When you think of a winter getaway in Colorado, the most obvious idea is a ski-cation. After all, Colorado has been named the No. 1 skiing destination in North America and boasts 27 different ski resorts.
But put those goggles and boots away. A winter weekend excursion from Boulder can be so much more.
Snow also means ice skating, snowshoeing, cold-weather camping and sled dogs. And this winter, Colorado has multiple new alpine roller coasters, new cannabis-inspired spa treatments, luxurious lodging, decadent brunches to warm your bellies and enticing art exhibitions.
Here are some of our favorite activities to include on a winter weekend getaway. All of these are a short drive from Boulder and can be enjoyed over a weekend, whenever you need a quick getaway to recharge or celebrate.
A Cannabis Spa Day in Denver
Head to the Hilton Denver Inverness for a cannabis-inspired massage or mani-pedi. The spa began offering massages with locally made CBD oil by Care Garden Products late 2017 and added a CBD mani and pedi this year. Care Garden makes luxurious THC-free products; most are organic.
The spa also offers many regular treatments like detox body masques and purifying mud facials. The hotel is conveniently located across the highway from the Park Meadows Mall (one of the best places to shop in Colorado), so you can pick up some new impossible-to-put-together home decor at Ikea on your way home.
While in Denver, stop by the Denver Art Museum for the exhibition “Degas: A Passion for Perfection.” This show, which runs Feb. 11-May 20, features Fresh artist Edgar Degas’ works. It’s the only time this collection will appear in the United States.
A Daycation Off the Slopes in Vail
The ski slopes are in the spotlight at Vail Resort in the winter, but this beautiful mountain town is worth visiting even if you don’t ski.
Start with a spa treatment at the Sonnenalp spa, a German-inspired space with a yoga studio, oxygen bar (to help counteract the high altitude, as well as reduce stress and increase energy), an indoor-outdoor pool, steam room, sauna, whirlpools, solarium and even a fireplace with couches for relaxation. This winter, the spa is offering a special: a 50-minute spa treatment (like a Thai poultice massage, using a herbal compress), 10-minute oxygen bar session and lunch at the on-site hotel, Bully Ranch, all for $275.
Bully Ranch is a casual Southwestern restaurant that taps into Colorado’s cowboy vibes. It serves up famous Bully Burgers, which claim to be the “world’s best burgers.” Try the Bully Bourbon Burger for something a little naughty and a lot yummy: smoked cheddar, applewood smoked bacon, sauteed onions and Jim Beam demi-glaze.
Round out the day by staying the night at the Sonnenalp, a family-owned hotel that’s iconic in Vail. The Sonnenalp was named the No. 4 resort in the West by Travel + Leisure in 2016.
The next morning, walk across the street to the Sebastian, which offers an amazing new Sunday Funday Brunch. This brunch of all brunches includes a bottomless Bloody Mary and prosecco bar and innovative menu items, like cornflake-crusted French toast, duck carnitas and a slow-roasted heritage pulled pork benedict with cilantro hollandaise.
For your second night in Vail, stay a block away at the Four Seasons, Vail’s most luxurious accommodations (with our favorite outdoor pool, with direct views of the slopes). Guests at the Four Seasons can take out a new 2018 SL 550 Mercedes Benz convertible for free. Request a GoPro Hero 5 Black and film your adventure.
Go Mountain Coaster Hopping
Take your adrenaline on a staycation in the Colorado mountains and visit the four new mountain roller coasters.
In Copper Mountain, there’s the 5,800-foot Rocky Mountain Coaster, which will send you plunging 430 feet straight down. The average grade here is not for the timid, at 10.9 percent.
Continue west to Snowmass, where you can experience the new Breathtaker Mountain Coaster, which will snake through the trees between the ski trails. You get to control the speed on this ride, but beware of the thrilling 410-foot vertical drop.
North of I-70 you can visit Steamboat’s Outlaw Mountain Coaster, which is slightly longer than the other two coasters — this claims to be the longest mountain coaster in North America, spanning more than 6,000 feet — but it’s slightly less steep, with a vertical drop of 400 feet. Oh, this one brings some 360-degree circles. You may need to extract your stomach from your throat.
The last new coaster is down south at the Purgatory Resort in Durango. This guy’s the shortest and the least steep: 4,000 feet long with a 300-foot vertical. But in that length, it packs nine different switchbacks and a full loop.
Live in Luxury in Beaver Creek
Beaver Creek has some of our favorite ski slopes in the state, but it also has some of our favorite luxury accommodations. You can’t beat the Beaver Creek Lodge, a stunning boutique hotel located right in the center of Beaver Creek Village, with excellent restaurants and shopping. Float in the indoor-outdoor swimming pool before retreating to your suite filled with handcrafted wood furnishings; the lodge is the only all-suite resort in Beaver Creek.
Conde Nast named the Beaver Creek Lodge one of the 20 best resorts in Colorado, and we couldn’t agree more. It was also named one of the world’s top family hotels by Travel + Leisure, and it’s a AAA Four Diamond hotel. The list of awards is extensive.
Need advice on what to do while in town? Ask the concierge to help you plan the perfect day.
- Wander through Beaver Creek Village and browse the art galleries.
- Try a “crimpster” at Hooked. That’s shrimp inside a crab inside a lobster, and it’s the most delicious and ridiculous thing you will ever experience. A must-eat for seafood lovers.
- Eat at Toscanini, with views of the ice skating rink in the heart of town. The Italian food here is delicious. Especially the mussels, roasted calamari and lemon cheesecake for dessert.