2013/2014 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 new overnight heli touring trips where guests get 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 is rolling out a new dog sledding offering from the base area of Durango Mountain Resort this winter season. 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 Telluride BootDoctors, which is offering Big Tire Bike Tours on Salsa Mukluk fatbikes this winter season. 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.
Experience Colorado Like an Olympian
Colorado welcomes the 2014 Sochi Olympics with several resident Olympic hopefuls including Arielle Gold, Gus Kenworthy, Bobby Brown and Gretchen Bleiler. Fans can often spot pro freeskiers and snowboarders training at Breckenridge, Keystone and Copper early season- and it's great watching. Attend Olympic qualifiers at the Dew Tour in Breckenridge or the Grand Prix at Copper Mountain, visit the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs or train where Olympian’s train at Woodward at Copper. A half-million renovation project at Woodward will open the door far beyond snowboards and skis this winter to now include skateboards, BMX and slopestyle mountain bike.
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. 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. This winter, Colorado welcomes recently renovated and brand new on-mountain restaurant properties including Talons, the new European-inspired on mountain restaurant to open this winter in Beaver Creek; the new multi-million-dollar Four Points Lodge to open this winter in Steamboat; and the new Siam’s Talay Grille located in the new Inn at Lost Creek in Telluride’s Mountain Village.
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. In Ouray, the Kids Climbing College is a free opportunity for kids ages 8-17 to try the exciting sport of ice climbing.
Expanding the Boundaries at Colorado Ski Areas and Resorts
This winter welcomes significant terrain improvements and expansion at Colorado’s ski resorts. This season, Breckenridge will have one of its most exciting year’s ever, as the resort adds over 540 acres to its famous landscape via the Peak 6 area just north of Peak 7. Peak 6 will include 400 acres of lift-served terrain and 143 acres of hike-to terrain, representing a 23 percent increase in the resort’s skiable acreage. This is one of the most notable ski area expansions in the past decade, and will feature high-alpine, intermediate bowl skiing – a rare find in North America. At Crested Butte, kiddos will be treated to a new ski experience. Crews are cutting three new kid-specific trails in the Painter Boy area. These trails will be about the width of a grooming machine and wind through the trees to give kids a “forest-like” experience.
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 180 craft breweries, 90 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.
Apres Ski with Colorado Craft Beer and Spirits
Colorado knows how to party. The state is home to more than 180 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, 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 the new Woody Creek Distillers’ spirits near Aspen. Nearly every ski town now has a local brewery and/or a local distillery—that’s just the Colorado après ski tradition.
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.