Park Resort & Hideaway Park). This celebration pays homage to Mary Jane Mountain’s namesake, a well-known madam and local lady of the night who lived in the area in the late 1800s. Activities at the base of Mary Jane and Winter Park will keep the “over the hill” party going all day long. The event wraps up with a parade down Main Street starting at 6 p.m., followed by a fireworks display.

For more information on Colorado’s resorts, be sure to go to our Colorado Family Ski Directory. Thanks to Winter Park for hosting!

Colorado Family Ski Directory: Welcome to Our New Ski Section!

Mile High Mamas is a top resources for planning Colorado family ski/ride vacations. Due to the deluge of inquiries we receive, we’re thrilled to launch the Colorado Family Ski Directory that focuses exclusively on families–from daily lift ticket prices to the cost of childcare to where to get the best deals. But we’ve taken it one step further! Click the hyperlink for each resort name below for more in-depth details including additional deals, at what ages kids ski free, lessons, family-friendly activities, area attractions for playtime off the slopes and more.

This is just the basic information you’ll need to get started. To give you a true taste of Colorado’s winter, follow our adventures as we visit area resorts this season in our new ski section and look for the momreview button below for our fun and informative narratives.

Colorado Family Ski Directory 2015/16

Resort Adult Kids Childcare Ski/Ride School Deals
Arapahoe Basin Ski Area $89 $44 (ages 6-14); Kids 5 and under ski free every day. No. Kids class lessons start at $130 for half-day, $155 for full-day. Multi-week programs start at $325. available for kids of all ability levels, age 3 and up. Arapahoebasin.com. Check out their Snowsports and hot deals pages.
Aspen Highlands $139 $89 No on-site childcare Starting at $179 aspensnowmass.com

 

Aspen Mountain $139 $89 No on-site childcare Starting at $179 aspensnowmass.com
Beaver Creek Resort

momreview

$142*  $98*  Full day is $150.  1/2 day is $120 Starts at $190+ beavercreek.com
Breckenridge Ski Area

momreview

$132*  $96 On-site childcare is $124 a day/advanced reservation.  Starting at $147. breckenridge.com
Buttermilk

momreview

$139 $89 The Hideout 7,500-square feet. Half-day starting at $121; full-day $169 Starting at $179 aspensnowmass.com
Crested Butte Mountain Resort

momreview

$108/111 Kids 6 and under ski free, Child (7-12) : $59/$61 Teen (13-17) $97/$100 There is a nursery for 2 months to 3 years old. Full-day starts at $140. Group lesson with lunch starts at $164.  skicb.com deals. Kids ski free November 26, 2015 – December 18, 2015, no strings attached.
Cooper | Chicago Ridge

 

 $50  $30  Childcare $14/hr; $55 for half-day;  $72 for full-day  Child (5-12) all-day Panda Patrol group lessons start at $99 (get 10% off if you reserve online.)  Deals offered at local rental shops, lodges, and grocery stores. Best deals are at skicooper.com.
Copper Mountain Resort $74 Starting at $54. Children 5 and under ski/ride for free. Belly Button Babies & Bakery for daily childcare. Kid’s Night Out is a FREE 3-hour childcare on the condition parents spend at least $30 at the resort. Prices vary, but pre-purchase most lessons online and save 20%! Purchase your tickets at CopperColorado.com and save up to 53% on window prices. You’ll also find lodging steals and vacation packages. 
Eldora Mountain Resort

momreview

$84 Starting at $49/ 5 and under $25 season pass No on-site child care $129 two-hour lesson (lower mountain ticket good for all day + rentals). $99-$129 Mountain Explorer all-day (rentals, lift ticket, hot lunch).  Eldora.com 
Keystone Resort

 

