Contact: Roland Alonzi / 646-442-6765 / ralonzi@mmgmardiks.com
Carly Grimes / 720-289-9366, cgrimes@mmgworldwide.com

Colorado Is Buzzing With New Offerings in 2012

Major Special Events, New Hotels, Attractions and Museums Debut

DENVER (December 5, 2011) – Colorado is gearing up for a big year in 2012, a year that will bring a slew of new developments, including new hotels – from luxury brands to outdoor cabins – new attractions, museums, special events, cultural exhibits and more.  Below is a rundown of the exciting news for Colorado visitors in 2012.  For more information visit www.colorado.com.

NEW HOTELS, HUTS AND LODGING OFFERINGS

§  The OPUS Hut (Ophir Pass Ultimate Ski Hut) is a new high alpine backcountry lodge nestled on the southern face of 13,666-foot Lookout Peak in the Northern San Juan Mountains of Colorado, halfway between Telluride and Silverton. The solar-powered and heated hut, easily accessible via Ophir Pass, offers access to some of the best backcountry skiing in the northern San Juans. The hut will alsoremain open year round for recreational and educational use. Guests can reserve a bed in the Bunk Room from $30 per person, per night, opt for a private room from $60-$150 per night, or reserve the entire hut  for $450 per night. There is also a “Hutkeeper” option to keep the fire warm and prepare meals for a group.  www.opushut.com

§  Point Breeze Cabin, the newest addition to the 10th Mountain Division Hut Association, opened on November 9, 2011. Located almost on top of the Continental Divide at 10,500 feet in the Rocky Mountains of central Colorado, the two bedroom Point Breeze Cabin is nicely appointed and accommodates eight guests. This hut features a gas-fired outdoor grill, a small refrigerator and other comfort amenities.Outside the cabin, visitors will find more than 15 miles of rewarding beginner to intermediate cross-country ski trails.  www.huts.org

§  The Mining Exchange, a Wyndham Grand Hotel,is set to open in downtown Colorado Springs in spring 2012. The hotel is set amongst four historic buildings dating back to the early 20th century. The 110 year-old Mining Exchange building, the oldest of the four, at one time served as the primary stock exchange for the western U.S. The original exterior features solid granite walls and is being restored to maintain its original grandeur. The hotel’s 119 guest rooms, which include two presidential, 12 grand and 35 junior suites, boast 12-foot ceilings, handcrafted furnishings, and other luxurious appointments. The hotel also includes a full-service spa and a signature restaurant, X300, offering 100 beers, 100 wines and 100 “tapatizers™. www.miningexchangehotel.com

§  The Viceroy in Snowmass brings “Slow Booze” to cocktail lovers and locavores. The iconic hotel recently launched a range of cocktails produced from locally sourced spirits offering flavorful refreshment and winter warmth, all of which are inspired and use liquors from Colorado’s artisan distillery movement. www.viceroyhotelsandresorts.com/snowmass

§  The Little Nellin Aspen is catering to families that want to learn more about the outdoors. The hotel’s new overnight horse pack trip begins in 2012, and they have dubbed it “Cowboy Camp 101,” as families learn the art of backcountry living from starting a fire to catching a fish. The Little Nell’s family activities also include family fly fishing clinics, stand-up paddle boarding, geocaching activities and much more. www.thelittlenell.com/ebook/index.html

FRESH COLORADO EVENTS

§  Yoga Rocks the Butte (February 10 – 12, 2012) will feature a weekend of inspiring yoga classes, live outdoor music, organic food, a yoga marketplace and more at multiple venues throughout Crested Butte and Mt. Crested Butte.  This new event taps into the area’s health and wellness philosophy and brings in experts from around the globe.  www.yogarocksthebutte.com

§  Colorado Springs hosts the first Ultimate Disc Open.  As many as 600 of the world’s best Ultimate disc athletes will play on 24 teams in three divisions – Open, Women’s and Mixed. The inaugural international contest takes place July 4-8, 2012 at the U.S. Air Force Academy. www.usafa.af.mil

§  The inaugural USA Pro Cycling Challenge weaved through 11 host cities from August 22-28, 2011, generating excitement in the cycling community. Exactly 135 of the world’s top cyclists traversed 518 miles during the most demanding bike race ever held on American soil as racers experienced breathless altitudes. The event will make a return next year, with more details of the second annual USA Pro Cycling Challenge and the 2012 host cities to be announced soon. www.usaprocyclingchallenge.com

