In 1895, Karl and Della Just purchased rights to a sod-roofed log cabin situated along Pole Creek for $50— the same creek that runs through Snow Mountain Ranch’s property. By 1899, the couple had built a log home in the same spot and throughout the course of the following years, the pair had eight children. The Just family prided themselves on hard work and using the fertile land and natural resources such as Pole Creek to establish a self-sustained ranch. Here, the family produced things like cottage cheese, butter, cream and eggs.
While the family worked hard, there was still a need for fun on the ranch. The Just kids cared for wounded animals, danced in their barn and even skied behind a horse in the winter time while their mother rode it.
Fast forward a few decades, and a need for fun on the land was still kept in mind. From a few business moves, fundraising, negotiating and a lot of hard work from the minds behind the Estes Park Center, YMCA of the Rockies Snow Mountain Ranch was born, expanding the Association’s presence to the other side of the Continental Divide.
Since the summer of 1969, Snow Mountain Ranch has had an extensive history rooted in good times and good people all while serving the mission of the YMCA on the same property where the Just family once had their thriving ranch.
Sprawling over 5,000 acres of beautiful Colorado landscape near Winter Park, wholesome family fun unravels while wildlife plays and the Rockies sit in the background.
On July 15, 1969, Snow Mountain Ranch opened its doors for business and welcomed its first guests. Mr. and Mrs. Zuraba of Chicago, Illinois marked the first of thousands who would come to enjoy Snow Mountain Ranch over the years.
At that time, facilities at Snow Mountain Ranch included the Administration Building, eight cabins, Pinewood Lodge and Hopi Campground. Today, guests have their choice of staying in lodge rooms, cabins, yurts or the campground, while enjoying activities facilities like the Programs Building, indoor gymnasium, dining hall and summer tubing hill have to offer.
In the winter, Snow Mountain Ranch thrives as a snow sports playground with activities like Nordic skiing, open-air ice skating and even dog sledding to name a few.
A lot has changed since the days of the Just family’s ranch. While Snow Mountain Ranch has grown in size and scale, one thing is for sure—the need fun times still exists.