One of Colorado’s most accessible, convenient and scenic winter wonderlands, Winter Park-Fraser Valley, is also one of the most affordable. Here are more than 20 ways winter vacationers can enjoy Winter Park-Fraser Valley for $20 or less.
Skiing & Snowshoeing
- Ski Free! From Nov. 16-Dec. 16, 2011, book a minimum of two nights at any participating lodging property and receive two free adult one-day lift tickets at Winter Park Resort. (http://www.playwinterpark.com/events/ski-free-at-winter-park)
- Winter Park-Fraser Valley’s hundreds of miles of hiking and biking trails become snowshoe and cross-country skiing routes in the wintertime. Stop by the Visitor’s Center (78841 U.S. Hwy. 40) for suggested (and free!) snowshoe and cross-country trails in the Experimental Forest or Arapahoe Wilderness. Snowshoe rentals are available at most ski shops, while cross-country ski gear may be rented at Grand Sports in Winter Park, Icebox Mountain Sports in Fraser, Devil’s Thumb Ranch or YMCA of the Rockies-Snow Mountain Ranch.
- Those who prefer not to go it alone will want to check out Winter Park-Fraser Valley Chamber’s free snowshoe tours in Hideaway Park, hosted every Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m. Call 970-726-4118 or stop by the visitor center to check availability.
- Rocky Mountain National Park also offers free ranger-led snowshoe tours every Saturday from Feb. 5-March 19 at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. Bring your own snowshoes and ski poles and meet at the Kawuneeche Visitor Center. Call 970.586.1206 for reservations. (Children under eight not allowed.)
- SolVista at Granby Ranch’s Nordic trail system encompasses 25 kilometers of trails. Five bucks buys a single lift ticket to explore it all on snowshoes. Bring your own equipment or rent at SolVista Base Camp Lodge.
- With more than 100 kilometers of trails tracking through 5,200 acres of mountain meadows, YMCA of the Rockies-Snow Mountain Ranch’s Nordic center has something for everyone. Besides cross-country skiing, guests may also enjoy ice skating, sledding, tubing and snowshoeing. Activities are complementary for Snow Mountain Ranch guests, YMCA of the Rockies Members, kids five and younger and adults 70 and older. For everyone else, a single-day cross-country skiing trail pass is just $15 for adults and $8 for kids and seniors.
- Grand Lake Touring Center boasts a variety of terrain within its 25 kilometers of groomed tracked and skating trails. The center is also perfect for snowshoeing, featuring a variety of routes through forests and meadows. A day pass is $13 for adults and $5 for kids 16 and under. Starting at 1:30 p.m., get a half-day pass for $10.
- Devil’s Thumb Ranch sits at the base of the Continental Divide and houses one of the premiere Nordic centers for Colorado cross-country skiing. Adults ski for just $18 a day; kids (under 12) and seniors (over 65) are $8.
- The Colorado Adventure Park, located just five minutes from Winter Park Ski Resort, offers activities for all ages and adventure levels. The most popular pastime is tubing ($16/hour). For children under three, there are complementary sleds and a mini-hill. For those 13 and older, airboards are an adventurous option that are faster than regular tubes and can be steered by leaning to turn ($20/hour). Snowscoots (kid-sized snowmobiles) rentals are also available for children ages six and up ($10 for 10 laps).
- YMCA of the Rockies – Snow Mountain Ranch has a tubing hill and tubes are available on site. Pay the $15 day pass and they are including in the price. Why not go for a swim afterwards? The pass also includes access to the swimming pool, climbing wall, roller skating, cross country skiing, ice skating and much more!
- The town of Fraser’s legendary Tubing Hill is groomed, lighted and complete with a lift. Adrenaline junkies may descend individually, in tandem, or – for the fastest and longest ride – in group clusters. After your chilly thrill, cozy up in the warming house with a hot drink and a snack. Rates are $12/45 minutes, $16/hour, or $20/90 minutes.
- SolVista Basin at Granby Ranch in Granby covers more than 400 acres and gets 220 inches of snow a year, which is perfect for tubing ($11) and night skiing ($10). Children five and under ski free even during the day. Speaking of free, the resort offers a complementary wine and cheese real estate reception every Saturday.
- Winter Park-Fraser Valley also offers a few ways to put your vacation on ice, literally. Stop by the ice skating rink at Cooper Creek Square for a free spin. Rent your gear at one of the local retail shops for about $10, or bring your own for even more economical entertainment.
- The ice skating rink at the ball fields in Fraser offers public free skate, as well as programs like ice skating classes and hockey. Skates are available for rent on-site. For specific prices and details call the Grand Park Community Recreation Center at 970-726-8968.
Museums & History
- Cozens Ranch Museum and Stage Stop, the site of the first ranch and stage stop in the Fraser Valley, is located in Winter Park. The original 1876 house tells the story of early life in the Fraser Valley. Admission is $5/adults, $4/seniors (62 and older), $3/students and free for children under six.
- Grand Lake is home to the Kauffman House Museum, which costs just $5 for adults and is free for kids 12 and under. Built as a hotel in 1892, the building is the last of the early Grand Lake log hotels in existence. The museum has been restored to its historic appearance and contains many original furnishings.
- At the Pioneer Village Museum at the Grand County Museum in Hot Sulphur Springs, tools, clothing and artifacts from the old west live on. Admission is $5/adults, $4/seniors (60 and older), $3/students and free for children under six.
More Indoor Fun
- NEST Artistic Home at Cooper Creek Square in Winter Park offers paint your own pottery in the Tree House Studio for an $11 fee plus the cost of materials (which range from 50 cents to $30). NEST is open seven days a week; call 970-726-1036 for more information.
- At Earth Rocks, A Nature Store pan for gold (for free!) at the indoor sluice box.
- For $10/day/adult (less for kids), the Grand Park Community Recreation Center in Fraser offers an aquatic center that includes a 25-yard lap pool, hot tub, lazy river, water slide, and play structure for young children, a multi-sport gymnasium, gymnastic center, climbing wall, cardio/circuit training/free weight areas, fitness classes, whirlpool, sauna, steam room, and drop-in child care.
- YMCA of the Rockies-Snow Mountain Ranch has an arts and crafts program that is included in the day fee for $15 (materials cost extra). They offer paint your own pottery, mosaic, tie-dying, stain glass, leather work, beading and much more.