For the non-skier, it may feel like there aren't really any other outdoor winter activities. But this post is dedicated to the non-skier who still wants to enjoy the mountains year-round! When I first moved to Colorado I felt like I absolutely HAD to learn how to ski/board otherwise I’d be some weird outcast and sit at home alone all winter. So I did a lesson, tried it out a few times at different spots and still, I was like meh I don’t love this. All that to say, when I stopped trying to force myself to love skiing, I started discovering other winter activities to keep me outdoors during colder months ️ so here is my non-skiers guide to winter activities in Colorado!
This is my numero uno in the winter because it feels like the closest thing to hiking for me. Doing the 52 hike challenge last year (a weekly hike), I snowshoed for the first 4 months of the year due to our never ending winter last year! You can rent from REI, Nordic centers, or most outdoor apparel shops. But if you plan on going frequently, Tubbs is a great brand! This is the pair I own! You’ll also need a good pair of waterproof snow boots to clip into the snowshoes and keep your feet warm! Here’s why I love it: you can enjoy the snow without the crowds (looking at you, ski resorts), it’s peaceful, great mountain views, and you can usually find snowshoe trails near ski resorts so you can do your thing while your friends ski. Make a day of it by snowshoeing into the mountains and having a bonfire with friends! For more information on where to go, check out my post on Top 5 Snowshoe Destinations.
2. Hut/Yurt Trips
Ever since finding out that these are a thing, I’d been dying to do one! This January that dream came true and I booked a yurt trip through Tennesee Pass (see blog post for all the deets!). If you’re wondering what the heck this looks like, picture a well-insulated, massive heated tent that is big enough to walk around, have multiple beds and a kitchen area. Basically the most top-notch camping experience you can get! Snowshoe or crosscountry ski to your cozy yurt home for the night and enjoy an evening under the stars with all the comforts of being in a warm bed! I love camping, but I am NOT hardcore enough to camp in the winter months! Yurting was a perfect option for me because it provided the camping experience and connection with nature minus the cold!
3. Cross Country Skiing
This is another thing on my winter activity list this year! I’ve heard if you want more of a cardio workout and challenge than snowshoeing, this is the sport for you. Almost every major mountain town in Colorado has a Nordic Center which allows for rentals and will provide trail information so definitely take advantage of that resource! Since I don’t have much experience in this department yet, I found this article helpful listing some of the best places to cross-country ski in Colorado!
Perfect activity for a weekend in the mountains with friends! Again, most mountain towns in Colorado have a snowmobile center that you can rent from for the day and they will gear you up. But plan to wear ALL the layers. If you are in Colorado: Grand Lake, Colorado (just 2 hours from Denver) is considered to be the state’s capitol for snowmobiling! Check out Grand Adventures for 2-4 hour long snowmobiling guided or unguided tours. With this company you have access to riding the Continental Divide or exploring terrain in Winter Park or Grand Lake.
5. Natural Hot Springs
In Colorado we are #blessed with many a hot spring! Some require quite the drive, but it could be fun to plan a weekend getaway near one of these natural springs. This article lists 30 Colorado hot springs to chose from!! I’ve really enjoyed the Strawberry Hot Springs, Conundrum hot springs (required overnight permit), and the Hot Sulfur Springs!
Being open to trying out different winter activities has helped me to have a better attitude about the colder weather (although I still complain a little bit ). So whether you live in Colorado or a different place that gets lots of snow, don’t let it stop you from exploring all year long!