This post is sponsored by Winter Park Resorts and the Grand County Colorado Tourism Board. All opinions are those of my family’s and my own.
Last month we visited Winter Park Colorado for our annual family ski adventure. Each year we visit a new mountain and I of course night light them all for you here! Last year it was Loveland, the year before that Breckenridge, we missed a year due to COVID and the years before that included Keystone and Snowmass! Each of these locations has amazing amenities and is a great destinations for families. In years past we’ve driven from Austin to Colorado, and while that was the plan for this year as well, we sold our beautiful sprinter van over the holidays and had to pivot to flying instead. We snagged a deal on flights on American Airlines via Travelocity, direct from Austin into Denver. After a day in Denver to adjust to the altitude we headed up to Fraser/Winter Park. We really wanted to have a little taste of everything The area offers and I think you’ll agree that it’s a great destinations for families.
Where to stay in Winter Park:
Winter Park resort offers various lodging in the village at the base of the mountain. You would have easy access to restaurants, bars, shopping and of course the lifts.
We elected to stay in an Airbnb just 10 minutes from the resort, this allowed us to stretch out as a family, everyone had their own sleeping area and we cooked breakfast and dinners in place of eating out every meal, and packed lunches and snacks for while we were on the mountain.
While we did drive to the resort each day it was great to see the convenience of the LIFT bus line that runs throughout the community and resort regularly throughout the day. You can download their app to check on routes and times.
What to do in Winter Park:
There are so many great family activities in and around Winter Park.
Snowmobiling with Grand Adventures:
This was our first time snowmobiling so none of us really had any idea what to expect.
Here are a few before you go pointers:
*Make reservations in advance. There are no walk ins available.
*Be on time, the tour will consist of more that just your group and there will be liability forms to sign for everyone.
*If you plan on driving you’ll need to show your valid drivers license so don’t forget it.
*Make sure you wear the appropriate snow gear including goggles. No sunglasses are allowed. They have all the needed gear available for rent if you don’t already have it or show up without it.
After all the logistics were completed we were shown out to our snowmobiles and met our guide, Tanner. He went over how the machines operated, safety protocols and we did a quick inspections for any damages. After just a few minutes we began our 1 hour tour. They offer a variety of tour lengths but with the kids 1 hour was PERFECT! We rode two tandem snowmobiles allowing one kid to ride behind us. The trails were fun, and the kids felt adventurous while the adults felt safe and enjoyed themselves. At the top of the mountain we stopped, stretched our legs and snapped some beautiful pictures. our guide was great and offered to take a few family pictures as well. The kids took the opportunity to make snow angles in the powder and throw a few snow balls.
After a few minutes we headed back down the mountain with more great trails and fun. The entire family loved the experience and would hands down so it again.
Snow tubing with Colorado Adventure Tubing:
Located in the Colorado Adventure Park next to Grand Adventures Touring is a great tubing option.
Walk in, no reservations needed and you can rent either a single or a double tube to tackle the hill with. Kids ages 3-5 years old will need to be in a double tube with an adult. Liability forms are easy and quick to fill out from your phone via a QR code. Kids under 18 years old are required to wear a helmet but anyone can wear one and it is included in the cost of tube rental.
Once you’ve grabbed your tube from the outdoor area, you can head up the hill via the magic carpet walkway. Once at the top you’ll be directed to the various area for easy and simple to more difficult and challenging. We mixed it up and did some of both. We raced down the hill, tried to make a train with all of our tubes and had an overall wonderful time.
Tube rentals are for 1 hour, however if you save your receipt and return later in the day you receive a discounted rate on additional time. After an hour of laughing and speeding down hill we were spent. I think 1 hour was the perfect amount of time for this activity.
Rental shop- with two rental shops in the village you can rent any gear needed to enjoy skiing or snow boarding. The service was fast and friendly. The process was fairly easy and everyone in the shops were very helpful. They were quick to assist when any equipment needed adjusting. Mary got snow in her ski boots while walking and carrying her boots, they were quick to offer a swap to make sure her feet didn’t get wet during her lessons. They definitely worked to help make everything the best it could be for max enjoyment. We also loved and utilized their options for overnight storage at no additional charge. It was great to be able to leave our skis there vs feeling and loading into the car each day. We were also able to purchase our lift tickets at the rental shop if you don’t plan ahead and purchase online. The prices do change 7 days prior to your ski dates so plan ahead and get the best deal possible.
Ski lessons-Lessons for all ages and abilities are offered. Half day lessons for kids are primarily for first time skiers and cover the very basics from how to lick your boots into skis and how to move/stop in skis. Mary participated in a class that was a full day from 9-3, and was geared more towards building on her current abilities. Hot lunch, snack and hot coco we’re provided and at the end of the day she was hugging everyone as we left and couldn’t stop telling us how much fun she had.
Skiing- Can I just say wow! What a fun mountain to ski on. The lifts were easy to access, the lines never very long (a perk of weekday skiing), great hosts and lift operators. While the adults enjoyed a few of the more challenging and difficult runs, the family favorite was Cranmer, a blue run with plenty of space to open up and gain some speed while also offering a safe area for those transitioning from green to blue level. We also enjoyed the various jumps and the rail yard for some adventurous skiing. For our youngest the Discovery Park area was full of green level runs that allowed her to learn and feel a little independent as well. Our first day on the mountain was a very powdery day and was a challenge for the kids as they hadn’t skied in powder before, our 2nd and 3rd day were beautiful sunny days and the trails were all groomed for a perfect day of skiing.
Ice Skating- located across from Starbucks in the village, a perfectly groomed and inviting ice rink awaits. We rented our skates from the Adventure & Supply Co., just around the corner from the rink. Adults skate for $19 and children $16. The rink had adorable seal assists for the kids to push, or be pushed on while skating and also assists for adults learning. After 5pm the rink area has music playing and a fun display of colorful lights for a night time experience. Parents can watch their skaters from a heated gazebo next to the rink.
Play areas- In the village right in front of the ice rink you will find the cutest snow covered igloos. The kids had a blast digging into them, peeking out the tops and even asked to have their lunch inside one day. Around the corner you’ll find a large wooden train playscape with climbing ropes and slides.
Where to eat in Winter Park:
I mentioned earlier that we made most of our own meals but this guide wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the amazing waffles at wi tee park. Both kids indulged and I couldn’t even snap a picture before they destroyed them! Their personal recommendation is the chocolate waffle with whipped cream and a few bacon strips. You’ll find the waffle stands at various locations through out the resort, including in the village, near the Gemini lift and on the mountain near the Snowasis restaurant.
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