Colorado Fun!

Alpine Slide-LEADWhen it comes to winter thrills, Colorado ski resorts offer nearly everything snow lovers crave. But just because skis and boards have been mothballed for the summer doesn’t eliminate reasons for visiting slope-side resorts.

Here are 33 summer adventures to be found around Colorado’s top ski communities. Like the trails and terrain, we’ve categorized activities by difficulty—family-friendly easy greens, more-challenging intermediate blues and adrenaline-infused advanced black-diamonds. Pick a pursuit and have some fun.

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Airports Near Aspen, Colorado

jet_slopesWhile Denver International Airport is Colorado’s largest airport and is generally the easiest and cheapest to fly into, it is a four-hour mountain drive to Aspen, and even farther from the western ski resorts of Telluride and Durango. Colorado High Country has a variety of airports that are closer to its world-class ski resorts, allowing for more direct, quicker travel.

The Aspen/Pitkin County Airport ( is Aspen’s regional airport, just five minutes from the resort area. Take a morning flight and be skiing by afternoon. Two airlines service the airport: United Express, operated by SkyWest, and Republic, operated by Frontier. Direct flights are available from cities including Denver, Los Angeles and Chicago.

While Aspen/Pitkin County Airport is the most convenient airport to Aspen travel, there are other airports in the surrounding ski country that are much closer to Aspen than Denver. Further, so long as you don’t mind car travel, these airports will allow you to piece together trips with other famous Colorado ski resorts. Eagle County Regional Airport ( is about an hour and a half north of Aspen and is located conveniently to Vail and Beaver Creek. To the south, Gunnison airport ( is not much closer than Denver, but would allow you to combine a trip to Crested Butte, one of Colorado’s most challenging ski areas, with a trip to Aspen.

Colorado Ski Visits Down 11%

colorado-ski-map-620x406According to The Colorado Springs Business Journal ski visits across the state of Colorado are down 11.5% so far this season, compared to the same period last year. The Journal sites the lack of snow and late openings for many Colorado resorts as major factors in the drop of skier traffic.

“First period is largely fueled by in-state visitors, and an unseasonably warm October and November kept many Coloradans from tallying lots of ski days” said Melanie Mills, president and CEO of Colorado Ski Country USA, a nonprofit industry group that represents several of the state’s largest ski resorts. “Snow did not arrive in earnest until mid-December.”

Despite the slow start, ski areas saw a strong holiday period with conditions more in line with an average year. The New Year started with storms, which bodes well for the rest of the season, she said.

“There is some real buoyancy in the indicators for the months ahead. February and March hotel bookings are pacing ahead of last year by 3.5 percent and 8.6 percent respectively,” Mills said. “Carnival and Easter are well-timed for ski visitation this year and Colorado’s traditional snowier months lie ahead.”.

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A New Ski Area in Bear Creek?

Photo by Katie Klingsporn

Photo by Katie Klingsporn

Ron Curry and Thomas Chapman of Gold Hill Development Company have unveiled plans to develop a ski area in Upper Bear Creek, Telluride’s legendary side-country playground.
Bear Creek at Telluride Ski Resort is being touted as a rugged, expert ski area accessed by human-powered traffic, helicopter or access gates, according to materials from “The Creek” Associates. The area would encompass 1,300 acres of land and would feature nearly 2,000 feet of vertical elevation and no permanent infrastructure. Though there would be avalanche control and patrollers, traditional resort trappings like lifts, groomers and restaurants would not exist.
“Deep powder snow, no grooming, no trees, no clear-cut trails,” reads a release from the company. “No lift towers, no permanent structures, no trace of wintertime skiing to the summer use of Bear Creek.”
The resort’s terrain would stretch from a high point of 13,555 feet on Wasatch Mountain to 11,562 feet on private lands in the West Fork of Bear Creek, according to the company. A warming hut yurt would be placed on a temporary deck and removed each June.

