January is one of the best months for snow and skiing in Colorado. January is also Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month. Many of the resorts let kids under 5 ski for free (check with each resort individually) – but maybe your kids have not yet learned HOW to ski (or snowboard). So where are the best places to learn the sport, to have a fun and easy get-away and spend some quality time with the kids? Read on!
5th Grade Passport
If you have signed your fifth-grader up for the Passport program (there’s still time – the deadline is January 31) or the School of Shred. The kids are entitled to a free lesson in January (which also includes rental equipment). Just make sure that you make reservations (and it’s easier to get the paperwork done before you go).
If you are looking for the least expensive, lots of fun and close – Echo Mountain is the best bet. It is a small property outside of Evergreen (and takes just 35 minutes to get there from Denver). They have a couple different lesson options that are perfect for families. The first is the parent and me class for youth age 3 and a parent. The second, is the transferable 6-pack which can be shared among family members and can be used all on one day or over multiple days.
Practice, practice, practice. There is a reason why they say that three times especially, if you are learning how to snowboard or ski. Loveland Ski area is once again offering the deal when you purchase a three-lesson package, you get a FREE season pass (so you can practice what you learn in those lessons all season long). Loveland also offers “Hookey Days” where you can play hookey on work or on taking care of your kids and ski for just $20. The next one is on Thursday, January 12, 2012.
Arapahoe Basin (A-Basin)
Sundays in January at A – Basin are Super Sunday where first time lessons cost only $75 for first time lessons and half-day group lessons.
Looking for an amazing deal? Book a two-night stay get free day of lifts, lessons and rentals at Crested Butte Mountain Resort. The best part – it includes EACH person on the reservation AND applies to both kids and adults. For details, information or reservations contact Crested Butte Vacations at 800-600-2803.
SolVista’s The Get on the Snow Program (GOTS) is a great opportunity for people that have never skied or snowboarded before to learn at an affordable cost. After learners complete two ski or snowboarding lesson days, they graduate with a GOTS season pass to SolVista Basin (which also offers 20% discount on retail). Details and restrictions apply.
Sunlight offers the Learn to Shine lesson program – a three day program which includes ski or snowboard rentals, a lift ticket package, and two hour-long lessons for $325.
Town of Frisco
I can’t say that I have ever thought much about the Town of Frisco, it was just a place I drove through either to get to Breckenridge or for gas on the way to Copper or Vail. This year, I have had the opportunity to spend some time in the tiny town that is typically listed on the news as one of the coldest places in the state – and it has totally changed my opinion. Our adventure started with tubing at The Adventure Park. Then we ate at Butterhorn (which was one obviously one of the hot-spots in town since there was a 45 minute wait to get in there). For those who like the boutique shopping (as opposed to Wal-Mart Shopping which is also available) there are several cute shops in town which are all easily accessible (park once and then walk town).
Devil’s Thumb Ranch
Downhill or Alpine skiing is usually the only skiing that we hear about in Colorado. It is the big brother that gets all the press and everyone ignores Cross Country. That is not true at Devil’s Thumb Ranch. Just 65 miles west of Denver and 15 minutes west of Winter Park Ski Resort. Devil’s Thumb Ranch is a fantastic family-friendly retreat with more than 100km of groomed and tracked cross country ski and snowshoe trails. You can rent the equipment right at the ranch, go on a wagon ride, or take in a day at the spa (free Yoga classes). The hotel is amazing with a cozy rustic feel with all the details of environmentally friendly facilities. I have never been in a hotel location where it was so apparent that people really do love their job and want to share what they can about the location and the ownership. Plan to take the whole family or make it a romantic getaway (The beer pairing dinner is also completely FANTASTIC)! They have events all winter long.