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Sol Vista’s Paradise

This blog comes to us from Amber Johnson, editor of the Denver Post’s “Mile High Mamas.”

Me: “I have some bad news, Haddie.”
Haddie: “Oh no, what?”
Me: “I can’t find your carsickness pills and it’s a really windy road to SolVista Basin at Granby Ranch.”
Haddie: “Oh no. I’m gonna die!”
Me: “Don’t be ridiculous. You’re just going to throw up.”

Base Camp

Hadley somehow survived the serpentine mountain passages and two hours later, we were settled into our cozy condo at Base Camp One. Located in the heart of Granby Ranch’s 5,000 acres of mountain splendor, SolVista Basin is all about location, location, location. Many resorts tout “slope-side accommodations” but SolVista takes it one step further.

Or rather, about 20 steps, which is how far we had to go before were at the base area and the popular “Snow Turtle,” THE place where kids congregated to climb and slide.

(View of the Snow Turtle from our condo; lazy parenting at its best.)

Welcome to one of Colorado’s most family-friendly resorts.

SolVista Basin has a special place in my heart: it is where Hadley first learned to ski (check-out the sordid details at Confessions of a Ski School Dropout).

With 406 skiable acres that cover interconnected mountains it is small, affordable and the perfect place for young families to come together. Unless you’re like us and drop off your kids at ski school and enjoy a day by yourself.

Couple’s Lesson

SolVista Basin has launched a 2-hour private lesson for couples because, despite your best intentions, skiing together is often en par to martyrdom. Whether you have different ability levels or the misguided notion you can teach your significant other, it generally ends badly.

Tom McNamara was our instructor. A retired lobbyist who traveled the country whipping political campaigns into shape, he knew how to do the same with us.

We started on the bunny slope. Now, I know what you’re thinking because I had the same thought: “We’re not beginner skiers, Dude!” But Tom had a plan and that included observing our ability, knocking us back down to square one and then building us back up.

Jamie and I are comparable skiers. I have better form and he is faster and more aggressive. But we both agreed on one thing: it was humbling and frustrating in the beginning.

Tom taught us how to work with (and not against) our parabolic skis to seamlessly carve our turns. Jamie and I had different habits to break and Tom had the know-how to give us our own tools to succeed. I’m pleased to say I’ve never skied better.

And even more ecstatic to announce our marriage is still in tact. 🙂

Sweetheart of a Deal: 2-hour Couples Lesson, $180 (regularly $215) in February (equipment and lift tickets are extra). Bruised ego included.

Saturday Splendor

On Saturdays, sleepy SolVista Basin comes to life. Though it could never be deemed crowded (the longest I waited in a lift line was 1 minute), there is a fun line-up of activities kids of all ages will enjoy.

Free S’Mores

After ski school from 3-4 p.m., we enjoyed free s’mores by the firepit at Base Camp Lodge.


The Snow Turtle has a small sledding hill attached to it but if you want more of a rush, be sure to try the Saturday night tubing. A snowcat transforms the bunny slope into a three-lane, lift-serviced thrillway. Well, as thrilling as a cuddly cottontail can be.

Confession: That hare-of-a-ride had me screaming.

Night tubing is $14 for a 45-minute session or pay $20 for both night skiing and tubing. Children must be 6 and older to tube. If you just want to night ski, it is a great deal: just $12.

How you know you’ve had a great vacation

Evidence #1 (right after ski school):

Evidence #2:

Evidence #3:

Me: “So, what did you think?” (After ski school)

Hadley: “I think it was a really fun day!”

(Literal) “retch-ed” beginning and all.

For more details of our trip, an event calendar including Kids’ Totally Insane Winter Blast, area activities and more, be sure to head over to Mile High Mamas today. Thanks to SolVista for hosting!