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A snow holiday for Floridians @Rockies

Here's an example of a snow vacation in the Rockies for a family of six for about $3k*.

Getting to soft enjoyable snow is not easy for Floridians on a budget. While many folks will gladly forgo the freezing temperatures, powder snow is a wonderful experience, even if just for once in a lifetime. For the Floridian family that has dreamed of an amazing snow vacation, but doesn't know where to start, this post is for you!

There are different types of snow.

I like it soft and fluffy, fresh and clean.

Basically, powder!

The kind of snow you sink into. It's soft and dry.

We went to the Rockies because there are non-stop flights from Jax to Denver. As a child, I learned to ski in Lake Tahoe, which is also very soft and powdery.

When to go?

This is the biggest savings tip! We went in the last week of March and 1st week of April. Just past the peak of spring break. Plus, by that time, it's not too cold for those of us that are used to wearing flip flops all year long.

One night in Denver {Day 1}

Our flight arrived into Denver at 10:40 PM. Way past my bedtime! Getting a goods nights sleep at a nearby airport hotel set a nice foundation for the trip. Another good reason to spend the first night in Denver is because it allows your body to gradually adjust to the new reality that you are 1 mile above sea level, which helps to ward off altitude sickness.

Denver Airport to Summit County, 1.5 hour drive {Day 2}

The roads are well maintained. We had a 2 wheel drive, super long, 15 passenger van. So stylish! As we were leaving the hotel, a random stranger hopped in because he thought we were the airport shuttle! Oh my goodness!

But young and old alike had plenty of elbow and leg room, and we had room to spare even after bringing a dozen pieces of luggage. For first time snow drivers, please save the drive up the mountains for the daytime. The first trip up to Rockies is a breathtaking experience and should be enjoyed with an abundance of sunlight. The rest area stop along I-70 west at the historic mining town of Georgetown offers clean bathrooms and a welcome center that doubles as a souvenir shop.

Entering Eisenhower tunnel on I-70

I often recommend VRBO because of the amount of space compared to a hotel or resort room. There's the added bonus of unwinding away from the crowd and having a real kitchen. The property reviews are the key to finding the shoe that fits. Our condo was right at Lake Dillon. It had a walking path around the lake, which lead to a big public playground.

Arapahoe Basin (aka A-basin). {Day 3}

My kids had never skied before, and it had been awhile for me. Opting for private family lessons allowed me to ski with my kids while they took their first steps.

A-basin is where the locals go. And get this, stays open until June. It's half the price of down-the-road Keystone. You'll hear people say it has steep slopes, but the beginner slopes are gentle. By the end of their first day, my kids were riding the lift up and skiing down the bunny slope! Although my hubby and the grandparents opted out of skiing, they were able to buy a lift ticket for $15 each. This allowed them to ride the lift up and down the mountain. They took in the sights, breathed in the crisp mountain air, and enjoyed hanging back at the ski lodge.

Tubing at Keystone Resort {Day 4}

Keystone is the Disney or Universal Studios of skiing. They have a City Walk style entrance loaded with shops. An enormous gondola takes you to the top of the mountain, where all the skiing, snowboarding, snow biking, and tubing occur. You can purchase tubing rides in 1 hour increments. Get 'em ahead online because tubing sells out. Tubing was an easy activity that kids and grandparents alike enjoyed.

Free day - Drive Loveland Pass {Day 5}

After back-to-back days of structured activities, we finally had a free day. We opted to drive the Loveland Pass, which is part of the North American Continental Divide. While driving, we saw a random hill with picture perfect fresh, untouched snow. We whipped out our inflatable snow sleds (from home) and had a blast! Loveland Pass is not for the faint of heart. With its narrow, hair pin roads and steep cliffs, take it nice and slow. It's also surprising to hear the controlled avalanche blasts while you're driving. However, if the weather is in your favor, it's one of the most beautiful sights you'll ever behold. There's a photo-op at 11,990 ft.

Another free day {Day 6}

At the last minute, my son and I opted to head back to the Keystone slopes for more skiing. It happened to be a really windy day, so we kept it short. It was that day that I really appreciated the protection we had at A-basin. The rest of our crew enjoyed hanging around Lake Dillon. It was fun watching what the locals do at the lake. Some snowboard around the lake with a kite. Others fish in a hole.

Thanks for reading. If you'd like a copy of a detailed price listing from my trip, please contact me or leave a comment with your contact info. I'd be happy to send it to you!


$3k included lodging, van rental, lift tickets, and equipment rental for everything described in this post. I even packed some groceries from home in my luggage to help save cha-ching.

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