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Skiing Loveland with the Kids

Photo: Winter Park, Colorado has a variety of terrain parks, from the starter park pictured here to the big jumps in Rail Yard/Dark Territory.

Winter Park, Colorado offers skiing and boarding fun for all generations. 

See our article, Skiing Winter Park Resort with the Kids.

Kids skiing at Loveland Ski Area, Colorado
Photo: Loveland Ski Area, in Colorado offers families wide open slopes, where kids can have a blast skiing all over the place, while their parents soak in the incredible, high altitude views.

Taking the family skiing at Loveland Ski Area in Colorado is a bit like stepping into one of those vintage travel ski posters.

Much of the area stretches above timberline, and when you are high on one mountain, your view sweeps around the basin to spy skiers, in tiny relief, on the opposite mountains. They carve giant S-turns down wide, white slopes bordered by rock outcroppings, and at that distance you can’t tell what era they belong in. They are just another platoon in the legions of skiers that have schussed Loveland Basin’s slopes since it opened in 1936.

Two Areas in One

Loveland is really two ski areas on one. Loveland Valley is smaller, and as its name suggests, it is tucked in a snowy, heavily forested valley. Its few beginner and intermediate runs are serviced by two lifts, and cater to those just learning to ski.

The protected location of Loveland Valley means that kids can focus on learning to ski without being distracted by the wind and blowing snow that are more common at higher elevations.

Skiers at Loveland Valley can practice on a wide, gentle bunny slope plus three other beginner runs and three intermediate runs. The intermediate ski runs are also used for race training and aren’t bad entertainment while the kids are in ski school.

The base area at Loveland Valley has lodges with a ticket office, restrooms, lockers, equipment rental, children’s ski school, first aid room, dining area and cafeteria, bar with a fire place, and a ski shop.

Back and Forth

The silent skeleton of an old chair lift stretches out of the valley, across the parking lot of Loveland Basin to its base area. Back in the day it carried skiers back and forth between Loveland Basin and Valley. Now a shuttle bus runs the 5-minute trip on a regular basis from 8am to 4:15pm.

Ski Area Arc

Loveland Basin is the larger ski area, and spreads itself around a cirque of twelve- and thirteen-thousand foot peaks at the head of a major mountain valley. These mountains, forming the backdrop for skiers’ fun, are part of the Continental Divide as it winds its jagged way through Colorado.

The bowl-shaped configuration of runs are hard to put on one flat map surface, so the maps of the area include the South View and the North View. It is all very disorienting until you ride any of the chairlifts to their high-points at or above timberline and see for yourself.

Then the whole arc of the ski area stretches out before you and below you. We had great fun with the kids looking across the basin and seeing if we could recognize and name the runs we had skied.

Many ski runs and their chairlifts reach high above the tree line, and three rustic, log warming huts dot the snowy expanses; the place has a very European, Alpine feel. And again you wonder if a couple with their ski pants tucked into leather boots will schuss off the lift at any minute and remind each other to fill their sitz-marks.

Location in Colorado – Close, and High
Loveland Ski Area lies straight west of Denver, and only 53 miles from the city on I-70. It is one of the highest ski areas in Colorado, with a base area of 10,600 feet above sea level. The highest lift stretches to 12,700 feet high. You don’t climb the Continental Divide this high into the atmosphere without encountering high winds. Over and over again, our friends say, “Oh, yeah, Loveland. Great place, but it’s so windy.” When you plan a trip to Loveland, pick a really nice day, or bundle up, or both.

Mountain Statistics

The lifts at Loveland Ski Area serve 1,265 acres, and another 100 are accessible by hiking. From top to bottom, the area has a 2,410-foot vertical fall.

The base area at Loveland Basin includes a lift ticket office (under the clock tower), an equipment repair and rental shop, a shop selling ski stuff (this is a great place to get those stickers that kids like to stick all over their helmets), a nursery, restrooms, lockers, a cafeteria and dining area, bar, administrative offices, ski school information, and ski patrol.

Loveland Ski Area base has all a family needs.
Photo: The base area at Loveland Ski Area has all the amenities a family could want for a
great day of Colorado skiing with the kids.

Eight chairlifts (3 quads, 2 triples, and 3 double chairlifts) serve Loveland Basin and Loveland Valley. In addition, one poma surface lift pulls families, one skier at a time, through the forest at Loveland Basin. (Tricky at first, this has become by far my little one’s favorite lift!) Also, a magic carpet lift helps the kids in ski school get an easy start.

Loveland’s 92 trails include 13% beginner runs, 41% intermediate, and 46% advanced/expert trails.

And really impressively, Loveland’s average annual snowfall is 400 inches, making it one of the best late season ski areas in Colorado. This is the place to take advantage of the warm sunny days of spring skiing.

Family Ambiance

Loveland is a family owned ski area, not the “ski resort” centerpiece of a corporate real estate venture. It still feels very much like the ski areas of my youth, and in fact was one of the most memorable ski areas of my youth.

The lodges have been upgraded, with spiffy new tile and larger facilities, but they look very much as they did in my earliest memories of skiing. And thrifty families still feel welcome bringing their brown bags and thermoses of hot chocolate in for lunch.

More importantly, Loveland feels small and friendly, as it did when I was little. There is nothing pretentious about the place, but the skiing here is huge. Higher and more varied terrain makes skiing at Loveland as much fun as anywhere in the state. 

Related Articles:

Skiing in Colorado with the Kids

List of Colorado Ski Areas

Skiing Sunlight Mountain Resort

Ski Copper Mountain

Skiing Aspen with the Kids

Skiing Winter Park

Ski Equipment Checklist

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