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Colorado Revenue Continues to Grow, Economists Say

imagesColorado’s economy continues to outperform expectations, spurred on by tax revenue from stock sales, although unemployment remains high, state economists told lawmakers Monday.  The state’s tax receipts are expected to be $548.2 million, or 7.1 percent higher, this budget year than the prior year, according to Gov. John Hickenlooper’s economists. The latest quarterly forecast from state economists touched on familiar trends of past reports: Colorado’s economy is outperforming the national economy, but there remains caution because of the revenue growth is driven by taxes on one-time stock sales.  “We have clue after clue that what we’re dealing with is volatile revenue stream,” said Henry Sobanet, Hickenlooper’s budget director.  With the adjusted revenue numbers from December, the state’s general fund is expected to be $8.3 billion for the fiscal year that began in July. The general fund now exceeds the pre-Great Recession peak of $7.7 billion in 2007. The quarterly forecast released Monday afternoon will play a key role in the upcoming debate over the budget, especially as lawmakers debate an overhaul of the state’s system to fund schools. Lawmakers typically give final approval to the budget next month.  State legislative economists also delivered a separate forecast to lawmakers Monday with a similar outlook of cautious optimism for the state.  “I believe it is the spring of this recovery. However, know that storms can still happen in the spring,” said Natalie Mullis, the Legislature’s chief economist.

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Telluride’s Work Out Weekend

imagesThe many colorful festivals that pack into Telluride’s summer and fall calendar celebrate everything from jazz music to documentary films, fine wine, bluegrass and mushrooms.

Add to that: fitness.

Two Telluride locals are launching a new festival in late September that will focus on health, wellness and working out. Telluride WOW … Work Out Weekend will bring world-class fitness gurus, local instructors and a full weekend of classes to Mountain Village from Sept. 19-22.  The idea behind the festival is to bring together like-minded people for a spectrum of fitness sessions, along with presentations and lectures on nutrition, wellness and medical trends.

“It’s a health, fitness and wellness festival offering something for everybody, in that it is all modalities,” said Becca Tudor, a local Pilates and fitness instructor who is organizing the festival along with Albert Roer. “Our goal is to create an exceptional weekend for people who want to either get started on a new fitness program or advance their skills in a variety of activities.”

The festival will offer classes in cross fit, P90X, adventure racing, yoga, Zumba, boot camp, cycling, Pilates and more, as well as appearances by instructors like P90X creator Tony Horton, personal trainer Jonathan Ross and POUND founders Kirsten Potenza and Cristina Peerenboom. Telluride and Aspen instructors, meanwhile, will include Alyssa Saunders, Tudor, Megan Heller and Sharon Caplan.

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Since 1994, Telluride AIDS Benefit Has Donated Over $1.8 Million Toward HIV/AIDS Education and Advocacy

imagesSince its first show in 1994, the Telluride AIDS Benefit (TAB) has raised $1.8 million for both local and global initiatives for HIV/AIDS education, patients and research.

The benefit began when two Telluride locals, Kandee DeGraw and Robert Presley, combined their respective talents of comedy and fashion design to help Presley with the costs of AIDS treatment. However, the selfless Presley insisted the proceeds from the first event go to the Western Colorado AIDS project instead of directly to him. The first year, the benefit raised $12,000, and each year has donated thousands of dollars to directly support AIDS research and patients.

This year’s benefit features almost two weeks of events, with all proceeds donated directly to TAB’s beneficiaries. This year’s beneficiaries include the Ethiopian Family Fund, West Colorado AIDS Project, Manzini Youth Care, Childrens’ Hospital Immunodeficiency Program, and Brother Jeff. The beneficiaries support local and global projects to support those affected by HIV and AIDS, their families, and furthering research and education on prevention and treatment of HIV and AIDS.

Telluride AIDS Benefit kicks off this week with the Sneak Peek Fashion Show on Thursday, February 28 at the Telluride Conference Center in Mountain Village. This event offers an additional opportunity to view the fashion show and donate to TAB.

