3 Day Getaways / Explore Colorado / Explore The Outdoors

On the Trails at Snow Mountain Ranch

A weekend at Snow Mountain Ranch – I’ll take that anytime!  It’s a wonderful gem in Grand County, Colorado.  My cousins and I have been multiple times and each time has been a wonderful adventure.

Driving up on Friday, I certainly could see the impact of a dry winter in Colorado.  But, that was changing with snow in the forecast over the weekend.  I pulled into Snow Mountain Ranch at sunset.  The sun setting to the west and the last glow on the clouds hugging the Continental Divide was a wonderful welcome back to a place I love.

 

My cousins would soon follow.  After dinner in the cafeteria in Commons Hall, we settled in for an evening of laughing and talking in our rooms in Indian Peaks Lodge.  The rooms are simple, but comfortable.  My favorite part is there are no TVs in the rooms!  Saturday morning we woke up to a pretty sunrise to kick off a beautiful day.

 

I’ve been at SMR when it’s been really cold with wind chills well below zero, but not this trip.  Temps for the day were heading into the 30s.  After breakfast we headed over to the Nordic Center for a classic ski lesson with Bill Pierce, director of the Nordic Center.  He’s trained Olympians so he can certainly teach us a thing or two!  My cousins and I took a lesson from Bill a couple of years ago and were thrilled to get another one.  Since he’s coached every level from beginner to Olympians, he’s absolutely the best to tackle the cross country trail with.  We started out with a little skills review and off we went on easy flat trails.  My cousin Alma had never tried classic ski so it was fun to watch her catch on to it so quickly with Bill’s coaching.  The rest of us are all still novices too and it was so cool to see the improvements from our first lesson.

 

It was a perfect day to classic ski in a picturesque setting, especially as we skied above the reservoir.  The views were stunning!

 

As we got more comfortable on our skinny skis, Bill took us on more challenging terrain including some blue trails with good downhills.  They’re not like downhills in alpine skiing, but yes, you do hills in cross country skiing.  I mastered most, but there was a good wipe out on one that left me with a face and ear full of snow.  Gotta have at least one good wipeout!  Enjoy the video of one of my sort of good downhills.

 

After 7 kilometers of skiing, it was time to try something new – curling.  With the Olympics coming up we had to have a little fun on the ice sweeping snow as we moved sand bottles across the outdoor ice rink at Snow Mountain Ranch.  It was a hoot.  So much so that I was too busy sweeping and laughing to take pics!

I was so excited when the first flakes started to fall in the late afternoon.  Proof is in my InstaStory.

 

After a little break back in our lodge rooms, we need to stretch and find out zen so we headed over to yoga.  Sure was nice to get some time on the mat with the snow falling as day turned into night.

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The next morning I got up early to catch sunrise over a world covered in a blanket of fresh snow.

 

As we walked over to breakfast, the clouds broke.  I always love a bright blue ski against snow.  What a walk to breakfast!

 

After breakfast, we packed up then headed out on a snowshoe adventure.  Along the way, we got to see grooming the old-fashioned way as a horse drawn sleigh was clearing a trail.  You can go on sleigh rides at Snow Mountain Ranch.  We took a moment to meet Bella and Claire as they took a quick break.  It was magical watching them pull away.

 

Our next stop was at the Rowley Homestead.  It dates back to 1919.  It’s so fun to explore around the cabins and barns and experiencing the way the West was in the early 1900s.

 

We continued on our snowshoe adventure heading for the waterfall.  The trail took us through willows and some incredible scenery.  As we went farther and farther down the trail, the snow got deeper and deeper.  I was leading and breaking trail.  It was a true winter wonderland.

 

I was getting short on time so had to turn back before we got to the falls.  My cousin Ryan ran and make it to the falls to capture a couple of pics  for me.  You can see how much snow piled up from overnight.

 

On the trail back, I had to savor the moments of winter beauty and spending time with my cousins at Snow Mountain Ranch.