Top 10 Winter Activities in Grand County

We know you're well aware of the gift that the Winter Park area is in the midst of the snowy season, but there's a chance you might've missed a few of the wealth of options at your fingertips in this winter wonderland. Whether you're visiting for vacation, have a second home, or live here year-round, we have no doubt you'll find a winter activity (or several) that you love. Check out our "Top 10" list of winter activities here in Grand County's Rocky Mountains!

1. Downhill Skiing + Riding

Of course downhill skiing and riding tops the list! From Hot Sulphur Springs to Winter Park, Grand County has a rich history as a pioneer in skiing the Rocky Mountains. And it's now home to two resorts.

Winter Park Resort boasts 3,081 total skiable acres combined in their Seven Territories: Winter Park, Vasquez Ridge, Parsenn Bowl, Terrain Park, Mary Jane, Eagle Wind, and The Cirque. Twenty-three lifts, including three high-speed six-pack lifts, one 10-person gondola, six high-speed express quads, three triples, six double chairlifts, three surface lifts, and one rope tow give skiers run of the mountain. And be sure to check out the new six-pack, the Wild Spur Express, that accesses the Vasquez Ridge Territory and offers a mid-mountain load to avoid the flat terrain at the bottom of the territory! With the base of the resort sitting at 9.000 feet and the skiable terrain's 3,060 feet of vertical rise, the resort's summit is as high as 12,060 feet. 

Our long winters and ample snow leave room for more than one downhill resort in Grand County! With around 400 acres of skiable terrain, 1000 feet of vertical drop, and five lifts, Granby Ranch capitalizes on its modest size. Designed for families and operating with them in mind, they’ve definitely found their niche. We love all of their family-friendly events and how easy it is to park and hop on a lift at Granby Ranch! And if you're still ready for more after a day on the mountain, they offer Grand County's only night skiing!

2. Uphill Skiing

Whether you're in the backcountry or skinning up at the resort, uphill skiing is the definition of "earning your turns."  Winter Park Resort and Granby Ranch both offer uphill skiing. Be sure to read up on Winter Park's Uphill Access Policy and Granby Ranch's Uphill Policy before starting your trek! Should you be hitting the backcountry, check out avalanche training classes offered by Friends of Berthoud Pass, a local nonprofit dedicated to promoting safety education and backcountry access on Berthoud Pass and beyond. Need some gear? Check out Epic Mountain Sports and Icebox Mountain Sports to rent or buy alpine touring set ups! 


Grand County's expansive national forests, miles of trails, and untouched snowy meadows are full of powder stashes that offer snowmobiling fun for all ability levels. The thrill of snowmobiling is real - it’s hard to stop smiling when ripping through a blank canvas of untracked snow or navigating through a forest trail! Take advantage of guided trips through one of our local snowmobiling companies, or head out on your own. Either way, you can't beat the views or the adrenaline!

4. Ice Skating + Hockey

Hit the rink to do a little skating or play some hockey! The Icebox at the Fraser Sports Complex is an NHL-sized partially enclosed rink that is open to the public. Check out their calendar to find out when you can stop in for open skate and stick & puck. They also host hockey leagues (both youth and adult) and offer light concessions, hockey & figure skate rentals, and restrooms in their warming house. 

Winter Park Resort's ice rink is right in the heart of The Village at the base of the Winter Park side, adjacent to Starbucks and next to the gazebo. Skating is open to the public and free - rentals are available at Adventure & Supply Co. (also in The Village). Every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings from 5-7pm, they host Glow Night Ice Skating - the ice is lit up with colorful lights while the DJ plays music. 

Snow Mountain Ranch YMCA of the Rockies also has an ice rink! Located near the Nordic center at the Winter Pavilion, the covered open-air rink offers amazing views of the Continental Divide. Skating and rentals are included for guests and members. Or you can swing by the Program Building and purchase a day pass, which gives you access to all Snow Mountain Ranch has to offer! 

The town of Grand Lake provides free skating outdoors on the ice by Gene Stover Park. Bring your own skates or borrow complimentary skates from the warming hut on Grand Lake. Ice skating starts each season when the town determines the ice is thick enough for skating. And Grand Lake hosts the Pond Hockey Classic every year! Eight rinks cover the expanse of Grand Lake, and 70 competitive teams compete all day long. Whether you're playing or watching, the Pond Hockey Classic really captures the spirit of the mountains and Grand Lake!

