Off the Beaten Slope: Fill Your Winter with Fun

Colorado is a skier’s paradise. Many of you likely already have your skis and/or snowboard tuned and ready to carve. We know a few of you that have already hit the slopes. Living in Colorado and loving to ski goes together like bread-and-butter or peas-and-carrots. But, flying below the radar are the non-skiers among us..shhh..we won’t let your secret out. Whether it be the result of old knees, distaste for cold weather and icy driving conditions, or simply disinterest; these folks don’t ski. So what else is there to do in this state for fun in the winter other than carving down snow-covered hillsides at one of our many ski resorts? We’ve got some interesting recommendations below for alternatives that are off the beaten path.

  • Snowshoe and sled in Rocky Mountain National Park – rent some snowshoes in Estes or pack your own for a 1.6 mile trek to Gem Lake, complete with views of the Continental Divide and 1.8 billion year old granite formations along the way. You can also check out RMNP’s 2-hr long ranger-led snowshoe hikes to various areas within the park. Alternatively, dust off the old sled and hit the hills in Hidden Valley. This area of the park was formally a downhill ski area and now offers sled rentals, toilets, and a heating structure in which to thaw out.
  • Ice fish, skate, and boat at Eleven Mile State Park – Don’t put your poles away just yet. Pack them up and drive to Lake George, Colorado which is a 2.5 hr drive southwest of Boulder near Colorado Springs for some of the state’s best fishing. Try your hand at ice boating which is basically like windsurfing but on ice. Finally, snuggle into one of the parks 10 camp sites equipped with electricity.
  • Take a nice, long soak in Strawberry Park Hot Springs – Yes, you will have to drive to Steamboat and vacation among skiers but when they hit the hills you can hit the pools. Strawberry Park is a truly unique little gem of a facility outfitted with three pools built of large river rock. The pools are adjacent to the icy creek for those that dare to take a dip. Strawberry Park offers massage services, bathroom facilities, and rustic lodging. Clothing is optional after dark.

    Or stay inside where it’s WARM with these recommendations…

    • Explore a new hobby with a local class at one of the following:

      Living Arts School – All classes are located in and around Boulder and include a wide range of topics from furniture making to knitting to barn dancing. 
      Tinker Art Studio – Offers both child and adult classes including drawing and wheel throwing. 
      Common Threads – Offers both child and adult sewing, knitting, and screenprinting classes. 
      Escoffier School of Cooking – Plenty of fun, three hour weekend classes ranging from candy making to Thai cuisine. 
      Boulder Photo Center – Learn how to use that spiffy new camera that you are about to receive this holiday season. Take a beginning camera class series or an adobe photoshop editing class for those of you with advanced skills. 
      General Air Welding – Explore metal welding in Denver with classes from beginners to advanced. 
      The Craftsman & Apprentice –Take a short drive to Denver to take a class at this dynamic space. Classes range from reclaimed woodworking to jewelry making. 

    Or stay home altogether while exploring new things with these recommendations…

    • Hire an instructor and take a class online using one of these cool new sites: – Hire a professional tuba player from the New York Symphony for lessons or brush up on your Spanish with an instructor living in Barcelona. – Provides a wide range of online classes from quilting to cookie decorating. 
      edX – Take free classes from top academic institutions such as Harvard, Berkeley, and MIT. Over 950 courses are offered across a massive range of topics. 

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