Snow Mountain Ranch: A perfect (and affordable) family getaway!

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Imagine discovering a place where you could do pretty much any winter snow adventure all at the same place.

Where you could go dog sledding in the morning, skating in the afternoon, sledding in between, and wrap up the day with a sleigh ride.

Wouldn’t it be even better if that magical place was actually affordable?

Well friends, we’re found it:

Snow Mountain Ranch (YMCA of the Rockies) outside of Winter Park Colorado.

We got the pleasure of visiting there for a few days earlier this month and completely fell in love.  Set in the middle of the gorgeous Colorado Rockies, it really is an active families dream come true.  Here’s what you can do there:

Sledding, Ice Skating, Sleigh Rides, Dog Sledding, Swimming, Tubing, Cross Country Skiing, Snowshoeing, Rock Climbing, Table Sports, Yoga, Massage, Basketball, Trail Rides…it’s a ton!  If your kids don’t want to spend a ton of time outside, they have crafts, a full recreation center, indoor archery, rollerskating and more.

 There just isn’t enough time to do it all!

And then when you’re done, you can eat, eat, eat at their buffet style cafeteria (yes, that means no cooking or having to brave a restaurant!!!)

From the moment we got there until the time we left, we were running around like crazy.  Our kids simply couldn’t wait to try out as many different things as they possibly could, which meant that they were happy, excited and fell exhausted into bed each night.

Here are some of our favorite things about the Snow Mountain Ranch:

  • Since there are so many activities there, you don’t feel so committed to do each thing for a really long time.  Who cares if the kids only want to skate for 45 minutes?  If we went to another rink we’d push them to go longer to get our money’s worth, but here we had no problem just trying something else.
  • It’s amazingly family friendly.  Everyone was incredibly helpful and I really felt like they were concerned with making our stay there fantastic.  From the gal who helped the kids put their skates on, to the woman who walked Chloe through her cute little craft, we really felt welcomed and appreciated all the helping hands!  Also, the kids sized everything (tubes, skis, skates, life jackets, etc…) really helped us feel right at home.
  • Everything is close – super close.  Had we been feeling brave we could have walked between most of the activities in about 10 minutes…but the 3 feet of snow they got while we were there made us want to drive!
  • No cooking = more play time!  I was a little hesitant to eat in a cafeteria for several days, but honestly it saved so much time.  Yes, it’s still cafeteria food, but every meal we were all able to find something in the buffet that we liked and then had lots of time to play, play, play!
  • If you stay there, most activities are included in the overall fee. If you want to just show up, a day pass is around $15.
  • The lodge room rates are less than you’d typically find in a resort town, plus you get tons of activities included in that price! Our room slept 6 easily, but they have 62 cabins of all sizes if you want something more private or to accommodate a large group.

It really was the perfect little getaway, and is just over an hours drive from Denver.  There are lots of great things to do in nearby Winter Park in the winter, so you could easily spend an entire week there.  I’m seeing lots of trips there in our future for weekend getaways and some fun group trips and family reunions!

Tips if you go:

  • Shoot for the middle of the week – the place is practically empty and you’ll have lots of the activities to yourself (at least in winter)
  • Bring friends!  While you can always stay in one of the big lodges, we think it would be a blast to gather a bunch of friends and rent out one of their huge cabins!
  • Have everyone pick their must-do activity and schedule some time in to do each one.  With so many things to do, you can easily fill up all your time, so make sure not to miss your favorites!
  • Look into their themed weekends.  Currently they are doing Olympic themed weekends for families with lots of activities that build on each other.  They also have family festivals a few times a year – which are an amazingly good deal at around $100/person which includes everything (and kids 5 and under are free)!
  • Stay for several days.  We did 3 days and 2 nights and still left feeling like we wanted more time, so stay as long as you can!

Make sure to check back later this week when we highlight our cross-country skiing and dog sledding adventures!

About Jessica Averett

Hi, I’m Jessica, a mom of 5 kids and married to my favorite adventure partner. I love to bike, ski, camp and hike. We've visited over 40 countries with our kids, but are equally happy on the road as we are exploring our home state of Utah.

3 thoughts on “Snow Mountain Ranch: A perfect (and affordable) family getaway!”

  1. I love hearing about your big adventures and although this was a big adventure, it sounds like anyone could to it and love it!! What fun.
    The photos look like your kids all had a blast.

  2. I lived in Denver from ’88 to ’94 (yep, feeling a little old typing that); and, we would go to Winter Park because it was the closest ski resort so distance is a plus for this location.


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