Enjoy Winter Adventure Activities Without Skis in Colorado

Rocky Mountains - Colorado snow

Winter has arrived in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and this world famous winter adventure mecca for outdoor activities has something for everyone. Colorado features 25 world-class ski resorts and areas, all offering epic skiing and snowboarding. The perfect place for a winter adventure.

But it really doesn’t matter if you are not an avid skier or snowboarder. Colorado has numerous ways to enjoy yourself and try an adventure without skis.

Experience the other side of Colorado’s winter season, by enjoying other winter sports activities from ice climbing and snowmobiling to snow biking and dog sledding.

Snowmobiling in Aspen. (http://www.aspensnowmobileconcierge.com)
Aspen is known throughout the world as a winter ski destination where celebrities and luminaries flock for some of the best skiing in the country. And yet the region also boasts a plethora of other winter activities, including snowmobiling. Snowmobile cross is an event in the Winter X Games, which take place in Aspen every January. For non-pros, access to amazing snowmobiling is widely available from outfitters such as the Aspen Snowmobile Concierge tours, including the popular Timberline Tour. This guided tour heads through Aspen’s high mountain parks and pristine forests and is suited for ages four and up. Visitors will see spectacular views of Aspen and Snowmass Mountains nestled away from the glitzy resort. All tours have free practice riding time in open meadows so guests can familiarize themselves with the equipment and terrain. Hot beverages are also served.

Snow Biking in Telluride. (http://www.bootdoctors.com)
Home to world-class skiing and snowboarding, Telluride is one of the finest ski resorts in the world. It is also an amazing area for non-skiers looking for fun winter activities. Telluride, known for its amazing mountain biking from spring through fall, now offers snow biking in the winter for the first time. Local area outfitter BootDoctors offers Big Tire Bike Tours on Salsa Mukluk fat bikes starting this winter season, an adventure that can be tailored to various riding
abilities. A stop at the Telluride Brewing Company for an après bike libation can be included as part of the half day Big Tire Bike and Brew Tour.

Ice Climbing in Ouray. (http://www.ourayicepark.com)
The tiny southwestern Colorado town of Ouray is known for off-roading and biking in the spring through fall seasons. However, every winter, the town attracts visitors from around the world for its amazing ice climbing at the Ouray Ice Park. In January, the ice park hosts the annual Ouray Ice Festival, the premier ice climbing festival in the U.S., which attracts skilled ice climbers and spectators from around the world. The Ouray Ice Park also offers the Kids Climbing College, a free ice climbing clinic for kids ages 8-17, hosted by San Juan Mountain Guides. All equipment is provided and is offered on a first come, first served basis.

Snowshoeing in Vail. (http://www.vail.com)
The posh resort of Vail is synonymous with world-class skiing. The resort, which celebrates its 50th season in 2013, offers every snow sport visitors can imagine, from skiing and snowboarding to ice climbing and snowmobiling. But the area is also home to amazing snowshoeing on groomed trails, for those who want to explore some backcountry beauty on their own. Pack some snacks and bottled water, strap on your snowshoes and you’re on your way. Many area outfitters offer snowshoes and all necessary equipment to enjoy a day exploring Colorado’s backcountry.

Dog Sledding in Durango. (http://www.durangodogranch.com)
Southwest Colorado is home to the popular ski resort Purgatory at Durango Mountain Resort. The skiing and riding is top-notch but Durango is also home to the Durango Dog Ranch, which offers amazing dog sledding tours on groomed backcountry trails. The ranch’s season runs from mid November until mid April, weather permitting. There is a guide on every sled and all participants will get a chance to drive the sled. Snacks are included.

Georgetown Jeep Ice Racing.  (http://www.ourgangiceracing.com)
For the past 37 years, Our Gang Ice Racing has been holding jeep ice races on Georgetown Lake in the charming Victorian town of Georgetown, Colorado. On weekends in January and February, Georgetown is transformed into a racetrack for Jeeps and other four-wheel drive vehicles. Experience levels vary but there is a beginner’s class, which allows anyone with a driver’s license to participate in a race.

Hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park. (http://www.nps.gov/romo)
Iconic Rocky Mountain National Park receives heavy snowfall west of the Continental Divide. But the eastern side of the park receives lighter snowfall, leaving low elevation trails (below 8,700 feet) open for hiking without the need for snowshoes. Trails range anywhere from 1.5 to three miles in length and are rated easy to moderate in terms of difficulty. Along the trails, visitors can see lakes, streams and valleys dotted with evergreens and aspens. Before each outing, check with park rangers for local snow conditions.

