5 Tips for a Successful Colorado Winter Vacation with a Baby
Planning a winter vacation with a baby? My husband and I just took our 14-month-old son to Keystone, Colorado for a mini Christmas Vacation. We usually go skiing about once a year to various ski towns. And I was desperate for a cabin with a fireplace and a view of a snow-covered mountain…which I wasn’t going to get in Arkansas. I knew, however, this year our annual ski trip was going to be much different. For starters, I’m 8 months pregnant, so skiing was not an option for me this year. And second, skiing isn’t exactly a 14-month-old’s best sport. James is more of a swimmer.
I chose Keystone because, based on research, the town is geared more towards kids and babies than most ski-towns in the U.S. I have to be honest, no ski-town, no matter how kid-friendly, is going to be quite as fun when you are pregnant and have a toddler with you. Pre-baby ski trips were filled with day drinking on the mountain in between ski runs and hopping in the hot tub with a glass of wine après ski, and then hitting the restaurants and bars in the village at night. All fond memories I will forever cherish.
With that in mind, I went into this vacation with much lower expectations. I always find that when you set your expectations low and are flexible, you will be sure to have a wonderful time. So here are a few tips for a successful Colorado Winter Vacation with a baby.
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1. Bundle up that Baby!
Colorado is cold in the winter. When you are up in the Rocky Mountains, its even colder. Shocking. We have cold winters in Arkansas, but not this cold. I came prepared with this snow-suit (click here) for baby James that I found on Amazon. Paired with these water proof booties and some mittens, and this kid was ready for the snow. And he looooved the snow. The mittens were also great at preventing him from eating the snow, which was also something he loved to do.
2. Schedule things to do other than Ski
If your child is under 3 (which is the earliest skiing age at most mountains) you will need to find other things to do that are baby-friendly in that ski-town. Check out my post here on Things to do in Keystone Colorado, Other than Ski. If you stay at the Keystone Resort, they do let kids ages 3 through 12 ski for free! I will definitely be taking advantage of that in years to come! And based on reviews, they also have an awesome (trustworthy) daycare for parents to leave their babies/infants while they go ski. I didn’t try it because ….well…. 8 months pregnant.
3. Choose your condo/cabin wisely!!
With baby in tow, you’ll spend a lot more time in the cabin than you probably anticipate. Choose a cabin with a great view, a fire place, and one that is comfortable to lounge in. We stayed at the Willows in Lakeside Village which ended up being perfect for our situation (see pic below). With nap schedules and the time it takes to bundle up the baby, you’d be surprised how hard it is to get out of the door in a timely manner. When I was researching our cabin, I had imagined relaxing with a cup of coffee and or glass of wine by the fire and, of course, a snowy mountain view. Well, Willows on Keystone Lake didn’t disappoint. The lake turns into an ice skating rink during the winter. James was constantly entertained by the ice skaters just outside our window. With this view/entertainment, I didn’t mind so much spending lots of time in our cabin.
4. Bring Baby Sunscreen.
So we had this little mishap. With severe preggo-brain, I had forgotten to bring baby sunscreen. When you are in the mountains the sun will hit your skin from two different directions- Direct sunlight and reflection off of the snow covered ground. It can get pretty intense. We went to the local grocery store in Keystone on our first day to get food to stock our cabin and I just grabbed the first sunscreen tube I found. James unfortunately had a bad skin reaction to the sunscreen I purchased. Turns out baby sunscreen has different ingredients than adult sunscreen. Anywho, with a little Benadryl he was good as new by the next day. Lesson learned. #momfail
5. Stay hydrated.
This goes for adults and little ones. At higher altitudes the air is dryer and moisture evaporates quicker from your body. Carry water wherever you go and drink it often. Avoid excessive amounts of caffeine. Use the humidifiers that are usually provided in your cabin/condo. A headache is often a first sign of dehydration. Don’t ignore the signs. No body likes a fussy husband….. I mean baby, on vacation.
Bonus tip: Be flexible.
Have a flexible itinerary with several different options of things to do and restaurants to eat at. I often use trip advisor for restaurant suggestions. But do only make reservations if you know you can swing it. And again, here’s my post on things to do in Keystone with a baby other than ski.
A Colorado ski-town vacation will definitely be a different experience if you are bringing the baby. However, don’t let that stop you from taking that vacation with your tiny traveler. James had a blast!! While Will and I didn’t have our usual ski experience we were used to, this trip was still one for the books. I got my white Christmas I was looking for, Will got one day of good skiing in (while James and I explored the town), and James got to play in lots and lots of snow….win win!!
Have you taken your little one to the mountains? Are you planning a winter vacation with a baby? What did I miss? Fill free to leave a comment below.
Happy and Safe travels!
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