Kick off the season with a trip to Winter Park to get the whole family in the holiday spirit. Here’s a two-day plan to pack your weekend with lots of ski-town fun.
Plus, if you book lodging before December 21, you’ll get a Christmas Tree permit included so you and the family can enjoy the experience of cutting down your own tree. Choose a convenient slopeside condo to get into the Christmas spirit and start a new holiday tradition.
Day 1: Get Into the Spirit!
Morning: Grab Food and Warm Clothes
There’s nothing better than escaping the hustle-and-bustle of the city and starting your day in the mountains.
It’s going to be a busy day, so make a morning breakfast stop in the Village for a caffeinated concoction and some home-baked goodies at the Coffee and Tea Market. Make sure to fill up! You’re going to need all the energy you can get!
Once you’ve had your fill of coffee and sweet treats, it’s time to do some shopping. It gets cold out there! You don’t want to rush to get out of the cold and miss laps with the family, or settle for a so-so tree. Did you forget something on your packing list? Make a quick stop at the James and Parry’s. They have all of the gloves, jackets, and pants you’ll need to stay snug before catching some laps on the mountain.
Mid-day: Hit the Slopes!
Once you’re geared up, take some laps with the family. Hit terrain you all can enjoy on the Gemini Lift, with access to plenty of green runs everyone can conquer. If you want to keep exploring, you can try the Discovery and Endeavor lifts for some more of that family-friendly terrain. The Winter Park Territory opens first, so check out our guide to skiing Parkside.
Afternoon: Enjoy Après
You’re probably having so much fun you want to spend all day on the slopes, but we have so many more adventures for you! Grab afternoon après at Derailer to celebrate a successful morning on the snow.
Refuel with tender, slow roasted brisket served with homemade bourbon barbecue sauce, or try the iconic waffle fries! Don’t forget to wet your whistle with a cold, refreshing beer. Make sure to clean your plate! You’ll want tons of energy for the evening’s activities. If you’re looking for more après options, we’ve got you covered. Check out our guide to the best Winter Park après.
Now it’s time to change into your ugly Christmas sweaters and dust off the old Santa hats, because Christmas spirit is headed your way in full force. Do you hear those sleigh bells jingling? Pack the family in the car and head north on Highway 40 toward Sombrero Stables for a Christmas sleigh ride.
Evening: Dash Through the Snow
Once you arrive at Sombrero Stables, it’s time to suit up in your coziest gear. Bundled in blankets, you’ll enjoy a breathtaking sleigh ride through the snow-covered Rockies, sightseeing from the comfort of a horse-drawn carriage. By now, you’re probably singing “Dashing Through the Snow” with the family! If you’re getting hungry, then you’re in for a treat. The sleigh ride ends with dinner, when you can taste some true Colorado home cooking.
Day 2: Tree Time!
Morning: Start Early!
If you’re looking to avoid a Charlie Brown Christmas Tree situation, you’re gonna want to give yourself plenty of time to pick the perfect one. The Arapahoe National Forest is big, so get up and at ‘em early. Book our Tree Cutting Package and grab your permit and instructions upon check-in.
Today is another jam-packed day, so make sure to have a hearty breakfast to keep those holiday spirits high. Grab an award-winning crepe from Goody’s Mountain Creperie.
If you’re more of a traditional breakfast lover, Goody’s also serves all-day waffles, pancakes, eggs, and all of the other breakfast classics.
Once the family has full bellies, it’s time to pile into the car and take a scenic drive down Colorado State Highway 72. This is also where you can find a spot to chop your perfect Christmas tree! The mountains have plenty of trees to choose from, but there are some areas where tree cutting is prohibited.
Here is a list of the areas closed to tree cutting:
- The Fraser Experimental Forest
- Indian Peaks, Never Summer, Vasquez Peak, Byers Peak Wilderness Areas
- Within ¼ mile of any highway, as well as the area from Winter Park Ski Resort to Berthoud Pass
- James Peak Protection Area
- Developed recreation areas
- Within developed ski boundaries
- Within 75 feet of any roads, trails, and bodies of water
Winter Park has some more helpful rules and guidelines for you. The most important thing to remember is to have your permit handy!
Afternoon: Stop for Lunch
Picking out the winning Christmas tree is a good workout! It’s no surprise you’ve worked up an appetite. Make your way back to Winter Park Resort and head over to the Village for a lunch break! After spending hours outside, there’s probably a little chill in your bones. Warm yourself up with a juicy burger or gourmet Mac and cheese at Rippy’s Mountain Tavern.
Mid-Afternoon: Browse the Grand Holiday Market
If a sleigh ride through the snow and cutting down a Christmas tree haven’t put you in the holiday spirit yet, than the Grand Holiday Market is sure to do the trick.
Sip mulled wine while browsing through hand-crafted goods made by local vendors. We promise you’ll find Christmas gifts for your friends and family that truly embody Colorado culture.
If your legs are starting to feel a little sore from so much walking, take a break and warm your toes by the fire!
Evening: See the Tree and Grab Dinner
We’re sure you found some awesome stuff at the Grand Holiday Market, but now it’s time to relax. Before you take your tree home to decorate tomorrow, get some inspiration from ours! Stick around once the market closes to watch us start the Christmas season off with the annual lighting of our holiday tree.
You’ve had quite a busy trip! It’s time to celebrate with a drink at Doc’s Roadhouse. Doc’s has a great selection of craft beers, including New Belgium Brewery’s Mary Jane Ale! It’s the last night of your trip, so we think you deserve to indulge a bit. Feast on giant, hand-stuffed ravioli. Or try perfectly grilled chicken tacos topped with zesty buffalo sauce, sure to leave you wanting more. Plus, you can enjoy your meal while also catching a football game on Doc’s 12’ projection screen! The perfect way to end your trip!