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March trip w/ 4 kids (ages 5-14) need money saving advice!

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March trip w/ 4 kids (ages 5-14) need money saving advice!

We have a condo to stay at but have never been to WP or skiing for that matter. The boys, 9, 12, & 14, want to snowboard while we stay behind with the 5 year old. They have little rec experience where we live but not on a mountain. We need money saving advice for snowboarding for the boys/ski school. (Husband just had shoulder surgery so he is out for activities.) We are open to any advice on what to do, where to go and what to see. Fire away!

Colorado Springs...
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1. Re: March trip w/ 4 kids (ages 5-14) need money saving advice!

I am not so sure there are ways to save on ski schools, but on following days your main skiing expense is ski tickets. So, I'd recommend go on Entertainment coupon book website and see if there's anything for WP skiing. Also, most of the times ski rentals are cheaper outside of ski town. I am not sure if you will be in Colorado Springs or Denver, try to rent there, and make sure to tell them which days kids will ski, and usually you get charged only for those days.

Besides skiing you can do tubing at night, it is a lot of fun for kids and adults! Not very cheap though especially Friday-Saturday.

WestSlope,CO
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2. Re: March trip w/ 4 kids (ages 5-14) need money saving advice!

How many days do you expect the kids to ski/board? You save a little by purchasing multi-day lessons and lift tickets ahead of time on the internet.

I don't think it is a good idea for inexperienced skiers to rent in Denver. It's too far in the event there's any problem with the equipment. At Winter Park, a lesson including equipment rental is only $20 more than a lesson without. I'd try to budget for at least two days of lessons, and preferably 3. (It often takes that to catch on to snowboarding! Of course kids often catch on quicker than adults, lol, but additional lessons only increase skills and safety) Since you aren't going to be on the slopes with them, you might feel better with having them supervised and in a group. They'll have a lot of fun, be grouped with other kids of their own age/ ability, and you won't have to tell the 14 year old to be sure to stay with the younger ones.

Since you'll have a condo, one of the best ways to save will be to prepare your own meals; for that, you may want to purchase some of your food supplies in Denver for the best prices and selection. (Costco, WalMart, Sam's, King Sooper (any Kroger affiliate loyalty card will work here, and also give you a discount on gas), Safeway, etc.) An inexpensive styrofoam cooler packed with food and dry ice will get your food safely to your lodging.

Snow shoeing would be a good, inexpensive family activity that even the 5 year old can do. (Actually, if there's any way to stretch the budget for at least one ski lesson for the 5 year old, I'd do it! They usually pick up skills really quickly!)

You also may want to check out Snow Mountain Ranch (YMCA of the Rockies) for reasonably priced family activities. http://www.ymcarockies.org/smractivities.html

Edited: 12:03 pm, February 25, 2013
Thibodaux, Louisiana
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3. Re: March trip w/ 4 kids (ages 5-14) need money saving advice!

OK, I know this isn't what the kids would want to hear, but I would suggest sticking to skiing because this is your first trip and also consider how often they will get to experience this again. If you plan on another ski trip in near future go for it. However, they will have alot more fun right away. Its exhausting and disappointing unless they pick up right away. I made the mistake of letting my 13 year old try it out. He pretty much wasted a day of skiing, and he was really disappointed seeing his older brother hitting the slopes the same day. On the second day, he tried skiing and he hit the slopes right after a half day of lessons, and loved it! He still regrets it and cant wait for our next trip, hopefully next winter. I would also say try to get lessons for 5 year old, its amazing to see the little ones on the hill. Have fun!

Colorado
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4. Re: March trip w/ 4 kids (ages 5-14) need money saving advice!

Agree with all the things MissWestslope said, including getting the younger one out.

I like the idea of taking a day off skiing/boarding to snowshoe. I also like the tubing at the original tubing hill in Fraser

http://www.site.thefrasertubinghill.com/ it is right next to the new one.

