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Snow Mountain Ranch:

Get the Inside Scoop with Brownlee Birch

Brownlee Birch

Current Age: 11

Years Skiing: 5

Home Trails: Snow Mountain Ranch

#1 Ski Accessory: Sunglasses

We had an absolute blast interviewing 11-year-old Brownlee Birch, who gave us an insider’s perspective on the exhilarating world of Nordic skiing. Brownlee’s skiing adventure began with a little nudge from his parents and a friend, eventually leading him to join the East Grand Middle School Nordic Team. Despite his young age, Brownlee competes against older students in both classic and skate skiing. However, he prefers the faster, more exciting skate style. Brownlee shared his favorite trails, must-know tips for newcomers, and insights into his local Nordic community. Let’s dive into Brownlee’s top tips for the local trails!

Overview—An Adventurous and Family-Friendly Winter Escape

Nestled near the charming town of Winter Park, CO, Snow Mountain Ranch is a winter wonderland boasting 120 kilometers of pristine trails. Perfect for Nordic skiers of all skill levels, trails wind through beautiful pine forests and expansive meadows across 5,100 acres of breathtaking terrain. Part of the YMCA of the Rockies, visitors can stay onsite and choose from affordable lodging options, including cozy cabins and charming yurts, all with complimentary trail passes and activities. Dive into a world of fun with activities like ice skating, tubing, indoor climbing, roller skating, and more. With extensive amenities like a full-service ski shop, a swimming pool, and a craft shop, Snow Mountain Ranch offers the ultimate family-friendly winter escape, promising an unforgettable experience for everyone!

Quick Facts

  • 120km of Trails
  • Trail Passes
    • $25/Adult
    • $10/Children (6-12)
    • Free Kids 5 & Under
  • Offering Group and Private Lessons ranging from $40-$50 Per Person

The Vibe at Snow Mountain Ranch

It’s super fun and friendly! There’s always something bussin’ to do, like skiing, roller skating, or playing basketball. You can spend all day having fun. Time flies!

Trail Highlights

  • Best Short Loop — Blue Ridge is my favorite. It's really pretty, and I love skiing up to the cave. You ski down Blue Ridge, then up the hill to the right, and keep going until you see the cave on the left. It's like a mini adventure!
  • Best Long Loop — Heckman is a blast but super tough. It's all uphill, but once you reach the top, you get to zoom down really fast.

Essential Packing Tips

  • Must-Bring Items — Always bring a backpack with water and snacks. Wear long johns, and a nice jacket. If it's hot, wear a sweatshirt instead of a jacket. I like sweatpants better than snow pants because they're cooler.
  • Favorite Nordic Accessory — Sunglasses, for sure. They make me look cool. I love Pit Vipers, but I have to wear Rawlings instead.

Locals Favorites

  • Best Grub — Debbie's Diner is the best! Get waffle fries and an Oreo milkshake. Dip the hot fries in the cold ice cream. Trust me, it's amazing!
  • Best Craft Beverage — My go-to is a mix of Dr. Pepper and Diet Dr. Pepper. It’s the perfect combo!

The Nordic Community

People are super respectful and give you space, even if you're a beginner. Our team has about 30 people, and we joke around a lot. It's fun! After races, we get slushies and mix them with Nerds clusters and gummy worms. It's epic!

Environmental Stewardship

Pick up at least one piece of trash, maybe two. If you see a lost glove, put it on a signpost. Don't pick plants or disturb nature. Leave it as you found it.

Must Know Trail Etiquette

The person going uphill needs to stop for the person going downhill. Downhill skiers have the right of way. Also, don't skate ski on the classic tracks. That's a big no-no!

Wildlife & Nature Tips

Don't litter, and stay away from the animals. Here's a cool trick: if you spot a moose, stick your thumb out and try to cover a moose with it. If you can't, you're too close.

Advice for Beginners

It helps to know what you're doing, ask for advice at the rental shop, or take a lesson. Falling in the powder is fun, but don't get it down your coat!

Sound Advice

Try everything! Nordic skiing, fat biking, snowshoeing—they're all a blast in their own way. The rental shop or the Gazebo Activity Center are great places to meet people.

For more details, visit Snow Mountain Ranch.

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Proudly funded by the Colorado Tourism Office