Fun Off Skis in the Colorado Rockies

From shopping to jeeping, go wild off skis

Interstate 70 connects Denver to Grand Junction via the Rocky Mountains, and there are a number of towns and ski resorts along the way; from Loveland Ski Area to Powderhorn Ski Resort. However, you don’t have to ski to have fun in the mountains.

Jeep Racing at Georgetown

Jeeping on Georgetown Lake. Photo by Mark Morris.

I have friends who head up with their jeeps every winter to race on the frozen Georgetown Lake. I haven’t made it up to witness this spectacle yet but apparently, it is exhilarating. has everything you need to know about the races. There is a schedule of races and even a guide for spectators. This year, races occur in January, February and March 1.

Georgetown is a charming village. Tucked under Interstate 70, its claim to fame is that it hasn’t burned to the ground in the way many towns across the Rocky Mountains did in the 1800s. Therefore, many of the buildings here are original and it’s a pretty little town.

Ice Castle in Dillon

Ice castle in Breckenrdige. Photo by Heidi Kerr-Schlaefer. 

Some of the most awe-inspiring winter events are the ice castles that pop up in various towns and cities around the country. This year, there will be an ice castle in Dillon, just off Interstate 70 on the way to Keystone Resort and Arapahoe Ski Area.

Ice castle in Breckenrdige. Photo by Ryan Schlaefer. 

I had the pleasure of venturing through the ice castle when it was in Breckenridge several years ago and it is magical. The castle features thousands of icicles, LED-lit ice sculptures and even slippery slides and tunnels.

Ice castle in Breckenrdige. Photo by Heidi Kerr-Schlaefer. 

Of course, the opening of the ice castle in Dillon is weather dependent, but it should be open by late December or at the beginning of January. Keep an eye on their Facebook page for updates.

Shopping in Vail

Vail Village. Photo by Chris McLennan.

Vail is often associated with skiing and luxury and you may think all the shops in Vail are high-end and yes, there are a number of fancy shops including a store selling furs. However, Vail is also an accessible shopping town, both in Vail Village and Lionshead Village.

We always end up at Wild Bill’s Emporium where there is everything from cowboy hats to funny sayings on various nicknacks. Seriously, I always find something wonderful here and we often buy presents at Wild Bill’s in Vail Village.

Vail Village, photo by Heidi Kerr-Schlaefer.

On our last trip, we popped into The Pet Boutique of Vail with our puppy, Fritzi. One of the women working there, probably the owner, was a dog whisperer and Fritzi, who is shy, liked her. We bought Fritzi a nice pink squeaky toy that she loves. 

One store that’s especially fun to explore is Gorsuch in Vail Village. It’s not friendly on a writer’s pocketbook but they have everything from designer ski wear to furniture. It’s truly a feast for the eyes.

Lionshead, a short walk or bus ride from Vail Village, has great shops too plus The Market at Vail, a small grocery store that’s surprisingly affordable. Whether you need microwavable popcorn or salami and cheese, they’ve got it.

Categories: The Heidi Guide