Snow Time at Park City Utah and Telluride Colorado with the KidsDecember 8, 2010 1 Comment
Skiing and toddlers. Okay, so that’s kind of an oxymoron. While older kids will love kid focused ski lessons – and many programs now start at the age of five – the tiniest travelers are not going to get the hang of skis and poles. But put the words ski resort and toddler together and a family of all ages can have a wonderful time. Snow ball fights, mittens clutching cups of hot chocolate, watching ice skaters swirl around in-resort rinks, this is what family memories are made of. Throw in a setting reminiscent of the illustrations in Heidi and you’re all set.
Park City Utah with the Kids
We love going to Park City Utah. The town itself is charming, with many cute shops and galleries; a fun candy store dishing up fresh fudge with a giant plastic cow in front; and easy proximity to the Salt Lake City airport.
Located mountainside at Deer Valley, not far from Main Street in Park City, the Stein Eriksen Lodge is a fantastic destination. Adults can thrill to the ski runs at this comfortable, elegant resort. Kids will love the lodge’s Scandinavian look with beamed ceilings and dark wood floors – and huge stone fireplaces located throughout the property. We had our quintessential hot chocolate with marshmallows moment before a large floor to ceiling fireplace off the main lobby; snow flakes batting against the windows outside. But best of all are the horse drawn carriages that take travelers through this scenic winter destination. Huddle under a blanket and enjoy the ride.
Our kids loved the out door heated pool. It’s something really special to be afloat in tub-warm water, steam rising from the surface, snow covered peaks surrounding you. While the Glitretind Restaurant was on the expensive side, we found portions ample enough to share. The chef was kind enough to let the kids share a small scale version of the restaurant’s tasting menu, and make the entree vegetarian besides. The resort also houses a casual spot called Troll Hallen – the kids were disappointed not to see any actual trolls – where sandwiches, burgers, and soups are available all day.
At the Park City Mountain Resort on the other side of Park City’s Main Street and historic district, you’ll find an ice skating rink, suitable for all ages. The children’s ski classes here and at Deer Valley Resort are gently run, with offerings ranging from a few hours to a full day combining slope time with video games, pizza, and craft activities. Another awesome adventure is available at the site of the 2002 Winter Olympics. Here you can ride a snowy roller coaster, other wise known as a bobsled mounted on an Olympic game track. While you can take your little ones aboard with you and hold on tight, the ride is windy and fast, and most recommended for kids over eight.
Babes in arms? Bundle them up and take them with you on a guided snow shoe walk. Run by White Pine Touring Company, you’ll traverse snowy fields and pass through sylvan groves of aspens, pine, and birch. Older kids are welcome to strap on their own snow shoes and trek with their parents. The walks run twice a day and weekly include a moonlight walk.
Telluride Colorado with the Kids
We’ve also enjoyed taking the kids to Telluride Colorado. Like Park City, Telluride Colorado has galleries, shops, and restaurants to explore in town; kid-focused ski classes, excellent adult runs, and child care programs available at the Telluride ski resort, a self-contained Alpine Village outside of town.
We like the resort’s Inn at Lost Creek. Unlike Park City’s Stein Eriksen, this is a small hotel with only thirty-two rooms. The staff feels like your own personal retinue, offering to stock your kitchen, baby sit, or arrange free transportation into town all day and into the evening. Our favorite amenity is the winter hot chocolate bar – yes, you can ask for your own special chocolate brew from the chocoholic bartender and settle down by an enormous fireplace to enjoy it. Our kids chose a peppermint flavored option.
This is an elegant, expensive resort but we cut corners without feeling the pinch by dining in every night in our luxurious hotel kitchen. Our kids loved the sleigh style beds in the second bedroom and access to an eclectic DVD library that contained a surprising amount of family films and old classics. Like Park City, Telluride also offers a family snow shoe tour – this tour focused on pointing out animal footprints and edible forest berries, and was lots of fun. Telluride Ski Resort offers great ski classes including a selection for ages three and four. A fun, safe way to learn the rudiments of skiing, including a lunch break and interaction with Telluride’s mascots – Olivia the Otter, Eddie the Eagle and Morris the Bear. Along with the ski lessons, kids are also taught a little bit about Telluride’s history.
Speaking of history, in town our kids also enjoyed the Telluride Historical Museum, with some great exhibits exploring the geology of the Colorado mountains, gold and silver mining, and the Native American culture of the Ute tribe. The Rio Grande Southern Railroad’s history was particularly engaging; especially as the museum combined the exhibits with local ‘story tellers’ relating tales about the past with family friendly flair.
There was more local hands-on at the sweet, toddler-focused story time offered every Monday, Wednesday and Friday Morning at the Wilkinson Public Library. After a cozy mid-morning reading, we walked over to the Telluride Cornerhouse Grille restaurant. This comfortable, retro restaurant has sandwiches, soups, and pastas and crispy tater tots on the menu. Naturally, more hot chocolate is served, along with access to a closet full of board games including Candyland and Goofy Gumbus.
Full and warm, we were more than ready for a snowball fight at Ute Park… and more winter wonderland memories.
Related Articles – Ski Resort Vacations: