Day Trip to the Ski Resorts

The Pikes Peak region really has it all. Hiking, fishing, ATV trails, horseback riding, amazing natural landmarks and best of all–it’s within driving distance to Colorado’s major ski resorts.

Our moderate climate makes this a great winter destination. Coming from the Midwest, my husband and I love that winter time is sunny in Colorado! And in Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak region, lots of sun and not much snow means hiking year round. We can take the kids, the dogs, and our out-of-town friends on the trails we love and get glimpses of those breathtaking panoramas almost any day of the year.

I know many people come to Colorado during the winter for time on the slopes, but I say, why not have both?

Our toddler hiking on the well-groomed Nordic trails. At 2, he’s too young for ski school, but we had fun of our own!

Major resorts like Breckenridge, Keystone, and Vail are about two hours away which makes for an easy drive and a fun day-trip in the snow. But come back to our neck of the woods, and enjoy the nicer weather along with other perks. You’ll save some cash by staying farther from the ski resorts, so you’ll be able to buy some souvenirs, go out to eat, and enjoy more than what your lift ticket can get you. And you can mix-up your daytime adventures by staying in a part of the state with a very different climate. One day you can go hiking or sight-seeing; the next day you can ski!

Another thing my husband and I love to tell visitors: check out the smaller ski resorts–especially if it’s your first time. Breckenridge is amazing. The views are wonderful, the skiing is first-class and you’ll have lots of fun. But so will everyone else. It’s a well-known resort, so it’s where people think to go. That means long lines to the lift, crowded runs down the mountain, and standing-room only in the lodge.

The Panda Patrol ski school was great!

We recently took a day-trip to Cooper Mountain in Leadville, Colorado, and it was the perfect place for some snowboarding for my husband, our 4-year-old tried skiing for the first time, and our toddler and I spent the day hiking and snowshoeing through the Nordic Center right next to the resort. Our favorite part, though, was the price. An adult lift ticket cost $54; a half day lesson, lunch and afternoon daycare cost $110 (rentals included); and my pass on the Nordic trails cost $15 (our 2-year-old went for free). That’s chump change compared to those major resorts!

And while the temperature stayed in the single digits in Leadville, we drove home and back into 40-degree weather. It was really nice after a long day to not have to freeze while unloading the car!