Snowshoeing, skating, or skiing for n00bs
December 26, 2008 6:45 PM   Subscribe

How can two oldsters, two college students, and a 15-year-old boy have fun in the snow or on the ice? My 21-year-old nephew and his girlfriend are coming to stay with me, my wife, and son in the Denver area right after New Year's. We'd like to take them to the mountains for a day trip or possibly overnight, but we're totally lame and don't know how to ski or skate. They probably know how to skate, but I don't think they ski. What would be fun and easy to learn?

My wife has rheumatoid arthritis, so downhill skiing is right out.
posted by lukemeister to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (11 answers total)
Tubing. Find a ski hill with a tubing run, and go for it. Fun for all ages.
posted by yclipse at 6:52 PM on December 26, 2008

Fuck learning something - get a piece of cardboard, wear three pairs of jeans and an old army jacket, and go sledding down any hill you see!
posted by notsnot at 6:53 PM on December 26, 2008

Check out the Fraser Tubing Hill. Fun for the Whole Family!
posted by jazon at 7:00 PM on December 26, 2008

snowball fight
posted by big open mouth at 7:04 PM on December 26, 2008

Rent some snowshoes.
posted by LarryC at 7:43 PM on December 26, 2008 [4 favorites]

Well, if you are interested in cross-country, it's not bad at all to learn. We were on our way after a 45 minute intro lesson. You can really cover a lot of ground, so it makes for a really great day (provided you are in decent shape).
posted by smalls at 8:19 PM on December 26, 2008

Mushing looks a bit expensive, and I've never tried it, but it looks like fun.

Snow-shoeing is very vigorous exercise -- you'd have to consider whether your wife is up to it. Cross-country skiing can be done at a leisurely pace, and is pretty easy to learn. Some trails have short downhill stretches, and on cross-country skiis (as opposed to downhill) you have very little control and often fall on the downhills. Your wife could just take her skiis off and walk down whenever necessary...but maybe the trails marked "beginner" would be better for you. Or you could also just ask at the reception which trails are flat. Going uphill is a bitch anyways.
posted by creasy boy at 4:02 AM on December 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

Go for a winter hike. Looks like it'll be in the pleasant 40's in Denver at the time.
posted by andythebean at 6:39 AM on December 27, 2008

You know, snow-shoeing doesn't have to be very vigorous exercise. Nor, does cross country skiing. Just imagine that you are going for a stroll for half an just happen to have random things strapped to your appendages. Bring some good food and warm drinks in a thermos and hang out for a bit, then turn around and trek half an hour ish back. If you are on a trail anywhere in the front range that isn't a far drive from the metro area it is extremely unlikely you will be breaking trail (so it shouldn't be crazy strenuous).

If you can ignore the droves of uber-mountainathletes you can go for a short trek on a packed powder trail on crosscountry skis or snowshoes and have a great time. Once you decide where you are going...say Breckenridge or Estes Park or wherever (I'd prefer Estes personally, no ski areas, so no skier traffic) you could call up some of their local outdoor shops (that rent skis and snowshoes) and see what they recommend. I'm afraid that I don't know how limiting the arthritis is so I don't know if the above is possible. Sleigh rides and ice skating could be fun, too. And, sitting by a fire in your hotel's lobby!
posted by fieldtrip at 5:11 PM on December 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

Ski train! You don't have to ski to go. They have a tubing hill and shuttles to take you to the shopping in Winter Park. It is an all day activity. We did it last year and had a ton of fun.
posted by Sheppagus at 10:38 AM on December 29, 2008 [1 favorite]

I learned to cross-country ski here. They've done a huge renovation since I've been there though it looks very nice. We took a lesson in the morning and then spent the afternoon skiing. The equipment and lessons were great and the trails well marked, I'd definitely recommend it for an intro to XC skiing. Looks like they have a bunch of other options too.
posted by BoscosMom at 10:10 AM on December 30, 2008 [1 favorite]

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