Here’s a question. What if you live in Colorado, and God forbid, you don’t actually like skiing? Is winter just one long slog through the cold and snow? Do you count the days until May, when the snow is finally gone?
Not so fast. If the thought of sliding around the snow is not your cup of tea, but you do enjoy the beauty of nature in winter, there are other possibilities. Snowshoeing is a great way to “hike” through the snow, and involves minimal cost. You can easily get a decent pair of snowshoes (especially if you’re savvy about sales) for less than $200. To get the most out of your snowshoe experience, you might want to take along some poles as well. Trekking poles are great, but can be pricey, and an old pair of ski poles can work just as well.
Most everyone can snowshoe. When I worked at a cross-country ski area in Lake Tahoe, we rented both skis and snowshoes. Once someone asked a co-worker about “snowshoe lessons.” He replied:
“Put one foot forward. Then put the other foot forward. Repeat as often as necessary.”
Everyone got a good chuckle out of that. But it really is that simple. It also provides great exercise, and there are plenty of trails throughout the Front Range to snowshoe on for free. In the National Forest lands, they have blue diamonds posted on the trees to help you find your way, if you happen to be the lucky person breaking trail after a snowstorm.
But maybe you’re thinking that snowshoeing is too much work. Many other options are available through the Colorado Rocky Mountains.
If you like the idea of sliding on the snow, but not on two planks, you could try snow tubing. Embrace your inner childhood memories of sledding in a new and modern way. Many mountain communities and ski resorts offer snow tubing. They make it easy by grooming out lanes with snow cats, and providing magic carpet conveyors to tow you back up the hill. Two of the better locations are in Winter Park (where there are three), and the Frisco Adventure Park with a 1,200-foot high tubing hill.
What could be more romantic than a sleigh ride in winter? All that’s required is to dress warmly and climb into the sleigh. The horses do all the work, and your fantasy of living the Budweiser beer commercial has come to life. You can even take a ride to a romantic dinner!
If you like a more personal experience of being pulled along, Breckenridge offers dog sledding. As the sounds of “gee” and “haw” ring out, dogs pull you along in your mushing sled. A 6-mile tour with a team of Siberian Huskies costs $90 through Good Times Adventure.
Some people I know survive the winter by going to lots of movies, and reading lots of books. There’s nothing wrong with that. But I do know this. If you find ways to get outside and enjoy the incredible views of snow-capped mountains and frozen lakes, you’ll enjoy winter a whole lot more.