Off the Slopes Fun
by Emily Krempholtz
So your friends or family planned a ski trip, but you’re not all that into the sport. Maybe you’re just along for the ride, or maybe your whole group wants to see the beauty of the mountains during the winter without the financial commitment of a ski pass. No matter your reasons, Colorado has got you covered when it comes to fun winter activities to keep you busy while everyone else is skiing and snowboarding.
Tubing and Sledding
A long-time favorite of both kids and the young-at-heart, tubing and sledding are a fun and exhilarating way to take advantage of the mountain slopes and have fun in the snow. Most major ski resorts in Colorado have a tubing hill, and these winter wonderlands generally feature well-designated lanes for tubers as well as some fun features like bumps, curves, and jumps. Little ones can even get in on the action at some of the great tubing hills meant just for kids, with gentler slopes, shorter distances, and plenty of snow to play in.
Enjoy a lovely afternoon or evening skating with the kids or a loved one at one of the many ice rinks that can be found across the state. From urban rinks in Denver and Boulder to scenic skating on a 40-acre lake in Evergreen, skaters in Colorado will find no shortage of gorgeous views, whether it’s a city skyline or a mountain vista, to serve as a backdrop to a beautiful and fun experience.
Dog sledding isn’t just for Alaska, it’s an activity that is perfectly suited to Colorado’s mountain climate as well. Take a spin on a sled pulled by a team of dogs for a one of a kind look at Colorado’s beautiful nature. There are dog sledding tours offered all over the state, and this fast-moving, exciting activity is perfect for nature lovers and dog lovers alike. At places like Alpine Adventures Dogsledding in Leadville, guests will have a hands-on opportunity to tour the area and even drive the dogsled themselves. At other destinations, like Dog Sled Rides of Winter Park, dog sledding is a perfect backdrop to a fun day, not matter the weather, as they even offer dog cart rides in non-snowy weather. If you fall in love with the sport or the dogs themselves, there are other Colorado companies, like Snow Buddy Dog Sled Tours in Oak Creek, that even offer the opportunity to take retired sled dogs home with you through an adoption program.
Dash through the snow in a one horse open sleigh on an incredible sleigh ride tour through the stunning mountain vistas of the Centennial State. You and your companions will snuggle up underneath a warm blanket as you are whisked away through the crisp winter air and snowy landscapes of the Rockies. Some sleigh rides can be paired with elegant dinners served in backcountry mountain cabins, or with lessons that will teach you about horses and the art of driving a sleigh. If you’re already staying at a ski resort, many of them offer sleigh rides through the resort itself.
It’s much less fast-paced than some of the other items on this list, but if you’re looking for a way to take the scenic route, snowshoeing might just be the perfect activity for you. You can bring your own snowshoes, buy a pair while in Colorado, or rent them from most major resorts and many local outdoors and athletics shops. Snowshoes are the perfect way to take a hike on one of the thousands of trails in Colorado, without having to sink waist-deep into the snow with every step.
Taking an adventurous ride on a snowmobile across the snowy peaks and winter scenery of the mountains is a great way to see Colorado, and with the help of great companies like Grand Adventures, located in Winter Park, you can take a guided tour to some of the prettiest places in the region, which reach elevation levels of over 12,000 feet above sea level and allow guests to take an exhilarating journey along the Continental Divide. Snowmobile tours are available for guests of all ability levels, whether you’re a snowmobiling expert or have never been on one before in your life.
Nordic/Cross Country Skiing
Much like snowshoeing, Nordic skiing is an excellent way to see some of the backcountry at a slower, more relaxed pace. There are over 20 Nordic Centers throughout the state, and most major ski resorts offer guided cross-country ski tours for those who are unfamiliar with the area. These tours include help or lessons from experts for those new to the sport as well as an informative guide who can tell all sorts of fascinating information about the region and wildlife as you trek through it.
Where to Start?
If you’re not sure where to get started, check out our Colorado Winter page and select “Play” on the interactive chart. You’ll see an extensive list of activities which you can select to choose from plenty of great local businesses, tour companies, guides, resorts, and more that will be happy to help you on your way to a fun and exciting Colorado experience.