This year, though, with my husband’s crazy work schedule and tighter finances than we’ve had in a while, we couldn’t jet away to an island.
As I was looking for a fun family staycation near Denver, my daughter was becoming increasingly obsessed with Husky Dogs. This was partly my fault- after a trip to Finland this fall, I shared with her my experiences mushing husky dogs- it’s all she wanted to do.
Luckily, I found an amazing Husky Dog experience at the YMCA of the Rockies Snow Mountain Ranch and I knew exactly what our January staycation would be.
Snow Mountain Ranch is only about a 2-hour drive from Denver, but you have to summit Berthod Pass- crossing the Continental Divide and driving at over 11,000 feet. The switchbacks are pretty crazy, and when you add unpredictable snow and ice, you want the right vehicle. (Read, I wanted at least a 1.5-liter turbocharged engine so I could zip up the steep hills and still maintain fuel economy.)
We pulled the girls out of school about an hour early to avoid ski traffic and loaded up our 2020 Chevrolet Equinox for the trip to the Rockies. We were super comfortable despite having a ton of gear since there is so much cargo space in the back.
We drove straight up to Winter Park- and while we were on the road we were able to listen to our Latino music on Sirius XM radio, and when that got tedious we put the audio system to the real test with our favorite Songs in Spanish on YouTube. Yep, 2020 Chevy Equinox has it’s own Wi Fi network! We maintain Spanish as our home language, and I absolutely loved having access to all our online bilingual parenting resources while we drove.
We arrived at the YMCA and checked into our lodge room- it was super comfy with two Queen beds. We grabbed a healthy dinner at the dining hall before heading to the Kiva Center to roller skate. Such old fashioned fun- and the place was hopping. I loved the seat heaters, an addition I didn’t opt for on my compact SUV (I drive a Honda CR-V)- and it was super fun that the seat vibrates when I’m backing up and I get too close to an object behind me. Perfect for the packed Kiva parking lot- and I never had to take my eyes off the road.
Saturday morning we woke up to a serious dusting of snow, and freezing temperatures. Perfect weather for Husky mushing, but we had to bundle up. Luckily we all had our waterproof Keen HooDoo boots, warm winter coats and hats. I used the remote start to get the car warm before we even left our lodge room.
We arrived at the Husky Dog center to make our own Husky dog crafts, watch Husky dog movies and hear an engaging and informative presentation by Steve Peterson, the head husky dog operator at the YMCA. Big Sister took notes on the presentation while Little Sister asked every question under the sun.
Steve has been entering Husky sled dog races for the past few years to earn money in memory of his daughter. Bethany passed away at the age of 39, leaving behind three young children. Her dying wish was to have impacted more people- she felt her time on earth was too short.
Steve now raises money to send kids to Camp Chief Ouray- and you can donate to the cause by participating in the sled dog experience or by donating here.
We then headed outside for some S’Mores by the campfire as we waited for our dogs to line up and get harnessed to the sleds. The fresh snow made the sleds glide so fast- my daughter sat in front with a blanket over her legs, the sled dog driver stood behind her, and I was a passenger standing at the back.
Gliding through the forest at 20 mph was incredible- the dogs loved to run, the driver let my younger daughter yell the commands, and I enjoyed the absolute silence of the snow falling on the trees. My only complaint is that the ride was too short- any ride would be too short! For a full review of the experience, and booking information check out this post- Perfect Colorado Winter Vacation For Families!
The rest of the weekend was filled with activities- indoor climbing, swimming, tubing, ice skating, cross country skiing and an archery class. By the time Sunday afternoon rolled around, we were exhausted.
As we headed away from the ranch, the traffic got crazy. There were accidents, cars lined up in every direction, and emergency vehicles flashing their lights. Luckily, the Chevrolet Equinox has lane departure warning and lane change alert- a little star lit up on my rearview mirror when someone was in my blind spot so I didn’t have to take my eyes off the road.
It was a long drive home, but the kids fell asleep on the rear leather heated seats, and my husband and I had some nice time to recap our weekend and plan our next weekend adventure with Chevrolet!
Make sure to check out all of the Chevy Equinox features too!
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Disclosure: I was provided a 2020 Chevrolet Equinox to drive for one week in exchange for this review. All opinions are my own.
Other Colorado Travel Posts You Might Like:
- Mount Evans Colorado- Family Travel Tips
- YMCA Snow Mountain Ranch- Fall Family Travel Review
- Hyatt Place Denver Airport- Travel Review
- Leadville Colorado Day Trip