Saying Goodbye to Winter
by Emily Krempholtz
It’s April, and that means spring time—for most of Colorado, anyway. Although there’s still plenty of snow at higher elevations, and will be for months yet, the cold rush of winter is starting to abate. Depending on where you live, tentative daffodils may already be peeking cautiously from the ground, or people may already be skiing in just their t-shirts and hoodies. Birds are returning in the mornings to serenade you in full force from outside your window, and everywhere, the state is starting to shake itself from under the blanket of winter and ready itself for warmer weather.
Not Ready to Say Goodbye?
If you’re not ready to say goodbye to the snow yet, have no fear. The threat of a snowstorm is far from nonexistent this time of year, and even if we happen not to see any more snow until next winter, there’s still time for you to take advantage of the slopes at one of Colorado’s ski resorts. Due to the crazy amount of snow we received this year, several resorts have extended their seasons, so now you have until the end of April to get in one last ski day. Copper Mountain, Monarch Ski Resort, Vail, Snowmass, and Winter Park are open through April 21, and Aspen Highlands is even open the final weekend in April (26-28). If you’re looking for even more ski resort fun, set aside some time to be there for a resort’s closing weekend festivities, where they host massive spring parties with music, drinks, and fun events like pond skimming. The snow should stick around for some time still in the mountains, so you’ve still got time to enjoy your other favorite winter activities, like snowshoeing or enjoying the steamy heat of a hot spring without it being just as hot outside.
Looking ahead to Warmer Days
Look, we’ve had a weird winter, with historic blizzards, massive temperature swings, and a potentially record-breaking number of avalanches. No one is blaming you if you want to throw in the towel and amp up for summer instead. Luckily for you, we’ve got sunshine and 70 degree days ahead (In lower elevation parts of the state, at least!), and you can enjoy those outside, whether it’s on the trail or on the sunny patio of a local craft brewery.
In May and June, Farmer’s Markets will start to pop up all over the place, with fresh produce and handmade goods from local vendors, making for a pleasant and relaxing way to spend a weekend morning. In Rocky Mountain National Park, Trail Ridge Road is already open for bicycles and pedestrians, and will open for vehicles sometime around Memorial Day Weekend, depending on the weather. Other scenic high elevation drives, like Mount Evans Scenic Byway, will open for vehicle traffic around the same time.
On April 27, the Georgetown Loop Railroad will open for the summer, taking guests on a scenic train ride from Georgetown to Silver Plume, and offering tours of the historic Lebanon and Everett Mines. But those who want to take a train ride before the end of the month can still do so a little further south, where the Royal Gorge Route Railroad travels through Canon City, or on the Durango Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, which winds through Cascade Canyon.
Hiking in April can get a little muddy (or snowy, depending on where you hike), but if you want to spend your spring season exploring some of Colorado’s countless trails, you’ll find fewer crowds and more abundant wildlife as the local population of deer, bighorn sheep, elk, and more search for food and begin to make their way toward their summer habitats. Keep an eye out as you hike for the leaves that will begin to appear on the trees and the small buds and shoots of the flowers that will blanket the Rockies in color this summer.
As the state starts to thaw this month, grab a few friends and head to the 420 Celebration in the Mile High City, where you can enjoy the best bud with your best buds. In the days and weeks around April 20, you can find specials at dispensaries as well as lots of events all over Colorado, like Sushi and Joint Rolling classes, or Cannabis Massages. The 4/20 rally itself—the Fly Hi 420 Fest—will be held in Denver’s Civic Center Park, with vendors, food, drinks, and a musical lineup that includes T.I. and Jermaine Dupri. While the Denver event is undoubtedly the biggest in the state—and arguably the world—there are also 420 events, specials, and parties all over the state.
Wake Up, Colorado!
The month of April also brings a host of other great events to Colorado. The Durango Bluegrass Meltdown is an annual celebration of music and springtime that takes place this year April 12-14, and the 5Point Film Festival in Carbondale (April 25-28) will get you amped up for a summer of adventure with their film screenings of unique documentaries and films specially chosen to inspire adventure. On April 12-14, Estes Park will be hosting their first annual Bigfoot Days, a celebration of all the supposed Sasquatch sightings in the area, and on April 13, you can put together a cardboard sled in Steamboat Springs for a race down Headwall in the annual Cardboard Classic.
These are just a few of the incredible activities, festivals, and events happening this season, so whether you’ve been hitting the slopes all winter or you’re just starting to come out of hibernation now, get ready for an action-packed spring of fun and adventure here in Colorado.