A winter getaway to Colorado is a fit for the whole family
She clicks into her 30-inch skis, and my entire body tenses. I see the concentration on her face as the instructor talks her through the ride up the “magic carpet” and how to shuffle her feet to get in place. Without skipping a beat, she heads down the bunny hill, reaches the bottom, looks up at me and smiles. Looks like we’ve got a skier.
I was too young to remember the first time I got up on snow skis, but I’ll never forget watching my 2-year-old glide over fresh powder for the first time. The setting for this milestone: Breckenridge, Colorado, a Gold Rush town known for its 300 annual inches of pure white snow, where experts and novices—whether age 2 or 62— are welcomed with open arms. With five peaks, 2,908 acres and the highest chairlift in North America, it’s a destination that fulfills a multitude of winter adventuring desires.
Historically, my ski vacations have been about leisurely days on the slopes, après-ski with adult cocktails and evenings at trendy restaurants and bars—not exactly an ideal itinerary for a toddler. But this visit to Breckenridge opened my eyes to a new way to enjoy a visit to the snow, little one in tow.
If you want to bring the brood but still get some adult time, Breckenridge Ski Resort offers a ski school as well as childcare for kids as young as 2 months old. Or you can do what my husband and I did and bring the grandparents along to help. Either way, I can’t say enough about how impressed I was with the family-friendly amenities, particularly our ski instructor’s ability to make our headstrong toddler comfortable with the entire experience (equipment and all), as well as the fun my husband and I had with him during the half-day adult-only skiing we did while our daughter built snowmen with Grandma and Grandpa.
A key piece of the puzzle in our successful toddler-toting ski vacation was our home base at One Ski Hill Place, A RockResort. Situated at the base of Peak 8, the ski-in, ski-out accommodations are just steps from five different ski lifts, which made it easy to take breaks for naps and meals throughout the day. Plus, our two-bedroom suite, done in natural wood and stone materials with a cozy fireplace and full kitchen, made us feel right at home. When we weren’t hitting the slopes, we still felt part of the action by people-watching from the terrace, sitting next to the hotel’s outdoor fire pit or in the hot tub. Another way to watch the activity is through the floor-to-ceiling windows at the two indoor pools, which feature sprayers and a zero-entry kids pool that my daughter loved. Some of the hotel’s other perks include a two-lane bowling alley coined “The Mine Shaft,” two movie lounges, a game room, Rejuvenation Center Spa, ski valet and a gondola that takes you to downtown Breckenridge. The quaint town center offers a variety of shops, bars and restaurants. We enjoyed two delicious meals (including kids’ menus) at Twist and Giampietro Pasta & Pizzeria, followed by strolls down Main Street.
Traveling with young children isn’t always easy, especially when it involves time and altitude changes, but Breckenridge is one of those places that makes it just a little easier, and totally worthwhile. My daughter may not remember her first visit to the snow, but it’s a memory I’ll cherish forever.
IF YOU GO…
Breckenridge Ski Resort
Giampietro Pasta & Pizzeria
One Ski Hill Place, A RockResort
STORY: Giannina Smith Bedford