Vail and Beaver creek have a ton of activities for families when the weather s too cold to go outside. Here are two of the activities that you shouldn’t miss when visiting or a family who needs a fresh idea. Colorado Ski & Snowboard Museum and Hall of Fame and Walking Mountains Science Center. By Heather Hower
Did you know Vail is home to the Colorado Ski & Snowboard Museum and Hall of Fame? Tucked away inside the Vail parking structure, it’s a stroll through skiing and snowboarding history. The recently expanded and renovated space is chock full of memorabilia from ski outfits from the 1940s to vintage skinny skis and even a 7th grade woodshop project from the venerable snowboard manufacturer Tom Sims.
“One thing a little bit older kids would enjoy with grandparents is looking at the snowboard exhibit,” suggests Bessie Strickland, Operations Manager. “You can see (Tome Sims) was an inventor and innovator in the sport.”
Bring history to life with Sandy Treat’s Fireside Chats. “It’s one of the last chances for kids to really speak with a World War II veteran,” Bessie adds. These Tenth Mountain Division veterans revolutionized skiing and started skiing down the path it is today.
Alums include Senator Bob Dole, Vail founder Pete Seibert and Nike cofounder, Bill Bowerman—to name a few. Just do it—visit the museum. Exhibits include Colorado’s Ski Timeline, 10th Mountain Division, the Snowboard Archive and National Ski Patrol plus others. Skimuseum.net; 970.476.1876
Bringing Nature Inside
Walking Mountains Science Center brings the wonder of nature into a spacious hands-on exploratory center. The campus has hiking trails intertwined through its outbuildings and a creek that runs through it all.
On cold days, make an afternoon of exploring the Mountain Discovery Center. You can hang out in the beaver lodge and learn facts about mountain ecology.
Warning: your kids will test you later, so you better pay attention! Walking Mountains hosts a variety of family friendly programming, from preschool programs to astronomy to nature walks. walkingmountains.org; 970.827.9725)
Sometimes you have to get outside to get inside…. if you find yourself atop Vail Mountain and Mother Nature is not cooperation, check out Walking Mountains’ Nature Discovery Center, a cozy yurt steps from the Eagle Bahn Gondola. Puzzles, pelts and knowledgeable naturalists will keep everyone entertained.
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