There are a lot of things to do in Winter Park – skiing, sleigh rides, dog sled rides, tubing – just to name a few. While these activities are highly recommended, they can get pricey. So, here are a few ideas on free and cheap things to do in Winter Park during the winter:
- Sledding Hill at Hideaway Park – a great little hill in downtown Winter Park next to the visitor center. There are sleds provided, so all you need to do is show up. This hill is best for small kids, since it’s pretty small, but I just sledded down it the other day and had a blast.
- Snowshoe Hikes – the visitor center has free guided snowshoe tours on the weekends. They provide the snowshoes and take you on a beginner scenic hike on the scenic Fraser River Trail. If you want to go out on your own, you can rent at Ski Broker or Christy Sports.
- Snow Mountain Ranch – aka the YMCA of the Rockies. There is a $5 admission fee, unless you’re a member of the YMCA (then it’s free). To use the indoor pool and climbing wall, you only have to pay the admission. To use the sledding/tubing hill, it’s $5 more for an all-day sled rental or $10 for an all-day tubing rental. Much more affordable than the Fraser Tubing Hill’s $18/hour fee. There are just as many cross country and snowshoe trails as the more pricey Devil’s Thumb Ranch and rentals are cheaper, too.
- Ice Skating – the base village has a brand-new outdoor ice skating rink that is free to use, you just need to rent the ice skates. Cooper Creek Square in downtown Winter Park also has a free, partially covered, outdoor ice skating rink. The rentals are a bit more affordable at the Viking Ski Lodge or Christy Sports next to the Cooper Creek Square rink than the base village rentals.
- Shuttle Ride – this may be a bit off the wall, but you can take a tour of the Winter Park and Fraser area for free on the shuttles that circle around the towns. The Red and Purple lines are the best for checking out the residential areas of Fraser and the Orange and Brown lines show you the homes of Winter Park. You can see some really beautiful homes and may even catch a glimpse of some wildlife. A nice gesture is to tip your driver, but that’s optional, of course.