To receive more information or a copy of the 2013 Colorado Official State Vacation Guide, please visit www.COLORADO.com

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    Top Five Luxury Ski Vacation Destinations

    Arlberg Hospiz - Austria

    Winter is getting near. Everyone needs a great getaway vacation / holiday. Why not treat yourself to a luxury ski holiday.

    You will enjoy the natural beauty and be treated like royalty when choosing just the right resort. Here are some of the top 5 resorts to choose from for your upcoming ski vacation – holiday getaway:

    – Chamonix, France
    – Tignes, France
    – Arabba, Italy
    – Whistler, Canada
    – Vemdalen, Sweden

    So where do you want to celebrate the holidays and enjoy a luxury sky vacation?

    Pure Four Hundred. Pure Ski. Pure Luxury

    U.S. Ski and Snowboard team

    You may not have heard of Pure Four Hundred, TOAST, or Bookem Danno Productions, but you’re certainly familiar with their work.  They are the teams behind Superbowl’s celebrity-filled Maxim Magazine red carpet events.

    Their most recent project is once again a star-studded TEAM experience, exclusive to the country’s top VIPs, trendsetters, and adventurers.  The TEAM features an “all access” experience to participate and preview one of the finest Olympic training facilities in the world — with the finest Olympic athletes in the world.

    The goal of the Pure Four Hundred TEAM is to raise much needed funds for the continued training and development of the US Ski and Snowboard teams.  Unlike other major countries, the US Ski and Snowboard teams actually do not receive government support to train their athletes to compete in the Winter Olympics.  Each company sponsorship will help contribute to the USSA team and place their brand before an elite and esteemed group.

    The upcoming 2012 Pure Four Hundred TEAM will be held from Wednesday July 18 through July 21, with some of the top Olympic athletes in the world.  The eventful four days include grand receptions, tours of the USSA National training facilities, meet-and-greets with the athletes, gourmet dinners, luxury wine and whiskey tours and tastings.  Of course, they wouldn’t leave out what the Pure Four Hundred is about, the sport.  The sponsorship also includes bobsled runs, golf, hot air balloon tours, and aerial ski shows.

    Sponsorships come in two different packages, a 4-day TEAM package for $7,500 and a 2-day TEAM package for $5,500.  The 4-day package includes for exclusive events and perks.  Both packages include entrance to the Pure Four Hundred White Party.  More information on both packages can be found here.

    Rapidly becoming the hardest and hottest ticket to get for the event will be the Pure Four Hundred White Party.  The White Party will be an unprecedented outdoor white carpet event (all-white attire suggested), and the toast event of a Park City summer.  Numerous athletes, musicians, and celebrities will host this extravagant event.  Limited to 400 guests and VIPS, it will include costumed models, custom-designed venues, sophisticated décor, an intimate dance floor, the hottest DJs and musical performers.  Additionally, there will be a unique and intimate private VIP area overlooking the entire event.

    The White Party will be held on Friday, July 20, third day of the extravaganza.  Aside from being “the place to see and be seen,” the Pure Four Hundred White Party will also benefit the USSA, that is also based in Park City at The Center of Excellence.  Cost to just attend the party is $400 for the VIP ticket and $250 for a general admission ticket.  If you’re a winter sports enthusiasts, a thrill-seeker, a fan wanting to meet the athletes, or simply just want to contribute to the great Olympic athletes, this is the ideal event for you.

    Retreat to Winter Wonderland, Lake Geneva of Switzerland

    Summit of Leysin, Switzerland - Lake Geneva Region
    Summit of Leysin, Switzerland

    Winter in northern CA is experiencing delays. Midway into January, we are finally getting some cool weather. Though not nearly enough snow where I live, but at least Summit of Leysin, Switzerland is enjoying my snowy winter.

    The luxury alpine resort at Les Diablerets in the Lake Geneva Region is covered in a deep blanket of fresh snow (yes, the fluffy kind).

    With eight feet of snow to date, also known as the Canton of Vaud, the Lake Geneva Region is located in Southwestern Switzerland. With entertainment and recreation other than just skiing, the area is also home to museums, restaurants and shops; something for the artistically-hungry, the foodies, and the shoppers.

    With stunning mountain views across Lake Geneva, cozy chalets serving authentic cheese fondue, and fast scenic rail connections from Geneva Cointrin Airport to the mountain villages in less than two hours, the Lake Geneva Region offers the ultimate Swiss ski vacation.

