SKI SUNDAY, MONDAY, TUESDAY…
4th March 2019
Denver International Airport ranks as one of the top 10 busiest airports in the world, in large part down to Colorado’s hyper-magnetic draw on winter skiers – it boasts no less than 30 resorts and, thanks to early-fall and late-spring snows, some of the longest ski seasons in America. But as tempting as it might be to head to the hills, you should consider Denver itself as your base – surprisingly cosmopolitan, but cool with it, if you know what we mean.
STAY: Nestled in Denver’s venerable Five Points neighbourhood, the bedrooms at eco-minded Queen Anne B&B are popping with personality. The four suites incorporate designs by local artists, and the nine smaller rooms may have mural artwork, log-cabin stylings, a private deck or a hot tub. There’s even a ‘Tower’ bedroom in the Victorian turret. The garden provides more than just a peaceful setting in which to relax as it contains more than 100 varieties of vegetables, fruits and herbs – many of which you’ll find yourself eating at breakfast. Visit queenannebnb.com
DO: Since regeneration started in the 1990s, Denver has been awash with ‘transplants’ from California and Texas, revelling in an outdoors lifestyle afforded by the city’s parks and lakes, plus its famous concert venue, the Red Rocks Amphitheatre. Its shining beacon being the rejuvenated Union Station – also, happily, still a train station. There is a booming restaurant scene – 250 openings in 2015 alone, mostly in the Lower Downtown (LoDo) district – and craft breweries feature prominently too, so the Denver Beer Trail is a highly happy, hoppy affair. Contemporary and traditional art galleries are also in the mix, mostly in the River North art district known as RiNo, and how can we ignore the dizzying effects of life at altitude in a state where smoking cannabis has been legalised. There’s good reason they call Denver the Mile High City, after all…
SKI: Many of Colorado’s ski resorts cluster around Interstate 70, slicing horizontally through the state’s northern tier – and right through Denver’s city centre too, rather conveniently. A freeway road trip from Denver hits both small ski hills and mega-resorts with ease, an hour’s drive easily taking you where the locals go: along the Continental Divide for some of the state’s highest elevation skiing. Loveland, which is actually two ski areas connected by bus, tops out as the second-highest resort in the state with its hike-to summit touching 13,010 feet. Commit to a 90-minute road trip from Denver, however, and you have a fistful of ski resorts at your feet, so to speak. Winter Park, located on Highway 40, connects three peaks under one lift ticket. Almost 60 percent of its terrain is rated advanced to expert, which explains why the U.S. Freestyle Mogul Team trains preseason here every year. But, there’s plenty of terrain for beginners, so no fear!