Meet the pups and tour the property on a Snow Mountain Ranch dog sled adventure.  Photo Credit: Scott Pope

10 Ways to Make the Most of The Mountains This Winter

The YMCA of the Rockies’ two Colorado resorts – the Estes Park Center and Snow Mountain Ranch in Granby – have announced their family-friendly holiday events and programming for the 2022-2023 winter season. With activities ranging from snow tubing, new winter hikes and guided snowshoe trips in Rocky Mountain National Park to holiday traditions, tubing, cross country skiing and more, the Estes Park Center and Snow Mountain Ranch are ideal destinations for the perfect mountain winter vacation.

Both locations offer visitors year-round access to wide open spaces, beautiful mountain scenery and cozy and affordable lodging, which ranges from comfortable hotel-style lodge rooms to multi-bedroom private cabins.

Below are 10 tips to make the most of a winter trip to YMCA of the Rockies; reservations, full programming schedules and more information can be found on the YMCA of the Rockies website.

 Winter at Estes Park Center:

 1)     Take a Hike – a new one. New at the Estes Park Center, the Enger Family Nature Trail features an upper and lower loop built for all ages and accessibility levels – the perfect spot for a winter hike or snowshoe.

2)     Get INdoors (at least for a while). For guests who want to warm up for a bit, there are plenty of indoor adventures to be found at the Estes Park Center, including a 35-foot climbing wall, cozy fireplaces all around the property, a well-appointed history museum, roller rink, craft center, gym and game room.

3)     Go for a walk on the wild side. Estes Park is known for its abundant wildlife; guests can often spot elk, deer, small land animals and birds just outside their lodging. The resort also offers wildlife ecology classes and expert guides to help guests safely view wildlife on hikes. Speaking of animals, most YMCA cabins are also pet-friendly.

4)     Find some Magic in the Mountains. The Estes Park Center hosts a month-long holiday celebration with self-guided evening tours of festively decorated cabins, Santa sightings, and even a hands-on Santa’s Workshop, where guests can create handmade gifts, decorate cookies and more.

5)     Unplug. Most lodge rooms and cabins do not have televisions, providing a truly unplugged experience.

Winter at Snow Mountain Ranch:

1)     Cut Down Your Christmas Tree. An annual tradition for many families, Snow Mountain Ranch offers a festive holiday tree-cutting experience. Purchase a tree-cutting ticket and head out on a winter adventure to find the perfect Christmas tree. Tickets include two special holiday crafts. Overnight guests can cut down a tree for free. The destination also hosts festive events throughout the holiday season with holiday crafts, hot cocoa, holiday story time and horse drawn holiday sleigh rides.

2)     Cross Country Ski, Snowshoe or Bike in the Snow: Opening in November, the Snow Mountain Ranch Nordic Center has more than 120K of groomed tracks and trails. Cabins and lodge rooms are either ski-in, ski-out or in walking distance from the Nordic ski, snowshoe and fat biking trails. Private and group lessons are available this winter season as well as Nordic ski equipment rentals including chariots to pull the kids along for a winter ski adventure.

3)     Mush! Dog Sled with Huskies: Meet the pups and tour the beautiful property on a Snow Mountain Ranch dog sled adventure. There are various trip lengths available to accommodate guests. Reservations are required.

 4)     Snow tube down the mountain. When it starts snowing, enjoy one of winter’s favorite pastimes – zooming down the mountain on a snow tube. Snow Mountain Ranch has tubes available at the Winter Pavilion for the entire family to enjoy.

5)     Immerse yourself in a Winter Wonderland: Located near Winter Park Ski Resort and Rocky Mountain National Park, Snow Mountain Ranch is a winter wonderland. In addition to a world-class Nordic Center, dog sledding and more, the 5,100-acre resort offers a wide range of winter adventures including ice skating, sledding, nearby alpine skiing, as well as cozy activities for those who want to warm up from the cold such as indoor rock climbing, crafts, swimming, roller skating and more.