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Think you’re too old to learn to ski? You’re not. But you’ll need patient ski instruction in a newbie-friendly environment. Find both at Granby Ranch in Grand County, Colorado. This family-friendly ski resort offers affordable lift tickets and is less crowded than the big name destinations in the Rockies. Here’s one Traveling Grandmom’s “learn to ski” story at Granby Ranch.
For those who haven’t grown up near the impressive ski slopes of Colorado, skiing could be, well, quite intimidating. Yes, you want to….really, really want to learn, but when are you too old, or too young, to learn how to ski? Never, if you find the right resort and ski instructor. Read on to find out all that this local Colorado ski resort has to offer skiers, both beginner and experienced.
Granby Ranch, Grand County, Colorado
Budget friendly lift tickets. No long lines. Easily navigated ski terrain. And just plain fun. And it’s close. Granby Ranch, one of many family-friendly Colorado ski resorts, is located just 90 minutes from Denver, and 20 minutes from Winter Park and the western entrance of Rocky Mountain National Park.
A Grandmother’s Guide to Skiing
I’ve taken a handful of ski lessons over the 30 years I’ve lived in Colorado, but as we get older, falling hurts a little more…and a little longer. I’m a grandmom, who just turned 50. Was I too old for another ski lesson?
Skiing has always intimidated me. I’m a Midwestern raised, Colorado transplant, so skiing isn’t in my DNA. Visualize the sloping hills of Iowa, not rugged Rocky Mountains of Colorado. When I landed in Denver at the ripe young age of 24, everyone was heading up the “hill” to ski, so I went with the crowd. I took a handful of lessons, but just never really mastered skiing, and it was also hard on my knees.
When another ski lesson was offered by Granby Ranch, I told myself this would be my last time. Falling isn’t as painless as it used to be, and I thought it was time to retire before I really hurt myself, plus achy knees after a day on the slopes just isn’t fun.
Enter in my amazing instructor “Meatball,” an easy-going, easy-on-the-eyes guy from Missouri. He immediately put me at ease, asked a few questions about my skiing history (or in my case, lack thereof!). Due to new technology and designs, he told me that how a person skis is easier on the knees. I told him I hadn’t been on skis for a few years, so we started on the “magic carpet,” the slope reserved for kids and beginners. I followed Meatball zigzagging down the mini-slope, and surprisingly I did well.
Next up – the bunny hill. We rode the lift up, and again big surprise, my exit was graceful – without falling. At the top, Meatball gave me some tips on posture and turning without putting pressure on my knees: lean forward in ski boots, bend knees and move with the skis, rather than forcing the move. Sound simple?
Well it was! We did several runs on the bunny hill, and I crisscrossed (again without falling), following my ski instructor down the slope, executing the turns smoothly. He was correct – the new skis are better for the knees! Even better, by following his patient instructions, I began to feel a bit more confident with maneuvering my progress from side to side. Meatball even convinced me to leave the bunny hill and adventure to the far left (when facing slopes) lift.
Even as the big snowflakes started falling, I began to feel less tense and actually started to enjoy the ski down. And I didn’t fall until we ventured to the green/blue slope. Oh yeah, there was a tumble, but I did get up and continue down without a hitch. One fall, one great time, and confidence in skiing again – priceless!
My first visit to Granby Ranch was a few years ago, but the positive experience lingers on. Did I mention that this Traveling Grandmom finally “got” skiing? Thanks to Granby Ranch’s ski terrain and my great instructor Meatball, I’m not ready to put the skis away just yet.
You’re neither too old or too young to learn to ski or snowboard. Experience a great first time at Granby Ranch!
More about Skiing at Granby Ranch
Granby Ranch (formerly known as SolVista Basin) is a family-owned ski area, perfect for skiers and riders of all ages and abilities. In September of 2020, Granby Ranch changed ownership and management. The Ridgeline Executive Group currently oversees and manages all ski resort operations, and has a slew of improvements planned.
There’s no need to hunt for parking, or battle for space to turn on the slopes. Granby Ranch’s easy access, wide-open terrain includes beginner, intermediate and advanced runs, as well as a terrain park with progressive features.
Ski Terrain at Granby Ranch
All ages and abilities will find something to love at Granby Ranch with its family-friendly slopes and pricing.
The resort offers 406 skiable acres on 42 trails accessed from five lifts with a base elevation of 8,202 feet. The two hills offer different ski experiences with East Mountain ideal for beginners and intermediates and West Mountain ideal for the more advanced skier.
Granby Ranch Lift Tickets
Lift tickets are affordable, starting at just $53 per day for juniors and $86.33 for adults when you purchase a mid-week, 3-day lift pack.
A limited number of season passes are available for sale prior to the ski season start. These winter season pass include access to night skiing, as well as uphill access.
Day tickets and season passes for cross country skiing are available at the ticket window only.
Ski Rentals at Granby Ranch
Granby Ranch Outfitters located in Base Lodge offers convenient ski rentals. Adult ski packages start at $44 when reserved more than 48 hours in advance during non-peak season and go up to $64 during peak season.
Lodging at Granby Ranch
There is no centralized lodging operations at Granby Ranch. However, you can find plenty of homes and condos available for rent on VRBO and AirBnb. And, there are other lodging options in the area of Granby and Fraser.
Nearby Snow Mountain Ranch has family-friendly cabins available for rent with a variety of on-site winter activities. In the summer, Grand Lake Lodge is another historic favorite with perhaps the best views in the area.
Granby Ranch Dining
First Chair Cafe at the entrance of Base Lodge is the place to grab a locally brewed coffee on your way to the slopes. Blue Bird Bistro offers BBQ, burgers, brick-fired pizzas. Slopeside is another option for lunch or après ski with similar food items.
Summer at Granby Ranch
Granby Ranch isn’t just for skiing and snowshoeing. As most areas of Colorado, summer is when the wildflowers bloom and warm days provide the perfect environment for enjoying the mountains. From mountain biking to golf and fly fishing, Granby Ranch is no exception.
What’s in the Works at Granby Ranch
After a recent $4 million investment in improvements, primarily to snowmaking equipment, a planned 2025 opening of the Bode Miller Ski Academy is on the horizon. The academy will offer alpine, nordic, freestyle and adaptive snow sports programs to approximately 170 students.