3 Outdoor Activities for Fun This Winter
From snowshoeing to dog-sledding, try out these different winter activities for a season of adventure
Photography by Heidi Kerr-Schlaeferi
Snow is falling in Colorado and "skiing" is the word on everyone's lips. Wolf Creek Ski Area, the first one in the country to open for the season, welcomes skiers starting October 13. However, what if you don’t ski? Does this mean a winter vacation in the mountains isn’t for you? The answer is no. A winter vacation in the mountains is for everyone.
The mountains offer a plethora of cold-weather activities and while it is popular, you don’t have to ski to have fun in the winter.
With many people planning holiday getaways to the mountains, I thought a review of these options was in order.
Snowshoeing in Breckenridge
When I first moved to Colorado in the late 1990s, I didn’t ski. I started skiing when I got here in my twenties, but I never got good at it, however, I wanted to get out in the snow. Enter, snowshoeing.
From the moment I strapped on my first pair of snowshoes and realized how calming the backcountry is when covered in a blanket of snow, I was hooked. Once, near Fairplay, Colorado, we saw a white ermine and it was the highlight of my outing.
Snowshoeing isn’t just a peaceful activity, it’s good for you too. This activity burns up to 1,000 calories per hour depending on the trail’s level of difficulty. Moderate downhill skiing, on the other hand, burns up to 400 calories per hour.
If you’d like to snowshoe somewhere easy this winter, consider a Nordic ski area. There are a number of these places and many provide cut trails for snowshoeing and feature a clubhouse with hot drinks.
Avalanche Ranch Cabin & Hot Springs near Carbondale
There’s nothing better or more memorable than sitting in a hot springs pool with snow falling on your head. Colorado has a number of hot springs to choose from including those in remote locations such as Joyful Journey Hot Springs in Moffat, to more modern hot springs such as the recently remodeled Ouray Hot Springs Pool.
For those looking for family fun, consider Glenwood Springs, featuring three very different hot spring locations. If your family consists of skiers, consider hitting the slopes of Wolf Creek Ski Area in the morning and then soaking in Pagosa Springs, 30-minutes away, in the afternoon. There are multiple places to soak in Pagosa Springs, including our favorite, The Springs.
Iron Mountain Hot Springs
Want to get away from it all, even cell reception? Check out Avalanche Ranch Cabins & Hot Springs near Carbondale. The beauty of this place is the stuff from fairytales.
Dog sledding at Snow Mountain Ranch in Granby
That’s right, just like in the Iditarod, you can dog-sled in the mountains of the west. Of course, it’s not quite as demanding as the Iditarod and you won’t get frost bite, but you will have fun.
As a traveler, dog-sledding at Snow Mountain Ranch in Granby, Colorado, was a highlight of my travel life. I’d wanted to try dog-sledding since I was a little girl, and while I’d done it sitting down, tucked into a sled pulled by huskies in Winter Park, which was awesome, my goal was to stand up like a real racer.
You can try dog-sledding at Snow Mountain Ranch and in other places around the Rocky Mountains and beyond