2012/2013 Colorado Tourism Office Winter Story Ideas
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 Ski Company 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, 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 scheduled to open this 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. More resorts are adding on-mountain gourmet restaurants to their roster than ever before, creating a trend in the Colorado ski industry. Bistro Fourteen at Eagle’s Nest in Vail offers gourmet on-mountain dining, serving everything from duck quesadillas to Rocky Mountain Trout. 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. In Steamboat, the resort created a new bar, located in the Cabin Restaurant at the Steamboat Grand. The newest après ski hot spot has a unique menu featuring Kennebec Chips with Sriracha Aioli and the Deconstructed BLT (pork belly, tomato jam and arugula, charred on a cedar plank).
Colorado Arts Big and Small
Colorado is home to internationally renowned museums such as the Denver Art Museum showcasing Becoming Van Gogh, a worldwide exclusive and the first-ever exhibition of Van Gogh’s work in the Rocky Mountain region through January 20, 2013 and The Taylor Museum at The Fine Arts Center Colorado Springs. Last winter, Denver opened the Clyfford Still Museum, a facility dedicated to the works of the most influential of all American Impressionists, Clyfford Still. But the state is also home to small towns doing big things with culture and the arts. Towns like Creede, Carbondale and Loveland have devoted a considerable amount of resources and time to the arts. Exploring some of the state’s small towns and cities will lead to the discovery of art galleries, art walks and museums dedicated to famous artists, mountaineering and more.
Colorado is a green technology pioneer and is leading the way with two cultural openings in Denver, as well as ski resort advancements. The History Colorado Center opened as a LEED-certified building that utilizes Colorado beetle kill wood as its ceiling and throughout most of the building. This past summer, the Denver Zoo debuted its $50 million ground breaking LEED-complex that is powered by elephant excrement and other zoo waste. On the slopes, the new Elk Camp Restaurant is scheduled to open in 2012/13 located adjacent to the top of the Elk Camp Gondola at Snowmass. The project is scheduled to be LEED-certified and combine advanced heating systems and green materials to exceed current energy codes by at least 30 percent. Also in Snowmass, the Viceroy Snowmass recently announced it is the first luxury hotel in Colorado to receive LEED Gold Certification.
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. Snow PACK (Purgatory Adventure Camp for Kids) in Durango is a new and exciting day camp for children ages 7-12 to participate in a variety of adventures off the slopes. Woodward at Copper welcomes riders of all levels to learn how to ski or snowboard, and even take advantage of their half pipe. Keystone promotes increased family programming, including the famous Kidtopia Snow Fort this season. 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 from $45-$55 including Sunlight Mountain. 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 120 craft breweries, 90 wineries and 14 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. Colorado offers a variety of mild to wild inexpensive vacation options for families, couples and solo adventure-seekers.
Après Ski with Colorado Craft Beer and Spirits
Colorado knows how to party. The state is home to more than 120 craft breweries and is ranked first in gross beer production in the country. There is a growing trend in craft breweries popping up in Colorado ski towns, which makes for the ultimate après ski experience. Durango is home to four brewing companies serving thirsty skiers at Purgatory at Durango Mountain Resort. There’s an Aspen Brewing Company in Aspen, 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 14 distilleries and counting, several in ski towns. Resorts are starting to pour locally crafted spirits like Breckenridge Distillery's vodka and whiskey and Montanya Rum made in Crested Butte. Nearly every ski town now has a local brewery and/or a local distillery—that’s just the Colorado après ski tradition.
Colorado Fly Fishing...in Winter?
Many winter visitors to Colorado are surprised to learn that fly fishing adventures carry on right through the winter months. There are no closed seasons in Colorado, and some of the best fishing days happen during the winter months when most visitors are completely unaware that casting a line into a fish-filled river is just minutes away from world-famous ski slopes. The South Fork and North Fork of the South Platte River are home to some of the best winter spots for trout hunters. Anglers will find a major abundance of winter trout in the tail waters below Spinney Reservoir, where the water flow is up when winds are down and the temperature is a little warmer. Some recommended winter fishing spots include The Blue River in Silverthorne, Williams Fork River near Berthoud Pass, Frying Pan in Basalt, Taylor River in Gunnison, Yampa River below Stagecoach Reservoir and Big Thompson below Lake Estes.
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.
Colorado’s mountains offer majestic scenery and extreme ways to explore their peaks. Some might be surprised to learn that zip lining is a year-round sport. Crested Butte Mountain Resort offers a Zip-Line Canopy tour, and Purgatory at Durango Mountain Resort gives its thrill-seeking adventurers the chance to soar above snow-dusted trees at 35 miles per hour on the Purgatory Plunge. There is also jeep ice racing in Georgetown and ice climbing in Ouray. For a less snowy adventure, the western slopes of Colorado allows mountain bikers the chance to get their bikes dirty year-round. Fruita is the ideal winter mountain bike destination, as it provides trails for the tame, daring and every level in between that meander through Colorado’s breathtaking backdrops.