It’s no secret that winter is not my favorite season. While most of my friends are busy racking up ski days like it’s going out of style, I’m counting down the days until summer returns and wondering if it’s socially acceptable to be a snowbird at 32. That said, I do like the social aspect of a snowy getaway to the mountains.
My perfect ski day would be one run, bloody, one run, lunch, one run, après (and don’t forget the hot tub night cap). Being such an expensive hobby, though, that’s not fiscally responsible. Instead, I’ve come up with a few other alternate winter pastimes to survive the Colorado cold. If you’re like me and looking for something other than head to Summit every weekend or “Netflix and chill” this hibernation season, read on.
Holy Hot Springs
Colorado has 30 natural hot springs scattered throughout the state, meaning you could go to a different one every weekend and still not get bored. Strawberry Park in Steamboat is one of my favorites for it’s clothing optional fun after dark, but some of the more exotic ones are further south –Pagosa and Dunton Springs, for example. Whether you go luxury resort style or rustic camping, a dip in the hot water will take the chill off in no time (especially if you throw in a massage).
Snowshoe and Fondue
I found this awesome tour on Groupon, but it’s offered regularly through Apex Ex. Snowshoeing is a great way to tour Rocky Mountain National Park in the winter without falling on your face. If you’ve never tried it, the sport is easy to pick up and essentially the winter version of hiking with some strange footwear (why must everything have a fancy name to make it sound more complicated?). If you’re looking for a full day adventure, you’re not far from the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park (where the Shining was filmed). We made a stop at their well-stocked whiskey room (the largest in Colorado to be exact) to properly warm up after (and did the ghost tour!).
Pro Tip: Copper Mountain actually offers free snowshoe tours if you want to get a feel for the sport before investing in equipment (or are looking to entertain yourself while your friends are riding the lifts).
Did you know you could dog sled in Colorado (or anywhere outside of Alaska for that matter)? Neither did I, but Leadville has a few operators full of adorable huskies ready to run. I recommend Alpine Adventures, which is actually a rescue facility for sled dogs, so you can get your warm fuzzies by playing with the pups. You’ll hop in the sleigh and take turns mushing and riding along in a sled pulled by a snow mobile. Good luck trying to leave without a pooch.
These are my favorite winter activities, but Colorado also has plenty of other cold-weather pursuits like snowmobiling, ice fishing, ice skating, ice climbing, cross country skiing, tubing, and of course, cuddling up by a roaring fire. What cool cold-weather activities have you come across in the Centennial State?
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