Colorado Gold

Colorado is the roof-top of the country. Did you know its the only one of the lower 48 into which no river flows? Yup, all rivers flow out of the state. The same is probably true for Alaska, while Hawaii is self-evident, but realize: they are not within the “lower 48”. Yes, yes, Puerto Rico, but it’s not a state, dummy … er… perhaps I’d better said, “… not yet”.

telluridaYes, Californians may claim “gold” in their skiing, but I instead appropriate the word as an adjective  and better apply to Colorado. Now, as a noun “gold” is an element, not a gem. But I really have discovered nuggets as well as gems  as I skied Colorado. And these terms are used in the CO mining industry too.

CO has more “Teeners” – mountain peaks exceeding 14,000 feet – than any other state. There are 17 ski areas, better labeled “mountains” in Colorado, plus at least 3 local areas under 1K in vertical for a total of at least 20, making this state second only to New York for total ski areas. Note: It’s #1 for resorts.

And yes, I’ve “conquered” the 1K er’s for my bucket list – all of ‘m! But I’ll go back anytime and I do often. Maybe ’cause my son, his lovely wife and 2 of my grandchildren reside in Denver, and “live” in the mountains. Yep, skiers, campers. Hikers, mountain-bikers and more. He is a die-hard; spoiled; a snow-snob. She is more practical, and need I add, she’s better looking. (Maybe it’s a matter of perspective.) The grand-kids are up-and-comers.

So high of elevations means good natural snow, but most of the resorts add snow-making to supplement their heavenly gift. CO skiing has it all.

And what’s the best of the areas? I’ve gotta note Beaver Creek and it’s older sister Vail, plus Steamboat, Aspen and Telluride – “hoity-toity’s” all. But think of Summit County with its numerous areas” Breckenridge, Keystone, Arapaho Basin, Copper Mountain and Loveland. Let’s even include the mega resort Winter Park plus the two little family areas Ski Cooper and Ski Granby as part if this region. I love Summit region because I am a wanderer. But All areas save Ski Cooper have ski-in/out units and many mansions available for rent. You can’t ignore ski-ins for a greatest family vacation!

And talk about apres activities! Some say foolishly, you don’t have to ski to enjoy vacationing in Summit. I will grant one point similar to that tripe about non-skiing: Summit offers as much fun in the off-season as it does during the real season. Anytime of the year there is dining, shopping other action-activities are including water-based with indoor pools and hot-tubing. Two crafters: Breckenridge Brewery and the Dam Brewery are in my must-do list.

Notable resorts straddle the Continental Divide and their high summits supply ample natural snow plus provide late season skiing. Monarch rests 20 minutes outside the Salida, known as the “Banana-Belt town of CO. Yet the area averages over 400 inches of natural and future plans call for eventual snowmaking. Loveland and A-Basin seem to close more from lack of interest rather than paucity of snow.

Let’s mention Wolf Creek, Purgatory at Durango, Crested Butte and note El Dora, Sunshine, and Powder Horn

Let’s note Silverton, a 1-lift adventure where “hiking” is the word and guides are the requirement on most days. It’s an adventure, but you’ve gotta be in shape. And, that’s another story!

Go to Colorado. Go gold. … Come, Ski With Me!

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Skier, rider (of sorts), wanderer, teacher, coach, blogger (wannabe), perpetual child, ...