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7 ways to entertain your winter visitors (on and off the slopes)

20181213 AspenSnowmass JeremySwanson (8) 2
Aspen Snowmass 

7 ways to entertain your winter visitors (on and off the slopes)

Colorado is one of the best places in the world for skiing and snowboarding, and its residents and visitors both flock to the slopes every winter. As a new Colorado resident, I’ve been amazed at the phone calls from folks coming out of the woodwork – my second cousin, friends of friends, and my next-door neighbor from second grade have all called me since I moved here. Always a variation on the same message – Can I come visit? Is your couch comfortable? Can we go skiing?

Okay, so maybe I’m exaggerating a little. But not by much – Every winter that I’ve lived in Colorado, I’ve had guests with aspirations of enjoying Colorado’s signature snow sports. But not all my guests have been talented skiers and snowboarders – many have opted for hiking, snow tubing, and other winter activities during their trips. I’ve become a seasoned expert at hosting visitors in Colorado, and I’ve put together a guide for entertaining your winter guests, on and off the slopes.

  1. If your guests are long-time skiers or snowboarders, entertaining them is an easy endeavor. There are several ways to show expert skiers the time of their lives in Colorado. Take them to Cooper for world-class snowcat skiing at Chicago Ridge, or Aspen Snowmass to hike the exhilarating Highland Bowl at Aspen Highlands. Maybe they want to ride the deep powder of Wolf Creek Ski Area, or try their hand at heli-skiing available at Telluride or Silverton Mountain. There are plenty of unique, once-in-a-lifetime experiences to be had on the slopes of Colorado.
  2. If they’re beginner skiers or first-timers eager to learn, Colorado is a great place to get started with a beginner lesson. Depending on how long your visitors are staying, they can opt for anything from a half-day lesson to multi-day experiences with seasoned instructors. If your guests are beyond the level of beginner lessons but still looking for an easy day, your goal will be to find them the best “bunny slopes” and learning areas. My favorite mountain for beginners is Loveland Ski Area’s insanely affordable $30 Lift 7 lift ticket, but almost every ski area in Colorado offers great learning areas and green runs for beginners.
  3. There are tons of great options for skiing and snowboarding at any level, but rest assured – if your guests have no intention of strapping their feet to skis or a board during their adventures, there’s still some great ways to slide on snow in Colorado. Among the most popular of those is snow tubing, a half-day activity for the whole family that often involves delirious laughter, hot chocolate breaks and a ridiculously good time. Find out more about snow tubing options at Colorado’s ski areas.
  4. If your guests are looking for another way to get their thrills, Colorado’s mountain coasters are an exhilarating way to take in some mountain scenery. Similar to the rollercoasters you’d find at a theme park, these family-friendly year-round rides include dips, drops and turns at high speeds, all surrounded by beautiful mountain landscapes. Mountain coasters offer an adrenaline rush at Aspen Snowmass, Copper Mountain, Purgatory Resort and Steamboat.
  5. If they’re interested in working up a sweat, Colorado’s got more to offer than just sending them to their hotel gym. Try planning a winter hike or snowshoeing adventure. There are dozens of beloved winter trails across the state, offering breathtaking views and a solid workout. And if you’d like to rent your snowshoeing gear, Colorado’s ski areas are the perfect place to start – several of them offer affordable snowshoe rentals, plus great winter trails and some guided tours for both beginner and experienced snowshoers. And you’ll probably work up an appetite hiking and snowshoeing in the mountains, which brings me to my next idea – food.
  6. Colorado’s ski areas offer some of the most interesting gourmet dining experiences known to man, accessed by snowshoe, sleigh ride, snowcat and more. If your guests are looking for a twilight culinary adventure, check out Arapahoe Basin’s Moonlight Dinner Series or Copper Mountain’s Moonlight Dine & Ski. If they’re more impressed by meals reached in unlikely ways, consider Purgatory Resort’s Snowcat Dinner Excursions or mountaintop luxury with Steamboat’s Sleigh Ride Dinners. Either way, you can guarantee they’ll be leaving the mountain with a full stomach and a great story to tell.
  7. No matter what brought your guests to Colorado, they surely won’t want to leave without taking in our state’s breathtaking views. Colorado ski areas accommodate sightseeing guests with beautiful chairlift and gondola rides, and scenic tours by snowcat or on foot. And there’s no shortage of Instagram-worthy views in Colorado. Perhaps we can finally answer the age-old question – If you go to Colorado and don’t post pictures of it on Instagram, did you even go at all?

Kathryn Robinson is a native Floridian who transplanted to Colorado for graduate school and never looked back. She learned to ski for the first time in her early twenties and now she counts down the days until winter. When she’s not on the slopes, she’s working full-time in Denver, hiking, kayaking, or playing with her dog Riley.