December 2016 marks the 70th anniversary of Araphoe Basin Ski Area, which will be celebrated with several special deals and events throughout the season. Araphoe Basin’s Black Mountain Logde at mid-mountain will host a Moonlight Dinner Series, held on the Saturday of the full moon cycle each month throughout the ski season.
Aspen will host the 2017 Audi Ski World Cup Finals from 15th – 17th March 2017, marking the first time the event has been held in the USA in two decades. The race will feature the best men’s and ladies’ alpine ski athletes in the world competing in downhill, super-G, slalom and nation’s team event. Visitors can watch as the athletes take on the steep and challenging faces of Aspen Mountain and the historic site of America’s Downhill. As a renowned arts and culture destination, Aspen Art Museum and Aspen Skiing Company have a longstanding Art in Unexpected Places partnership and for this season have announced lift ticket designs by contemporary artist Laura Owens, reminiscent of Pop Art silkscreen prints and seventies illustrations, which will debut on 24th November 2016.
The historic mining town founded in 1859 is fostering a new set of riches this season, with a number of culinary openings to satisfy visitors after a day on the slopes. Chef Daniel O’Brien (the Top Chef behind Washington, D.C.’s Seasonal Pantry) is leading the way on the intimate and modern farm-to-table experience at the Breckenridge Distillery, with a dedicated whole animal process using spent grains for feed. Visitors can expect bold flavours paired with the distillery’s own spirits, including their new gin and pear or espresso flavour vodkas. On the mountain, a new 490-seat restaurant atop Peak 7 will open in December 2016 to offer a variety of homemade foods paired with dramatic views of Summit County. In Breckenridge’s nationally-recognised Historic District, the Brown Hotel and Restaurant has now reopened following a year of renovations, with regularly scheduled live music. Formerly a hotel, the restored bar features wood re-used from the 1860’s barn that once stood on the same spot as the property.
As Colorado gears up to celebrate a ‘Summer of Adventure’ in 2017, gateway town to the Rockies, Estes Park, will celebrate its centennial year on 17th April. The town is known for its close proximity to Rocky Mountain National Park; its scenic drives and historic landmarks, as well as the famous Stanley Hotel, which inspired Stephen King to write his novel, The Shining, 40 years ago. Adventure across Estes Park ranges from hard core cliff-camping and rock climbing to watching Elk rutting in the fall months.
Renowned for the restorative power of its mineral hot springs, Glenwood Springs is known as a relaxing destination, which may now be a necessity as work has completed on a cycle route linking the city to Denver International Airport, without the need to touch the highway. The last portion of the I-70 bike path opened at the end of September 2016, enabling cyclists to travel the 150-mile stretch, which has never before been achievable without riding on the Interstate.
Mesa Verde County
Mancos, situated just six miles from the mystical Mesa Verde National Park, has been named by the Smithsonian as one of the “20 best small towns to visit in 2016”. In addition to its proximity to one of the USA’s national treasures, Mancos has an authentic cowboy culture with a visit downtown requiring navigation among stagecoaches and cattle drives and one of Colorado’s oldest bars, the Columbine.
This year, new adventure tour company, Canyoning Colorado, introduced canyoneering descent tours to the south west city of Ouray. Ouray has been frequented by seasoned canyoners for years due to its abundance of canyons and waterfalls, with the addition of Canyoning Colorado making the sport available to visitors with no experience for the first time between May and October – perfect for a summer adventure. From December to March, Ouray Ice Park will open for ice climbing with local experts, San Juan Mountain Guides, providing adventurers with North America’s most comprehensive Introduction to Ice Climbing Course. Visitors can enjoy a relaxing soak in the historic Ouray Hot Springs after a day on the mountains, which has now reopened after an extensive renovation project throughout 2016, ahead of its 90th year in 2017.
Telluride Regional Airport (TEX), just 10 minutes from the town and the ski area, will once again see a daily commercial service beginning on 17th December 2016. The Denver to Telluride flights will be provided by Great Lakes (United partners) and will run year-round, averaging 10 flights per week. Telluride/Montrose (MTJ) is also boasting a new Denver service with the addition of twice-weekly Allegiant Air flights. UK travellers can travel onward to TEX following a direct flight from London Heathrow the Denver International Airport, which is operated daily. New for winter 2016, The Hotel Telluride is offering a Master of the Mountain package that invites guests to become the master of Telluride’s rugged terrain with two pairs of customised Pete Wagner skis – one of the most advanced cobblers of skis in the world. www.visittelluride.com / www.thehoteltelluride.com
Further information can be found at www.colorado.com