It’s the most wonderful time of the year. And we’re not talking about Christmas. We’re talking about winter.
If you want to experience winter the real way, you’ll need to head somewhere who knows how to do winter right.
Deciding on your winter destination can be hard, but if you are looking for winter wonderland you need to vacation in Colorado.
In fact, Colorado ranks number 1 as the best state for skiing. They don’t call Denver the mile high city for nothing.
Hand Down Best Skiing
It would be impossible to talk about vacationing in Colorado without mentioning downhill skiing.
The high altitude and low humidity make perfect skiing conditions for the 27 ski resorts in Colorado. Think light, fluffy slopes that are open from October to April.
Because most of Colorado’s ski slopes are in the Rocky Mountains, it also has the highest vertical feet of skiing. The first resorts to open are usually Loveland Ski Arean and Arapahoe Basin — both start around 11,000 feet above sea level.
Because of the extended ski season, you can avoid the crowds by coming before December or after February. This way you won’t have to wait in long lines or pay inflated prices for lift tickets.
Some resorts to check out include:
- Winter Park
- Copper Mountain
- Beaver Creek
Looking for something a little smaller? Try Wolf Creek or Howelson Hill.
One thing that Colorado prides itself on is how easy it is to access any of the resorts.
Most of the ski resorts are west of Denver along Interstate 70. This makes it easy to get a place to stay in the city, then use public transportation to get to the resorts. You could even make a road trip out of it and hit a bunch of different ski towns.
You can even hop from mountain to mountain. And yes, we even have a pass for that.
Not into downhill skiing? Looking for a little more cardio? No problem. Colorado has some of the best cross-country skiing trails in North America.
There’s no better way to appreciate the rugged beauty of the Rocky Mountains than by spending an afternoon on the trails. Trails are available for Nordic skiers at any of 20 Nordic centers.
When you head out for an afternoon of cross-country skiing, here are some tips you need to take with you:
- Check avalanche danger. Nordic trails are often not regulated as much as downhill skiing. So make sure you know the area you are in is safe.
- There are no cafes when you’re cross-country skiing. You’ll need to remember to pack your own food and water.
- Wear sunscreen. You may not think you need it in the winter, but the high altitude can cause bad sunscreens that can ruin your trip.
- Dress in layers. When cross-country skiing, you’ll most likely work up a sweat. Be sure you can shred layers.
Think you can keep up with the locals? Try your luck in some Nordic Races.
Think Colorado is only for skiers? Think again. Colorado in the winter has every activity imaginable.
How about some old-fashioned ice skating at an outdoor rink? Located everywhere from Fort Collins to Denver, you can stop by a rink while shopping or going out for lunch.
Want a more mountainous view? Try Evergreen Lake, Keystone, Beaver Creek, or Vail. After a spin around the rink, make sure you warm up by the fire in the lodge.
You know a horse-drawn sleigh ride is something you’ve always wanted to do. It looks so cozy and festive in the Christmas movies, right?
Here’s your chance. Get ready to snuggle in blankets under the winter air. The best sleigh rides available are those that offer dinner, wine and roaring fires in addition to the sleigh ride.
To find the best sleigh ride adventures, check our Steamboat Springs or Grand County.
Wait, don’t skip this part. Ice fishing has much more to offer than some fish for dinner. Think of early-morning sunrises, beautiful wildlife, and the most serene landscape you can imagine.
If you already know what you are doing, feel free to cut a hole and wait for a bite. But, you want a little more help you can rent ice-fishing cabins with a guide.
We’re just saying, don’t knock it til you’ve tried it.
Okay, okay, enough about the snow. Here are a few year-round activities available for those who aren’t into extreme winter sports.
You may not think that golf and Colorado in the winter go together, but they actually do. There are several golf courses in Colorado that are open all year. Now you can plan a trip for the ski bum and the golf enthusiast.
Ever heard of Inverness Golf Course? Yep, one of the top 100 resorts in the country? It’s open 362 days/year. This par 70 course offers sloping fairways and water challenges.
Or, drive a little to the west and hit up Arrowhead Golf Club. This club has a beautiful panoramic view of huge red rocks and immaculate greens.
Colorado is among the best when it comes to craft beer. If you love trying different beers, you can find a festival happening almost any weekend during the fall and winter.
Some festivals to keep in mind include
- Fall Back Beer Fest
- All Colorado Beer Festival
- Denver Beer Festivus
- Bif Beers, Belgians and Barleywines Festival
- Ullrgrass Musica and Beer Festival
These are only the festivals happening between November and January. See? We weren’t lying when we said there is one somewhere in the state almost every weekend.
Have you ever been to a ghost town? How about a ghost town with hot springs?
The amenities found at hot springs in Colorado are as diverse as you can imagine. Some haven’t changed from their natural state at all, while others have the feel of a water park. Find what you are looking for at any of the 30 different hot spring sites.
And let’s be honest, there is nothing more relaxing that dipping into a warm hot spring with bath oils after a full day of adventuring in Colorado.
Vacation in Colorado
We know you want your next vacation to be memorable and special. That’s why we suggest a vacation in Colorado. There is plenty to do to keep everyone in your travel party busy and happy.