Some people mistakenly think there's nothing to do in Colorado during the winter than skiing or snowboarding. That couldn't be further from the truth. The state offers lots to do for the non-skier. There are fun things you can do on the mountain, and there's plenty to explore off the hill. While the possibilities are endless, in this post, we'll highlight a few of the favorite wintertime activities for those who don't want to ski or snowboard.
Some people don't like to ski or snowboard for whatever reason. But that doesn't necessarily mean they hate the snow, the cool weather, or being on the mountain. If you're looking to stay active on your vacation and want to explore some wilderness, there are still plenty of options. Let's take a closer look at a few on-mountain activities you won't want to miss:
Cross-country skiing is entirely different than downhill skiing. Since gravity isn't pushing you along, you control your speed and maneuverability more. You can ski leisurely or more intensely, depending on how you feel. It is tremendous exercise, too! Cross-country skiing is also a terrific way to connect with history and understand how people moved around the mountain in the early days.
Want to get up the mountain the old-fashioned way? Try snowshoeing or skinning. Snowshoes are specially designed shoes that give you the necessary grip to climb a hill in the snow. (No skis!) Uphill skiing, also known as "skinning," is the practice of climbing hills using skis fitted with special bindings and a sticky skin that lines the bottom of the skis to provide grip on the snow. Both offer a good workout and plenty of time to enjoy the mountain scenery and fresh air.
Dog sledding is another throwback tradition that makes for a fun, unique mountain experience. Don't worry; the canines are well taken care of and enjoy their duties, whisking you across the snow with ease and grace. There are several reputable dog sledding companies across Colorado. Many outings include an enjoyable ride and a fabulous meal.
Need a flashback to your youth? Then snow tubing might be perfect for you. Most ski resorts have snow tubing nearby, where you can rip down the mountain on a big O or flatter sled. The best snow tubing courses around Colorado have a ski lift nearby to give you an easy ride back to the top! Tubing is an ideal activity for younger kids and teens.
Have more of a need for power? Consider a snowmobiling excursion with a local company. Trained guides can get you set up with a snowmobile and all the gear; they'll even take you to a perfect spot where you can let loose. It's an excellent day activity that makes the time fly!
Ever tried ice fishing? It's a lot like you've seen on TV. Hire an ice fishing guide, choose your lucky pole, and head out for a fantastic fishing adventure. Local guides know all the nearby honey holes, so the chances of you catching some fish is pretty good. Ice fishing is fun for all ages and makes for some great Instagram photos.
There's nothing quite like ice skating in the mountains. Many resorts around the state have ice rinks near the lifts. In most cases, you must walk up, rent your skates, strap them on, and start twirling Figure 8s. Or stay close to the edge as you get your footing! If you're not the strongest skater, never fear. There are often skating aids (like Skate Helper) available that will help keep you upright.
Want to ease physical activity? There's nothing more relaxing – and romantic – than a peaceful sleigh ride. If you love horses, this is a must. Just like Santa Claus, you'll be whisked along the snow in a majestic sleigh to the clip-clop of the magnificent equines. Some rides include flowers, champagne or wine, and a cozy blanket for your romantic ride. It's also fun for the whole family.
Are you tired of all this physical effort? I mean, we are on vacation. Kick back at local hot springs and experience the ultimate in relaxation. Natural hot springs have unique healing and regenerative qualities that instantly make you feel better. There's a famous hot spring if you're headed near Glenwood Springs. Other fabulous hot springs are sprinkled around the state.
Even if you don't go anywhere near the mountain, there's still plenty to do. From exploring the state's vibrant history to fantastic food and unlimited shopping, you won't have difficulty filling your days or nights off the slopes. Here are a few of the best off-mountain activities in Colorado:
Many of Colorado's mountain towns have a rich history dating long before skiing took hold. Cities like Aspen, Breckenridge, and Telluride have buildings that date to the 19th century. In Glenwood Springs, you can visit the grave of legendary gunman Doc Holliday. At Dinosaur, you can explore prehistoric remains kept in pristine condition.
Many mountain towns offer lovely art galleries with some of the world's finest artwork. Many shops feature local or emerging artists. From classic to contemporary, there's something for everyone.
Apres-ski is the party after the slopes close. It usually starts around 4 p.m. when the ski lifts close and continues until dinnertime. There are generally great specials on food and drink that you can take advantage of. It's fun with music, quality conversation, and good people. If you're more of an introvert, the people-watching is unparalleled.
While everyone else is on the slopes, why not hit the resort's best restaurants, bars, and taverns? It's an excellent opportunity to try some of the best eats around. Many resort restaurants and bars have creative menus and are well-known for their efforts. The day is also an excellent time to explore and find out where you want to make a reservation.
Need a little retail therapy? You can't go wrong at a ski resort. There's a lot to look at, from basic T-shirts to designer garb. Resorts like Aspen and Vail offer high-end shopping from about every luxury brand you can think of. There are also plenty of mom-and-pop shops to peruse. From designer clothes to magic stores, there's something for all tastes.
Fat-tire bikes are fantastic because they grip the snow and allow you to ride everywhere. At most resorts, you can rent a fat-tire bike, cruise the streets, or hit up a designated course for a fun day. It's a great way to get some physical activity without going near the mountain.
Did we save the best for last on purpose? Mountain resorts have some of the most pampering spas in the world. Book a relaxing spa treatment if you truly want to relax and feel what a vacation should be like. What's better than a hot-stone massage while your friends or family get their skiing in? Most resorts provide an endless menu of treatments and massages from which to choose.