Winter Family Vacation in Colorado: 50+ New Events, Attractions, Lodging Deals & More
posted by: Amber Johnson
Coming off of one of the snowiest winters on record, Colorado is buzzing with new developments, lodging offerings, unique adventures and special events for the season ahead. With newsworthy offerings including new lift service and terrain on the state’s storied slopes, the Sopris Splash Zone adventure river, the full immersion dog sled experience, the opening of the highly anticipated U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Museum and Hall of Fame in Colorado Springs, the world premiere of Claude Monet: The Truth of Nature at the Denver Art Museum and an exciting line-up of events and anniversaries, Colorado is the place to be this winter.
Following is a sampling of what’s new in Colorado.
Exciting New Events, Festivals & Anniversaries:
The Science Behind Pixar Exhibit Debuts at The Denver Museum of Nature & Science, Oct. 11, 2019: This exhibit will provide a unique look into the Pixar process and explore the science and technology behind some of the most beloved animated films and their characters.
Old West Fest, Ridgway, Oct. 11-13, 2019: 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the movie True Grit that was filmed in Ridgway and Ouray County. The first annual Ridgway Old West Fest will celebrate Ridgway’s brief transformation into Fort Smith, Arkansas half a century ago. Festivities will highlight Ridgway’s film, ranching and railroad heritage and celebrate Western arts and culture.
Claude Monet: The Truth of Nature Makes World Premiere in Denver, Oct. 21, 2019 – Feb. 2, 2020: The Denver Art Museum will host the most comprehensive U.S. exhibition of Monet paintings in more than two decades. The exhibition will feature more than 120 paintings that span Monet’s entire career and will highlight the celebrated French impressionist artist’s enduring relationship with nature and his response to the varied and distinct places in which he worked.
Ouray Celebrates 25th Anniversary of the Ouray Ice Festival, Jan. 23-26, 2020: This annual ice festival transforms the southwestern town of Ouray into an absolute ice climbing mecca. The Ouray Ice Festival celebrates the growing sport of ice climbing with daily vendor exhibitions, climbing clinics, demo opportunities and the chance to watch some of the world’s best ice and mixed climbing talent compete.
Winter Folk: Music & Photography Showcase Premieres in Longmont, Feb. 7 – March 1, 2020: Winter Folk will take place Friday-Sunday for four consecutive weekends featuring 40 bands such as Brett Dennen, Adam & Ben of Yonder Mountain String Band, Josiah Johnson formerly of the Head & The Heart, Daniel Rodriguez of Elephant Revival and more. The event will also feature multiple photographers in a showcase. Proceeds from the event provide Colorado schools with instruments and allow the Future Arts Foundation to host free youth arts workshops.
The Westin Riverfront’s 10th Mountain Division Ski Tro
Leadville Chosen to Host the 2020 U.S. National Snowshoe Championships, Feb. 28 – March 1, 2020: The highest-elevation city in North America, Leadville, Colo., will host the 2020 U.S. National Snowshoe Championships and will be the highest-elevation competition in the U.S. Nationals’ history. The course passes through lush lodgepole pine forests with unparalleled views of Colorado’s two highest peaks, Mt. Elbert and Mt. Massive.
Barstool Racing Returns to Minturn March 2020: Each winter “athletes” affix a pair of skis to the base of a barstool and come out to “race” down a snow-covered course in Minturn, just west of Vail. The rules are simple: If it supports a tush, and rolls downhill then it’s “street” legal.
Enticing New Attractions, Activities & Adventures:
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Opens Water’s Edge: Africa Exhibit: Opening in the fall of 2019, this new exhibit will allow guests to waddle alongside penguins, teeter over a hippo yard on a suspension bridge and view an island of lemurs. Other onsite animal interactions include feeding the largest reticulated giraffe herd in captivity, the resident elephants and even a black rhino.
Colorado Mountain School Offers New Backcountry Programming: Estes Park’s Colorado Mountain School is expanding its winter programming to include a new multi-day development series combining multiple courses into a structured progression and includes mountaineering and rock climbing and, new for winter 2019, will expand to include ice climbing, backcountry and avalanche training.
Estes Park Rock Climbing to Offer New Elkins Snowshoe Tours: Estes Park Rock Climbing has partnered with the award-winning Elkins Distillery to provide a new exclusive package that includes a four-hour morning snowshoe tour in the picturesque backcountry of Rocky Mountain National Park. After the snowshoe tour, a catered lunch will be provided alongside some of Colorado’s finest whisky.
