Now that I’m back living in the US and in sunny Florida at that, one vacation I can start planning is a trip to one of our favorite states, Colorado. While we loved snowboarding in France, nothing beats a Colorado vacation rental in the beautiful, snow capped mountains. We love to spend the day snowboarding and the evenings enjoying the hot tub and the delicious food and drinks.
Every year since I’ve been with my husband, we’ve gone snowboarding. I was a skier when we met but our first Christmas together (his family snowboards on Christmas Day) was spent trying to learn how to snowboard in Banff. My husband convinced me there would be lessons on Christmas Day but there were not. His family convinced me to take the chairlift up the mountain and “learn on the way down”. I had never been on a snowboard in my life but I figured it sounded like a good idea.
A whole lotta tears and a couple hours later, I finally made it to the bottom. But it was so challenging, I was determined to learn so the next day I signed up for lessons, bruised behind and all. Fast forward to now and while I’ll never be as good as my husband, I can hold my own on the harder runs.
One place in particular has our heart – Steamboat. It’s unlike any other resort area we’ve been too, more like a close community than vacation spot. The ski area has 165 named trails spread over 2,965 acres. 14% are classified as beginner level, 42% as intermediate and 44% as advanced. So it’s perfect for us because Glen can go big while I can take it easy or we mix up the run with hard/fun routes. Another perk is Steamboats free shuttles into town, helpful if you don’t rent a car.
There’s also a fun & vibrant central meeting area and bar scene and loads of live music everywhere you go. One thing we haven’t done yet though is a day trip to the the natural hot springs at Strawberry Park. I’ve heard it’s one of Steamboat’s many natural treasures, located less than 7 miles from downtown, features therapeutic, thermal pools with temperatures from 101 – 105 degrees in a rustic mountain setting. Sounds awesome doesn’t it?!
While I’m tempted to go back to Steamboat, there’s a couple of areas we haven’t tried yet. Aspen has been suggested by a ton of travel mates and it’s definitely a place we want to go soon. Did you know that Aspen offers the highest concentration of ski resorts in Colorado? Located within miles of each other, the ski areas Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands, Snowmass and Buttermilk span 4,993 acres of the Rocky Mountains.
With over 335 trails, Aspen’s four mountains offer terrain to skiers and boarders of all abilities. Aspen Mountain, known as Ajax to the locals, is the oldest of the four ski resorts. It opened in 1947 and has since become the mountain for intermediate to expert skiers. There are no beginner’s runs or terrain parks, but Aspen Mountain does offer a lot of black-diamond trails for the advanced skier. If you seek a backcountry bowl to ski, Aspen Highlands is your mountain. Its Highland Bowl is the highest summit of the four mountains, reaching an elevation of 12,392 feet. Aspen Highlands runs can be steep and challenging, but vary in skill level from beginner to expert.
Snowmass is the largest of the four mountains with 3,100 acres of trails and is a ski-in/ski-out resort. Widely varied terrain makes the family-friendly resort the place for skiers and snowboarders of all abilities. Snowmass also has three terrain parks with approximately 90 features including a superpipe for beginner to expert riders. For those learning how to ski or boarders seeking out Aspen’s longest terrain parks — with pipes and 100 features to ride — Buttermilk is the best option. Host to the winter X-Games, Buttermilk is beginner-friendly but attracts skiers and boarders of all levels.
I love going places where you’re just a short drive to the next location, especially if you’re planning a week long stay. It’s fun to have so many options and it never gets boring either. Have you been to Aspen?
If you are in need of a quick weekend on the slopes without a lot of travel to deal with then off to Keystone, just west of Denver you should go. We love going in late Winter/Early Spring because they usually get dumped on, which makes for awesome skiing and snowboarding. It consists of three mountains – Dercum Mountain, North Peak, the Outback – and five Bowls (Independence, Erickson, Bergman, North and South Bowls) offering skiing at all levels. Collectively, they form the largest operation in Colorado to offer night skiing (trails are lit by floodlights). Night skiing takes place after sunset until as late as 9 p.m. on as many as 15 of the resort’s trails. I love night snowboarding, it’s chilly but so much fun!
We haven’t been to Colorado in years and I’m definitely booking a long weekend away, as ski season flights normally start going on sale soon. Please let me know if you’ve ever been to Aspen or whatever your favorite Colorado ski destination is – I love suggestions/reviews.