Welcome back to a new week, friends, I hope your weekend was great. Ours was fairly uneventful, which was perfect. I finally managed to tackle the piles of laundry from our trip to Colorado last week…ski trip laundry on a whole other level! I feel for those of you who dress with that many layers all Winter long!
But I have to say, Winter Park was one of our favorite family vacations to date, and the kids are already begging to go back next season! And from the response on my social media while we were there, Winter Park is a special spot for many of you, too.
We were beyond excited when Winter Park invited us to experience their Resort, and all the area has to offer.
But as the mom, my first thought was, ‘What is everyone going to wear in the snow?!’
It’s been years since we’ve skied, so of course the kids had outgrown everything. And last time I skied was with my sister who lives in Montana, so I just wore all her stuff!
So I did what I do every time we have an active, outdoor trip…I called a gearhead at Backcountry! Gearheads are Backcountry’s team of outdoor experts whose sole job is to provide you with free personalized service and advice. I explained what we’d be doing and where, and they recommended all the pieces that would be best for every member of our family…saving me so much time and stress. And with the Semi-Annual Sale going strong, we saved up to 40% on much of it!
All their recommendations were spot-on…we had 0-degree days with lots of snow, and all of us were warm, dry, and comfortable the entire time!
Since it had been a few years, and the kids have only skied once before, we signed them up for a refresher lesson on the first morning. They were both a little apprehensive about lessons (worried they’d feel embarrassed), but the instructors could not have been nicer or more patient.
They quickly assessed each of our skill and comfort levels, and in fact, we all picked up new tips for becoming better, safer skiers. And by afternoon, we were on our own, skiing as a family!
Sugarplum Tip: We rented all our ski equipment online ahead of time through the resort (helmets, too), and it was waiting for us upon arrival. They even have free ski valet right at the base of the mountain for storing your gear overnight.
One of my favorite parts about Winter Park, is it feels like a little hidden gem…slightly off the mainstream and such an authentic little ski community. It’s an easy 2-hour drive from Denver airport, and everything you need is located within walking distance.
Winter Park Village has several restaurants, coffee shops, grocery market, ski rentals, shops, and more. Plus accommodations ranging from single rooms to 3-bedroom condos…all ski-in/ski-out! Everything was super convenient and accessible, making it perfect for a long weekend trip.
Now let’s talk about the mountain! There was so much great snow and fresh powder, and the runs were beautifully groomed. The park itself has over 3,000 skiable acres, 145 trails for all ski levels (the longest run is 5 miles long!), and 21 lifts. And even on the busiest weekend of the year, we never waited more than 5 minutes in a lift line.
Not to mention, the views and scenery are stunning!
Everything in the Village is geared toward skiing (and snowboarding), and all very casual. We pretty much wore some variation of our ski clothes every night for dinner. I’ve never fully-understood the need for snow boots before, but these were absolutely life-changing (and on sale)!
I packed jeans and cute sweaters, but ended up wearing my favorite fleece pullovers, leggings, and snow boots whenever I wasn’t skiing. We each also packed an extra coat, which was great for evenings since our ski coats were usually still wet. Hats were essential for covering helmet-hair, and perfectly acceptable in all the restaurants! #praise
Where We Stayed
Zephyr Mountain Lodge at Winter Park Resort
Located in the base of Winter Park Village, just 100 feet from the gondola! We had a spacious 3-bedroom condo with full kitchen and living area with fireplace (more room than our family of 4 needed!). They have full laundry facilities and hot tubs on-site, and ski rentals and storage valets within walking distance.
Sugarplum Travel Tip: The drive up the mountain can be tricky in winter weather, so we opted for Home James shuttle service to and from the Denver Airport. Once in the Village, everything is within walking distance, or available via the free Village Shuttle.
Where We Ate
We ate all our meals in Winter Park Village and on the mountain, but downtown Winter Park is only 2 miles up the road with even more restaurant and hotel options.
In the Village:
Five Mountain Tavern / A few steps from the Tubing Hill, good burgers and pizza in a sports bar environment
The Back Bowl Soup Company / Huge breakfast burritos and several homemade soups and sandwiches in the cutest little yellow house
Lime Cantina / Cozy & warm, they serve basic American-style Mexican food and margaritas
Coffee & Tea Market / We grabbed our morning lattes and pastries here before hitting the slopes
On the Mountain:
Waffle Cabin / Belgian-style waffles with sugar glaze or chocolate sauce…pretty much the best ski snack ever invented!
Sunspot Mountaintop Lodge / Cafeteria-style hot food on one side, and gorgeous sit-down lodge on the other…both with gorgeous views of the mountain.
Sundance Chili Hut / Hearty chili, hot dogs and beer to warm you up mid-day
What We Did
Coca-Cola Tube Park / Located in the Village, fly down the hill on intertubes and let the moving sidewalk haul you back to the top. Reserve your hour-long spot because they do have sell-outs. (Sidenote: we hear the tube park in nearby Fraser offers longer runs!)
Snowcat Tours / Meet at the top of the gondola for a heated tour of the mountain, with lots of history and stops for pics.
Ski Lessons / The private instructors can also serve as guides, taking you all over the mountain for a personalized ski experience. You also skip any lines when you’re with them!
The elevation is high, and it’s even colder on the mountain than in the Village, so packing the proper gear is essential to everyone’s fun. (Cold kids are not happy kids!) The Backcountry Gearhead walked us through every layer and piece we’d need, and free shipping and returns made it easy to find our right size.
Now that we have all the gear, everyone is ready to go back! Stay tuned for a packing post breaking down everything we needed, and the best way to layer it up for maximum warmth and protection.
Now is a great time to shop Ski Apparel at Backcountry since much of it is on sale! Plus, save 15% off your first order with code SUGARPLUM15.
Does your family ski together? Where is your favorite spot to go?
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*This post is created in collaboration with Backcountry and ShopStyle, but all opinions, experiences and snow bunny antics are my own. Thank you for supporting Hi Sugarplum sponsors!*