Some friends invited my husband and me on a snowboarding trip to Colorado over Valentines Day years back, and even though I had no idea how to snowboard and my husband hadn’t been in eight years, we quickly accepted the offer. I had six weeks to quickly figure out this snowboarding thing, so I decided to get out as much as possible to make sure I was ready to take on the mountains. As much as possible turned into one day at Powder Ridge in Minnesota. I skipped the bunny hill and after four quite disastrous (and hilarious) runs down a green circle, I decided I had the basic hang of it and would be fine figuring it out when I got to Colorado.
We booked a 5-night stay at Beaver Village Condominiums in Winter Park and a car rental on Delta Ski Vacations. We were able to fly with all of our gear and it was surprisingly convenient and easy. The oversize baggage didn’t make anything more difficult. We then began the 1.5- hour trip from the airport to Winter Park.
Our first stop was Golden Colorado, home of the Coors Brewery. After a quick informational tour, the nice people of Coors supply you each with three free (and very fresh!) beers of your choice. This is always a great way to start a vacation! We then completed the drive into Winter Park and checked in to our cozy condo. The condo was great; awesome location, full kitchen, living room, dining room, and a fabulous fireplace. It was also great that it had separate bedrooms for each couple; it was everything we were hoping for.
The following morning we stopped at the local grocery store to stock our kitchen with breakfast supplies and snacks and then it was off to Breckenridge for the day. This was a beautiful drive. We had wonderful weather; beautiful, sunny and temperatures in the 50’s! We were able to find a great parking spot right in town and then took the gondola to the slopes. Breckenridge was not quite as beginner friendly as I had hoped for, but we found a couple great runs to work with. It was amazing the progress that can be made in one day when learning in the mountains. The runs are so much longer and wider then anything in Minnesota. By the end of the day I was feeling quite confident on my board and couldn’t wait to be back on the slopes.
The next day, sore and worn out, we decided to take a day off boarding and headed to Downtown Boulder. Boulder is great; we spent the day walking through bookstores and bar hopping down the Pearl Street Mall. If you are into beer drinking Colorado is the place for you. Every place we went had amazing and interesting selections. We settled in for lunch at BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse, where we enjoyed really wonderful food and a great selection on craft beer, not the predictable choices! BJ’s was also very reasonably priced. We took our time walking around on another beautiful 65 degree day, and we made a quick pit stop in Fort Collins to visit some friends. After that it was back to Winter Park to rest up for a full day of boarding the next morning.
We spent Valentines Day boarding at Winter Park; another sunny, gorgeous day, it was amazing, unreal really! This was by far my favorite day of our trip. We were able to take a shuttle right from our front door to the base of the mountain. We bought a coupon book at the front desk of our condo that had discounted lift tickets – buy one get one free – this was a great find as lift tickets are generally quite expensive. There are definitely ways to get discounted lift tickets if you look around. We spent the whole day riding the mountain with one stop in a Chalet for lunch and bloodies. Being a beginner I was amazed at how much of the mountain I was able to cover. We were able to hit three out of the four peaks that Winter Park has to offer. I will admit on the chair lifts up I sometimes thought to myself… oh goodness I do not belong up here, but every time I was absolutely fine. The green circles are true green circles; same as you would find anywhere, only wider and longer, which actually makes them better then what I experienced in Minnesota. For the most part you can cover the majority of the mountain on Green and Blue runs. There is plenty of space to learn and there were tons of beginners out on the slopes. By the end of the day I was feeling like there were many people less experienced than me, and it was only my third time!
After our day of boarding we headed back to the resort to clean up and get ready for dinner at Alberto’s; a wonderful restaurant in Downtown Winter Park, which made for the perfect intimate and romantic Valentines night.
All in all we had a wonderful vacation. I’ve already been back many times for snowboarding and I cannot wait to do it again! Not the typical winter vacation, but a different kind of overwhelming beauty. And for all you beginner snowboarders, make it to the mountains – you will never regret it!
What is your favorite place to snowboard in Colorado? Or your favorite Valentines Vacation location? I’d love suggestions! Thanks for stopping by and reading along!
Much Love & Happy Travels,