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Celebrating Forty Legendary Years at the Telluride Ski Resort

imagesTelluride Ski Resort just announced that it will celebrate its 40th year in operation this spring with forty days of events, contests, scavenger hunts and more. “Forty days of fun events to conclude our 40th season with a bang. With everything from dress up themed days to the famed pond skim, Telluride is where it will be this spring,” said Telluride Ski Resort’s Marketing Manager, Brandy Johnson.

The 2012/2013 season marks the resort’s 40th year in operation in the beautiful San Juan Mountains. Born out of an adventurous desire to immerse in the precious “white gold” or snowy powder that blankets the surrounding peaks, West Coast entrepreneur Joe Zoline opened the Telluride Ski Resort to the public in 1972. The resort has grown immensely in the past forty years and was ranked #1 in Condé Nast Traveler’s 2012 Readers’ Poll for Best Ski Resort in North America.

After a major storm system left Telluride Ski Resort with close to forty inches this past week, the ski resort’s new marketing efforts come at the perfect time for friends and families looking to enjoy great conditions and participate in unique events this spring.

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New 650 Seat Werner Herzog Theatre to be Complete for 2013 Telluride Film Festival

TFF-banners-200x300Telluride Film Festival, presented by the National Film Preserve, announces its 40th Anniversary set to run August 29 – September 2, 2013. An additional day of festivities has been added to the usual four-day Festival, making room for a five-day bounty of special programming and festivities. The National Film Preserve is a not-for-profit arts and educational organization that annually presents the Telluride Film Festival.

Telluride Film Festival, along with the Town of Telluride, is also pleased to announce it is creating a new venue in time for its 40th Anniversary celebration. The Werner Herzog Theatre will be situated in Telluride’s Town Park Pavilion and become the Festival’s most technologically advanced theatre accommodating 650 pass holders. Telluride Film Festival is committed to present not only the best quality films but in the most state of the art manner. TFF is also committed to maximizing pass holder enjoyment, valuing its intimate, relaxed atmosphere and will not be expanding its 2013 pass holder base.

In keeping with Festival tradition, Telluride Film Festival does not announce its program in advance, though the 40th promises to be a grand reunion highlighting all the elements of the last forty years. During this special edition of the SHOW, the Festival is thrilled it will be able to showcase its technical excellence and provide its pass holders and sponsors the highest level of service while presenting the world’s greatest films and filmmakers.

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A Foodie’s Tour of Telluride and Its History

2C2Y_FoodTours5Telluride has both a rich history and a rich culinary scene and now visitors and locals can experience both at once with Telluride Food Tours.

Telluride Food Tours offers a two-and-a-half hour eat-your-way walking tour of Telluride that includes food and drink tastings at seven of Telluride’s eclectic restaurants. During the tour, guides talk about Telluride’s history, from its earliest days as a mining town to the early days of it’s becoming a world class ski destination. “The restaurants have been blowing the tour away,” Havard says of the culinary hotspots that make up the Telluride Food Tours.

On a recent Thursday evening tour, guests were treated to a pork rillette tostada at There…(627 W. Pacific Ave.) along with a shaken gin and grapefruit cocktail. La Marmotte (150 W. San Juan Ave.) served up a small plate of grilled sea bass with lobster, tomato and Olathe sweet corn. Locally brewed beer and juicy ribs were on the menu at Smugglers Brewpub (225 S. Pine St.). An array of beautiful dishes including king crab legs and caprese salad made with rich buffalo mozzarella cheese was served on a kitchen-side table at Allred’s (top of the gondola, St. Sophia Station). There was a special spicy elk sausage at the Appaloosa Trading Co. (129 W. Colorado Ave.) and a gigantic diver scallop served on a carrot/ginger puree at Flavor Telluride (122 S. Oak St.) with a refreshing cantaloupe, basil, cucumber, lime, and vodka drink.

While food and drink may be the main attraction for some, Havard and her team of guides spice it up with Telluride’s storied history, with support from the Telluride Historical Museum. From the ethnic neighborhoods of Telluride’s mining days to the significance of the Roma Bar and from the country’s first alternating power source to how Telluride got its name, there is plenty of history dished out along the way, some of it unknown even to longtime Telluride locals.