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The number one reason to visit most Colorado mountain towns during the winter is obvious: incredible skiing. But if you don’t engage in the state’s favorite winter pastime (or if you are just looking for more opportunities to explore), there are still plenty of ways to enjoy some of the area’s most impressive winter wonderlands. To help people looking to do so, we picked our favorite cultural offering and non-skiing adventure for four of Colorado’s most popular mountain getaways.
Cultural offering: Aspen Meadows Resort offers a free, self-guided art tour across 40 acres. A map of the exhibit, which includes work by famed artists like Herbert Bayer and Rita Blitt, can be picked up at the resort’s reception desk. From outdoor sculptures to indoor displays at the resort’s Resnick Art Gallery, there’s sure to be something that strikes your fancy.
Non-skiing adventure: Step straight into a scene from your favorite rom-com with a sleigh ride from Aspen Carriage and Sleigh. The treks start at Stillwater Ranch, about five minutes from downtown Aspen, and take you on a 45-minute journey through a forest alongside Aspen Mountain. At the halfway point, the sleigh stops for guests to enjoy hot chocolate and snacks. Due to COVID-19, the company is only offering private rides this year, with prices starting at $325.
Cultural offering: Before Breckenridge became a popular mountain getaway for people from across the world, it got its start as a small mining town. Explore that history with a variety of tours from the Breckenridge Heritage Alliance, like the adults-only Bawdy Breckenridge Tour (Wednesdays and Saturdays), which explores the “seedier side” of the Breck’s beginnings, including stories about murders at some of the town’s earliest saloons. Advanced registration is required for most tours, and several of them are weather dependent.
Non-skiing adventure: Make your way about two miles east of downtown Breckenridge to Country Boy Mine, which offers an array of winter activities, including extreme sledding. “It is fast if you want it to be fast,” owner Mike Shipley says. “It’s Alpine style, which means that you zig-zag down the mountain. It’s not just a straight rundown. You ride on a racing sled so you’re lying headfirst. It has steering, but it is very quick.” He’s not lying: Guests average about 16 miles per hour during the descent. The extreme sledding is available Wednesday to Sunday and costs $34 for three runs. There is also a smaller park for young kids.
Cultural offering: The Crested Butte Museum, which was the first historical institution on the north end of the Gunnison Valley when it was founded in 1993, is home to a sweeping collection of artifacts that date back to the 1880s. Each tells the story of Crested Butte’s history, from the area’s ranching and coal mining beginnings to how it has become a mecca for mountain biking and skiing in more recent years. The space is open Monday through Saturday, with guided tours available on Friday mornings through April.
Non-skiing adventure: Snowmobiling on Kebler Pass is a great adrenaline-pumping option. Due to snowy conditions, the pass is closed to cars and trucks in the winter. But snowmobiles and electric bikes are allowed to make fresh tracks in the piles of powder while winding through trails filled with aspen and evergreen trees. And renting the equipment is easy: CB Motorsports offers two-hour rentals starting at $120; the outfitter even meets you at the trailhead, before setting you loose.
Cultural offering: Steamboat Springs is famous for Strawberry Park Hot Springs, an oasis with five cascading stone pools. The space is family-friendly during the day and adults-only at night, with the coldest pool set to a balmy 102 degrees Fahrenheit. Guests must book their visit in advance online and pay a $20 per-person fee with cash or a check upon arrival.
Non-skiing adventure: Grizzle-T Dog & Sled Works offers eight- or 12.5-mile journeys on sleds pulled by a team of Alaskan Huskies. During the experience, guests get to take turns being the driver of the sled. After the tour, there is also time built in for guests to snuggle and play with the four-legged fur balls.