Although I-70 covers ground from Maryland to Utah, it's Colorado that boasts the most snow fun along this interstate highway.
Route I-70 stretches over approximately 2,173 miles from Baltimore, Maryland to Cove Fort in Utah, but it’s really the last several hundred miles that make for an ultimate snow adventure-lover’s haven.Within this stretch west of Denver families will find four of the world’s top mountain resorts, all belonging to the Vail family. Whether you choose Breckenridge, Keystone, Vail itself or Beaver Creek, your snowsports students will be guaranteed some of the best instruction and mountain facilities available today.
Central to all the excitement, the authentic mountain town of Breckenridge, Colorado is the place where we begin our action-packed, snow-bound adventure.
Breckenridge, a Favorite Mountain Town
This woodsy Western town of Victorian structures is home to the Breckenridge Ski Resort, which stretches across four interconnected mountains with 146 trails totaling almost a hundred miles of diverse terrain. Here, you can feel the rush of cold air skiing or snowboarding down steep trails, or enjoy a bumpy ride behind a sled pulled by beautiful Siberian huskies.
Whatever your winter fancy, eco-freindly Breckenridge has it all. For those who haven’t developed their snow legs yet, the resort even offers instructional programs designed for every age group. Winter not only brings out the best of the area’s thrilling snowsports, but a few of Breckenridge’s fun festivals for non-athletes as well.
For apres-ski or families staying in a budget hotel without a great pool, the Breckenridge Recreation Center allows guests to use its sauna and steam room, huge pool with waterslide, jacuzzis indoors and out, and a Bearly Big Daycare center for ages 2-months through 6-years. The Kinderhut is a children’s ski school and nursery with a fully trained staff ready to make your child into a snowsports pro.
Within a couple of miles’ stretch of Breckenridge’s Main Street lies a real “Wild West” town – at least to anyone who’s not from the West – where there are dozens of restaurants, snow wear boutiques, T-shirt stores, bars and fun places to hang out. The Edwin Carter Museum, located in a historic building constructed in 1875, displays the Rocky Mountain wildlife conservation achievements of the “log cabin naturalist,” Edwin Carter, in an age of mining mania. His collection of natural specimens played a significant role in the development of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. To really experience the mining culture of the West, visit the Country Boy Mine, which offers guided underground tours, mining exhibits and gold panning.
Keystone is Key to Family Fun
East along I-70 toward Denver, Keystone Resort is one of the highest elevation ski resorts in America at 11,000 feet above sea level. This purpose built recreational zone is comprised of three mountains – Dercum Mountain, North Peak, and the Outback.
The three base villages of the resort, which include River Run, Lakeside, and the Mountain House, offer guests a pleasant pedestrian-only faux village that kids can safely roam on thier own. The Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory is where you can warm up with a cup of hot cocoa, feast on fudge, and watch the ice skaters glide around Keystone Lake.
Vail Feels on Top of the World
The more upscale Vail Resort, located west of Breckenridge, is a mecca for skiers and snowboarders everywhere. Although its pre-war heritage lends authenticity, it’s really a superb purpose-built ski resort. Among top family facilities is Adventure Ridge, a snow play park with eight lanes of lift-served tubing, laser tag, ice skating, snowbikes, and all kinds of other daytime and nighttime fun.
Posh Vail Village is a charming, Bavarian-style, pedestrian-only area filled with hotels, shops, bistros, and nightlife that is also popular with families. Feel free to drop by and take the free shuttle past all the activities to get a sense of what everyone’s talking about. Whitewater rafting trips on the gentle-flowing Lakota River are available for summer fun, and are great for spotting such as beaver, foxes, coyote and deer. To learn more about the highlights of Colorado’s winter Olympics and observe the milestones of the area’s snowboard and ski history, be sure to schedule a visit to the Ski and Snowboard Museum and Hall of Fame.
Beaver Creek Delivers Concierge Service
Not far away, Vail-owned Beaver Creek Resort is not only known for its pristine skiing, world-wide appeal, alpine style village and celebrity sightings, which for many years numbered President Gerald Ford and the First Lady. It’s also a very upscale family resort with cozy suites and all the amenities.
Among all the Vail properties, this is the one where service rules, from the Ski Nannies who come to your hotel room to fetch young students for ski school, to the lavish spa and grotto pools. The area’s location allows for fly-fishing, horseback riding, kayaking, mountain biking, rock climbing, whitewater river rafting and hiking in summer.
Nearby are the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens, featuring a rock garden with over 150 plant varieties and even a children’s garden. Plan a half day here to sign up for adventure hikes and tour a schoolhouse museum. The best time to visit the gardens is between May and September. When you return in summer, be sure to plan ahead to attend one of their many, world-class cultural festivals.
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