2014/2015 Colorado Tourism Office Winter Story Ideas
Off-Beat and Dynamic Snowventures
Enjoy Colorado's snowy terrain, both on and off the slopes, with unique winter sports. Silverton is offering overnight heli touring trips where guests are dropped into a remote zone with a guide and experience a full day’s skiing or snowboarding before camping for the night. Durango Dog Ranch and Mountain Musher in Wolcott are two of the many lauded dog sledding outfitters located across the state providing a magical wintertime experience for the whole family to enjoy. Learn to snow kite, kite board or kite ski on Lake Dillon with Colorado Kite Force, the first outfitter to bring kiting on snow to Colorado. Experience the emerging sport of snow biking with new fat bike tours courtesy of Breck Bike Guides in Breckenridge and new snow bike rentals at Crested Butte Mountain Resort. Learn to ice climb at the Ouray Ice Park, one of the premier ice climbing venues in the world. Get an adrenaline rush jeep ice racing on Lake Dillon. Or, em“bark” on the sport of skijoring (a Scandinavian winter sport, in which athletes are pulled on skis by either a horse, dog, or motor vehicle) with new private lessons, that can include your own dog or a borrowed dog from the shelter, at The St. Regis Resort in Aspen.
Colorado Skiing Three Ways in Three Days (The Skiing Trifecta)
Colorado is the ultimate destination for powder hounds. For those who consider themselves true lovers of skiing, the state has a challenge: Skiing three different ways in three days - Heli skiing in Telluride, hike-to skiing in Silverton and cat skiing in Durango (all along the San Juan Skyway Scenic Byway). Start in Telluride by dropping out of a helicopter onto perfect powder with Telluride Heli Trax, Telluride’s premier helicopter ski company. Then, venture to Silverton with 400” of annual snowfall, only one lift (dug by hand) and plenty hike-to terrain where you learn the term "earn your turns." Complete your trip by cat skiing with San Juan Untracked in Durango across 60 square miles in the heart of the rugged San Juan Mountains.
Experience Colorado From Hut to Hut - The Euro Experience
The European tradition of hut-to-hut skiing, snowshoeing, mountain biking and hiking can be enjoyed in Colorado's majestic mountains. Huts located in spectacular settings, perched high on mountain ridges with magnificent views, provide adventurers with a cozy shelter at the end of the trail. In fact, Colorado is home to the most extensive backcountry hut system in North America, with more than 30 huts across 350 miles of U.S. Forest Service trails. Many of these huts are named in honor the men of the Tenth Mountain Division of the U.S. Army who trained at Camp Hale and Ski Cooper during World War II. New backcountry huts are springing up across the state including the Point Breeze Cabin near Leadville, the Opus Hut near Durango and the fledgling Grand Huts Association planning to establish nine huts in Grand County starting with the Broome Hut on Berthoud Pass that opened last winter.
Gourmet Food from the Slopes of Colorado
The days of overpriced hamburgers in the ski lodge are coming to an end. High altitude excitement is swarming around Colorado’s 25 ski areas and resorts as they place a greater emphasis on fine dining. Situated at the heart of Vail Mountain, The 10th is Vail’s newest sit down, ski-in, ski-out fine dining restaurant overlooking the majestic Gore Range. The 10th’s cuisine is world-class with a focus on Modern Alpine classics. Guests are invited to take a snow coach to Alpino Vino in Telluride, offering a five-course Italian meal that makes for a perfect retreat on the slopes. Arapahoe Basin features comfort food at its finest from Black Mountain Lodge, where guests are encouraged to snowshoe, ski or snowboard to the base area after dinner. Aspen boasts multiple on-mountain restaurants for its foodie clientele, ranging from bistro food at Ajax Tavern to Cloud Nine Bistro serving food with a European flair at 10,740 feet. Talons, the new European-inspired on mountain restaurant, opened recently in luxe Beaver Creek. And, the new multi-million-dollar Four Points Lodge opened this past winter in Steamboat. New this winter, Peak 9 restaurant is undergoing a major renovation that, along with a new kitchen will provide a warm, welcoming, high-quality guest experience at Breckenridge Ski Resort’s most scenic dining location, sitting at 11,274 feet. Additionally, Winter Park Resort is adding a sparkling new Lunch Rock Restaurant atop the Mary Jane Territory.
Family Fun in Colorado
Colorado is the ultimate family winter destination with an array of activities suitable for children of all ages. Children who love animals can see the Rockies in a new light via dog sled or horse-drawn sleigh in several of the state’s mountain towns. Colorado’s National Parks offer a Junior Ranger Program for kids to learn about the parks and earn a ranger badge. Families can also enjoy snow shoeing some of Colorado’s best trail systems in Rocky Mountain National Park. Winter Wigglers, a new Ski & Ride School program at Loveland offers preschool aged skiers and snowboarders a three week session on Wednesdays in January and February. Wolf Creek is offering a Beginner Ski or Snowboard Special that allows new skiers and boarders access to the Nova Lift and four hours of group lessons. This winter, Aspen/Snowmass will unveil The Hideout, a new $10 million children’s center at the base of Buttermilk. In Ouray, the Kids Climbing College is a free opportunity for kids ages 8-17 to try the exciting sport of ice climbing.
