7 Tips for Planning a Smooth Colorado Winter Vacation

Find your bliss, and Do Colorado Right in the process, with winter-travel tips that promote wellbeing and joy.

Get the best views (and more time outside) by avoiding peak travel times.
Get the best views (and more time outside) by avoiding peak travel times.
There are many ways to limit backcountry risk, like checking the avy forecast and going with a guide.
There are many ways to limit backcountry risk, like checking the avy forecast and going with a guide.
Do Colorado Right with these travel tips
Do Colorado Right with these travel tips
Boost your karma with smiles for everyone!
Boost your karma with smiles for everyone!

Know Before You Go

Flying by the seat of your pants may work on our ziplines but not when it comes to health and safety. Bring your mask and vaccination card, follow CDC guidelines and posted signs, and learn about local rules for wherever you may be headed. If you find yourself under the weather while vacationing in Colorado, first and foremost, please follow quarantine protocols like checking your symptoms, getting tested (for free) for COVID-19, notifying others you may have encountered and isolating for 10 days if you test positive.

Pro tips: Devote some extra time scouting your activities beforehand and book early to ensure your spot. Restaurants and other destination businesses — like hot springs, tubing hills and even ski schools — may be closed or have longer waits, fewer openings and limited staffing due to COVID-19. Also, don’t leave your phone at home. QR menus and contactless payment are standard in some restaurants.

Mask up: You may be asked to wear a mask indoors and/or provide proof of vaccination, especially at Colorado ski resorts, inside restaurants and on public transportation, so it’s best to always keep one with you. Some of our destinations are currently requiring masks in any indoor public spaces regardless of vaccination status, including Boulder and Telluride.

Bring proof: If you’re vaccinated for COVID-19, remember to bring a copy of your vaccination card; you can even snap a pic on your phone or use an app. You may be asked to show it, especially at a ski resort’s on-mountain restaurant. International visitors, who are already fully vaccinated, must test negative for COVID-19 within 24 hours of their arrival to enter the country.

Boost Your Karma

Share your smiles and patience with restaurant workers, hotel staff, lift operators and others you meet along the way. Shifting guidelines, longer waits and all sorts of shortages are to some degree just part of the new normal these days — and kindness is contagious.

Limit Your Backcountry Risk

From hut trips and snowmobiling to ski touring and snowshoeing, the ways to experience Colorado winters are seemingly endless. If you do intend to play in our unmanaged backcountry this winter, do so with safety in mind. Heading off the beaten path, after all, comes with increased avalanche risks that could result in injury and death. There are many ways to mitigate backcountry risks, including checking the weather and avalanche forecast for where you’re going, seeking out proper training and going with a guide.

Pro tip: If you’re planning a backcountry adventure, hire an American Mountain Guides Association-certified guide to help keep everyone safe.

Get the Best Views

If you’d like to see the best views and add more time in your day for exploring, avoid peak times. We recommend traveling on weekdays and visiting attractions early in the morning or later in the day. Fewer crowds make for better vistas!

Safer Winter Driving

Colorado’s famously powdery peaks and silver-drenched trees always bring the wow factor, but snow and ice can make for challenging road conditions. For safer winter driving, remember to say no to cruise control and texting while driving, maintain slower speeds and accelerate at a leisurely rate. Keep your gas tank more than half full, fill up your windshield-wiper fluid, bring chains if you don’t have snow tires, and stow jumper cables and blankets in your car just in case. Check road conditions by visiting cotrip.org or dial 511 before you go.

Not comfortable and/or experienced driving in winter conditions? Take a shuttle instead — or stay put until conditions pass, which may mean staying another night but can be as short as a few hours.

Enjoy Blue Skies & Green Rides

When you reduce your travel footprint in Colorado, you get more fresh air and sunshine. Soak it all up with our e-bikes, scooters, free shuttles, electric-vehicle rental options and more.

Have Good, Clean Fun

We want you to have a great time! Do Colorado Right and trash your trash in our national parks, open spaces, cities and towns so the state will be just as beautiful when you return. Remember — if you bring it in, please bring it out or throw it in the bin. This includes dog poo and compostable items, like banana peels. And please leave it as you found it so everyone can enjoy our natural environment, as it is, for generations.

Want More?

Be winter ready when you hit the road >>

Find more ways to make the most of your Colorado time >>

Learn how to recognize risks in Colorado’s backcountry >>