Glenwood Springs’ Hotel Colorado Offers New Historic Tours: The Hotel Colorado now offers Walk Back in Time Historic Tours guided by the “ghosts” of colorful characters from Glenwood Springs’ past in partnership with The Glenwood Springs Historical Society and Frontier Museum. Each character portrayer will share unique and haunting stories of The Hotel Colorado’s history during a one-hour tour.
Sopris Splash Zone Open at Glenwood Hot Springs: Opened in August 2019, the highly-anticipated Sopris Splash Zone is the family-friendly resort’s newest addition to the hot springs, spa and lodge property in Glenwood Springs. It features a fast-moving adventure river for older kids and adults, and a wade-pool with waterfalls for younger children as well as fountain designed for both play and show.
First and only U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum and Hall of Fame To Open in Colorado Springs: The $90M project will be the most accessible museum in the world with an array of tailored, high-tech exhibits opening spring 2020. Colorado Springs is home to the U.S. Olympic Committee and Colorado Springs Olympic Training Center.
Vista Verde Dude & Guest Ranch to Offer New Snoga & Ice Fishing Experiences: New for winter 2020, Vista Verde will debut Snoga in which the ranch’s yoga instructor guides guests on snowshoes for a short hike out to the rustic Homestead cabin, where a cozy fire and yoga mats are ready to go for yoga class. The ranch will also offer guided ice fishing in a heated shelter where guests can either drill their own fishing hole or observe the professionals.
Major Ski Resort News and On-Mountain Improvements:
The winter 2019/20 season welcomes major upgrades to improve the guest experience at ski areas and resorts across Colorado.
In Breckenridge, the Peak 8 Base Area is being transformed with new escalators, skier services, and amenities including an outdoor ice skating rink.
Copper Mountain’s new Tucker Mountain lift will unlock access to 273 acres of expert terrain previously serviced by the Tucker snowcat and backcountry hiking.
Cooper is significantly expanding terrain and will install a new surface lift. The expansion gives guests access to nearly 100 acres of intermediate and, for the first time in its history, truly expert terrain will be available.
Vail Ski Resort will unveil the first phase of an ambitious snowmaking expansion that will create more reliable early- and late-season conditions with high-quality snow.
Beaver Creek Resort is expanding its snowmaking system at Red Buffalo Park while showcasing a newly renovated Children’s Ski School and a remodeled Village.
Monarch Mountain celebrates its 80th anniversary with more gladed tree skiing and a new kid-friendly, interpretive ski run.
Guests to Telluride Ski Resort can experience 40 new acres of north-facing gladed terrain around Lift 9 this upcoming winter. This new tree skiing will be for advanced and expert skiers and will also include new natural features like steep chutes and rock drops.
A $4 million expansion has begun at Sunlight Mountain Resort that will expand gladed tree skiing, add five new hike back runs and an additional 500 vertical feet of skiing in the expert only area. When completed, the entire project will feature a new lift and 100 acres of new terrain.
Powderhorn Resort will welcome a new food and beverage location in its base area, an Umbrella Bar for visitors to sit back and enjoy. Guests will also have the option of staying slope-side in the new tiny home village year-round.
Purgatory Resort will offer free ski and snowboard lessons to all first-time skiers and riders of all ages.
New Lodging Properties and Major Renovations:
Grand Hyatt Vail Opens: The Grand Hyatt Vail recently opened marking the first in a U.S. mountain resort destination. The 285-room, ski-in/ski-out resort sits at the base of the iconic Vail Mountain on the banks of Gore Creek and offers guests their own ski lift for convenient access to world-class skiing and snowboarding.
Gravity Haus Debuts in Breckenridge: Gravity Haus will debut in December 2019 and is a ski-in/ski-out boutique property in Breckenridge. Designed to activate a community of like-minded outdoor enthusiasts year-round, Gravity Haus will offer ongoing insider experiences ranging from outdoor excursions to social programming and will feature 60 distinctly curated rooms. Onsite amenities at Gravity Haus will include Dryland fitness and a sports recovery center, expert-led backcountry experiences, a super trampoline, farm-to-cup Unravel coffee, nourishing dining at Cabin Juice, Japanese-inspired onsen and more.
The Hotel Colorado Unveils Major Renovations in 2019: The Hotel Colorado is finishing up major renovations to be completed by winter 2020. Under its new ownership, the hotel is remodeling its meeting rooms, guest rooms and common spaces staying true to its history while implementing state-of-the-art improvements. In the process, there have been some significant historic discoveries.
