Experience Holiday Magic in the Mountains at YMCA of the Rockies Estes Park Center and Snow Mountain Ranch

by Rachel Daly

Two of Colorado’s most treasured family vacation destinations – YMCA of the Rockies Estes Park Center and YMCA of the Rockies – Snow Mountain Ranch – today announced highlights of the upcoming 2021-2022 winter season including a new Nordic Center director, the annual Christmas tree cutting experience, and an all-new North Pole Train for the holidays.

“Winter is a special time at both of our properties and this year we have designed safe, festive activities for our guests coming from near and far to experience the magic of the Rocky Mountains with their loved ones,” said Lisa Eccles, Director of Marketing and Communications, YMCA of the Rockies. “From guided snowshoe hikes through the Rocky Mountain National Park, Nordic skiing on some of the most beautiful and expansive trails in our state, ice skating on a natural pond, and educational discussions on local wildlife and stargazing, there is something for everyone.”

New this winter, the treasured Snow Mountain Ranch Nordic Center has introduced former Olympic silver medalist, United States Olympic Flag-Bearer, World Champion and Colorado local Todd Lodwick as the new director of the Nordic Center.

“As the ski-loving Colorado community and entire world awaits the Winter Olympics in February, it is an incredible time to introduce our new Snow Mountain Ranch Nordic director, Todd Lodwick, who is not only a Colorado-born local but a former Olympic Nordic ski medalist,” said Eccles.

What to expect this winter:

Snow Mountain Ranch

Tucked in Granby, Colo., between Winter Park Ski Resort and Rocky Mountain National Park, Snow Mountain Ranch is a winter wonderland. The 5,100-acre resort offers Nordic skiing, an incredible dog sledding experience, meet and greets with the dog sled team of Huskies, snowshoeing, ice skating, fat biking, indoor archery, indoor rock climbing, crafts shop swimming, sleigh rides, roller skating, and much more. Accommodations include hotel-style lodge rooms starting at $84 per night and pet-friendly cabins starting at $179 for a 2 bedroom. Winter activities include:

  Nordic Center News: The popular Snow Mountain Ranch Nordic Center, led by former Olympic medalist Todd Lodwick, will open in mid-November and has over 120K of groomed tracks and trails. Cabins and lodge rooms are either ski-in, ski-out or in walking distance from the Nordic ski, snowshoe and fat biking trails. Private and group lessons are available this winter season as well as Nordic ski equipment rentals including chariots to pull the kids along for a winter ski adventure.

  • Cut Down Your Own Christmas Tree: Snow Mountain Ranch offers a festive Christmas Tree Cutting Experience. Purchase a tree-cutting ticket and head out on a winter adventure to find the perfect Christmas tree. Tickets include two special holiday crafts. Overnight guests can cut down a tree for free.
  • Winter Wonderland Event: Participate in the Cozy Winter Wonderland event at the Snow Mountain Ranch library every weekend between November 26 and December 20.  The festive event will include holiday-themed crafts, hot cocoa, and hot apple cider, as well as a holiday story time.
  • Holiday Crafts: For holiday cheer on the weekdays, visit the Snow Mountain Ranch craft shop to create Christmas and holiday crafts.
Ice Skating at the Estes Park Center

YMCA of the Rockies Estes Park Center

Just a 10-minute drive from the town of Estes Park, YMCA of the Rockies borders Rocky Mountain National Park on three sides of the 860-acre property and offers a peaceful retreat for families this winter. From ice skating on a natural pond to snowshoeing and making holiday crafts, guests will find a magical, yet affordable getaway in the Colorado Rockies. Accommodations range from hotel-style lodge rooms with common areas starting at $89/night to pet-friendly multi-bedroom private cabins starting at $109/night featuring full kitchens, cozy fireplaces, and porches to take in the beautiful mountain views. Activities for all ages are within walking distance, such as an indoor swimming, archery and rock-climbing, a roller-skating ring, sledding, snowshoe rentals, a family escape room, and a full-sized gym for volleyball, basketball, and shuffleboard. Holiday-themed activities include:

  •  *New this year! Visit the North Pole Train at YMCA of the Rockies: Bring the family for a reading of the Polar Express and then climb aboard the Christmas “Train” to the North Pole as we sing carols and take in the holiday lights along the ride. Santa greets everyone at the end with hot cocoa and cookies. Offered Thursdays – Sundays from November 26 – December 26.
  • Drive-through Christmas Village: Take an evening tour of the brightly lit, decorated cabins from the warmth of your own car.
  • Santa’s Workshop: Visit the elves at Santa’s workshop! Make your own ornaments and gifts for everyone on your list, and our elves will do the wrapping. Open daily between November 18 – December 26.
  • Holiday Storytime Around the Campfire: Enjoy an old-fashioned Christmas tradition of music, story time, carols, and hot chocolate and cookies. Offered Saturdays, December 11 and 18.
  • Santa Visits & Present Delivery: A long-standing tradition at YMCA of the Rockies, guests staying at YMCA of the Rockies can pre-arrange for Santa to personally deliver their presents to their door on Christmas Eve. Advanced reservations required.
  • New Year’s Eve Cosmic Climbing: Rock climb in the dark, lit by black lights and neon stripes.
  • Create a Vision Board: This popular New Year’s activity is a great way to visually set intentions for the next year – personally or as a family.


Winter cabin reservations at both locations open Wednesday, October 6, 2021, and lodge rooms are available today. Book online at ymcarockies.org or call 888-613-9622.

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