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How to Stay Warm in Colorado This Winter

by Emily Krempholtz

One of the greatest things about Coloradoans is that even when the weather outside gets cold and snowy, we don’t lock ourselves up in the house and hibernate until spring knocks at our doors. Nope—people in Colorado get out there on the ski slopes, take advantage of free days at museums and zoos, and break out the snowshoes and snowmobiles to enjoy the snow under the blue skies of our purported 300 annual days of sunshine.

Whether you want to get outdoors or stay inside this winter when the temperatures drop, there’s more than one great way to stay warm in Colorado, and here are just a few:

Bundle Up!

First, the basics: dress in layers. Because of the sunshine and lack of humidity, depending on where in Colorado you are, temperatures can vary wildly, even within a single day. Even if you’re somewhere that’s cold all day, you’ll still want to curate your outfit carefully, especially if you’re going to be skiing or doing some other activity. The best rule of thumb states you should have a good base layer, mid-layer, and outer layer, as well as warm socks, gloves, a hat, and scarf or neck warmer. Remember, if you get too hot, you can always lose a layer, but once you leave the house, you’re probably not going to be able to add more if you’re cold.

Glenwood Hot Springs

Enjoy a Soak in a Hot Spring

Thanks to the unique geology of the Rocky Mountains, Colorado is home to an abundance of natural hot springs. Soaking in the hot springs is a great way to relax after a long week at work, after an exhausting day on the slopes, or to warm up when you can’t seem to shake the chill. There are springs all over the state, and some of them, like Glenwood Springs, have been converted into massive Olympic-sized pools where you can swim and play, while others, like Strawberry Hot Springs in Steamboat Springs, maintain a natural rock-pool feel. Many, like Indian Hot Springs in Idaho Springs, have spas where you can indulge in a massage or treatment, and some, like Pagosa Hot Springs, even have dozens of pools for you to choose from. 

Get Active

Okay, so maybe it seems counterintuitive to go out into the cold when you’re trying to warm up, but there’s nothing like a day on the slopes or out on the trails to get your blood pumping. There are over 30 ski resorts in Colorado, and thousands of acres of trails and fields perfect for snowmobiling, as well as play areas and hills where you can build snowmen, throw snowballs, or go sledding or tubing. 

And if the great outdoors—with its not so great temperatures—is really not for you, you can still get that heart rate up and that sweat going indoors at a rock climbing or bouldering gym, indoor sports center, or even an indoor skydiving experience.

Beers

Visit a Brewery or Distillery

The blustery days of winter make for an excellent opportunity to explore some of the products of local industry. No matter where you live in Colorado, you’ve probably got a brewery within easy distance, even when the weather is cold. So check out one of the breweries or distilleries that Colorado calls its own for a fun way to stay warm this winter. After a few flights of beer on the Summit County Brewery Tour, or a couple of tastings at Honey House Distillery, you’ll be feeling warmer than you did at the start of the day, for sure! Plenty of bars even have fireplaces and cozy couches, so you can feel right at home as you sip your drinks and enjoy the warmth.

Eat Some Spicy Food

 So maybe spicy is a different type of ‘hot,’ but if it makes you sweat, you won’t be thinking about how chilly that wind is outside! Luckily, for those who enjoy spicy food, Colorado is home to plenty of it. We’ve got Mexican restaurants at practically every turn, and of course, spicy green chili is more than just a topping for your burrito—plenty of restaurants offer it as a soup.

Other delicious spicy options include Ethiopian cuisine (check out Denver and Aurora for lots of choices), a classic plate of hot wings, or Nashville fried chicken, though the options are practically endless, and virtually every restaurant will have something on their menu that’s going to hit the spot.

Group with Hot Chocolate

Enjoy a Gourmet Hot Beverage

Even the smallest of small towns have a place to stop and get a nice hot cup of coffee. In most bigger towns and cities in Colorado, there are amazing cafes at practically every corner, and they each have some unique theme, twist, or atmosphere that keeps their customers coming back again and again. This winter, grab a friend or a loved one and make a point to visit some of these local businesses—if you’re in Canon City, try and discover whether Cup & Cone or The Bean Pedaler has the best latte, or spend some time in Denver bouncing between places like Chocolate Lab and Leela’s European Café to see who has concocted the best hot chocolate in the city. Café hopping is a great excuse to spend time with friends or settle in by yourself with a good book and a steaming hot beverage as you watch the snowfall from the comfort of a warm building.