Colorado Travel Guide
Thousands of people will follow the snow into the Rockies this winter to shred some powder, and big names like Breck, Vail, and Aspen are sure to attract their fair share of tourists in Colorado. But those who are stepping into skis for the first time should consider hitting Keystone, another Vail Resort in Summit County located between Breckenridge and Arapahoe Basin.
Those who have been through the learning process of skiing or snowboarding understand how frustrating it can be at first, not only because of the learning curve attached to the sports but because, as a beginner, you are almost always confined to the base of the mountain. While it is understandable to some degree, it unfortunately means that you miss out on the grandeur and scenic views that are found at the summit and so much a part of the skiing experience.
Skiing and snowboarding tend to dominate the mountainsides during the winter months out west, but those looking to do something different won’t be disappointed in Colorado. You’ll find an array of affordable adventures offered in mountain towns across the state, many of which are activities directly derived from an already established summer sport. The only catch here is that you have to be willing to embrace the elements, but the beautiful scenery is sure to take the chill out of the air. Be brave with one of these off-beat winter sports this season:
Snow biking simply moves the concept of mountain biking onto the snow-covered trails of winter, putting riders on “fat bikes” that have wide, oversized tires that allow for stability on the slick surface. The Telluride outfitter BootDoctors offers daily rentals to explore the area on your own ($39/day with helmet), guided family tours, and our personal favorite, the Big Tire Bike and Brew Tour, which includes a stop at the Telluride Brewing Company for a cold one (half day tour: $99, full day tour: $149).
Even if you and your pops have crossed Rockies Stadium in Denver off the list of baseball venues to catch a game, you might want to consider making another visit in light of the recent news. Coors Field is redeveloping its right field concourse for the 2014 season to create a 38,000 square-foot area called "The Rooftop" that will be the largest outdoor deck in any sports stadium in America.
And what ever would a city like Denver decide to put in such a space? Beer, of course.
At first, we had a good time watching the videos of crazy kayakers braving the surging currents of Boulder Creek as the rains poured down and the water rose in Colorado back in September. Then things turned serious as we watched the water gush down the mountainside and spill over the banks, bringing down the trees, houses, and utility lines in its path, killing nine people and racking up $2 billion in property damage.
As it tends to go with these stories in the media, we were overloaded with images the first few days, only to see the story drift away to the back burner. But did you know the town is still closed off to non-residents, and that some people won't be able to return to their homes for two to six months because the sewage, power, and water lines were all destroyed? And don't forget about local businesses -- they've all been shut down for over a month now.
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Along with 49,000 other beer fanatics (49,000!), we strolled the convention center floor with our 1-ounce glass, throwing back tastings in a fashion that reminded us of a collegiate game of power hour. When glasses were dropped, the crowd roared. As the hours rolled by, the silent disco (shown below) and karaoke stage filled up. The scene was by far more of a party than a professional conference, and with tickets going for $75, it was obvious that people wanted to get their money’s worth. We don’t blame them, of course!
Despite the high price, tickets sold out for the three-day event in 20 minutes when they went on sale. As a Denver resident, this Jaunted contributor could feel the frustration, not only about the high entry fee but about how difficult it was to get tickets even if you could afford them. But after spending the weekend exploring the city and attending the festival, we have good news: There is so much happening outside of the convention center over the course of the weekend, a failure to secure tickets should not prevent you from visiting Denver during next year’s GABF.
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There are a number of indoor facilities throughout the world that let you train your ski skills during the warmer months on manufactured snow, but it’s not too often you come across a place where you can practice indoors without snow of any sort.
While it's not the first or only one in the world, Progresh in Denver (Thornton) features a synthetic snow surface made of vinyl that allows skiers and snowboarders to practice park tricks and land on massive airbags.
Many parks at Colorado ski resorts are open well into the summer even when the rest of the mountain is closed, but they can be icy, choppy, and crowded, not to mention an hour or two drive from the city.
We all know about the infamous scenic drives that rest along coastlines – such as Highway 1 in California or the Great Ocean Road in Australia – but what about Trail Ridge Road, the highest-elevated continuously paved road in North America?
Located just outside of Denver, it stretches on for 48-miles from Estes Park to Grand Lake, winding its way through scenic Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP). The two-lane road was built in 1932 to replace the single-file Fall River Road that was constructed just twelve years prior in 1920 but proved to be almost impassable.
Regardless of whether you start in Estes Park or Grand Lake, Trail Ridge Road gains 4,000 feet of elevation very quickly, and boasts a stretch of 11 miles above treeline (11,500 feet) with a maximum elevation of 12,183, according to the National Park Service. Visitors will find incredible vistas, pullouts, wildlife, and over 200 species of plants that bloom vividly during the summer wildflower months (think reds, purples, yellows, and blues). The name "Trail Ridge Road" comes from its proximity to the old-school passages used by natives to cross the Rockies.
They may not have started the fight, but Infinite Monkey Theorem, an urban winery in Denver, is sure looking to finish it.
While the idea of wine being served in a can has long been the butt of a joke amongst winemakers, we have begun to see that people don't think the idea is that stupid after all. In June, Spirit Airlines announced they would offer canned wine on flights, and several winemakers around the world, including Australia and Franceyep, the respected wine region of Francehave started to come around on the can.
To this, Infinite Monkey Theorem's CEO and Winemaker Ben Parsons gives two thumbs up. From its inception in 2008, the urban winery has been on a mission to change the perception people have on the often-stuffy wine drinking process. We haven't met all the world's winemakers, but we're pretty sure no one wants to see it change more than Parson.
“The entire concept of our winery is a big 'fuck you' to the rest of the wine industry,” said Parsons. “I hate the [snobby side of wine]. It really annoys the shit out of me. So many winemakers think they’re so prestigious, yet most of them have no clue about what they’re doing, or are just broke. I figure the least pretentious thing we can do is put wine in a can.”
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Everyone enjoys a good airplane livery—especially us—so we were pretty excited to hear that Southwest Airlines was busy gussying up another plane to add to its collection. In the past Southwest has painted planes to look like Shamu and even a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model, but this month they’re celebrating yet another state with the special design.
As the airline says, they’re now showing off their “LUV” for Colorado. The plane is one of their Boeing 737-700s done up in a creative version—and interpretation—of the Colorado state flag. The plane was shown off for the first time last week, and even the governor of the state and the mayor of Denver were on hand to check out the big bird for the first time.
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Volunteers in Colorado are helping to build a completely new hiking trail, called the Continental Divide Trail (CDT), that stretches from Mexico to Canada and across Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming, Montana and Idaho. Volunteers with the Continental Divide Trail Alliance (CDTA)based in Golden, Coloradodig out the trail, clear vegetation and move huge boulders and trees from the established route.
If forging a new trail sounds like a New Year's resolution you'd like to make, CDTA is already lining up volunteers for next season, which runs from April to October. Volunteer trips can last from one day to one week and include trail building, maintaining the existing trail, helping the crew chefs prepare meals, and participating in educational outreach programs. Trip leaders provide all gear, food and water, while volunteers bring their own tents, sleeping bags and day packs.