There was a time when mountains were enough — when skiing down or hiking up forested slopes, fishing and rafting rivers or biking or riding horses through the hills provided enough entertainment to last a week. As mountain resort communities grow and compete with one another for tourism dollars, the mountains simply aren’t cutting it. Visitors want more.
Ziplines. Trampolines. Alpine coasters. Extreme mountain bike trails. Paragliding. Ropes courses. Slacklines. Mini golf. Disc golf. Rock-climbing walls. Whitewater parks. Terrain parks. Skateboard parks.
Growth in visitors and sales tax revenues proves that ski towns are real communities no longer serving the very narrow niche of winter sports. The in-your-face overload of countless activities doesn’t stop with recreation. Summer events and festivals are filling up the calendars, giving guests from far and wide all the more reason to find their Rocky Mountain high. Event planning has taken off in the mountain region, and in many cases the public sector has its hand in it like never before. The mountains have become everything from a foodie’s paradise to a place to unwind to a spa or golf destination. Festivals focusing on music, art, food and dance plump up weekends that used to be desolate as recent as a few years ago.