Not a skier or snowboarder? Fear not!
From Aspen and Vail to Breckenridge, Copper Mountain, and Telluride, Colorado’s mountains offer a snowy selection of ski resorts. What, you don’t like snow? No problem. There are plenty of ski town activities that don’t involve strapping on boots, boards, skis, or 15 layers of clothing.
Of course, we can only daydream about visiting the following ski resorts at the moment. But hey, we don't see the harm in making some plans!
Courtesy of Shotzr, Photo by Katherine Halama (@katherinehalama)
First opened in 1947, Aspen was built on a 19th-century mining town. It’s actually made up of four mountains (Aspen Mountain, Snowmass, Aspen Highlands, and Buttermilk) and two towns (Aspen and Snowmass Village). With all of that, there’s sure to be plenty to see and do for your whole crew.
You can take the Silver Queen Gondola, which leaves from the town of Aspen, up 11,200 feet to hiking trails, picnic sites, and spectacular views. The Roaring Fork Valley offers the peaks of Maroon Bells and Independence Pass for cycling, hiking, and kayaking, as well as trout fishing in the Roaring Fork River.
Aspen has a Food & Wine Festival, the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, shopping, and outdoor concerts. Snowmass Village has a Rendezvous Craft Beer Festival, a summer concert series, the Breathtaker Alpine Coaster, mountain biking trails, and summer rodeos.
Aspen’s lodges, boutique hotels, and condominium resorts have spas, pools, and fitness centers if you prefer to relax and indulge.
Owned and operated by Vail Resorts, Breckenridge came to be in 1961 out of an authentic mining town. It’s one of the most visited ski resorts in the U.S. By mid-July, though, the trails are ready for mountain biking. Like other ski resorts, you can take chairlift rides to the top of the mountain without growing icicles on your beard.
Breckenridge Resort has teamed up with The Nature Conservancy for guided hiking and 4X4 tours, along with an eco-discovery experience designed to promote environmental education and awareness. Challenge your thrill-seeker friends to the Gold Runner Coaster and Alpine Slides or the Expedition Zipline Tour, which has zip lines and a bridge walk high above the trails.
Check into Rejuvenation at One Ski Hill Place for hot stone or deep tissue massages after a day of hiking and biking (or lounging by the pool). There’s a fitness center, indoor pools, and hot tubs that are part of spa packages.
The area was originally known as Wheeler Junction and saw the likes of loggers, miners, prospectors, and fur traders during the gold mining heyday of the 1800s. It opened in 1972 and sees more snowboarders than stagecoaches. But that’s not to say it’s not a summertime destination.
Copper Mountain has the unique and highly thrilling Woodward Copper Barn Indoor Sports Park. It’s filled with foam pits, Olympic-grade fly bed trampolines, Burton ParkBoard training, and skate, scooter, and BMX zones. Visit Copper Village for shopping and dining or choose relaxation by booking a facial or Swedish massage at the Copper Mountain Spa. Other attractions and activities include Copper Creek Golf Course, Alpine Rush Zipline (two riders fly across Copper’s West Lake), bumper boats, mountain coaster, go-karts, and hiking trails.
Courtesy of Shotzr, Photo by Stanley Sigalov (@stantheman)
With a rich history based on bordellos, Butch Cassidy, and the Tomboy Mine, Telluride was a happening place back in the day. It has grown since its opening day in 1972 when you could go snowcat skiing (and get a bagged lunch) for $12 a day.
The 18-hole, par-70 Telluride Golf Club—at 9,417 feet elevation on Turkey Creek Mesa—is among the highest in the world. Other activities include horseback riding, 4X4 tours, tennis, San Miguel River tubing, guided whitewater rafting tours, self-guided Jeep tours, and a mining sluice. Check out Telluride Canopy Adventure for zipline tours.
Telluride Bike Park takes you and your bike up the mountain. A series of interconnected trails are suitable for freeride, technical, and cross-country bikes. You can take guided tours and lessons.
Of course, you can always just enjoy the Victorian architecture of the town of Telluride. Surrounded by stunning mountain peaks, the main area is a National Historic Landmark District and features boutiques, art galleries, restaurants, and historic buildings. Mountain Village—a European-style village at 9,500 feet—is connected to Telluride by a gondola. It takes about 13 minutes to get to the top where you’ll be among the aspen and spruce trees of the Uncompahgre National Forest and Telluride Ski Resort.
Open since 1962, Vail offers rafting, mountain biking, and ziplining, as well as farmers’ markets, festivals, concerts, and other seasonal events. Scenic trails for all hiking levels are accessible via the Eagle Bahn and Gondola One. Enjoy the alpine Swiss architecture of Vail Village or the Austrian-inspired Lionshead, and Golden Peak, the base area towns that link to the Vail ski resort.
There’s a whitewater park for kayaking and rafting, or you can take on Class I to Class V rapids on the Eagle, Colorado, or Arkansas rivers. The Betty Ford Alpine Garden is at 8,250 feet above sea level. It’s the highest botanical garden in the U.S. with flowers, waterfalls, rock gardens, and hiking trails. Sign up for a guided fly-fishing excursion on Gore Creek or the Colorado River.
Have you been to any of these Colorado ski resorts in the summer? Which one is your favorite? Let us know in the comments.