Inevitably, I tend to put unspoken pressure on myself to keep my family entertained and to allow us to consistently have new experiences together. Now that winter is upon us, I keep thinking how we should go ice skating or try indoor rock climbing. I also love visits to our local recreation center pools a few times a month in the winter to keep the girls swimming skills in check. Living so close to the mountains, I've also considered going out Nordic Skiing or snowshoeing as a family.
But, quite often I have a reality check and realize I could quite literally book out every Saturday and Sunday through March and probably not accomplish what I joyfully set out to do. More than likely, I would be consumed by the cost of all those individual activities and be happy with J taking the girls to our local Ski Mountain a few times a month.
Enter, YMCA of The Rockies, Snow Mountain Ranch! We just returned from a weekend of having it all, with relaxation being the greatest take away from our experience at Snow Mountain Ranch. From a Friday afternoon to an easy going Sunday we were able to check off the majority of items on my dream winter family experiences list! Yes, I said in one relaxing weekend.
The drive to Snow Mountain Ranch from the Front Range is a breeze and incredibly scenic. There's a short stint on I-70 (about 11 miles) from Golden to the exit for Winter Park. Not having to battle traffic through Eisenhower Tunnel or over Vail Pass is a dream for anyone that regularly takes on that feat. The trip over Berthoud Pass is beautiful with expanse views of the Rocky Mountains in literally every direction. The sun was beginning to set on our drive and the light cascading on snow tipped evergreen trees was surreal. I can still hear my girls excited to point out another beautiful sight along our drive, rather than having their noses buried in the iPad.
During our stay at Snow Mountain Ranch, we had a room in the Indian Peaks Lodge. The rooms are very basic, but clean and accommodating. The beauty of having a room that isn't full of bells and whistles (or even a television for that matter) is that it simply becomes a place to rest. There are so many things to be out doing at SMR that the room is the last place I wanted to be during waking hours. As a bonus, there are great common spaces with tables, a television, couches, a fireplace, and a machine that dispensed hot water for tea or hot chocolate to hang out in when the family was craving down time. Also, at the Lodge we were able to meet up with friends and meet families that were visiting the ranch for the weekend, rather than be holed up in our room. We don't have cable television at home and when we stay in a hotel, I find the girls constantly battling us to lounge around rather than site seeing. I was thrilled with our set up at the Lodge!
The activities at Snow Mountain Ranch exceeded my expectations! Some of the activities are fee based, but oodles of them are included for guests staying on site. Remember how I put this unspoken pressure to try out new activities with the girls? Well SMR helped me slam dunk this weekend full of first accomplishments! As a family we had a Nordic Skiing lesson, we went rollerskating, the girls rock climbed, did indoor archery, played floor hockey, went swimming, went on a horse drawn sleigh ride, SAW A MOOSE, had S'mores around a campfire (who said S'mores are a summer treat), ice skated, tubed, and laughed a ton! The icing on the cake for us was that we were able to visit Snow Mountain Ranch with friends that we have incredible fun with.
The memories that are created at Snow Mountain Ranch are truly priceless. I feel so lucky to have two great YMCA properties in our backyard. The girls are already asking when we can go back, I am right on board with their enthusiasm. I'm not quite sure how the YMCA makes it so easy to feel like a kid again, but I surely am grateful for our weekend getaway.
Bonus rollerskating footage, probably my second favorite activity to Nordic Skiing as a family:
My visit to Snow Mountain Ranch was complimentary as part of a weekend getaway for a group of Front Range Bloggers. All thoughts and views on our experience as a family are entirely my own.