Snowy Christmas get-aways for families

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Week of November 12 — 18, 1998
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Snowy Christmas get-aways for families

By Amy Marr

Question: We are looking for the perfect Christmas getaway. No crowds, no shopping, just lots of mountains, snow, trees and someone who will keep us fed and warm. We don’t even have to ski. We have three children (5, 7 & 10). What do you think?

Suzette Davie
Dallas, Texas

You can find lots of winter solitude on Colorado's cross-country trails
Adventure Adviser: Given your criteria, I’d head to Colorado—staying clear of the Aspens and Vails of course. Here are a couple of ideas from our annual Travel Guide.

Just 70 miles west of Denver is the Devil’s Thumb Ranch Resort and lots of winter solitude. There are more than 60 miles of groomed cross-country trails to explore, and you can rent cross-country skis, skate-skis and snowshoes from the local skiing center. Located at 8,500-feet, the ranch affords plenty of stunning mountain vistas. The six cabins sleep two to six, and have pine furniture, down comforters and, in some cases, fireplaces. From the rustic comfort of your cozy cabin, you and your family can play games and glance out at the views of the Continental Divide. The Ranch House Restaurant will keep you and your broad well-fed, and, if you don’t feel like walking back to your cabin, hitch a ride on the horse-drawn sleigh. Cabins run $100-$200 per night; call 800-933-4339 for reservations.

At the 540-acre Vista Verde. Your family can set-up camp in one of eight cabins, each with one- to three-bedrooms. A maximum of 20 guests are allowed, so there are no crowds to speak up, and you can dine together at night in the main lodge. Spend days skiing (downhill and cross-country), riding or exploring the ranch. Five-night packages include lodging, meals, ranch activities, and transportation to-and-from the airport in Hayden) cost $845 to $1,045 per person, or $195 to $240 per night. Call the ranch at 800-526-7433 for more details.

For something a bit further afield, Le Chateau Montebello in Quebec is a great choice for families. The massive backcountry lodge sits on the Ottawa River and boasts a three-story lobby with a huge stone fireplace. You can don snowshoes and explore the surrounding Kenauk wilderness, enjoy a dogsled ride, ski, or skate on the river. At the lodge, your kids can frolic in the pool, or check out the curling rink. The dining is superb, and Le Chateau puts on quite a Christmas feast. A special Christmas package includes three nights’ lodging, breakfast and dinner, a sleigh ride, gifts from Santa for the kids and a nightly kids’ event. The rate plan works perfectly in your favor—$361 per person, plus $11 per child age four to 12, based on a family of four. Call 800-441-1414 to book.

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