NEW COLORADO ATTRACTIONS AND ACTIVITIES

·       Ouray 2011-2012 Kids Ice Climbing College is a new and free program for kids ages 8-17 to try the exciting sport of ice climbing. The Ouray Ice Park features a Kids Wall: a specially developed 40 foot high, 140 foot wide slab of ice located on top of the ice park with easy walking access. It features a dozen different routes with various levels of difficulty.  Enrollment is on a first-come-first-serve basis. Seasoned San Juan Mountain Guides will provide harnesses, helmets, boots, crampons, and ice tools. Participants should bring a fun-loving adult to sign paperwork, warm clothes, gloves, and warm hat (ski clothes work well for climbing).  Choose from four dates: Monday, December 26, 2011, 12pm-4pm; Sunday, January 8, 2012, 10am-2pm;Saturday, January 7, 2012, 10am-3pm; Sunday, February 12, 2012, 12pm-4pm.  www.ourayclimbing.com/pages/show/KIDS%20Ice

·      Valmont Bike Park, America’s largest free urban bike park, recently announced it will be open year-round in Boulder.  Originally slated to close this winter, it is thesize of 30 football fields and features off-road cycling for all levels, from a trike track and a mellow trail to gnarly jumps.  Open since June 2011, the Valmont Bike Park is a place where every type of off-road cycling can come together for fun, racing and learning. www.ValmontBikePark.org

·       Walking Mountains Science Center moved to a new facility in Avon in fall 2011, offering educational, hands-on exhibits, interpretive trails, family and community programs, a nature nook and more.  Visitors can explore the weather station, take an astronomy class or experience the surrounding mountain environment with a naturalist-guided snowshoe tour or nature hike. www.WalkingMountains.org

·      Distillery 291 in Colorado Springs combines distiller Michael Myers’ two passions, photography and spirits, by using the same copper photogravure plates to distill as he used to print an art show shortly after 9/11.Aformer fashion photographer in New York City, Myers was itching to open his own distillery. Current spirits include “The Fresh" Colorado Whiskey and Colorado "White Dog" Rye. www.291ColoradoWhiskey.com

·      The Purgatory Plunge Zipline in Durango offers an entirely new experience this winter as “Plungers” zip over skiers hanging out on Purgatory Beach and Purgy’s patio. Thrill seekers soar for more than a football field at 35 mph, and will enjoy an après ski experience that is unique to most U.S. ski resorts. Crested Butte Mountain Resort also unveiled a Zip-Line Canopy Tour this season that will be open year-round, enabling guests to ski to it during the winter months. www.DurangoMountainResort.comwww.SkiCB.com

·       Iceland Air recently announced year-round, nonstop service from Denver International Airport (DEN) to Reykjavik, beginning in May 2012. With the addition of flights to and from Reykjavik, the airport will receive visitors directly from five different countries. www.IcelandAir.com

·       Garden of the Gods Park was recently designated one of 10 Great Public Spaces for 2011 by the American Planning Association (APA) under the organization's Great Places in America program. www.GardenofGods.com

·       Western Colorado offers three National Conservation Areas within 50 miles of each other, the largest concentration of NCAs in the country. Along with this unique designation, the Gunnison Gorge NCA has just opened up the Sidewinder Trail. The trail is a multi-use trail that is getting praise from mountain bikers, horseback riders and dirt bikers alike for the challenging and unique features along the trail. www.Copmoba.org/page.cfm?pageid=15479&rideid=77

·       Breckenridge named gold-level bicycle friendly community. Breckenridge recently adopted a rolling stop law for bicyclists, which allows them to treat stop signs like yield signs. The move, initiated by the local police department, was one of many efforts that upgraded Breckenridge’s status to a Gold Level Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists. By far the smallest town to achieve this award, Breck shows the bike love to locals and visitors alike. From internationally-recognized and grassroots bike events to a trail and path system that extends for thousands of miles, Breckenridge’s bike offerings suit a variety of ages abilities. www.gobreck.com

·       The Asian Tropics at the Denver Zoo exhibit set to open spring 2012 is a $50 million complex that will be the largest bull elephant habitat in the world. Asian elephants, Indian rhinos and Malayan tapirs will rotate among five unique habitats that will provide abundant space and varied terrain. The ground-breaking LEED complex will be powered by elephant excrement and other zoo waste. www.DenverZoo.org/AT/index.html  

