Most people associate a vacation to the Rocky Mountains in the winter with skiing and snowboarding. But what if you don’t ski?
How much time can you spend drinking Hot Apple Pies in the lodge waiting for your ski-fanatic friends and family to show up?
Well, before you decide to stay home altogether, we’ve got great news: there can be a lot more to your Colorado vacation than just going up and down a mountain.
The following are just some of your options…
Located about 335 miles from Denver, Telluride has steep terrains and is known as a skier’s heaven, particularly for experts. But did you know that the area off the beaten track offers a wide variety of non-skiing activities such as sled dog rides, ice-skating, glider rides, and dinner sleigh rides? And that’s just the beginning. See www.telluride.com for more.
Located 75 miles west of Denver, Copper Mountain has various off-slope activities that include a tubing hill, snowshoeing, storytelling and nightly laser light shows. And forget hot chocolate: You can watch chocolate being made in the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. Visit www.coppercolorado.com for more information.
Vail has 5,529 acres of ski-able terrain, offering challenges to downhill racers of all stripes, from beginners to experts. But there are also some cutting edge health spas, along with other activities, to choose from.
The 291-room Vail Cascade Resort offers 14 treatment rooms, and “Symphony” packages of various massages, facials and wraps. The resort also offers winter activities that include snowmobile tours, horse-drawn sleigh rides, winter driving courses and wildlife watching excursions. A popular adventure for non-skiers here is dog sled rides by “Mountain Mushers,” in which you are pulled by a dozen huskies that attain speeds up to 25 miles an hour. A seven-mile, two-hour ride costs $150 and includes transportation from local hotels, a drink and a snack. Visit www.vailcascade.com for more information.
Nearby Adventure Ridge in Vail may be ideal for non-skiing children’s fun in summer or winter. It prominently features laser tag, among other activities such tubing, ski biking, and “thrill sledding.” Prices range from $20 for a 10-minute snowmobile ride to $12 for a laser tag game. For more information, call 970-476-9090.
Forget skiing, try 5 Weird, Wacky & Wonderful Winter Activities.
A frequent competitor for visitors is Aspen, which offers non-skiers a 77,000 square foot Aspen Club & Spa. Health and fitness programs for all ages include aerobic classes, fitness hikes, yoga, spinning and personal training. For visitors who stay at the nearby St. Regis Aspen (http://www.stregisaspen.com/), the concierge can arrange activities ranging from horse-drawn carriage rides to sleigh rides. www.aspenclub.com.
WINTER PARK AND BEYOND
Kids Go Too Travel has an interesting schedule of family-friendly adventure packages for winter. Based in Colorado they offer travel services for those who are always looking for a different type of family vacation.
New this year, the “Winter Western” is an action-packed winter version of KGT’s popular “Trains & Teepees” summer package. The adventure begins in Winter Park, CO with a dog sled ride through backcountry pulled by Siberian Huskies. Afternoon options include exploring the surroundings on snowshoes, or race down a slope on a snow tube. This package provides a deluxe 3-bedroom complete with a basket of pastries, bubble bath, snow toys and a snowman kit for the kids. Call 800-638-3215 or visit www.kidsgotootravel.com
Move on to the Black Mountain Dude Ranch for two nights in a lodge room or cabin with meals included. While at the ranch, you can either snowmobile or horseback through the snow. A team of Belgian Draft horses will pull kids of all ages in an old-fashioned sleigh past scenic views overlooking Colorado River Valley and the Flat Tops Wilderness Range. Other activities for families include snowshoeing, trap shooting, and cross country skiing. www.blackmtnranch.com
For couples leaving the children behind, Gold Lake Mountain Resort & Spa, about 25 miles from Boulder, Colorado, offers a Couples’ Spa Weekend where principles of massage can be learned. Couples are taught in the comfort of their room at the resort only about 90 minutes from the Denver International Airport.
Prices for the Couples Spa Weekend start at $828, but the deal includes two nights’ lodging in one of 18 unique rooms, daily breakfasts, an all-day massage class, a three-course dinner and a lot of free time to roam the resort’s mountain setting that features lakeside hot pools. Call 800-450-3544 or visit www.goldlake.com.
The next stop is Glenwood Springs, where you can relax in the world’s largest hot springs pool. You can spend the night in the nearby Hotel Colorado. www.hotspringspool.com.
These are just some examples of the many non-skiing activities offered at your favorite Colorado ski resort. For more information, contact the concierge of your hotel or the local chamber of commerce.
Then again, you could just relax in the lodge with a hot chocolate …
For more outdoor activities, don’t miss our Winter Sports section.
For info on what to do at ski resorts in the off season, check out: Summer Slopes