At just under an hour and half from Denver, Winter Park has it all! We were looking for a Christmasy birthday getaway where we could rent a house at a reasonable rate, and Winter Park was the obvious choice. We decided on a cabin through VRBO located just outside Winter Park in Fraser. The only criteria I had was mountain decor and a hot tub, Our cabin was nestled up in the Rendevous neighborhood with other matching cabins. It had a great view of downtown Winter Park at night!
Denver to Winter Park
We rented an SUV and made the drive from DEN to Winter Park. If you've already been travelling all day and are hungry, your choices of restuarnats are very limited. We ended up at a brew pub with wonderful beers and delcious food. I highly reccomended the sour beer and buffalo burger.
We stocked up on groceries, made it to the cabin, and I was out cold in about 30 minutes. The next morning, we were out the door at 7 am heading to Routt National Forest for dog sledding. (Check out my post here!) If you visit Winter Park, make the drive to Snow Buddy outside Steamboat Springs. If you can only do one thing, DO THIS! It was beyond amazing. We ate McKnights Irish pub in Steamboat Springs -- we mainly chose this place simply for the fact that it had a parking lot. Great beer, great Irish egg rolls, great decor.
After a good nights sleep and stop at Fraser Valley Hot Dog, Karl and I were headed to Devil's Thumb Ranch while everyone else went tubing. Devil's Thumb is a working ranch in Tabernash, about a 10 minute drive from downtown Winter Park. The grounds are absolutely beautiful. We were going to ski their nordic trails, but Karl had never been on any skis before, let alone cross-country skis. (Actually his first time on snowshoes was this past March!). We sprang for a classic lesson and rented skis. Our instructor was fantastic, the trails were well groomed, and the views of the continental divide were spectacular. After a couple hours of skiing in "feels like" temps of -20F, we ventured into the lodge for lunch at Heck's. Great wild game chili and countless moscow mules by the fire, we were finally warmed up.
We packed up early the next day to head back to Denver. We stopped at Voodoo Doughnuts before the dreaded airport wait. Everyone from Tennessee's flight were earlier in the afternoon, and ours weren't til 11pm. Luckily the flight from DEN to SLC is only an hour. All in all, Winter Park is perfect even for those not keen on alpine sports!