Ranching & Skiing in Snowy Colorado
Enjoy two weeks in snowy Colorado during winter and spend plenty of time on the fantastic slopes in Breckenridge and Vail, as well as a few days outdoor adventuring on the beautiful Devil's Thumb Ranch.
Itinerary at a Glance:
- Try your hand at skijoring (cross-country skiing with the assistance of dogs) at Devil's Thumb Ranch
- Take a scenic sleigh ride around Devil's Thumb Ranch
- Ski all day and then have lots of fun at après in the old gold rush resort of Breckenridge
- Add a little luxury to your ski experience in beautiful Vail, where you can even ski a four-mile run
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When To Travel
All of the holidays we create are completely tailor-made to you
Day 1: International Flight
Swap the UK for a picture-perfect snowy escape across the pond with a luxury holiday to Colorado in winter. Start the adventure by travelling to the airport in good time for your midday flight. Our airport team will make sure the check-in and security processes are nice and smooth; all you have to do settle in for the 10-hour flight to Denver.
When you land it'll be mid-afternoon Colorado time the same day, so there will be plenty of time to pick up your hire car (we've included SUV rental in your itinerary to ensure you've got plenty of room) and drive to your inner-city hotel. Once you've freshened up, ask your Concierge to recommend somewhere for your first dinner.
Day 2: To Devil’s Thumb Ranch
After breakfast at your Denver hotel, begin the road trip by driving north-west to Devils Thumb Ranch, which should take about two hours depending on weather and traffic conditions.
When you arrive, tuck into a hearty lunch and then settle into your room. Depending on your group size we can recommend one of the main lodge rooms or an authentic log cabin.
The rest of the afternoon is then yours to spend at leisure, though we recommend recovering from your flight and drive with a treatment at the Ranch Creek Spa. The huge 18,000 square foot spa is in a quiet corner of the ranch with fantastic views, and offers range of pampering treatments.
Day 3: Winter Ranching
A little snow never stopped anyone in the Rocky Mountains National Park and staying on a ranch is just as fun in winter, with just as much to do.
While the day will be yours to spend as you like, exploring and getting stuck into some snowy fun, we can recommend activities to make the most of your time on the ranch.
Come evening, warm up with a drink next to the roaring fire in Heck's Tavern, before retreating to Ranch House Restaurant & Saloon for a steak dinner.
- In the morning take a guided horse ride through the deep powdery snow. The horses are used to the conditions so you'll be able to canter (or trot if you prefer) across the ranch with ease. After an hour and half ride, finish up with s'mores (trust us) cooked on a camp fire.
- In the afternoon, if you want to keep active you can try your hand at cross country skiing on the numerous trails, with or without the assistance of an instructor.
Day 4: More Ranch Fun
Today you have another full day to enjoy life on the ranch. You might like to simply play in the snow, try your hand at building snowmen and going on a long walk, or relax and unwind with a complimentary yoga class.
Alternatively, if you want to keep your day action packed, a few of our best suggestions are below.
This evening, after a busy couple of days at the ranch, relax and take time to simply enjoy the snowy views on a horse-drawn sleigh ride. With 6,000 acres of ranch to explore there will always be beautiful areas you haven't yet come across on your adventures.
- Try your hand at the incredibly fun skijoring, which involves being pulled along on your cross-country skis by dogs. Having a trusty hound at hand means you can cover much greater distances and see more of the beautiful snowy area
- Explore the 12 miles of marked snow trails with proper winter snowshoes
Day 5: To Breckenridge
It's time to leave Devil's Thumb and ranch life behind. Pack up the car and make the two-hour drive south-west to Breckenridge, where your next adventure awaits.
This is one of the USA's best loved ski resorts which also has a rich gold rush history. Park up at your hotel and check-in before spending the rest of today exploring the resort, enjoying lunch, ready to hit the slopes tomorrow. We've included ski lift passes that cover both resorts so that you can get straight into the thick of it first thing in the morning, and can pre-book equipment hire for you to use while you're here if you're not bringing your own.
Wander along the main high street, which dates back to the 1880's, and stop for a hot chocolate or a cold beer in one of the many lively and atmospheric bars. Then continue the evening with dinner at a restaurant of your choice.
Day 6-8: Skiing in Breckenridge
The next three days are yours to ski or snowboard in Breckenridge 'til your heart's content. With five mountain peaks and 187 trails zigzagging across them you won't be short of new runs and mountain views to discover.
Though we at Original Travel love skiing in the European Alps the resorts don't quite compare to the diversity and size of the American ski resorts. To give you an idea of what we mean, Breckenridge includes 1,400 acres of groomed pistes, four snowboarding parks and 34 lifts. You've found yourselves in quite the adventure playground.
For non-skiers or those who just want to mix things up a little the resort also offers all manner of non-ski or board fun. For example, we can arrange snow-shoeing, tubing, dog-sledding and even specialist wine-tasting.
Talking of wine, part of the experience in Breckenridge is embracing the fun après ski atmosphere and with plenty of laid-back cafes, lively bars offering live music and restaurants serving tasty post-slope grub, you will have your choice of vibe.
Day 9: To Vail
One of the best things about skiing in Colorado is the close proximity of various resorts to one another, meaning two resorts can easily be combined in one trip with one lift pass. Today, pack up your things and drive an hour north-west to Vail. As you'll be driving on winding mountain roads the drive length can vary but the views will always be pretty spectacular.
Upon arrival, settle into your new hotel and enjoy a leisurely, restful day as you explore the resort. With the resort tagline 'Like Nothing on Earth', Vail is the more luxurious sister resort to Breckenridge. Fun fact - the whole village is pedestrianised and the pavement has underfloor heating, so you don't have any of those awkward slips carrying your board or skis - now that's what we call luxury skiing.
Tonight take the chance to treat yourselves to a special dinner in one of the resort's fine-dining restaurants. Vail is well known for its dining options - a particular favourite of ours is the lovely La Tour, which we can book in advance if you'd like.
- Perhaps enjoy a lazy afternoon soak in your hotel spa, soothing aching muscles and tired legs with a massage before you get back on the slopes tomorrow.
Day 10-12: Skiing in Vail
You have a full three days of skiing in Vail to enjoy. Compare the pistes and views as you traverse some of the 5,000 acres of skiable terrain along the resorts 195 runs.
Vail is ideally set-up for intermediate to skiers with more challenging terrain than in Breckenridge. Competitive sorts can claim to have skied the resorts longest run - a massive four miles long - while those who like heights can travel up to 3,500 meters.
Back down at resort level there is also lots going on, including a 'Forest Flyer Mountain Coaster', a dedicated tubing area, an ice rink and even the option to go ski biking. The restaurants and bars offer world-class cuisine and plenty of variety to fill hungry stomachs after a day on the slopes.
- For the best après ski head to the terrace of the Red Lion which has live music every afternoon.
Day 13: Back to Denver
Sadly today marks your last morning in the mountains as it's time to make your way back to Denver for your flight home. The drive should only take around two hours but we suggest leaving early so that you can park up in Denver for lunch and a wander.
Make your way to the airport to drop your car off and check in for your evening flight to the UK. The flight time is nine hours so settle in and try to get some sleep as you fly.
Day 14: Arrive Home
Your direct overnight flight lands back in the UK this morning.
George, Abigail and Ollie are our experts for this itinerary and as seasoned travellers they have the inside track on the most memorable adventures.