Taking Root in Colorado – An Interview with Alison Stafford

Skiing, lakes, national parks, fly fishing – it’s all within 30 minutes of our Granby condo.


Recently I reached out to my high school classmate Alison (Jolin) Stafford to see if she would be willing to answer a few questions that I had about Granby, Colorado, traveling with kids, and prime ski season. She graciously provided me with tons of helpful tips and is letting me share them here.

Family adventures in Granby, Colorado
Fun for the whole family!

Kelly: We went to high school together, but to be honest, I mostly know you from your exciting social media posts about living life in Colorado with your husband and adorable twins. I’d love to know what inspired you to move to Colorado and what you love most about raising young boys there?  

Alison: The mountains brought me west from Kansas City in 2006 for a brief stint in Steamboat Springs.  I hopped back to KC to get my Masters Degree in Nonprofit Management at UMKC, then immediately knew I wanted to be back in Colorado.  I’ve been in the Denver metro area now for 11 years and wouldn’t change a thing.  I’m a nomad at heart, but have delightfully (and surprisingly at times) taken root in Colorado.  Raising my toddler twin boys in the outdoors is something I’m very grateful for – as well as my husband.  Whether the woods of Northern Michigan or on the water boating around KC,  we both grew up loving the outdoors in our respective hometown areas and love that we have an endless array of options for our kiddos to choose from too.  We have short road trips often and always find new treasures to explore.

Kelly: There are so many great places to visit in Colorado, what draws your family to Granby? 

Alison: The proximity to Granby is a major bonus for us as it’s only 1.5 hours door to door from our home to our mountain condo.  Also, we get a lot more bang for our buck while still have ski in/ski out amenities.  Skiing, lakes, national parks, fly fishing – it’s all within 30 minutes of our Granby condo.

Skiing, lakes, national parks, fly fishing – it’s all within 30 minutes of our Granby condo.
The breathtaking view from our condo balcony. Views of Grand Lake & RMNP in the distance. 25 min from the south entrance to the park.

Kelly: What are your best tips for enjoying ski vacations with kids? (How early do they start ski school, do you rotate, is there a kids watch area?) 

Alison: I can’t wait to start our 2 year old twin boys in ski school, but unfortunately we’ll have to wait until next ski season.  Selfishly and shamelessly, it’s one of my driving factors to potty train the little stinkers asap.  For now, since we have a ski in/ski out condo, my husband and I take turns throughout the day.  Convenience is key (with skiing and life).  We’ve also found a great local babysitting service that we use.  With the close proximity, we can take some runs down the mountain, have a quick happy hour, then hit the hot tub all in 3-4 hours.  It’s perfect!

Ski Granby Colorado
Main lift at Granby Ranch Ski resort.
Ski date in Granby Colorado
Day date with the hubs. We have a great sitter through Grand County Sitters.

Kelly: What are your favorite restaurants in Granby/Grand Lake area?

Alison: Easy answers – Tabernash Tavern and also Heck’s Tavern at Devil’s Thumb Ranch.  We’ve gone to both as a date without the kiddos and also with the entire family.  One of the many reasons we love the area – very family friendly everywhere!  Granby is on the brink of a lot of growth and we’re very excited about the new options.

Friends reunion in Granby Colorado
Friends since elementary school girls trip! 

Kelly: When I think of Granby I think of skiing, but I know it’s a year-round destination plus it’s close to Rocky Mountain National Park and other National Forests areas. What other outdoor activities do you enjoy with your family in this area? Any favorite hikes you’d recommend?

Alison: We recently rented a pontoon boat on Lake Granby for Father’s Day and it was a blast.  Being out on the water is simply breathtaking and there’s a lot of options to stop and take it all in.  A HUGE bonus for me is that all of the lakes allow stand up paddle boarding.  That is one of my big hobbies and there are sandy banks a’plenty launch off while the fam hangs out, has a picnic or splashes in the water.  Hikes will be on the agenda soon, but 2 year old toddler twins makes that a little tricky at this point.  My husband is a big fly fisherman so anytime he can get a cast in the water, he’s happy.  Luckily we have private fishing access to the Colorado River via our mountain condo at Granby Ranch.

Heated swimming pool in Granby, Colorado
Snow on the ground still means fun in the (heated) pool.

Kelly: How can people stay at your vacation rental? How far out do people need to book? What is prime ski time? Any other tips?

Alison: We love having other families enjoy our home away from home.  I personally manage our condo, so you’re always working directly with me for any questions or needs.  Bookings and the calendar are current through: https://www.vrbo.com/1219384 I have families that book a year in advance and also availability with short notice at times too.  If we aren’t staying there ourselves, I love for others to stay and enjoy.  Prime ski time is December (holidays) through early April and they recently built in new snow making capabilities which means MORE SNOW!  It’s convenient, not overcrowded, reasonably priced, beautiful and we’ve yet to have a person not fall in love with the area.

Yoga from the Top, Granby Ranch summer Saturday mornings
Yoga from the Top! Granby Ranch summer Saturday mornings.

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