The snow is in Colorado, why aren't you
From Posh Ski Resorts and Quirky Special Events to Romantic Sleigh Rides and Extreme Ice Climbing, Colorado Is the Ultimate Winter Wonderland. Looking for a little excitement this winter? Beat the winter blues and head to Colorado.
With an average snowfall of more than 300 inches a season, and more than 300 days of sunshine each year, Colorado’s majestic landscape can be explored in a number of ways.
A Skiers Delight
With more than 39,000 acres of skiing, 317 lifts and more than 2,300 trails, there is no doubt Colorado is the country’s premier ski destination. Colorado's 26 exceptional resorts allow everyone – skier, snowboarders, families, experts, intermediates and beginners – to find the perfect destination to match their skill level and budget.
Choose a resort according to its unique personality. Well-heeled jet-setters head to posh hideaways like Telluride and Aspen. Like bumps? Head to Winter Park. Families find kid-friendly resorts like Breckenridge and Snowmass their perfect escape. Tree-skiers will love the Champagne Powder® at Steamboat and unpretentious Durango and Crested Butte are great places to escape the crowds. Vail offers a distinct experience on its legendary Back Bowls, which spread across six miles of fantastic terrain. Or, try the no-frills, expertsonly skiing and snowboarding at Silverton Mountain and Wolf Creek.
Off the Beaten... Slope
Those looking for a different way to make tracks in Colorado’s powder can enjoy snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in the state’s gorgeous forests. Both are great ways to explore Colorado’s abundant wildlife. Nordic centers and guest ranches across the state offer marked and groomed trails while providing easy-to-rent equipment and readily available guides. Many even offer monthly moonlight tours. The Tennessee Pass Nordic Center outside Leadville includes access to the Tennessee Pass Cookhouse, a backcountry gourmet restaurant, serving dinner seven nights a week.
Looking for a great backcountry trail? Explore the 415square miles of wilderness from Bear Lake to Fern Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park or try the Indian Peaks wilderness north of Nederland. For the ultimate Nordic adventure, try a multi-day trek on the state’s special hut-to-hut network.
Adrenaline junkies love Colorado winters. Extreme skiers and boarders can try one of Colorado’s two heli-skiing outfitters, based in Telluride, or Silverton.
Got a need for speed?
Explore the state on a guided snowmobile tour. Outfitters across Colorado provide tours that allow riders access to some of the state’s most scenic winter vistas including trips across the Continental Divide. Most rides include a hot chocolate break in a warming hut. Visitors can also traverse the snow-covered backcountry in two-person dog sleds powered by a small army dogs.
Climb to new heights in Colorado.
Nestled within the Uncompahgre Gorge in Ouray, the ice climbing capital of the United States, is the Ouray Ice Park, the world's first park devoted exclusively to the sport of ice climbing. The park is the place to try this sport or just watch climbers ascend a massive cascade of ice. Adventures of another sort are found at Lake Dillon, where kite skiers harness wind power to send themselves across the frozen lake. For a quieter experience, try ice fishing in Lake Granby or Georgetown Lake.
With so many different ski resorts, Colorado is a popular family destination. Little skiers and boarders love to start their day at the Treehouse Kids Adventure Center in Snowmass. This two-story, 25,000-square-foot facility includes a family-friendly climbing gym, teen activities, kids' retail and a host of themed rooms for ages eight weeks and older. The Treehouse is easily accessible from anywhere in Snowmass and is the new hub of ski and snowboard learning. It brings the outdoors inside, inviting children to begin their alpine journey through hands-on, interactive activities. For a special Colorado experience, visitors can hop aboard the Ski Train from Denver to Winter Park. They’ll enjoy the rugged
alpine wilderness and vistas not seen anywhere else but on the Ski Train, America’s largest scheduled passenger train, now in its 69th season. The YMCAs of the Rockies are also great family vacation destinations. With locations in Winter Park and Estes Park, the YMCAs of the Rockies allow guests to spend their days enjoying cross country skiing, Nordic races, tubing hills, snowshoeing and much more. They will even plan custom itineraries for groups and families. For a whimsical winter experience, visitors can go ice skating at one of many outdoor skating rinks including Beaver Creek and Fort Collins. Glide across the ice then enjoy a soul-warming cup of hot chocolate.
Romance and Relaxation
After a day of swishing down the slopes in knee deep powder or trekking through miles of back country forests on snowshoes, even the most well trained athlete needs a little R and R. From renowned spas to rustic hot springs, Colorado offers visitors the perfect way to unwind. Fed by networks of underground springs, Colorado’s hot springs have long been touted for their healing properties and soothing effects. In Glenwood Springs, visitors will find the largest hot springs in the world at the Glenwood Hot Springs Pool. Extending two city blocks, the pool has separate areas for kids and adults. At the Glenwood Hot Springs Pool, a 17,000 square foot spa is in the works, joining the recently opened Spa of the Rockies. The multi-million dollar spa, which is located within a sandstone bathhouse originally built in 1888, features nine treatment rooms including one specialized hydrotherapy treatment room for Vichy shower treatments. The Box Canyon Lodge near Ouray offers soakers 360-degree views of the spectacular San Juan Mountains in its four redwood tubs. For a more traditional spa experience, try the award-winning spa at the Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch and indulge in treatments such as the Hot Toddy for your Body or the Apple Pie ala Mode scrub and wrap, then take a soak in their co-ed grotto. The St. Julien Hotel & Spa in Boulder offers a “For Men Only” spa package, designed with men’s unique needs in mind.
Visitors can add a little romance to their vacation by taking a night-time, horse-drawn sleigh ride through the woods to a rustic cabin for a gourmet meal. It’s like stepping into your own personal fairy tale. Look for outfitters in resort areas including Aspen, Breckenridge and Fraser/Winter Park. Speaking of meals, visitors will love dining at nationally acclaimed restaurants. Colorado offers an eclectic dining experience — from big game restaurants to chic bistros, visitors will discover that Colorado chefs have a big passion for the freshest ingredients. Plus, with 10 Master Sommeliers living in the state, diners will find the perfect wine to pair with any meal.
For more information and ideas on Colorado winter vacations,
Credit: photos by: Matt Inden/Weaver Multimedia Group Colorado Tourism Office