In the winter months the days are short and the ground is covered in snow. So where can you go to get out some of that pent up energy that these months seem to bring? Well if you live or plan to visit Colorado, a day on the ski slops are the best medicine. The following is a list of 4 of Colorado’s favorite places to visit and enjoy the cold winter months.
What began as a gold rush base camp in the 1850’s, is now on of Colorado’s most favorite places to visit. It opened tho the public in December 1961 and now boasts 2,908 acres of skiable land. It has five peaks with 187 trails to choose from and 34 different lifts to get you where you want to go. There is something for everyone weather you are a first time skier or top level expert. They also have two terrain parks with jumps, boxes, and rails to prefect those Olympic style tricks. They also offer lessons if your interested in learning a new sport. Even if skiing isn’t your thing, they have something for you to do or explore. The quaint little town holds an Art district. The one acre campus is all housed in renovated historic buildings. You can find studios, galleries, public art, performance spaces, and creative businesses. You can even book lessons if you are looking to expand your artistic talents. Just visit www.breckenridge.com to explore the different packages and options available to you.
The third largest single mountain resort in the United States, boasting the fourth largest area of skiable area with over 5000 acres. They offer 31 lift systems to get you to its 3 sections of courses. The Back Bowels has the largest at area at 3,017 acres and over twenty different courses. With Blue Sky coming in at 645 acres but, offering the more expert courses. The Front Side is 1,655 acres with Two Elks Lodge at the top, two terrain parks for beginners to experts, and the Bavarian style village if Vail below. Unlike other area ski towns, which began as 19th century gold mining towns before becoming ski resorts, the Vail village was established when the resort was built. There you can find a variety of options for dining, shopping, and night life. Here, you can disconnect from your everyday life and reconnect with your friends and family. You feel at one with the beautiful nature surrounding you and in tune out the world in the quaint villages. Whether a cozy evening indoors or a gourmet meal out in town, the Vail has something for everyone. Connected by pedestrian-friendly streets, Vail’s villages are perfect for families to stroll after a day of skiing or for friends to enjoy a night out on the town. To explore more about this www.vail.com
Arapahoe Basin (AKA A-Basin)
Founded by WWII war veterans and Olympic skiers in 1945. A-Basin is an alpine ski area in the Rocky Mountains of the United States, in the Arapahoe National Forest of Colorado. It is also known for its extended season. When most resorts close down April, A-Basin has been known to be capable of staying open into the month of June sometimes early July. While the closest place to find overnight lodging is in Keystone, there are three day lodges located throughout the mountain. At the base, there is a full cafeteria, bar, and coffee bar. Black Mountain lodge sit about mid-mountain offering barbecue and a day lodge style menu. Just over 12,000ft, the recently added Italian bistro Rifugio, is located at the previously unused Snow Plum Refuge. The mountain in total has more than 1,400 skiable acres, with 2 terrain parks, and even snowshoe tours. Arapahoe Basin is mostly known for advanced and expert terrain, but also has runs for the novice and intermediate skier, as well as a children’s program. With 9m chair lifts, 2 magic carpets, and 1 surface lift as your transportation options. A-Basin is a pure skier’s and snowboarder’s mountain and welcomes anyone and everyone. So if you are interested in this cozy little area visit www.arapahoebasin.com
Neighboring Breckenridge and Araphahoe Basin, Keystone is located just 90 miles outside of Denver. On average, about an hours drive. Max Dercum and his wife, Edna, opened the Keystone mountain for skiing in November 1970. After leaving his job as forestry professor and ski racing coach for Penn State university in the 1940s, he went to work in Colorado’s Forestry Service as a forester and fire spotter. Max and his wife soon came to be known to love to have fun. From sledding down Loveland Pass at night, with the following car’s headlights the only illumination, to Max’s turn as a rodeo clown at the summer rodeo, to the clarinet and piano music they would entertain with, fun was the Dercums’ business. After a race at Loveland Pass, Max filed mining claims for land around an alpine cirque that he hoped to develop into a ski area. Along with Larry Jump (10th Mountain Division) and Sandy Schauffler they developed Arapahoe Basin into a ski area which opened in December 1946. Max served as the “Head Coach” of the ski school and Edna quickly followed as the first female instructor at the school. From the porch at the Dercums’ Ski Tip Ranch (named after the broken ski tips, which were repurposed into door handles) Max and Edna overlooked Keystone Mountain. With his knowledge of forestry and skiing, Max determined that it would be a perfect place for a ski area. Throughout the 1950s and 60s, Max hiked every inch of the mountain, drawing up plans for the area. He even created a papier-mâché model of the mountain ranges and painted his dream ski area on it. After discussing this dream at a New Year’s party (1968-1969), Bill Bergman, a corporate lawyer from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, also fell in love with the idea of Keystone. At 3 am New Year’s Day, Bill and Max made a handshake deal to found Keystone International, with a goal to create a year round mountain resort. In 1966, Vail Resorts announced plans to merge with the parent companies of Breckenridge and Keystone Resorts. The mountain now has over 3,000 acres of skiable area and 20 lifts to transport you to the various trails. They offer multiple lesson options from private, to group, and children classes. Keystone is also one of the few places that offers nighttime skiing. With a good selection of lodging, shopping, and entertainment Keystone has become one of Colorado’s most popular places to visit. To explore more of Keystone visit www.keystoneresort.com