·      The History Colorado Centeris an upcoming experiential museum where visitors will traverse the state in a “time machine,” and is set to open spring 2012 in Denver.  New exhibitions will blend technology, artifacts and environments to shape compelling stories about the state through public programs open to all ages.  Visitors are invited to explore a three-story multimedia presentation allowing them to travel across the plains in a Model T Ford, don a headlamp and descend into a hard rock mine, or soar off the world’s first ski jump in Steamboat Springs. www.HistoryColorado.org/museums/history-colorado-center

·       The Denver Art Museumwill be the only United States venue for Yves Saint Laurent, “A Retrospective” from March 25 through July 8, 2012. The stunning exhibition will feature a selection of 200 haute couture garments, along with photographs, drawings and films that illustrate the development of the Saint Laurent’s style and historical foundations of his work.  www.DenverArtMuseum.org

·       TheFort Collins Museum & Discovery Science Center is a hands-on science and technology “museum” featuring over 100 interactive exhibits. Combining science with history and culture, the new museum will provide a deeper understanding of the world and each individual’s place in it. The museum will be open to the public in summer 2012. www.FCMDSC.org

·       South Slope of Pikes Peak has been closed to hikers for more than 100 years. From late June through September 2012 guided tours in this pristine ecosystem will be available for a nominal fee.  The hike covers seven miles of easy to intermediate terrain and takes about 4 hours.  www.TrailsandOpenSpaces.org

WHAT’S NEW ON THE SLOPES

§  Winter Park’s Rail Yard Terrain Park's Super Pipe "Dig-In" will be completed during the early season, with the Half Pipe opening by Christmas 2011. This will result in a reduction of water and energy consumption by using less man-made snow. The resort also launched its loyalty and rewards program this season, The Winter Park & The Fraser Valley Key Card. The card rewards guests for their purchases by offering incentive dollars through Winter Park-Fraser Valley promotions and is free to all visitors. www.WinterParkResort.com

§  Copper Mountain enters ski season in partnership with the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (U.S.S.A.) to develop an on-snow training center at the resort. To support and develop the U.S. Ski Team Speed Center at Copper, the resort is implementing a new automated snowmaking system, as well as safety, communications and timing equipment necessary to develop a unique training venue. The on-snow training center will operate from November 1 – December 10 each winter season, and will bolster the U.S. Teams’ ability to train for speed events before the competitive season begins. www.CopperColorado.com

§  EpicMix is revolutionizing the way we ski -- again. The innovative app that tracks vertical feet and days skied at Vail Resorts added photo capabilities for this winter, making it even easier for skiers and snowboarders to share their on-mountain experience. www.EpicMix.com

§  Breckenridge Ski Resort celebrates its 50th Anniversary this ski season. The resort’s golden season will continue to bring signature events like the Nike 6.0 Winter Dew Tour stop in December, Ullr Fest and the International Snow Sculpture Championships in January, and the new Spring Fever Festival in April. In addition, 50th anniversary celebrations and promotions will continue all season long. www.Breckenridge.com

§  SolVista Basin at Granby Ranch updates Terrain Park. Leading improvements in SolVista’s terrain parks include: Ted’s Secret Stash, an all natural log park off the Jackalope run; Progression Park, a beginner terrain park at the base area; and the newest feature The Tank, a former underground fuel tank that is eight feet in diameter, 30 feet long, and boasts a quarter-pipe on each end. www.GranbyRanch.com

§  Vail’s new on-mountain restaurant opened December 1, 2011. The restaurant will be named “The 10th,” as a subtle nod to the veterans of the 10th Mountain Division.  With more than 13,000 square feet, the “10th” will seat approximately 160 people in the main dining area, 40 more in the lounge and an additional 40 on the south-facing deck. www.Vail.com

 

ABOUT COLORADO

Colorado is a four-season destination offering unparalleled adventure and recreational pursuits, a thriving arts scene, a rich cultural heritage, flavorful cuisine, 26 renowned ski areas and resorts. The state's breathtaking scenic landscape boasts natural hot springs, the headwaters of seven major rivers, many peaceful lakes and reservoirs, 54 mountain peaks that top 14,000 feet and 12 national parks, monuments and historic sites. For more information or a copy of the 2011 Colorado Official State Vacation Guide, visit www.COLORADO.com or call 1-800-COLORADO. Media are invited to visit the Colorado Media Room at www.COLORADO.com/media-room for story ideas, press releases, press kits, and high-resolution, downloadable photos and video for editorial use. Follow Colorado on Twitter at www.twitter.com/colorado or become a Colorado Facebook fan at www.facebook.com/visitcolorado.