Weekend in Winter Park, Colo., one of three ways: on a budget, spending a bit more, or when the getaway calls for a splurge.
Trip tips: Winter Park Resort is Colorado’s longest continuously operated ski resort (76 years) featuring over 3,000 acres of terrain and 25 lifts covering four peaks. Located just 67 miles northwest of Denver, the laid-back and family-friendly village enjoys an average of over 320 inches of annual snowfall and 300 days of sunshine. Sample three-day adult lift tickets purchased in advance average $282; $197 ages 6-12.
Mix up downhill skiing with a snowshoe adventure, or hit the hills with a snowtube (Coca-Cola Tube Park; $23-$26 per hour), a fat tire bike or a ski bike.
Save 20 percent on skis, boards and equipment reserving a week in advance. Get one child’s equipment rental free with each pre-booked adult rental package.
Plan trips at www.winterparkresort.com.
Getting there: One-way rates average $68-$80 on nonstop Delta, Frontier and United flights, based on 14-21 day advance purchases.
Upon arrival into Denver International, catch the direct A Line rail to downtown Denver Union Station. The station offers airline check-in, bag check and security screening on your return.
From Union Station, ride the Winter Park Express train on Saturdays and Sundays through March 26. The two-hour ride (departs 7 a.m.) is $39 each way adults; half-fare for two children ages 2-12 with each ticketed adult. www.Amtrak.com/WinterParkExpress. Once in town, the Lift, a free local shuttle operating from 7 a.m.-2 a.m., will get you around Winter Park (Winter Park Resort is 3 miles south of the town of Winter Park) and Fraser.
Or with a rental car, venture out on the Rocky Mountain National Park Scenic Loop road, a four-hour mountain adventure (164 miles) starting in Denver, to Estes Park, through the national park and ending at Winter Park. Stop for the best overlooks at the Alpine Visitor Center. Heading from Fraser into Winter Park, watch for resident moose.
Stay: Vasquez Creek Inn is on a shuttle line to Winter Park Resort and withing walking distance to shops, Hideaway Park, restaurants, entertainment. Guests can enjoy the restaurants, spa, stables and activities at nearby Devil’s Thumb Ranch. Newly renovated rooms from $88 per night. 78786 U.S. 40, Winter Park. 970-722-1188, http://vasquezcreekinn.com.
Eat: Take a crepe break at Goodys Mountain Creperie. Choose from nearly two dozen varieties, or from prepared to order salads, sandwiches, all-day breakfast. Menu items to $11. 100 Parry Peak Way, Winter Park. 970-726-2030, www.goodysmountaincreperie.com.
Experience: Ride through the Arapaho National Forest on ridge tops and through powder meadows on a snowmobile experience. The two-hour guided Trail Blazer Tour is for riders of all abilities and families looking for great views and a backcountry feel. Rates are $105 for the driver; $60 passenger ($25 4-8 years of age). The one-hour guide tour is $85 driver; $25 passenger. Trips run Thursdays-Sundays. 79303 U.S. 40, Winter Park. 970-726-9247, www.grandadventures.com.
Stay: The Wild Horse Inn is reminiscent of the grand mountain lodges built at the turn of the 20th century (no TVs) and just 10 minutes from Winter Park. Choose from lodge rooms ($165-$285) to cozy cabins with fireplaces, king beds, private covered porches, sitting and dining areas, and kitchenettes ($195-$275). Rates include gourmet breakfast, greeting wine, chilled sodas, and games at the massive stone fireplace. 1536 County Road 83, Fraser. 970-726-0456, www.wildhorseinn.com.
Eat: Idlewild Spirits is an ideal apres-ski spot with craft drinks and small plates of Duck Confit ($14), Steak and Truffle Fries, a Colorado Lamb Pie or a Charcuterie Plate ($16). 78737 U.S. 40, Winter Park. 970-281-5773, www.idlewildspirits.com.
Experience: Siberian and Alaskan husky dogs will pull you through the snow along 5 private miles of trail as an experienced musher and guide points out wildlife and tracks. Take in the views along the way of soaring peaks, the Continental Divide and the Winter Park Ski Resort. Rates are $213 per sled for two adults, one child; $194 two adults or one adult and two children; $156 one adult. 1410 County Road 5, Fraser. 970-387-8326, www.dogsledridesofwinterpark.com.
Stay: Parry Peak Lofts is the newest lodging option at the new Village at Winter Park. The luxurious two-level townhomes, 200 yards from the chairlift, feature three bedrooms, three baths, gourmet kitchens, gas fireplace, premium baths with Jacuzzis, private washer/dryer. Views of the Continental Divide and Mary Jane peak can be viewed from the private balcony and throughout the loft. On site are a 24-hour front desk, concierge, private garage. From $575 a night. 115 Parry Peak Way, Winter Park (checked through www.HomeAway.com).
Experience: Due to warm air from the rising sun and cold mountain air settling to the valley floor, a winter hot air balloon ride is quite comfortable. Experience the Winter Park-Fraser Valley Area from above with a continental breakfast, a Champagne toast, a group photo and a commemorative flight certificate of the one-hour trip; $275 per person. 220 County Road 522, Fraser. 970-887-1340, https://grandadventureballoon.com.
Eat: Families will love the fun atmosphere at Hernando’s Pizza Pub, a long-standing local favorite since 1967. Starting with a wager back in 1989, the walls of the pub are now covered with over $20,000 in U.S. bills. Pasta, pizza and more with menu items to $20. 78199 U.S. 40, Winter Park. 970-726-5409, www.hernandospizzapub.com.