I have done a nice snowshoe very close to the tubing hill, you go past the facility till the roads ends at the trailhead. You might think about an hour or so show then tubing after.

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5. Re: March trip w/ 4 kids (ages 5-14) need money saving advice!

For saving money, I agree with making meals in the condo. There is a decent sized grocery store in Fraser, just a few miles north of WP.

We ended up buying season passes early in the year for Winter Park skiing, as it was cheaper than a four day pass! It is a very family friendly resort, and I agree on putting the kids in a group lesson.

For a very good and reasonable meal out, I highly recommend De Antonio's. Their soups are phenomenal.

For a really fun activity day, check out the huge pool, etc at the Fraser Valley Rec Center. Minimal fee for a lot of fun. Our kids did the drop in gymnastics class, more of just a free for all on the trampoline, bounce trac, foam pit, trapeze, etc. They got out a whole lot of energy and had a blast.

http://www.fraservalleyrec.org/

The local bowling alley is also very fun, especially for your kids' ages. Both of these places are right between WP and Fraser on the left as you drive north. The two towns sort of meld together, so it is hard to tell when you leave one and start the other. Everything is very close.

You could also take a scenic drive up to Rocky Mountain National Park in Grand Lake. It is the where the mighty Colorado River gets it's start on the way through the Grand Canyon and down to Baja, Mexico. On a nice clear day, that is beautiful and quite cheap except for the gas.

Speaking of which, we were surprised to see that gas was actually cheaper up in WP than by the airport, at least when we were there!

Have fun, it is a great place to visit.

Boston
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6. Re: March trip w/ 4 kids (ages 5-14) need money saving advice!

Scour the internet for lift tickets deals. One site that I find that has consistently good offers is Liftopia (I am in no way affiliated with the company other than being a customer.)

Another is Eduproject a local CO fundraising operation that offers a coupon book. It has some winter park deals. I bought one of these before a recent trip to Copper mountain and used 3 "two for one" lift ticket coupons and saved a bunch of money. According to their site you can buy them in Winterpark at these locations: Viking Lodge and Ski (Winter Park), Beaver Sports (Winter Park), Allegiant Management (Winter Park). You can also buy them online but I found the shipping to be unreliable and had to call a couple of times before AI got mine.

Olathe, Kansas
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7. Re: March trip w/ 4 kids (ages 5-14) need money saving advice!

Rent equipment from Snow Mountain Sports www.winterparkskirental.com

We were just there and they were fantastic! Kids 12 and under are free. Reserve online and save 20%. You pay only for the days you use the equipment!

Granby Ranch Farms is a great place to start. It's so much cheaper than Winter Park. It's smaller, family oriented. I'd really consider Granby if I'm not with my kids. The lodge is very nice, nice fire pit. It's about 30 minutes from Winter Park. Do your ski schools at Granby.

Entertainment books (we bought ours at Snow Mountain Sports) are $10 and have great coupons for Winter Park and Granby.

Snow Mountain Ranch (YMCA of the Rockies - between Winter Park and Granby) is a great place to try all the extras - cross country, snow shoeing, ice skating, tubing, rock climbing wall, swimming pool, horseback riding etc. I think a day pass is $15.

WestSlope,CO
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8. Re: March trip w/ 4 kids (ages 5-14) need money saving advice!

You need to decide how many days you expect the kids to take lessons, because the lift pass will come with the lesson. (lesson, lift and lunch!) Don't buy discount lift tickets if you are putting the kids in ski school unless you can find some kind of deal that includes ski school. My two cents is this: if I were not going to be on the slopes with my beginner kids, I would not want to hand them a lift ticket and say, see ya' at 4:00. I would much rather them be in ski school, at least for a few days, and especially for the younger ones.

Edited: 1:24 pm, February 27, 2013
9. Re: March trip w/ 4 kids (ages 5-14) need money saving advice!

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