Family activities for the winter |

Family activities for the winter

The Vail Four Seaons is known for their Back Bowls tours, showing off some of Vail's most breathtaking views.
Don Riddle|Special to the Daily

There’s snow, and then there’s Colorado snow. Fresh powder will soon blanket Colorado’s ski slopes, charming towns and vibrant cities, creating a wonderland full of winter adventures that bring everyone together for family bonding and memory making. More families than ever are discovering the joy of traveling with multiple generations, including grandparents, cousins and maybe even great aunts and uncles. From ski adventures to dude ranch experiences, and sleigh rides to snowcats, Colorado offers something for every member of the family this winter. For more great multigenerational travel ideas, visit

Off-The-Slopes Activities For Everyone

Snow tube at Beaver Meadows Resort Ranch: Beaver Meadows Resort Ranch, located near Red Feather Lakes, is home to the oldest and longest running snow tube park in Colorado. There are 12 snow tube runs that range from gentle to extreme, and on any given day visitors can expect to get in five to 10 runs per hour. Kids shorter than 36 inches can enjoy the free kiddie hill (must bring your own sled), and everyone can enjoy the warming shed with a fireplace at the bottom of the lift.

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Explore Cave of the Winds Mountain Park in Colorado Springs: Some of the oldest show caves in the country offer a variety of ways families can play all year long. Little ones can enjoy gold and gemstone panning and the Stalactykes Adventure slide. Preteens can try the Caving 101 tour and the Cliffhanger Climbing Wall. Adventure-seeking teens can whisk across William’s Canyon on the Bat-a-Pult or launch nearly 100 mph on the Terror-Dactyl. The entire family can also enjoy total cave darkness on the Discovery Tour or try the brand new Via Ferrata course.

Experience a winter dude ranch adventure at C Lazy U Ranch: Located in the mountains of Grand County, C Lazy U features a collection of 40 unique and elegant cabin accommodations and provides visitors with 8,500 acres of limitless authentic winter activities, including horseback riding, snow tubing, ice hockey and skating on a Zamboni-groomed pond, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, trap shooting, cross-country skiing and more.

Discover something new at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science: For more than 100 years, the Denver Museum of Nature & Science has been at the heart of cultural experience in Denver. Explore the cosmos, uncover dazzling gems and minerals, visit Imax and the planetarium, and get as close to a T-Rex as you dare. The four-story West Atrium features the best view in Denver — especially sunset from the Sky Terrace.

Explore the Ice Castle in Dillon: Back for its second season, the impressive Ice Castle in Dillon is perfect for all ages. The castle features tall walls and turrets, slides, interactive features, colorful lighting and live entertainment. The Castle is set to open in December.

Go ice fishing in Rio Blanco County: Anglers who can’t get enough fishing in the summer months will love the multitude of ice fishing opportunities available in Rio Blanco County. Visit Lake Avery, Kenney Reservoir or Rio Blanco Lake throughout the winter and catch a variety of trout, crappie and bluegill.

Try winter jeeping with Rockin’ K Jeep Rentals in Ouray: Ouray County and the San Juan Mountains are well-known for its summer Jeeping opportunities, but four-wheeling can be a year-round recreational activity. Starting this winter, Rockin’ K Jeep Rentals will provide a new winter Jeeping experience utilizing brand new Jeep Rubicons with 35-inch tires, perfect for exploring the area’s many maintained winter roads and trails.

Enjoy a guided gourmet snowshoe tour in Steamboat Springs: Join a Steamboat ambassador for an informative and fun tour followed by a gourmet lunch. Offered daily throughout the season, snowshoe tours follow the mile-long Vista Nature Trail and finish at Thunderhead with a delectable gourmet lunch and refreshing glass of wine at Hazie’s.

Check out the Cats of Colorado Snowshoe with Walking Mountains Science Center in Vail: New this winter, Park Hyatt Beaver Creek has partnered with Walking Mountains Science Center to offer a brand new Cats of Colorado Snowshoe package. Certified interpretive guides will escort guests on a four-hour snowshoe tour on U.S. Forest Service trails around Vail looking for scats, tracks and furs from local cats including the mysterious Lynx, one of the most elusive wild cats in North America. Guests could also see moose, fox, elk, deer and more.

Watch for eagles at Barr Lake State Park: Winter is an excellent time for bald eagle viewing at Barr Lake State Park, including nesting pairs and many other wintering eagles. Eagles begin their courtship behavior in January, including tumbling in mid-air, nest building and staying close together. In mid-February, and often coinciding with Valentine’s Day, bald eagles lay one to three eggs. Celebrate this unique time at Barr Lake by attending the Bald Eagle Festival on Feb. 3 at the nature center.

Family Fun On-The-Slopes

Ride Amtrak’s Winter Park Express Ski Train: Amtrak’s Winter Park Express Ski Train runs right from the historic Denver Union Station to the base of the ski hill at Winter Park. And, this year, the ski train has added the most roundtrip dates it has had since it re-launched in 2017. The 2019 season features a continuation of fares starting at $29 each way and three additional Friday round-trips.

