Family-Friendly Ski & Soak near Salida, CO
In Colorado, winter is a season of adventure and we are trying to take full advantage of it since the kids are finally able to do “all the things” with relatively little complaint. We’ve been filling the winter weekends by heading into the mountains and taking advantage of everything Colorado has to offer.
This past weekend we headed up to Salida (under 3 hours from Colorado Springs) for a one-night ski and soak adventure that was perfect for the whole family.
Saturday morning we got up early and headed to Monarch Mountain. We like Monarch because it is small and super manageable. Most of the runs are greens and blue and manageable by the kids. Monarch runs all sorts of ski deals, we were able to grab a military deal.
Early in the morning lines developed for the lifts as everyone arrived, but by 10 am they had all but disappeared as people dispersed on the mountain. The magic carpet to the bunny hill remained the longest line.
The Middle and Little had had ski lessons earlier in the year, but the Big has actually never skied. We put the Little and Big into two-hour ski school as a group – Jeff went along to help ride the lifts with the kids. They gained so much confidence in lessons that it was easy to ski the rest of the day.
The Middle Little and I checked out the tubing hill at Monarch. It is not the best hill we’ve ever been to, but it is still really fun. A rope lift pulls you, on your tube, to the top of the hill. The run is fast but short. There are carpets and bags to stop you at the end. Tickets for the tubing hill are sold in 1-hour time slots. One hour is more than enough to enjoy this run.
The Monarch Mountain Ski Resort has limited amenities. There is a bar, restaurant, cafeteria, and food truck. We packed our lunch and used one of the picnic tables out front to eat. The parking lot is so close that it’s easy to run to and from the car. We did also get some fries and hot drinks to enjoy at the end of the day.
We left Monarch Mountain around 2 pm and made the 30 min drive into Salida for provisions. We stopped at the Little Red Hen Bakery and the grocery store across the street to pick up breakfast provisions. We should have also grabbed a loaf of bread from the bakery! (The Big Little was able to get an amazing GF muffin from Little Red Hen Bakery!)
Another block down from Little Red Hen is Moonlight Pizza & Brewery. We grabbed some books from the car and set up shop at a corner table. We got some pizza and a salad to share. (They have GF crusts.) Jeff and I also tried the beer they brew. It was the perfect post-ski meal! Moonlight Pizza & Brewery has a great-looking lunch special with a large slice of pizza and a beer, but we arrived after the lunch deal ends at 3 pm. They also do takeout, including the beer, if you would rather take the pizza with you.
Bellies full we headed to Mount Princeton Hot Springs & Resort for the night. The sprawling facility has hotel rooms and cabins and also offers day passes to the hot mineral pools. We booked a one-night stay in one of the hillside hotel rooms.
The rooms are basic but perfectly comfortable. The only issue is that they are up a very steep hill and it took the van a few tries to make it to the top with the snowy road conditions.
Your overnight stay includes the use of all the pools, all day, including the day of arrival and day of departure. We changed into our swimsuits and drove back down to the pools for the evening. All the riverside pools are open till 9 pm. The infinity pool, located near our hotel room, closed at 5 pm.
That evening the pools were quite crowded with lots of rowdy 20 somethings. We still enjoyed the pools in the cold air. Nothing though compared to waking up the next morning to find huge snowflakes falling. We were some of the first down to the hot springs and had the creekside pools largely to ourselves. This was perfect for the kids to hop from pool to pool searching for the perfect “temperature” pool.
An hour was about all the kids could take in the hot water before we headed back to the room to change and check out. The weather had turned and we decided to drive back to Colorado Springs that morning. We could have easily headed back to Monarch to Ski again but we didn’t want to get caught in the coming snowstorm.
However, you want to plan your weekend, the ski & soak combo of the Salida area is sure to please.
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