Kinship Landing to Open in Downtown Colorado Springs: Opening in 2020, Kinship Landing is a new hotel concept that will offer what today’s travelers demand: authentic and engaging travel experiences that connect them to the local community. The boutique hotel will feature a community space to talk about the day’s adventures along with lockers equipped with charging stations and available for gear storage, an inviting bar area and more.
New LOGE Breckenridge Hotel Inspires Exploration and Community: Fully opening in fall 2019 and inspired by the surfing, climbing and camping culture of the ‘70s and the relaxed energy of road tripping with friends, LOGE encourages guests to get out and explore together. LOGE Breckenridge features 38 rooms and a 20-bed hostel, meeting space for 48, bar/café, mountain bike and ski demo center, outdoor stage and common area and fire pits, all next door to some of Breckenridge’s best trails.
W Aspen and The Sky Residences at W Aspen Now Open: Opened September 2019, the new W Hotel and Residences in Aspen offers 88 guestrooms and 11 W-branded fractional residences. Conveniently located at the base of Aspen Mountain, the development features a 12,000-square-foot rooftop bar and pool with expansive views of Aspen Mountain as well as unbeatable ski-in/ski-out access.
The Little Nell Celebrates 30th Anniversary with Remodel: To mark the 30th anniversary of Aspen’s famed Little Nell hotel, the property underwent an interior renovation of the living room, lobby and the après-ski bar called Chair 9. The hotel will celebrate with commemorative events and happenings that will take place throughout the 2019/20 winter season.
New Hostel Style Lodging Now Available at YMCA of The Rockies: New for fall 2019, the YMCA of The Rockies will offer an additional lodging option to their traditional cabins and lodge rooms. The Hostel at Ranch House will allow guests 18+ to book single-beds in shared rooms. Housed in one of the property’s traditional mountain lodges, guests at the Hostel at Ranch House will have access to a full kitchen, shared living areas and bathrooms. Guests also receive a day pass to participate in all of the YMCA’s activities and facilities.
Enticing Lodging Packages & Amenities:
YMCA Snow Mountain Ranch Full Immersion Dog Sled Experience: New for winter 2020, Snow Mountain Ranch in Granby is offering a full immersion dog sled experience that will provide guests instruction and will allow them to work up to a solo sled ride with a team of dogs on the expansive resort property.
First Tracks/Last Tracks at The Limelight Hotels in Aspen & Snowmass: Offering guests the chance to ski/ride freshly groomed corduroy or powder before Snowmass Mountain opens to the public, The Limelight Hotel’s First Tracks program will take place every Friday beginning January 2020. This service is complimentary and available to the first six guests who register. Additionally, the hotel’s Last Tracks program allows guests to join the ski patrol at both Aspen and Snowmass Mountains to be a part of the Patrol’s safety measures that includes a final “sweep” of the mountain.
Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Celebrates 30 Years with $30K Package: In celebration of Park Hyatt Beaver Creek’s 30th Anniversary, the property is offering an exclusive $30,000 package for two that will include accommodations in the property’s luxurious 1,760 square foot Rial Oxford Suite, lift tickets for Beaver Creek Mountain, rental equipment and a $3K shopping spree with personal shopper at Gorsuch, cat skiing with Vail Powder Guides, a private butler, a sleigh ride dinner to Beano’s Cabin, spa experiences and much more.
Interesting Food and Beverage Offerings:
Double Barrel Club and Rose & Thorn Open in Denver’s LoDo Neighborhood: Opened in September 2019, Rose & Thorn serves upscale international street food with a Latin emphasis and Agave bar. Guests enjoy flavored artisan ice enhanced cocktails from the world’s first Ice Laboratory and explore mouthwatering culinary delites. Located below Rose & Thorn is a 1950’s rum speakeasy where visitors experience the feel and taste of old Havana.
The Collective Opens in Snowmass: The winter 2019/2020 season brings the completion of a build out of the interior of The Collective Snowmass – the Base Village’s new community center. The project includes the construction on mixsix, a new restaurant, bar and outdoor patio by acclaimed Aspen chef Martin Oswald.
.La Nonna Opens in Vail: Executive Chef Simone Reatti serves up authentic Italian fare in his recently opened restaurant La Nonna Ristorante. Nonna, which means grandma in Italian, is both a name and inspiration for Chef Reatti as his own grandmother introduced him to cooking.
