Around Colorado: Now’s the time to plan summer adventures in Winter Park and Snow Mountain Ranch

Kids ride down the tubing hill at YMCA of the Rockies’ Snow Mountain Ranch, near Granby.

GRANBY — My 6-year-old daughter and I were tied together and balanced on the precipice of the summer tubing hill at YMCA of the Rockies Snow Mountain Ranch.

“Ready?” said the teenage attendant, bending over to grab our tubes.

It was early August, and my family and I were on a mid-week trip to Winter Park. The town was calm, in between music festivals (Winter Park’s Odell Summer Concert Series hosts upwards of 17 music events each season; this year, that includes the Winter Park Jazz Festival and the Tequila and Tacos Fiesta). We were in a quiet condo in town, enjoying the area’s family offerings (not the tequila fest) for a few days.

Our daily micro-adventures included the alpine slide, climbing wall and bungee-tramp at Winter Park Resort’s Adventure Park, which opens June 10 this year, and a flat hike on the Creekside/Flume trail. We also went out for a game-filled pizza dinner at Foundry Cinema & Bowl.
But today, we were tubing up the road at Snow Mountain Ranch, where I noted the cool mountain air, the blasting sunshine, the cloud of fine mist above the white sliding surface and a very concerned look on my daughter’s face.


“Do you want to spin?” the teen asked her.

“Medium spin,” she said, bravely. I watched as her eyes narrowed and her little fists clenched tightly around the handles of the tube.

The summer tubing hill at Snow Mountain Ranch’s won’t open until Memorial Day weekend, but as I look back to last summer’s memories, I’m reminded that now is the time to reserve this summer’s cabin, condo or yurt. Cabin reservations for summer and fall at YMCA of the Rockies opened April 5

There are also a few nice campgrounds around Winter Park as well. Idlewyld and Robber’s Roost have lots of shade but are near the road and train tracks, while Saint Louis Campground, located miles west of Fraser, is quiet but has lost most of its shade trees to beetle kill in recent years. Of course, there are many more camping options as you head north toward Lake Granby and Rocky Mountain National Park.

“Ready?” the teen asked my daughter again. She nodded.

Suddenly, the attendant swung us downward and we were dropping and twirling and picking up speed. I gave a “woooo!” and my daughter ducked her head all the way down to avoid the blurred, medium-spinny mountain views.

At the bottom she lifted her head up, and instead of crying, as I feared, she was all smiles, shouting, “Let’s do it again!”

Snow Mountain Ranch. 1101 County Road 53, Granby. 888-613-9622. Summer tubing is included for overnight guests at YMCA of the Rockies’ Snow Mountain Ranch. Full-day activity pass for day visitors: $35 (age 13 and up), $25 (ages 6-12), $15 (ages  3-5). Cabins (2-4 bedrooms) start at $159/night, but “super value” rates are available now through May.

Alpine Slide at Winter Park
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