Well over a million skiers come every year to enjoy the world-class terrain at Breckenridge, and Copper Mountain hosts the USASA National Championship, which is the largest snowboarding and freeskiing competition in the world. Not to mention Keystone Mountain’s incredible tree-skiing options and family-friendly atmosphere, all three of these mountains are a true skier's paradise.
But, is it enjoyable for people that don’t ski or snowboard to come and visit Summit County in the winter? The answer is, absolutely yes! There are plenty of other fun things to do in Summit County besides skiing, and an important thing to note, is that Colorado gets 300 days of sunshine (we call these days “bluebird days”) which makes ‘winter’ that much more bearable and enjoyable for those people that tend to feel colder than others. Yes, temperatures can get pretty low, but with the sun shining, it easily adds 20 degrees to the real temp making it much more enjoyable to do activities outside.
If you’re still looking for something fun to down the winter, tubing is a great option. Tubing is fun for all ages, requires no skill, and there’s zero chance you will accidentally end up navigating moguls on a black diamond trail. Centrally located in Summit County, the Frisco Adventure Park has various lanes of tubing for different experiences- some with stepper terrain and others a bit mellower. Make sure to grab a reservation at https://www.townoffrisco.com/play/winter-tubing-skiing/tubing/ this is a great activity for the whole family to enjoy. For other tubing options, hop on the gondola at Keystone to get to their mountaintop tubing park- such a cool option if you are interested in taking a gondola ride anyway! Make reservations here https://www.keystoneresort.com/explore-the-resort/activities-and-events/winter-activities/adventure-point-tubing.aspx If you’re in Breckenridge, check out Carter Park, which is one of the only sledding locations in Breckenridge. The park is located at the south end of High Street and adjacent to Breckenridge Elementary School. There is also a fenced dog park if your furry friend needs to burn some energy. The sledding hill is free of charge, just bring your own sled, mittens, and hot chocolate.
Whether you’ve been on a snowmobile or not, there are a few great companies throughout the county that will take you on a guided tour throughout the mountains of Keystone, Dillon, Breckenridge, and Silverthorne, or you can opt to rent and take one out on your own. The mountains combine with lofty altitudes to create a tremendous snowpack that is ideal for snowmobiling. Keystone Snowmobiling Tours and Rentals offer an adventurous high country escape, with an endless supply of powder-filled bowls and meadows to explore. Give them a call at 970-455-4040 to make reservations in advance. Another great option is High Country Tours which operate out of Breckenridge and Keystone. Check-in with them here http://highcountrytours.com/ to see when they will begin running their tours for this year. We need a little bit more snow!
3. Scenic Sleigh Rides
Go dashing through the snow aboard Keystone’s scenic horse-drawn sleigh. You’ll enjoy an hour of outdoor fun in the crisp winter air as you travel through the beautiful Soda Creek Valley. The sleigh ride guides will tell tales of yesteryear and a stop at an original Keystone homestead will have you warmed with hot cider. Make reservations ahead of time here https://www.keystoneresort.com/explore-the-resort/activities-and-events/winter-activities/scenic-sleigh-ride.aspx Two Below Zero in Frisco is another great option- they currently are only able to offer their scenic hot cocoa rides or private rides. Reserve in advance here https://www.townoffrisco.com/play/winter-activities/sleigh-rides/
4. Nordic Skiing & Snowshoeing
With more than nine miles of groomed trails and access to more than 35 miles of nearby trails throughout the White River National Forest, the Keystone Nordic Center is a haven for outdoor recreation. Choose from classic, skate skis, or snowshoes for your next adventure. With nordic skiing, you still have the opportunity to get the feel of skiing and can explore the terrain in the backcountry, with little to no scary hills to battle. Open every day from 9 to 4, the Breckenridge Nordic Center trail area covers over 1,400 acres of enchanting forest with soaring mountain views, yet you won’t have to drive far to find them. The BNC is just a minute from downtown Breckenridge and the Free Ski and Ride Shuttle stop at their front door. For more information, go to their website https://breckenridgenordic.com/nordic-experience/
5. Dog Sledding
What a way to experience the mountains! Good Times Adventures is located in Breckenridge and has an incredible team of dogs. Their tour, which can handle up to 6 people, is run as a "relay" - guests will switch off between running the dogs, riding in the dogsled, and riding on a small passenger sleigh with the guide. It is highly recommended calling ahead or booking online in advance for this adventure http://goodtimesadventures.com/dogsledding.html
6. Winter Fat Biking
Biking in the winter? Absolutely! Bundle up like a skier and ride like a mountain biker, fat biking is a fun new way to play in the snow and get around town in the winter. Fat bikes tend to have a wider back tire and have no front or rear suspension. Breckenridge offers a guided fat biking tour through the Breckenridge Gold Run Nordic Center, and another company called Ridden will guide you to the Breck Distillery and Breck Brewery. Check out Ridden’s availability here http://riddengear.com/
7. Ice Castles
The Ice Castles in Dillon are back this year. The castles are built by using hundreds of thousands of icicles hand-placed by professional ice artists. The castles include breathtaking LED-lit sculptures, frozen thrones, ice-carved tunnels, slides, and more. There will be limited tickets for the experience, due to capacity limits, so grab tickets in advance here https://icecastles.com/colorado
8. Ice Skating
Currently. Keystone’s outside ice skating rink is not quite frozen yet, but as soon as it does, you’ll be able to head over to the rink at Dercum Square which will be open from 1-8 pm. There are no reservations for this activity, but capacity will be limited. In Breckenridge, the Stephen C. West Ice Arena offers an indoor skating option. Check their site to see when public skates are scheduled, and then just grab a pair of skates at the rink! https://www.breckenridgerecreation.com/locations/stephen-c-west-ice-arena
9. Ice Fishing
Fishing in the winter is a whole different experience from fishing in the warmer months. With Lake Dillon centrally located in Summit County, join Alpine Fishing Adventures who offer fully guided Ice Fishing trips just before Thanksgiving until the middle of April depending on lake ice conditions. Lake Dillon is one of the most beautiful reservoirs in the Rockies at just over 9000 feet elevation and is within minutes of Breckenridge, Keystone, Frisco, Silverthorne, Dillon, and Vail. The lake has a cap of ice on it for nearly 6 months out of the year! The surrounding beauty, great fishing, and unique environment make Lake Dillon the perfect venue for a relaxing day out with family and friends. Check out their reservation system here http://fishdillon.com/ice-fishing/
Big Ed’s is another company worth checking out if you’re interested in ice fishing! Click here for more info https://bigedsfishing.com/ice-fishing-dillon/
There’s no doubt that people flock to the mountains of Summit County in the winter to ski the amazing and variable terrain at the Resorts of Keystone, Copper, and Breckenridge, however that’s not the only thing there is to do when visiting this winter wonderland! Try one or all of the above-mentioned adventures and you’ll be able to capture a love for the winter in Summit County in a heartbeat!