    Thanks to more than 500 miles of marked ski runs, the resorts of the Lake Geneva Region can offer slopes for skiers and boarders of all abilities.

    Currently 37 resort properties in the Lake Geneva Region are offering a Free for Kids offer that gives children age 9 and younger a complimentary ski pass and free accommodations in their parents/accompanying adult guardian’s room.

    Take advantage of the snow while it lasts. Fluffy snow beats a thin layer of dirty northern California frost any day!

    For additional news and information about the Lake Geneva Region, visit www.lake-geneva-region.ch 

    Night Skiing at Boreal Mountain Ski Resort

    Boreal Mountain Ski Resort - Night Skiing in Lake Tahoe

    Just because the sun is setting, doesn’t mean skiers and riders need to stop enjoying their day on the slopes. Boreal Mountain Resort is proud to offer improved night lighting this season with runs that are brighter than ever. So you can don your ski jacket and start skiing.

    Open from top to bottom, Boreal welcomes those with busy schedules well into the evening as their night riding starts at 3:30 p.m. and goes until 9 p.m. With double the number of lights in the lower park and four added lights to Upper Prospector, guests will enjoy access to Boreal’s upper and lower terrain park and halfpipe. Cost for night skiing is $25 for adults and $12 for children ages five through 12.

    “We’ve got a great product in our night operations that most of the other resorts in Lake Tahoe don’t offer,” said Jody Churich, general manager for Boreal. “In fact, so far this year we’ve seen a 100 percent increase in night pass sales and our night ticket sales have exceeded our expectations as well.”

    Racers can still enjoy the eight new lights added to the race course last season. Boreal’s race arena is available for lane training both during the daylight and at night.

    For more information about night operations and current conditions visit rideboreal.com.

    This Lake Tahoe mountain ski resort is very friendly towards beginners and intermediates and has over eight different terrain parks. If you need somewhere to stay, the Boreal Inn is ideal, located just a ¼ of a mile from the resort. It will accommodate 1-4 people in each room and children under four stay for free. Boreal is smaller but it is family-friendly. The staff are awesome and go out of there way to help, always an add perk.

    Boreal Mountain offers the closest, most convenient access off Interstate 80 atop Donner Summit, just 90 minutes from Sacramento, 35 minutes from Reno and only six minutes from Truckee. Boreal Mountain Resort offsets 100 percent of its electricity by purchasing green power.  Source: Snowboard Revolution

    Kirkwood Ski Resort Near Lake Tahoe

    The Kirwood ski area is famous for challenging terrain wide open bowls and incredible powder days, but Kirkwood is more than just skiing and riding.

    Some mountains live in the shadow of others with wider reputations and bigger numbers. Great destinations like Brighton in Utah, Grand Targhee in Wyoming and Kirkwood, near Lake Tahoe.

    These resorts make a virtue of their smaller size, getting you to the terrain you like quickly and making it easy for skiers of different abilities to stay in contact.

    Kirkwood is a standout in terms of natural beauty and terrain variety, with everything from the greenest greens to hair-raising chutes and cornices.
    On holiday weekends, it’s a non-stop floor show at the top of The Wall, with skiers and riders of all abilities peering over and dropping in. You can stay slopeside at Kirkwood, or drive about 40 minutes from the resort to South Lake Tahoe.

    The fun doesn’t end in the spring at Kirkwood. As the astonishing snowpack quickly melts, the area reveals an amazing new world of wildflower-filled meadows, mountain lakes and winding streams, surrounded completely by isolated wilderness.

    In the summer, Kirkwood is an historic and geological wonder. This Carson Pass location makes it one of the few true gateways to the beautiful High Sierra. Carson Pass is also an access point to many points of interest and hiking trails, including the Pacific Crest trail.

    Amazing Spooner Lake Cross Country Ski Area

    Spooner Lake
    Courtesy of: Spooner Lake

    Many skiers feel Spooner Cross Country Ski Area is the best in all of Lake Tahoe. The area is located on the eastern shore of Lake Tahoe, within Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park.

    Spooner Cross Country Ski Area offers fun for people of all ages and cross country ski ability levels. Spooner Cross Country Ski Area also offers a variety of different trails, from easy to moderate to advanced.

    You can also take day-long trips into the Sierra Mountains back country or spend the night in a wilderness cabin.

    The trails are well groomed and offer fantastic Lake Tahoe views! One of the popular trails is the lake loop trail, which offers a variety of ups-and-downs as you traverse the hills.