5. Tubing + Sledding

True fun for the whole family, tubing and sledding in Grand County is a quintessential winter activity. Make-your-own fun, or take advantage of one of our local hills for your next tubing adventure. Winter Park Resort's Coca-Cola Tubing Hill, The Fraser Historic Tubing Hill, and Colorado Adventure Park all give tubers a lift to the top. Would you rather hike back up? Try the hill at Hideaway Park in downtown Winter Park, Snow Mountain Ranch's tubing hill, or Grand Lake Nordic Center. Get all the details on tubing and sledding in Grand County here

6. Cross-Country Skiing + SNOWSHOEING 

One of our favorite ways to explore the mountains is on cross-country skis and snowshoes. Whether you're on a groomed trail at Snow Mountain Ranch, Devil's Thumb Ranch, or Grand Lake Nordic Center; exploring our miles of single track trails; or blazing your own trail through the our forests and fields, you're sure to feel that mountain "zen" while working up a sweat!

You can rent cross-country skis and snowshoes at all three Nordic centers, Epic Mountain Sports in downtown Winter Park, Icebox Mountain Sports in Fraser, and Never Summer Mountain Products in Grand Lake. If you're looking for recommendations on where to go, reach out! We love to share our favorite spots!

6. Sleigh Rides

Going on a sleigh ride in Grand County is truly a magical experience. Tour a pristine alpine meadow in a horse drawn sleigh and take in the beauty of the mountain scenery as you drift through the crisp, pine-scented air. Snuggle in under warm wool blankets and enjoy the ride! Most places offer hot chocolate around the fire when you return to the stables. We love this option for enjoying the snow at a different pace!

Sleigh rides are offered throughout the county. Check out Dashing Through the Snow in Fraser, Devil's Thumb Ranch in Tabernash, Rocky Mountain Stables in Granby, and Winding River Resort in Grand Lake.


Ride your favorite summer trails all winter long! Trying your hand at fat biking? You might want to start on compacted roads - they're typically the least technical and offer the best traction. St. Louis Creek Road, Elk Creek Road, Vasquez Road, Little Vasquez, Fraser River Trail, and US Forest Service Road 159 are some of our favorites for a gentler fat-biking experience. Turn it up a notch on packed trails, typically packed in by snowmobiles and skiers. D4, Blue Sky, and Sunken Bridges give you that trail experience without the technical aspects of single track. You can also rent a bike and hit the trails at Snow Mountain Ranch to explore their miles of groomed trails for a similar experience. True singletrack trails are typically created by skiers, other fat bikers, and snowshoers. These can be the most difficult as the compacted area is often narrow, but we love the scenery these trails take you through! Try Crosstrails, Winter Woods, Ditch Trail, Sun Dog, or Sunset Pink if you're looking to up your fat bike game this season! 

9. Ice Fishing

Winter fishing on Grand County's lakes and reservoirs is a true get-away-from-it-all activity, and opportunity to peacefully soak in the beauty of the Rocky Mountains we call home. And it can produce some of the most amazing fish of the year! Rainbow trout, brown trout, lake trout, and Kokanee salmon are some of the more prominent species found in our mountain lakes (and the most definitely don't hibernate for winter!). Ice fishing typically begins in early January and goes through late April. Foot traffic on lakes can start as early as the last week of December, and snowmobiles and ATVs can typically be seen on the ice by late January. Check out this guide to ice fishing in Grand County to start planning your adventure!

10. Hut Trips

Mountain huts nestled in the deep Rocky Mountain wilderness give you the opportunity to truly bask in the tranquility of the high mountains of Colorado. And Grand County is home to two of Colorado's best "huts." Accessed by cross-country skis, snow shoes, or skins in the winter, both the Broome Hut and High Lonesome Hut offer a mountain refuge off the beaten path. 

The Broome Hut is a mile hike up from the Second Creek Trailhead on the west side of Berthoud Pass. Sitting at 11,350 feet, access to the backcountry is out the door, and the views are as good as it gets! Operated by Grand Huts Association, the Broome Hut can sleep up to 16 and can be reserved online

The High Lonesome Hut sits at 9,300 feet and is accessed via a 2.5 mile hike/snowshoe/xc ski or horseback ride. The relatively flat terrain has a cumulative elevation gain of 337 feet, making it an ideal beginner/intermediate hut trip. And dogs are welcome - it's the only hut in the 10th Mountain Division Hut Association that allows your furry friends! The High Lonesome Hut can also be reserved online.  If you're looking for a weekend trip, be sure to book well in advance. Our Grand County huts are popular! 


This list is far from exhaustive! There really is something for everyone to enjoy in the snowy season. Looking for a recommendation for winter fun? Or just need us to point you to the best trails or our favorite ski runs? We'd love to share our decades of experience living in Grand County with you! Connect with us to get the inside scoop or to learn more about real estate opportunities in the Winter Park area. 

Posted by Leah Bishop on


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