Western Slope: Colorado's Summertime Playground In The Mountains

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The west side of the Continental Divide in the Colorado Rockies is home to about half of the ski and snowboard mountains in the state, and a half-dozen of them have built up summer activity infrastructures to lure flat-landers into the mountains.

Several resorts don't run their lifts in the summer -- Powderhorn, Sunlight, Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk -- but remain open for hiking and mountain biking, and general summertime leisure time.

If you're looking for a full-on summer menu, check out Telluride. On and off the mountain, there's plenty to keep young and old busy -- from via ferrata to bike parks to kids camps to rafting and Jeep tours. Highlight on the hill is Canopy Adventure, a tree-top complex of zipline, aerial bridges and rappels that begins with ride up the Village Express chair.

At Purgatory, MTB-focused lift access, trail prep and downhill challenges are the norm. The first U.S. resort to host a MBT world championship (1995), "Purg" sells single-ride, day, and season passes-- the latter includes massive Spider Mountain bike park in Austin, Texas.

Another mountain bike mecca is Crested Butte. Its Mountain Bike Park opened in 2009, and its more than 30 miles of single track downhill and X-C runs have been improved ever since. The bike-friendly Red Lady Express does the heavy-lifting to get riders onto the mountain.

Steamboat hosts a ton of attractions around its under-construction base area. Featured is the Outlaw Mountain Coaster with a descent of more than a mile long. With that length, there's plenty of track for loops, turns and twists.

Aspen Mountain and Snowmass crank up their gondolas for summer visitors. A ride up the Silver Queen gondola reaches the11,212-foot summit of Aspen Mountain. The summit area has been developed as the main magnet for the resort, with hiking trails, wildflowers, live music, good food and 360-degree views of Maroon Bells and Roaring Fork Valley.

Across the way, Snowmass turns on a gondola of its own -- the Elk Camp Gondola -- to get folks to the trails, vistas and food in and around mid-mountain Elk Camp. New this summer is the Lost Forest Adventure Center at Elk Camp, with ziplines, bike trails, climbing wall and mountain coaster.

Winter Park is playing off on the popularity of e-bikes this summer with 90-minute tours for pedal-assist mountain bicycles. Three tours run daily from the top of the Explorer Express chair at Sunsport Lodge (also headquarters for renowned Trestle Bike Park). E-bikers head up another 600 feet of vertical to Lunch Rock. No charge for views of Continental Divide.

 

 

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No Surprises Among Western Resorts Staying Open Late

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The usual suspects will extend the 2021-2022 ski and snowboard season through May and beyond, as a flurry of late-season storms has reinforced the snowpack throughout the West.

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No Limits For Ikon Road Trip To Winter Park, Steamboat

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Of the mountains that the Ikon Pass covers in Colorado, Steamboat and Winter Park encompass some 6,000 acres and have something for everyone: Scads of intermediate runs, cruisers and groomers galore, and fields of moguls.

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Winter Park Ski Train Returns As Convenient Alternative To Driving

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Traffic and parking have been hot topics this busy ski and snowboard season, but one way to avoid all that is to hop aboard the Winter Park Express train.

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USA Today Readers Name Winter Park Resort As Best Ski Resort in North America…Again

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You could say Winter Park Resort’s excitement level is off the charts because for the third time USA Today readers named the ski resort the best in North America. Winter Park beat out 19 other nominated North American resorts for the coveted title.

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The Ikon Pass Showcases Six Colorado Resorts

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With snowmaking temps more favorable, more and more Colorado ski and snowboard resorts are opening, and Ikon Pass holders can try out as much variety in Colorado as in any other state in the Union.

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Waiting For The Snow: Weather Expected To Turn Favorable For Resort Openings

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The 2021-22 ski and snowboard season has gotten off to a rocky start, with only the highest-elevation slopes open and all others waiting impatiently for more snowfall and colder temps.

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Winter Park Resort To Host Upslope Brewing’s Signature Backcountry Tap Room This Fall

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Winter Park Resort is sending off summer with one last hurrah high up on the mountain. On Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021, Winter Park Resort, along with Upslope Brewing Company, will host a signature Backcountry Tap Room event – fresh mountain air, views for miles and refreshing craft beer all included.

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Wonder Of Gold: Relish The Color Of Autumn At Colorado Mountain Resorts

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In Colorado, the most definitive way to know that summer is over and winter is not long off comes when the high-country aspen groves put on their brilliant yellow coats.

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Eager Travelers Are Already Looking Ahead to Winter Vacations

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Summer is still in full swing, but early indication shows that there is already high demand for winter mountain vacations. And, planning ahead certainly pays off.

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Colorado Opens Its Taps For August Brewfests

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The month of August puts Colorado's mountains on display -- their high meadows flowing with chilly creek waters. What better to celebrate the high country with than a few mugs of craft beer. 

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Ride A Lift Up, Mountain Bike Back Down At 7 Colorado Resorts

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When the snow melts and all that’s left of Colorado’s ski resorts are the seemingly endless trails, rushing mountain water, bright green aspen glades and wildflower-covered meadows, what is there to possibly do?

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The Colorado Mountains Are Alive With Summer Music Festivals

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Despite Covid restrictions, the ski and snowboard resorts of Colorado had a hot summer season last year with hiking, biking, scenic lift rides, and other social-distanced activities. But one key attraction was missing: Music.

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Winter Park's Trestle Bike Park Opens June 19

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The snow is still falling and the slopes just closed at Winter Park Resort, but the resort is preparing for warmer weather and summertime mountain adventure. Winter Park Resort is anticipating opening its summer activities, including its famed Trestle Bike Park, on Saturday, June 19, 2021.

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Spring Skiing Rolls On At Three Colorado Resorts

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Several Colorado ski areas are taking advantage of recent snowstorms and extending their ski seasons through late spring.

Winter Park has extended their season through Sunday where they currently have 1,325 acres open. 

Breckenridge plans to stay open through Memorial Day weekend - May 31st.

Arapahoe Basin is aiming for a closing date of June 6th this year.

After a warm first week of April, the snowpack took a nosedive across the state. But a cooler and wetter pattern through mid-April halted the early snowmelt for several more weeks and even added to the snowpack slightly.

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Still Plenty Of Turns As Season Extends Into May ... And Beyond

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The vast majority of U.S. ski and snowboard resorts have shuttered operations for the season -- many of them extending past announced closing dates -- but a hearty dozen will spin their lifts deep into the spring.

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Springtime In The Rockies: Colorado Season Gets Longer

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Thanks to a snowy March and persistent pent-up desire to hit the slopes, a slew of Colorado ski and snowboard resorts will keep their lifts spinning beyond original closing dates.

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SnoCast: Big Snow Targets the Rockies

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A storm system will bring heavy snow to the western mountains, especially the Colorado Rockies this weekend as a cold and stormy pattern persists. On the flip side, the East enjoys mild and spring-like conditions. This week’s SnoCast has the details through St. Patrick’s Day week.

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Headin' Uphill Rapidly Rising In Popularity In Colorado

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Whether it be Covid-distance crowds, the high price of lift tickets, or simply a need to breathe the Great Outdoors, the participation in uphill skiing has exploded in Colorado this season.

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What It’s Really Like to Go on a Colorado Ski Trip During the COVID-19 Pandemic

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Winter is here and that means ski trips are top of mind. But you may be questioning the merits of hitting the slopes this year. I certainly was before driving up to a handful of Colorado ski resorts for day trips and weeklong excursions. My biggest takeaway? The experience and potential risks vary from mountain to mountain. 

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