Category Archives: Denver

Winter fun for families at YMCA of the Rockies

Recognizing the need for balance in the seasons, the YMCA of the Rockies invited my family for a winter weekend at its Winter Park location, as it did half a year ago for a summer stay at its Estes Park location.

And once again, we had an exhaustingly good time. YMCA of the Rockies really excels at offering good clean varied family fun in the stunning Rocky Mountains.

Located 80 miles from Denver, between Winter Park and Grand Lake, Snow Mountain Ranch is breathtaking in the winter.

Snow Mountain Ranch sceneryContinental Divide as a backdrop

We stayed in a comfortable and quiet lodge with no TV. After a hearty buffet breakfast Saturday morning we started with inner tubing down a hill and ice skating at the pavilion.

sledding fun at YMCARunning start

YMCA innertubingBelly flop

Chillaxing on innertubes at the YMCAChillin’

family ice skatingSkating in a winter wonderland

After lunch we took aim at the archery wolf. Later, the kids were literally climbing the walls.

YMCA archeryTessa Katnessa

Aiming at the beastWe slew the beast

Snow Mountain Ranch rock climbingReed got a grip

Between those activities and dinner Roger went cross-country skiing, I went to a yoga class and the kids went swimming. THAT was just Day 1.

The next day we went to the gym for a morning of hoop-shooting and rollerskating.

YMCA winter fun

Snow Mountain Ranch roller skating

Some of the activities we’re saving for next time include dog sledding, sleigh ride, crafts. All too soon it was time to return home.

Are you envisioning your own winter vacation? Accommodations include yurts ($89 ), lodge rooms (from $119), cabins ($209 for 2 BR) and vacation homes ($349 for 3 BR). There’s enough winter left to plan your own stay at Snow Mountain Ranch. To get more ideas about families and Snow Mountain Ranch, read what other moms have to say about their experiences.

The Superbowl beckoned and it was time to head back down the mountain to get home. Now that we’ve experienced the summer and winter, the northern YMCA camp and the south one, the Y in its wondrous yin and its glorious yang, we have declared both visits extra-ordinary. We all agreed we’d love to have more weekends like this and make more family memories like these in the future.

Disclosure: My family was hosted for a weekend at Snow Mountain Ranch, which included lodging, meals and activities for purposes of writing an honest review.

Worded Wednesday: My family went to the 1920s

Over Thanksgiving weekend Roger and I took the kids for  a day in downtown Denver. We started out by throwing a football around at Civic Center Park on a gorgeous and sunny late-morning (Reed’s pick). At Tessa’s urging we then we switched to a volleyball, counting to see how many volleys we could get in a row (the mom may or may not be the weak link in that scenario).

Roger got to pick the restaurant where we had a yummy and healthy lunch, and then it was Mama’s turn to choose a place.

We walked to the new History Colorado Center, paid our admission and spent hours learning about life in Colorado in earlier decades. There were dozens of interactive exhibits, engaging for both kids and adults. Tessa and Reed got to drive a Model T and work in a town’s general store. We rode down a mine shaft and learned how to plant and detonate dynamite. We heard a storyteller recount her summers at Lincoln Hills, “the country’s only western resort accessible to African-Americans.” We tried ski jumping down a mountain (I made it 300 feet once but crashed and burned the second time).

But the funnest (and funniest) part was when we had our pictures taken for a 1920s yearbook in the Colorado plains town of Keota. These silly photos sealed the awesomeness into our day.

My family, if we lived 100 years ago

Did I gain two children? Nope. Reed snapped three photos, each of them wackier than the last. Even if I were in the worst mood in the world, one look at these mementos (especially my second “daughter”) would curl up the sides of my mouth. In fact I’m laughing quite hard as I type this last word!