Not all Colorado winter activities for families or couples have to break the bank. While Colorado does offer a large variety of luxury amenities and activities, there are many ways to explore all that Colorado has to offer while on a budget. Most Colorado museums offer free days for visitors and post these days on their websites well in advance. In addition to free days, at least 10 Colorado museums are free year-round, including Peterson Air & Space Museum, Red Rocks Amphitheatre & Visitor Center and Boulder’s Leanin’ Tree Museum and Sculpture Garden of Western Art. Some ski areas offer inexpensive lift tickets including Sunlight Mountain and Monarch. Active winter sports, such as snowshoeing and cross-country skiing, often only require purchasing rental equipment to head out and explore the state’s beautiful snowy terrain. The Great Sand Dunes National Park offers visitors 750 feet of smooth sand to hike, roll or slide down with free admission for kids and only $3 for adults. With more than 230 craft breweries, 100 wineries and 40 distilleries throughout the state that almost all offer free tastings and tours, giving your palate a taste of Colorado can be easy on the wallet, as well.
Ski with Legends at the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships
This February, Vail and Beaver Creek will welcome Olympians and future snow sports stars, as they compete in the 2015 Alpine World Ski Championships. From February 2-15, 2015, the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships represent the largest and most impressive collection of ski racing talent in the world, second only to the Olympics, with more than 700 athletes competing from 70-plus nations. This will mark the third time that the Vail Valley has played host to this prestigious international event, along with the 1989 and 1999 events. And, combined with the 1950 World Championships in Aspen, the 2015 event will also signify only the fourth Championships ever held in the U.S., all of them in Colorado.
From September 3, 2014, through September 4, 2015, Rocky Mountain National Park, along with local and national communities, will be celebrating the Park's 100th Anniversary. Speakers, special activities and community events are being coordinated to commemorate the Centennial. Whether a regular visitor, a national park traveler, or a virtual explorer, Rocky Mountain National Park hopes that their 100th Anniversary will inspire visitors to experience and connect with the park that has inspired 100 years of protection and that will continue to enchant and delight visitors and stewards for another 100 years!
Additionally, this winter, two of Colorado’s renowned ski resorts will toast significant anniversaries. Winter Park Resort will celebrate 75 years as Colorado’s Favorite® resort. Located just 67 miles from Denver, Winter Park Resort has been destination for generations skiers and riders seeking award-winning terrain including miles of cruising groomers, terrain parks, bumps, steeps, trees, and most definitely deeps. Winter Park is also the proud home to the renowned National Sports Center for the Disabled (NSCD). Wolf Creek Ski Area-- known for its deep-powder skiing, friendly atmosphere, delicious homemade food and affordable pricing, is also celebrating its Diamond Anniversary. Located in Southwest Colorado in the San Juan Mountains, Wolf Creek has long been known for its unique vibe and average annual snowfall of 465 inches, the most in Colorado!
Colorado’s capital city is once again undergoing a major transformation. Spurred by the redevelopment of Denver’s Union Station ─ set to become the “Grand Central Terminal” of Colorado ─ the city has seen a significant number of hotel and restaurant openings and redevelopments in the late-part of 2014, with more on the horizon for the New Year. Union Station includes 13 new restaurant and retail outlets and the luxurious new 112-room Crawford Hotel. Retailers and restaurants include Stoic & Genuine, a seafood restaurant from James Beard Award-Winning Chef, Jennifer Jasinski; The Kitchen Next Door Community Pub; European-style Mercantile Dining & Provision from Food & Wine Best New Chef, Alex Seidel; and much more. Denver’s iconic Hotel Teatro has unveiled an inspired, new experiential design, reimagining the entire ground floor of the historic luxury property and adding a new, locally-inspired restaurant, The Nickel, and The Barrel Bar, featuring a curated barrel-aged cocktail program. The Marriott Renaissance debuted spring 2014 as a new four-star, 230-room hotel within the historic Colorado National Bank building, which was built in 1915. And, The Art Hotel, a new 165-room boutique hotel in Denver, is expected to open in 2015, showcasing a lobby with modern art and guest rooms with vibrant art and wall coverings.
Apres Ski with Colorado Craft Beer and Spirits
Colorado knows how to party. The state is home to more than 230 craft breweries and is ranked first in gross beer production in the country. There is a growing trend in craft breweries as a staple in Colorado ski towns, which makes for the ultimate après ski experience. Durango is home to four brewing companies serving thirsty skiers at Durango Mountain Resort. There’s an Aspen Brewing Company in Aspen and new Broken Compass Brewery, Breckenridge Brewery, Pug Ryan’s Brewery and Dillon Dam Brewery in Summit County. There’s Pagosa Brewing Company in Pagosa Springs near Wolf Creek Ski Area, Amicas in Salida near Monarch Mountain, Silverton Brewery in Silverton and Telluride Brewing Company in Telluride.
Colorado is also home to roughly 40 distilleries and counting, several in ski towns. Resorts are starting to pour locally crafted spirits like Breckenridge Distillery's vodka and whiskey, Montanya Rum made in Crested Butte and Woody Creek Distillers’ spirits near Aspen. New this year, The 10th Mountain Whiskey & Spirit Company will open as Vail’s premier distillery, crafting spirits from locally sourced ingredients in the name of the mountain lifestyle that was inspired by the original 10th Mountain soldiers who trained not far from Vail in the 1940s.
Colorado Mining Towns Turned Modern Playgrounds
Six of Colorado’s most famed ski towns—Crested Butte, Telluride, Aspen, Steamboat Springs, Breckenridge and Silverton—were also thriving towns during the state’s Gold Rush. Gold lured adventurers of the past, and today folks flock to these towns in search of white gold (snow) and modern adventures. Each town’s own unique history can still be experienced on the ski slopes and trails as well as through historic hotels, museums and even shopping and dining in historic buildings.