Experience Vail’s legendary Back Bowls with the Four Seasons Resort Vail: Vail’s famed back bowls span 3,000 acres and provide advanced skiers some of the most breathtaking views around. Families can enjoy an exclusive tour of these bowls with a local celebrity, while enjoying stories about the founding days of Vail. To complement this full-day experience, guests can enjoy a chef-curated picnic lunch at Blue Sky Basin.

Try cat skiing or enjoy a scenic tour at Ski Cooper: Located near Leadville along the Continental Divide, Ski Cooper offers scenic snowcat rides and snowcat skiing through powder bowls and glades from the top of 12,600-foot Chicago Ridge. From tame to high-octane, there’s something for everyone in the family.

Check out the new Snowmass Mountain Club: Perfect for families, the cozy-chic Snowmass Mountain Club, nestled at the base of Snowmass Village, offers exclusive access on and off Snowmass Mountain. The on-mountain experiences include activities such as first tracks and moonlight cross-country skiing, as well as access to an on-site concierge. The facilities are equipped with ski valet, family locker rooms and apres-ski in the club lounge.

Take an introduction to back country skiing course at Snow Mountain Ranch: For families interested in learning how to backcountry ski, but don’t know where to start, a new ski program now being offered at Snow Mountain Ranch near Winter Park provides the perfect opportunity for folks to learn how to have a great day in the backcountry. Using modern alpine-touring equipment, the course touches upon the basic principles of avalanche safety, terrain management, backcountry travel and preparedness and how to use an avalanche beacon, shovel and probe.

Apres Adventure and Winter Warm Ups

Enjoy an exclusive dining experience at Anderson’s Cabin in Beaver Creek: Experience the history and magic of Bachelor Gulch by reserving an exclusive, private dining experience at Anderson’s Cabin, tucked into the woods and once the home of John Anderson, one of the seven bachelors of Bachelor’s Gulch that first settled in the area.

Take a soak in the Iron Mountain Hot Springs: Relax in the pure hot mineral water in the 16 soaking pools at Iron Mountain Hot Springs in Glenwood Springs — the perfect way to wrap up a day of winter fun. Temperatures range from 98 degrees to 108 degrees, providing families lots of options. All ages are welcome in the freshwater family pool and jetted spa, which are kept at about 93 degrees and 103 degrees, respectively. The onsite Sopris Cafe offers snacks, meals, hot and cold drinks, plus beer, wine and canned cocktails for adults.

Catch a cozy night sleep in a Never Summer Nordic Yurt: For a unique twist on Colorado’s iconic hut trips, take the whole family on a yurt trip with Never Summer Nordic. Several of the yurts offer two-wheel “drive-ups” and wheelchair access — a unique option in the backcountry and one that makes a true multigenerational trip a possibility. All of the Never Summer Nordic yurts offer a seemingly endless system of old roads and trails for skiing and snowshoeing. Telemark the bowls, snowboard the mountain passes and snowshoe the trails.

Feast on a gourmet yurt dinner at Tennessee Pass Cookhouse: Visitors to the Tennessee Pass Cookhouse & Sleep Yurts can enjoy a 1-mile hike to a candlelit yurt and a gourmet dinner. After a unique, relaxing evening, they can hike back to their cars under a starlit sky — or retire to a luxury yurt for the evening.

Experience Uley’s Sleigh Ride Dinner at Crested Butte Mountain Resort: For a fine dining experience with a mountain adventure as the first course, all ages are encouraged to journey to Uley’s Cabin. Ride a snowcat driven sleigh to the cabin where a multicourse feast awaits. This evening allows for family members of all ages to experience the thrills of the slopes and the majesty of the mountain.

Ski With The Family and Save

Snag a Colorado Gems Card: Appropriately named, the Gems ski areas are among Colorado’s best hidden treasures. With affordable prices, and world-class terrain, the Colorado Gems ski areas offer an authentic Colorado skiing and snowboarding experience. For just $25, the Colorado Gems Card provides either two 2-for-1 adult lift tickets or two 30 percent off adult lift tickets at each of the eleven Colorado Gems Resorts, providing up to 22 days of discounted skiing or riding at Colorado’s hidden gems.

Get a Powder Kids Season Pass at Purgatory Mountain Resort: New this year, Purgatory Mountain Resort is giving all kids 10 years old and younger a free Power Kids Season Pass ­— no purchase required, no strings attached. The free pass makes skiing more affordable for families and is valid at Purgatory Resort and Hesperus Ski Area in Durango.

Save with Mission: Affordable at Powderhorn Mountain Resort: Located on Colorado’s Grand Mesa outside of Grand Junction, Powderhorn Mountain Resort offers Mission: Affordable season passes including an adult pass for $399, children’s passes starting at $49 for 5 and younger, junior passes for age 6 to 12, and a 10 percent discount extended to families purchasing passes together. Powderhorn is also introducing the Mission: Affordable Learn to Ski Free program, which includes three sessions for beginner skiers and riders ages 5 and older, plus a free EZ Rider lift ticket and rental equipment.

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