Winter is here, and if you’ve been to Colorado, you know what that means. When the snow covers these mountains and plains, the state’s ski towns light up like beacons in a wintry night. The best part? Many of the most enjoyable activities don’t require a lift ticket. Here are eight of them.
- Dashing through the snow, the Colorado way
Colorado culture, in most places, has a heavy reliance on the outdoors — with a bit of country western and the occasional flair for the dramatic thrown in. The winter season is a perfect example, where sleigh rides go much deeper (and longer) than a dash through the open snow.
Many outfitters, like Astraddle A Saddle outside of Pagosa Springs, combine a scenic ride with barbecue dinners, warm cocktails, and the kind of postcard mountain views everyone’s come to associate with Colorado. Others swap out the barbecue in favor of a picnic lunch or gourmet, chef-prepared dinner by the campfire. If you didn’t love winter before, you’ll definitely have a soft spot for it now.
- Experiencing your first mountain-town winter festival
Across the state, tons of mountain towns throw parties in celebration of the season. It doesn’t matter when or where you’re traveling — they’re all worth the experience. Here are a few to get you started:
Durango’s Snowdown, January 31 – February 4, 2018: This is one of the state’s best-known festivals, and it’s a “black tie affair” (which is saying something, given the puffy coats and boots we’re used to).
Fire & Ice Festival, Loveland, February 9 – 11, 2018: It’s ice and fire sculpting over Valentine’s weekend. Do you need more?
Nederland’s Frozen Dead Guy Days, March 9 – 11, 2018: It’s as irreverent as its name implies. Picture 30-some bands, plenty of heated tents, costumed polar plunges, and coffin racing, and you’ll be off to a good start.
Ullr Fest, Breckenridge: Horned Viking hats (Ullr is the Norse god of snow) and the biggest bonfire in town — that’s how Breckenridge rolls. The event typically spans a few days in min-January, so start thinking about planning that 2019 trip!