Maine Shack Now Open in Denver’s LoHi Neighborhood: Opened in July 2019, Maine Shack is a coastal seafood joint inspired by chef and owner Max Mackissock’s New England roots. The menu offers lobster rolls, New England specialties and more, showcasing a variety of ingredients sourced from the Gulf of Maine.
Pikes Peak Brewing Company to expand to Colorado Springs: Pikes Peak Brewing Company will expand into downtown Colorado Springs with the establishment of its Lager House, anchoring a new market concept. Lager House will produce small batch, hand crafted lagers and will also offer signature beers from the original brewery established in Monument in 2011. The market will be a community of independent Colorado businesses collectively offering a place to eat, drink, shop and connect.
Sam’s Debuts at the Top of Snowmass Mountain: New for the winter season, Aspen Snowmass introduces a new Italian restaurant located at 10,620 feet at the top of Sam’s Knob on Snowmass. The new restaurant, aptly named Sam’s, is a modern Italian concept that will offer diners sweeping views of the Elk Mountains and a sophisticated, lively dining experience.
Sunday Vinyl to Open Fall 2019: From James Beard Foundation Award-winning team of Frasca Inc., including Master Sommelier Bobby Stuckey and chef Lachlan Mackinnon Patterson, Sunday Vinyl will open fall 2019 in Denver. Inspired by Europe’s vibrant wine bar culture and by Stuckey’s tradition of drinking great wines and listening to an eclectic soundtrack of vinyl albums on Sunday, his day off, Sunday Vinyl will offer a large by-the-glass wine program, a streamlined menu of European classics, and a boisterous vinyl-only playlist curated by Stuckey in partnership with Vinyl Me Please.
Tributary Food Hall & Drinkery Opens in Golden: Opened in August 2019, Tributary Food Hall & Drinkery brings eight carefully curated food and beverage artisans to the heart of downtown Golden. A new concept from celebrated chef Daniel Asher and restaurateur Josh Dinar, Tributary is the town’s first food hall and offers inspired cuisine for diners to sit and savor in a cool, hip environment.
Major News on the Horizon for Spring/Summer 2020 and Into 2021:
Denver Art Museum to Collaborate with Award-Winning Chef, Jen Jasinki on New Restaurant Concepts: Opening in June 2020 and coinciding with the first reopening phase of the DAM’s Martin Building, The Denver Art Museum will debut two new dining options in collaboration with James Beard Award winner and celebrated Denver chef Jennifer Jasinski. The Ponti will combine art and dining, presenting a locally-sourced and inspired menu with high standards of sustainability. Cafe Gio will offer quick-service, casual dining.
Flying W Ranch to Reopen in Colorado Springs Memorial Day Weekend 2020: After a complete loss during the Waldo Canyon Fire, this western Chuckwagon supper and dinner theater returns to the Pikes Peak region. The brand-new venue will feature the area’s best BBQ and performances by the acclaimed Flying W Wranglers.
The Sheraton Denver Downtown to Undergo $80M Transformation: Slated to debut in April 2020, the Sheraton Denver Downtown has kicked off a transformation that will touch all aspects of the hotel including a new arrival experience, 133,000 square feet in renovated meeting space and 1,231 newly redesigned guest rooms as well as new, world-class culinary and beverage experiences.
Copper Mountain to Welcome Its First Hotel in 2020: Center Village at Copper Mountain will welcome a new hotel in 2020. The anticipated four-story hotel will have 127 guest rooms and offer a mix of two queen beds, king beds and suites.
MeowWolf Comes to Denver in 2021: Santa Fe’s lauded arts and entertainment group, MeowWolf, will be opening a new immersive arts experience in Denver in 2021. Meow Wolf is comprised of over 300 employees creating and supporting art across a variety of media, including architecture, sculpture, painting, photography, video production, cross-reality (AR/VR/MR), music, audio engineering, narrative writing, costuming and performance.
New Pikes Peak Summit House Experience To Open in 2021: Pikes Peak is one of the nation’s most iconic mountains and inspired Katharine Lee Bates to pen the words to “America the Beautiful.” The new 38,000-square-foot Pikes Peak Summit House complex will include a newly designed and constructed Summit Visitor Center, elevating the experience for visitors who summit the peak via car, bicycle or foot.
Pikes Peak Cog Railway To Reopen in 2021: The Pikes Peak Cog Railway will reopen after a multi-year hiatus for repairs in 2021. The Pikes Peak Cog Railway is one of Colorado Springs’ top attractions and since 1891, has taken thousands of people to the 14,115-foot summit of Pikes Peak.
For more information and travel ideas, visit www.COLORADO.com.