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  • SolVista: Colorado Resort that is Great for Young Kids

    by Shannon Luthy

    Photo courtesy SolVista, CO The key to a family ski vacation, especially if it's your first one with the kids, is to keep it simple. Go to a smaller resort. In Colorado, you can do that at places like SolVista, Sunlight, Ski Cooper, Loveland, Powderhorn, Arapahoe Basin, and Monarch.

    These smaller areas are easily accessible, you typically won't find long lines, the price is right, and they tend to be family friendly. They're the kind of places where you can bring a sack lunch, pop it open at the base lodge cafeteria and no one will mind.

    Take SolVista (www.solvista.com), for example. It's just north of Winter Park, and only eighty miles from Denver. You'll find 287 acres of skiable terrain, with only 20% for the experts. Perfect for a family of intermediates, or those who want learn to ski or snowboard. The nursery is well-staffed and full of toys. The younger children, when they aren't out on the slopes, have places to play, relax and eat lunch.

    There's only one base lodge area, which helps prevent kids getting lost. The beginner chair sits right outside of the base lodge. Most expert runs are isolated to the right. And, jump on the high-speed quad, off to the left, where you'll find the fun kid runs: trails with building facades and long tubes for the kids to ski through, and trails cut through the trees, and over loop-de-loop bumps. The trailhead sign respectfully requests, "No adults allowed, unless accompanied by a child."

    When we've skied SolVista, we've enjoyed lodging at the Inn at Silver Creek, set just at the base of the main road. It's full of pools, hot tubs, gift shops and game rooms. The hotel restaurant has an incredible breakfast brunch for a very low, all-you-can eat price. A terrific, off-site option is just around the corner at Snow Mountain Ranch. There, you can rent anything from a small room to a cabin that sleeps forty. It's fun to go in with another family on a big cabin. Plus, Snow Mountain Ranch has the best cross-country trail system in the state, swimming, snowshoeing, horseback riding, basketball, rock climbing and roller skating.

    Remember. Keep it close. Keep it inexpensive. Keep it simple. And have fun.

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