What's Fun for Kids in Vail and Beaver Creek

Check out our guide to these hot family ski spots.
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1. Dashing Through the Snow
Take in the view of the Gore mountain range as Belgian horses pull you on an eve-ning sleigh ride across the Vail Golf Course, then warm up over dinner at Seasons at the Green (ride and dinner: $70 for adults, $35 for kids 4-12, under 4 free, with an á la carte kids' menu). Steve Jones Sleighrides; 970-476-8057; www.vailsleighrides.com.

2. Campfire Tales
Visitors can gather round the Park Hyatt Hotel fire pit at the base of Beaver Creek Mountain to make s'mores and listen to storyteller Frank Doll's tales of Prospector Pete. The festivities begin at 3:30 p.m. so you can get kids fed and in bed early. 970-949-1234

3. Elegant Dining
Meet Penelope the porcupine, resident mascot at Beano's Cabin, a kid-friendly gourmet restaurant located at the base of Larkspur Bowl on Beaver Creek Mountain. Accessible by snowcat, the cabin boasts an AAA four-diamond rating plus a yummy children's menu. 970-949-9090

4. Holiday on Ice
You'll think you've stepped inside a snow globe when you strap on skates for an evening glide around Black Family Ice Rink in Beaver Creek. Take a break with a sandwich or hot chocolate at the outdoor cafe, open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. in winter. 970-845-9090

5. Kids' Best Friend
Walk a dog -- the Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch's Lab-rador retriever, that is -- as part of the Beaver Creek hotel's Loan-a-Lab program for guests. Also at the Ritz, parents can luxuriate in the Grotto, an oversized rock-wall hot tub in the ultra-luxe spa, while the hotel's Ski Nanny bundles the kids to and from ski school. 800-576-5582; www.ritzcarlton.com.

6. Mush!
Take the kids dog-sledding on trails that start at around 9,000 feet and wind their way through pine groves and across meadows. Teams of huskies pull two-person sleds (or group one adult with two kids or two adults with one child) at $300 per sled. Seven-mile, two-hour tours leave at 9 a.m. and 2 p.m., with hot cocoa included. 970-328-7877

7. Nature Hike
Identify evergreens by touch, spot wildlife tracks, and maybe even spy bear-claw scratches on a tree during a snowshoe trek in McCoy Park. Depart from the Beaver Creek Nordic Center; $63 for adults, $43 for kids 12 and under, including lift ticket. Snowshoe rental is $12 for adults, $6 for children. 970-845-5313

8. Al Fresco Picnic
Enjoy a bagged lunch at beautiful Belle's Camp in Vail's Blue Sky Basin. This off-the-beaten-path shelter offers an indoor fireplace and outdoor grills and tables, but no food-service facilities (970-476-5601). Later, do as the locals do and stop in for cappuccino at Les Delices de France, a short stroll away from the Eagle Bahn Gondola (970-476-1044). Then fill a bag with penny candy at The Moose's Caboose on Bridge Street (970-476-5403).

9. Talk to the Animals
At day's end, check out the Nature Discovery Center at the top of the Eagle Bahn Gondola, where animal tracks and stuffed bears, lynxes, snowshoe hares, and foxes are available to examine and touch. 970-479-4675

10. Skiing After Dark
Snake down the mountain with your family in an illuminated line of skiers during BMW Thursday Night Lights. Skiers level 5 or above (intermediate) go up Beaver Creek's Haymeadow lift and follow a guide down by the light of glow sticks, then enjoy a fireworks display. 970-845-9090

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Copyright © 2004. Reprinted with permission from the February 2004 issue of Child magazine.

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