Shed the ski jacket and get busy with the state’s best warm-weather activities.
The scenery doesn’t quit when the snowfall does — nor do the lifts. Ride or hike to the peaks for rope courses and happy hours, and mosey around town for rodeos and farmers markets.
Be wowed by the rodeo
Heidi Johnson, Concierge Team Leader at The Westin Riverfront Resort at Beaver Creek Mountain, describes it as a small, mountain-town rodeo. The Beaver Creek Rodeo Series, held Thursday nights late June through August in the town of Avon, is a round-up of lively events — calf-roping to bull-riding — all with the mountains as backdrop. Several local eateries dish up fare; Johnson’s pick is the pulled pork sandwich from Moe’s Original BBQ. Perhaps the best example of the hometown color is the mutton bustin’ event for buckaroos 50 pounds and smaller. Kids get the chance to hold their own atop sheep: Whoever clings on longest claims a trophy.
(Photo right: Thomas Green)
Stroll, shop and nosh
It’s brunch meets souvenir shopping, all while burning calories. Every Sunday morning starting at 10 a.m., 130 vendors gather at Vail Farmers’ Market and Art Show. Stroll Vail Village in between savoring breakfast burritos, gyros, crepes or cupcakes, then try on clogs, jewelry, sporting attire and more. The art community takes advantage of the venue to showcase paintings, photography, glassware and wood furniture. If you still have cash in your pocket, use it to tote home locally made jerky, wine, almond lace cookies, toffee and other foodstuffs. Best of all, live music keeps the energy high until vendors pack up around 3 p.m.
Enjoy pinnacle hiking
Sure, you can hike anywhere in Colorado and the views will be amazing, but scale a ski resort and snag an added bonus: The landscape is maintained to provide maximum vistas. The hiking center at Beaver Creek Resort is among the state’s most extensive: In addition to providing a network of trails to suit all fitness levels, they rent hiking poles and guide private hikes as well as free treks daily at 11 a.m. Johnson recommends the four-hour round-trip to Beaver Creek Lake, ideal for the intermediate set. The path passes aspen and pine forests, horse stables, trout ponds, and finishing at, yes, Beaver Lake.
Learn the ropes
Vail Ski Resort features a high ropes challenge course at Adventure Ridge, its collection of adrenaline-themed attractions at the end of Eagle Bahn Gondola. The course is divided into three routes of increasing elevations and difficulty; each of these offers two tracks with varying obstacles ranging from rope bridges to swinging logs and beyond. Guides are stationed throughout to offer encouragement or tips, and make sure guests progress comfortably through. Note that a lift ticket is required to access the peak’s activities and restaurants. During summer, Friday night happy hours offer live music and lawn games. Johnson recommends staying at least until dusk. “The sunset view at 10,000 feet — there’s nothing like it.”
Sled in shorts
You won’t find many alpine slides in the U.S., and that of Steamboat Springs — the Howler — is especially unique for its views of Mt. Werner and the downtown area. With side-by-side tracks, guests can race to the bottom of the 2,400-foot course. Kids ages 7 and older can ride alone; two- to six-year-olds must be joined by an adult. The course is weather dependent; the season extends late May through late September.
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