Lots of folks come to Colorado to experience world-class downhill skiing or snowboarding atop stunning mountain peaks in the winter time. However, what lies between the peaks is where much of the beauty, tranquility and awesomeness can be found…. and Snow Mountain Ranch (YMCA of the Rockies) has it all.
Snow Mountain Ranch is located just outside of Granby, Colorado, about 40 miles west of I-70 when driving from Denver. Over Berthoud Pass (you’ll need snow tires) and through Winter Park (a popular locals ski area), your drive will take you into between-the-peaks serenity…. the stress of everyday life melts away the moment your tires are off the highway. Spanning across 5,100 acres in the heart of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, Snow Mountain Ranch is a mecca of good, old fashioned family fun.
Tip: Take the Amtrak Rail Service from Denver to Fraser and call a shuttle service from there. Great fun for the kids!
There are lots of great lodging options from family cabins and lodge rooms to yurts and camping (in the summertime). There are even dog friendly options, too! Wintertime activities abound. Your toughest decision will be deciding how to divide your time. At check-in you’ll be given a list of activities and events for the week, as well as a map of the vast property.
Snow Mountain Ranch is bursting with all the elements of sleep-away camp, and is designed for every age group. You may want to try out some Nordic Skiing (this is the perfect place to do so! Ask about their beginner package deal) or hit the pool. How about some sledding or tubing on the super-fun tubing hill? The sleigh rides looks pretty darn amazing, too. During our visit, my boys enjoyed indoor archery and the climbing wall, while I did some disco roller skating (oh yeah!), and Hubby snuck in a game of Dodgeball. Afterwards, we tried some Curling on the ice skating rink And, I haven’t even talked about their Themed Weekends or Craft Shop…. there is so.much.to.do. (seriously, the fun never ends at this place!)
But, the most special activity of all for our entire family was the Dog Sledding Experience. Learning about the sport, and the dogs, as well as the guys who run the program, literally brought tears to my eyes- they are very passionate about what they do. Going out into the wilderness on a sled, with these excited dogs, was pretty darn fun, too! Folks tend to make a connection with the dogs and this group, that’s why SMR has set up a Power Our Team program so mutually impassioned dog lovers can support their mission for teaching leadership and outdoor education.
Tip: Don’t forget your ski goggles! It can get breezy when those guys get going.
I’m the first to tell you that I love just about every experience I have, yet, what sets this place apart are the core values of the organization (Caring, Responsibility, Respect, Honesty, and Faith). You can just FEEL a difference when you are there. Everyone is happy and accommodating, and they put a lot of passion into what they do. I can’t believe I have lived in Colorado for 17 years and this was my first experience at Snow Mountain Ranch. Trust me when I tell you we WILL be back for the summer! (In fact, I just signed my oldest up for his first-ever overnight camp at Camp Chief Ouray. I’ll keep you posted on our experience!)
On a trip to Colorado, this place is a not-to-miss. Please tell me how it goes!
Disclosure: Even though Snow Mountain Ranch hosted this experience, all opinions are honest and my own.