Confession: I’m terrified of skiing. When I was growing up, my family made a pilgrimage to the Rocky Mountains every year for quality time on the slopes, and every year, I dreaded it. Maybe it was because I fell off a ski lift in the fourth grade, or maybe I just didn’t see the appeal of strapping boards to your feet and hurtling down a mountain. Either way, we have plenty of family home movies of me, as a child, crying and screaming down the mountain. Eventually we stopped skiing, and started going to Disney World for our family’s annual vacation. It was a decision that made both me, and everyone in the mountain within earshot of me, breathe a collective sigh of relief. This is one of the major reasons that David and I have never headed to colder climates on our escapades. But several weeks ago, when the opportunity to stay in a mountain cabin and go dog sledding presented itself, I knew it was time to head for chillier weather. I did my research thoroughly before the trip, determined to find a bevy of winter pastimes that did not involve skiing to fill our days. We had a blast, and below, I’ve compiled a list of our favorite cold weather, Rocky Mountain activities, that do NOT involve skiing or snowboarding.
1) Strawberry Hot Springs, Steamboat Springs, Colorado.
Strawberry Hot Springs is a must do for a Rocky Mountain vacation. This isolated spot includes both large and small pools, which reach a toasty 104 degrees. Its $12 entry per adult on weekdays, and $15 on weekends. Don’t forget to bring cash to pay, as credit cards aren’t accepted. After dark, it becomes 18 and older, as ‘clothing is optional.’ We encourage you to go during the daytime – as the scenery is beautiful, and everyone will be clothed.
2) Snowshoeing at Frisco’s Nordic Center.
The Nordic Center offers a variety of activities, including trail passes and snowshoe rentals. It was our first time snowshoeing, and we quickly learned that it’s a workout, and a beautiful way to see some unforgettable scenery. Their beginner snowshoe trail works it way past a scenic frozen lake, and takes a little over an hour. They have more advanced, more time consuming trails as well.
3) Snow Tubing at Keystone Mountain.
There are plenty of options for tubing in the Rockies – we chose the hill at Keystone because it was one of the only ones located at the top of the ski mountain. When you check in at Keystone Village, they give you Gondola passes to the top. You pay by the hour, and can go by yourself, or in groups of up to four.
4) Exploring Vail Village.
Of all the ski towns in Colorado, Vail is by and far our favorite. It has the feeling of an older, more European town to it, and is filled with plenty of great shopping and restaurants. There’s also a gorgeous mountain river running through the town, with paths on either side.
5) Dog Sledding in Breckenridge.
As we’ve mentioned in the past, Dog Sledding in Breckenridge at Good Time Adventures is one of the coolest things we have ever done. It was just as magical as we hoped it would be, and as such is our most highly recommended activity (it’s relatively affordable as well).
I was pleasantly surprised with the number of activities for non-skiiers that we were able to find in Colorado’s mountain town. It’s a beautiful, affordable getaway that we would encourage anyone to start planning today!