With a list of extreme winter sports, contests and celebrations longer than a ski pole, it’s no wonder Colorado has consistently been one of the most popular winter destinations in the States. The first few months of 2012 will be no different, with plenty of events planned to draw the masses, and a diverse selection of sport opportunities to make them stay.
Events For extreme winter sports enthusiasts, Colorado will take center stage this month and next. With major competitions taking place within weeks of each other, hundreds of athletes from across the globe will visit to compete, making the ever-popular ski location even more so during these first months of the new year.
• ESPN’s Winter X Games will bring more than 200 winter athletes to Aspen during the competition dates of Jan. 26-29. A plus for spectators: all events at Buttermilk are free and open to the public, plus Aspen/Snowmass will host a free concert at the base of Aspen Mountain. For more information, visit aspensnowmass.com.
• Hosted by Crested Butte Mountain Resort and Mountain Sports International for its 21st year, the U.S. Extreme Freeskiing Championships will take place from Feb. 8-12, where competitors show off just how extreme their freeskiing can be during four days of competition. Juniors aged 14-17 are welcome to participate. For more information, visit freeskiingworldtour.com.
Snow & Ice Watching the action just won’t be enough for true adventure-seekers. Check out the following skiing, snowboarding, ice climbing, ice fishing and even ice racing events to keep any adrenaline junkie satisfied.
• Guided skiing at Silverton Mountain provides more than 1,800 acres of backcountry-type terrain, free of trails and grooming—perfect for those willing to face black diamonds. Daily rates start at $99 pp guided, $49 pp unguided. For more information, visit silvertonmountain.com.
• If height is a motivating factor, consider a day trip with Telluride Helitrax, which operates in some of the highest ski terrain in North America from 10,000 ft. to 13,500 ft. Guided heli-skiing tours are available, with up to 20 seats available per day. Single-day rates start at $1,099 pp and include six guided runs, powder skis, backcountry poles, avalanche beacon and food and water throughout the day. For more information, visit helitrax.com.
• Adrenaline-junkies might enjoy Jeep ice racing, held on weekends during January and February in Georgetown. There, anyone can participate as Jeeps and other four-wheel drive vehicles speed and slide across frozen Georgetown Lake. For more information, visit ourgangiceracing.com.
• In Lake City, the 2012 Lake City Ice Climbing Festival will be held Feb. 4, allowing your clients to show off their lead- and top-rope climbing skills. Registration is $20 pp. For more information, visit lakecityiceclimbs.com.
• For one last fling before the ice starts to melt, travelers can attend or participate in the Leadville/Twin Lakes Ice Fishing Derby, held Feb. 18-19. Spectators will enjoy the excitement while competitors battle. For more information, go to visitleadvilleco.com.
Hotels Situated in Aspen and within reach of Crested Butte is Hotel Aspen. The 45-room property offers mountainside views and access to a year-round heated pool, as well as a centralized location within the area’s attractions. Standard winter rates range from $99 to $499 dbl. For more information, call (800) 527-7369 or visit hotelaspen.com.
• Durango Mountain Resort just outside of Silverton offers visitors five different properties for deluxe accommodations, as well as a wide range of lessons, events and activities all bookable from one site. For rates and details, call (800) 525-0892 or visit durangomountainresort.com.
• Guests headed for the Leadville ice fishing derby can stay at the Delaware Hotel. Dating back to 1886, the property is just as historically educational as it is enjoyable. Rates start from $65 sgl or $105 dbl. For more information, call (800) 748-2004 or visit delawarehotel.com.
For additional information about any events or accommodations listed here, call (800) 265-6723 or visit colorado.com.