    Advanced cross country skiers will love the challenge of the Canyon Loop to Marlette Lake trail. Feel the burn in your legs but the awesome Lake Tahoe views are unforgettable.

    Ski Area Hours for 2010: 9:00am – 5:00pm

    Spooner Lake
    3709 Hwy 28
    Glenbrook, NV 89413
    (775) 749-5349

    Top Five Luxury Ski Vacation Destinations

    Arlberg Hospiz - Austria

    Winter is getting near. Everyone needs a great getaway vacation / holiday. Why not treat yourself to a luxury ski holiday.

    You will enjoy the natural beauty and be treated like royalty when choosing just the right resort. Here are some of the top 5 resorts to choose from for your upcoming ski vacation – holiday getaway:

    – Chamonix, France
    – Tignes, France
    – Arabba, Italy
    – Whistler, Canada
    – Vemdalen, Sweden

    Heavenly Mountain Resort is Truely Heavenly

    Photo courtesy of: Heavenly.com

    Although it’s only March at this mountain resort with the killer Lake Tahoe view, plans have already been established for May. Unless the exceedingly cooperative weather turns angry and decides to reverse course, skiers and snowboarders will be getting in their final runs until May 4 this year at Heavenly. In an unprecedented move, the South Lake Tahoe resort decided over two months out that it would extend its closing date, which rarely ventures into May and was originally supposed to shut down its massive, 31-lift system by April 20.

    Of course, the reason for an extended season is the massive amount of snow Heavenly and all Northern California resorts have received this winter. Despite a slow start, the snow began arriving by mid-December, providing an early Christmas present. And it kept right on snowing through January and into early February.

    Heavenly Mountain Resort received 167 inches of snow in January, marking the most snowfall in a single month since the resort began keeping data in 1975. The record snowfall has Heavenly’s snow pack 23 percent above average and heading into the second week of March the snowfall had exceeded 300 inches overall.

    “We’re in one of those epic snow cycles that the Sierra mountain range is famous for,” said Blaise Carrig, Heavenly’s chief operating officer. “We beat the next closest month by 20 inches. There is no destination in the U.S. that has the kind of snow we have right now.”

    Frankly, the Tahoe resorts were due for a wet winter. Two years ago was a down season and 2007 was characterized by warm temperatures and below-average snowfall. That combination led to a forgettable season in not only Tahoe but all of California where skier/snowboarder visits were down 1.6 million from the previous year (7.8 million).

    For Heavenly season-pass holders like Justin St. Onge, it’s about time. The Marquette, Mich. native has been waiting for a season like this since he decided to call South Lake Tahoe his home six years ago.

    “Yeah, definitely, it’s been a pretty good year, especially after the last two, which were horrible,” said Onge, 29. “We’ve had consistent snow all season.”
    Russ Pecoraro, Heavenly’s director of communications, says extending the season two more weeks is a way to reward loyal pass-holders like Onge, who skis at least five days a week thanks in part to living only a few blocks away.

    “It’s a chance to give people like our pass holders the value that they didn’t get last year,” Pecoraro said. “But it is important to know that it is weather dependent. If we don’t get more snow, we may not extend it.”

    Like many Heavenly loyalists, Onge gravitates toward the tree runs, especially on powder days, which were frequent in January. One of Heavenly’s greatest drawing cards for expert boarders and skiers like Onge has always been its abundance of trees.

    “Heavenly is so big and has so many tree areas that you can always find secret stashes (of snow) that no one knows about,” he said. “Even a couple weeks after a storm you can still find some stashes no one has skied.”

    Good news for all Heavenly visitors this year has been the long awaited upgrade of the Olympic chair, which went from a dreadfully slow, old-fashioned two-seat wooden bench to a high-speed quad that cut the ride time from 18 minutes to around five.

    “It was the type of lift that if you rode up with someone you had time to hear their entire life story,” laughs Pecoraro. “Olympic had been underutilized in the past, now a lot of people head over that way, so we got the desired result, people moving away from the Comet and Dipper lift.”

    Not only does the Olympic lift now transport people up the hill in no time, they can easily access three new runs – The Pine, Cloud 9 and Bohemian Grove. Cloud 9 is a classic groomer run, The Pine is a mild tree run that is frequently groomed, while Bohemian Grove offers the type of tree skiing that makes Heavenly, well, Heavenly.

    “It’s beautiful in that area, but it does get skied out in a hurry,” Onge said.

    Article by: Jeffrey Weidel – freelance writer