 $94* Starting around $55.*  Ski: Ages 3-14, $175.
Snowboard: Ages 7-14, $175
Riglet Snowboard Lesson: Ages 3-6, $280.
 Pricing begins at $90 for half day.  Keystoneresort.com
Loveland Ski Area

momreview

$65  $28 – peak child (6-14) rate. Children 5 & under are free Full day with lunch and two snacks is $71. Half day (morning only) with one snack is $56. Hourly rate is $16/hour. Full day lesson with lunch, lift ticket and equipment rental for 6-14 is $117. 4-5 is $125 and includes early drop off.  skiloveland.com;
lovelandreservations.co
m; liftopia.com. Any child (4-14) that completes three full lesson packages is eligible for a FREE season pass. 
Monarch Mountain $74 Teen (13-15) $45, Junior (7-12) $30, Children under 6, Free The Children’s Center Rates:
$95 – All-day, $50 – Half-day.
Group ski lessons:

Adults: $55
Junior: $55
Child (Ages 5-6): All-day $100

Monarch ski packages with lodging participants. skimonarch.com

 

Powderhorn Mountain Resort $69 $17 No on-site childcare Children’s Learning Center starts at age 3.

Group lessons start at ages 5-7, with prices starting at $73 for a half-day lesson.

coloradowinecountryinn.com. Learn to Ski or Snowboard Package is $169 for three full days of lift tickets, lessons and rentals: powderhorn.com
Purgatory Resort $85 Teen (13-17) $68; Child (6-12) $53; Children 5 & under FREE $70 half day
$90 full day
$30 Kids Night Out
Half-day lessons $72 (lesson only)
Full Day Packages 6-12 year olds (lesson, lift ticket, rentals (including helmet) & lunch) $154. 
Purgatory Resort’s website features deals on lodging packages that include discounts on lift tickets. PurgatoryResort.com
Ski Granby Ranch $64  Junior 6 – 12 $39/$44, Kids 5 and under ski free No on-site childcare. Age 3 & 4, half day only, starting at $90.
Age 5 – 12, half or full day, starting at $99.
GranbyRanch.com
Snowmass

momreview

$139 $89 The Treehouse Kids Adventure Center. Half-day starting at $121; full-day $169. Starting at $179 aspensnowmass.com
Steamboat Ski Area

momreview

$139 Start at $71.  Kids Ski Free Program for ages 12 and under. Kids’ Vacation Center offers daycare for ages 6 months to Kindergarten. All day program is $129 with advanced online purchase. Kids’ Vacation Center lessons start at age 3. Prices start at $162 with advanced online purchase. www.steamboat.com or call 800-922-2722
Sunlight Mountain Resort

 

momreview

$60 $45/full day; $35/half day; 5 and under ski free Childcare is $100 full day; $55 half-day; $25/hourly. Super Tots: Full Day lesson, lift, helmet, lunch for ages 4-6 is $150. Half-day is $100.

Regular ski school: 2 hour lesson, lift, rentals is $100. 4 hour lesson, lift, rentals is $150.

Kids 12 and under ski free. Affordable Ski, Swim Stay Packages with Glenwood Hot Springs.

SunlightMTN.com

Telluride Ski Resort $114  $68 (regular season)/$72 (holiday); Kids 5 and under ski free  For toddlers (ages 1 – 4). Half day is $60 and a full day is $85. Infant care starts at $70 for a half day and $90 for a full day. Ski/Ride school starts at $185 for a lesson, lift ticket and lunch for ages 3 to 14.  tellurideskiresort.com
Vail  $142  Approx. $98. Kids ages 4 and under ski free.  Small World Nursery offers daycare for children 2 months-6 years.  The Vail Ski & Snowboard School lessons start at $180. Visit Vail.com and purchase tickets 7 days in advance for best prices.
Winter Park Resort

momreview

$113 Approx. $70. Kids 4 and under ski free. Childcare for kids 2 months to 6 years. Half day is available for $109, full day is available for $139. Full day lessons for kids (ages 3-14), including lunch, are $199. Call Winter Park Central Reservations for latest deals and special promos.  800-729-7907.
Wolf Creek Ski Area  $65 $34. Kids 5 and under $6 No Starting at $65 Visit wolfcreekski.com.

*Note: Information and prices are subject to change and most resorts offer discounted rates if you purchase online seven days in advance. Many resorts do not publish a set lift ticket price. When compiling our list, we used the date January 9, 2016 as our base to compare prices.

Featured image: Loveland Ski Area