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Hike We Like: Snowshoe & Swiss Fondue

This rewarding half-day outing combines snowshoeing with live music, Colorado wine, and creamy Swiss fondue. What more could you want? 

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What’s better than snowshoeing through Colorado’s breathtaking foothills? Ending the expedition with wine and fondue. Every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday through March 13, Aspen Peak Cellars in Bailey hosts a guided, 90-minute snowshoe trek, with options for multiple difficulty levels, followed by live music, wine tasting, and authentic Swiss fondue.

The occasion begins at 10:30 a.m., when participants rendezvous at the winery, then carpool to the nearby trailhead for an hour-and-a-half snowshoe (or, if there’s not enough snow, a beautiful winter hike) on private trails owned by Wilderness on Wheels, a nonprofit that provides access to nature for people living with disabilities and their caretakers. After outfitting the participants with snowshoes and poles, guides lead the group along a mile-long trail that gradually climbs in elevation. Anyone who desires a more challenging workout can branch off onto other trails or explore off-the-beaten path amongst stately blue spruce and vibrant lodgepole and bristlecone pines.

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After returning, the group can enjoy live music while touring the award-winning winery’s facility and sampling five of their best-selling wines. Afterward, participants select a glass of their favorite to pair with the fondue. Co-owner (and Swiss-born chef) Marcel Flukiger prepares this pièce de résistance using a time-tested recipe from Switzerland, where, depending upon the region and its local cheese selections, many different versions of the dish are made.

Marcel’s fondue is a mouthwatering mixture of cheeses from several regions, including Gruyère, located in the French-speaking part of Switzerland, Emmentaler (in the Bernese mountains), and Appenzeller, a picturesque eastern town. All the cheeses are shredded, mixed into a base of crisp, white wine, pepper, garlic, and nutmeg, and then finished off with a shot of dry cherry brandy, a bit of cream, and some spicy Dijon mustard. Served with crusty French bread and crisp, cut veggies for dipping, the velvety warm fondue is a rich reward for a chilly day well spent in the gorgeous Colorado foothills.

Join the fun: Tickets for the Snowshoe and Fondue events are available online through Living Social. If they are sold out, Aspen Peak Cellars also has a few winery-direct tickets available for each day, so be sure to check their Facebook page or call 303-816-5504 to inquire. The winery is open to the public Wednesday through Sunday, so if you’d like to go snowshoeing on your own and then drop by around 1:30 p.m., you can always join the tour, taste some wine, and purchase your own fondue. 60750 Hwy 285, Bailey

Terri Cook, 5280 Contributor

Terri Cook is an award-winning freelance writer based in Boulder. More of her work can be found at down2earthscience.com.

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