Sugar and snow: Colorado’s Beaver Creek Resort has both in spades, making it a sweet spot for a wintry vacation for the whole family. In addition to famous fresh–baked cookies offered daily in Beaver Creek Village, a brand-new ice cream parlor and a cabin full of candy, the resort has activities and skiing spots that cater to every kid (and not just their sweet tooth): Two new parks beckon beginning skiers, and a free snowshoe tour will help everyone get their snow legs before warming up with a kid-friendly indoor show at the local performing arts center.
OUT IN THE COLD
Glide right onto a Hallmark card—seriously, that’s what it feels like on the outdoor ice rink at the heart of BEAVER CREEK VILLAGE. The rink is surrounded by comfy couches, whimsical lampposts and a slew of dining and shopping spots including Generation BC, which sells jackets, beanies and any other cold-weather clothing you couldn’t fit in your suitcases. The rink is open daily from noon–9pm; admission and skate rental costs $15 for ages 13 and older, $10 for 12 and younger.
A trip to the mountains wouldn’t be complete without a trek down, well, a mountain. And don’t worry if this is your kiddos’ first time on skis—with two new dedicated learning areas, Beaver Creek now has the most learning terrain in the state. The recently opened Haymeadow Park and Red Buffalo Park are perfect for beginners. Pro tip: Haymeadow Park has a race course just for beginners, story times for kids and even an ice cream parlor (serving hot beverages too). Want a professional to handle the lessons? The kids will learn all they need to know to hit the slopes at BEAVER CREEK’S SKI SCHOOL, which offers ski and snowboard lessons for all experience levels starting at age 3. Packages include family or group lessons; from $239.
Considered by locals a mountaintop gem, MCCOY PARK is a pristine wilderness at 10,000 feet, meaning the mountain views are spectacular. While you can join the Nordic Sports Center’s daily group tour at 1:15pm, families with young kids can see vegetation and animal tracks while snowshoeing or skiing at their own pace on a private tour. You and the kids will have plenty of time to stop and make snow angels along the way and kids can ask the guide all the questions they like about the surrounding environment. From $323 for a two-hour tour, plus the cost of rental equipment. Or opt for a complimentary excursion around the Nordic Sports Center on Tuesdays at 4pm. This hour-and-a-half tour, geared to families with kids as young as 6, is perfect for beginning snowshoers—and everyone’s rewarded with cookies and hot cocoa at the end. Call 970/754-5313 to reserve.
While you’re seeing the sights at McCoy Park, you must make a stop at the CANDY CABIN, selling nostalgic classics like taffy, Mary Janes, and Fruit Stripe gum (complete with temporary tattoos), plus barrels of even more treats. Fill bags with Jelly Bellies, M&M’s, Jolly Ranchers, Swedish Fish or stay on theme with chocolates shaped like snowflakes and ski boots. Find the candy mecca at 9,840 feet at the top of the Strawberry Park Express Lift.
For a break from the winter wonderland, visit the VILAR PERFORMING ARTS CENTER, home to dance performances, concerts, musicals and even live show tapings. The VPAC’s Winter Family Series includes iLuminate (whose entertainers wear lighted costumes and perform in the dark) in February and B: The Underwater Bubble Show (a fairy-tale performed with acrobatics and soap bubbles) in March. Mom and Dad might want to mark their calendars for a performance of the Beatles’ entire Sgt. Pepper album in January. Ticket prices vary but typically range from $10–$50; buy online.