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Off-the-Slopes Colorado Activities

Wintry options go beyond ski and snowboard in Colorado

For a winter hikes, try Rocky Mountain Park\’s eastern side, where lighter snowfall can mean there\’s no need for snowshoes on the trails.
Enjoying the snow in Colorado doesn’t have to mean strapping on skis or hopping on a snowboard. The state’s wonderful winter offers a bevy of other sport activities to enjoy.

Every year, the tiny southwestern Colorado town of Ouray hosts the annual Ouray Ice Festival, one of the premier ice-climbing festivals in the U.S. The event, which is held at the Ouray Ice Park, draws skilled ice climbers and spectators from all over the world. The 2014 festival will take place January 9-12.

Telluride may be best known for its world-class skiing and snowboarding, but the resort offers more unique snow-based activities as well. Try snow biking to experience the mountain in a whole new way. All ages and ability levels can participate, and it makes for a great group activity.

In Vail, one of the best off-the-slopes activities is snowshoeing. The area boasts particularly well-groomed trails, offering a great way to explore some of the backcountry’s beauty. Tour outfitters in the area can get you set up with showshoes and other necessary equipment.

Georgetown Lake has been home to a unique tradition for the past 38 years – jeep ice racing, hosted by Our Gang Ice Racing. This extreme activity transforms Georgetown into a racetrack for four-wheel drive vehicles, and visitors can choose to participate, or simply watch the action.

The place to go snowmobiling is Aspen, where the sport is widely available through a variety of outfitters. You’ll feel right at home practicing this activity in Aspen, where snowmobile cross is even an event in the Winter X Games, which take place here every January.

Animal lovers can spend some time with four-legged friends at Purgatory at Durango Mountain Resort, home to the Durango Dog Ranch. The ranch offers dog-sledding tours on groomed backcountry trails for an experience you’ll never forget.

Finally, there’s always a good-old-fashioned hike. Head to the eastern side of Rocky Mountain National Park, where lighter snowfall leaves trails open for hiking without the need for showshoes. Trails range in length and difficulty, and visitors will be treated to views of lakes, streams, and valleys.

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