Family fun

Family fun

Photo courtesy George Hunyadi

Of all the descriptions usually applied to Pagosa Country, “family friendly” ranks among the most treasured by visitors and locals alike. 

While winter’s snowy brush paints a picture that pleases the child in all of us, with the town taking on a magical quality as if suddenly populated by gingerbread houses covered with icing, it’s not just the postcard-perfect landscape that gives the area a family-friendly reputation. It’s myriad safe and fun activities available for all ages have made Pagosa Country a favorite family destination for decades.

Pagosa Country businesses and nonprofits work hard to pull out all the stops to keep the whole family having fun, entertained and well-fed. 

With freshly plowed roads forcing us to slow down and appreciate the view, a quick glance reveals numerous slopes for sledding or getting little legs accustomed to skis or a snowboard, and meadow trails for skiing and snowshoeing. 

A traditional local hot spot for a downhill thrill is Reservoir Hill (downtown, just behind The Healing Waters Resort and Spa on the east side of Hot Springs Boulevard), which was improved in recent years. Unless a spell of dry weather has brought out brown patches (with over 300 sunny days a year on average, not an unheard-of condition in the Pagosa area), the slopes promise a good time for kids of all ages.

Parents hoping to spend a day on the more substantial slopes at Wolf Creek Ski Area can enroll children ages 5 to 8 in the Wolf Pups ski school and 9 to 12 in the Hot Shots ski school. Prices and deals on ski school programs can be found at Equipment rental is not included in the ski school price.

Those looking to stay slightly lower in elevation can glide across frozen water, with the pond at The River Center Park open for skating from mid-December through mid-February. To check conditions and hear if ponds are open, call the Pagosa Springs Sports Hotline, (970) 264-4151, ext. 301.

The Pagosa Multi-Purpose Pavilion Winter Ice Rink, located at South Pagosa Park on South 8th Street, opens for ice skating, hockey, curling and broomball. 

For those with an aversion to the white stuff and cold air, Pagosa Springs offers several indoor alternatives certain to please those not inclined to slap boards on their feet for the purpose of sliding down a mountain. 

Of course, the bookish will want to seek out the Ruby M. Sisson Memorial Library at 811 San Juan St. (on the southeast corner of 8th Street and U.S. 160). With a wide selection of children’s, young adult and adult fiction, as well as nonfiction and reference, the library offers visitor library cards for those wanting to take some books back for curling up with next to a warm fire. While there, free Internet and computer use are available. The library also offers programs for adults and children throughout the winter — check a copy of The Pagosa Springs SUN (, call the library at (970) 264-2208 or visit for program times and schedules.

The Ross Aragon Community Center at 451 Hot Springs Blvd. offers programs for young and old alike. From bridge to yoga, pick-up basketball games to mahjong, the center is open to the public and many programs and classes are free.

Finally, during that most magical time of year, plenty of holiday events take place. Among these are a visit with Santa at the Visitor Center, The Festival of Trees, and numerous holiday music and theater events. 

New to the community’s holiday lineup this year will be a collaborative event between the Town of Pagosa Springs and The Pagosa Springs SUN hosting the inaugural It’s a Wonderful Life: An Old Fashioned Pagosa Christmas Celebration on Saturday, Dec. 18 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m along the Riverwalk in downtown Pagosa Springs. The magical evening will be a walking “parade” to celebrate the holiday season and will center around the theme of an old-fashioned Christmas and the spirit of giving. The event will be held outdoors with foot traffic leisurely moving in one direction. There will be multiple entry points along the route in order to ease congestion.  Area nonprofits, church groups, businesses, musicians and more will be participating in this magical evening.  

 Check The PREVIEW section of The Pagosa Springs SUN ( or visit the calendar of events at for up-to-date information and details on the happenings in Pagosa Springs.

Whether seeking a hot time in the snow or cool activities inside, young folks, from toddler to teenager, will find plenty to do in Pagosa Country during the winter season.

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