Now, more than ever, we need to spend more time outdoors. The COVID-19 pandemic has made it difficult for people to socialize in the buildings that they normally would. It’s much safer for us to spend time outdoors, where we can socially distance from each other and breathe in the fresh air that circulates regularly.
For that matter, spending time outdoors often allows us to exercise more freely, allowing us to be healthier in general. The problem is that many people don’t really spend as much time outside as they should. It’s been estimated that less than 20% of all Americans spent recreational time outside at least once a week in 2019. This applies to many Coloradans as well, despite the fact that Colorado offers some amazing opportunities for people to spend time outdoors.
Of course, what you may encounter as a Coloradan is that it’s especially difficult to spend time outside during the winter. Though Colorado’s summers are warm and its springs and autumns beautiful, the winters can be quite cold and snowy. It’s true that you do need to be careful when spending time outdoors during the winter months in Colorado. With that being said, there are plenty of things that you can do that still include Colorado outdoor recreation activities. Much of spending time outdoors as opposed to spending time indoors during the winter requires using some creativity.
Keep in mind that what’s most important is that you stay safe during any Colorado outdoor recreation, especially those activities that take place during the winter. It’s never good for you to hurt yourself or otherwise become incapacitated while outdoors and away from your house or nearby civilization. But it’s especially bad to become stranded while outdoors in the Colorado winter. You could find yourself stranded in temperatures dropping below zero, suffering from injuries related to exposure. If you suffer from a chronic health condition or have recently experienced the warning signs of heart failure, you should forego strenuous outdoor recreational activities during the winter. Keeping all of that in mind, let’s explore some great options for Colorado outdoor recreation during the winter.
1. Winter Camping
Camping probably isn’t the first Colorado outdoor recreation activity that may come to your mind during the winter. But in fact, there are a lot of ways that you can adapt your camping activities to the winter, ultimately making them not only safer but more enjoyable. A key part of camping during the winter is finding the right location. While it’s perfectly fun to experience some snowfall during your camping activities, you don’t necessarily want to worry about getting lost in the snow and ice. For that matter, you should make sure that you’re camping at the right time. Follow the weather forecast for directions. You’ll want to make sure that you’re not camping during a time that is forecasting to be too cold.
Although some people like to camp in an old-fashioned way with tents that are prepared for the wintertime, you may also want to consider utilizing trailers and hooking one up to a recreational vehicle for a camping trip. There are a lot of reasons why RVs are better suited for wintertime Colorado outdoor recreation activities than traditional tents. You’ll be safe from the elements and more able to use heaters in order to stay warm throughout the night. Furthermore, it will be easier for you to pack up and leave if need be due to unexpected weather circumstances. With an RV, both inexperienced and experienced campers can go where they want when they want. Although an RV can be a major investment, used RVs are viable options for those that want to spend more time outdoors without spending quite as much money on the tools that would facilitate winter camping. By utilizing an RV, you can spend as much time as you would like outdoors without necessarily putting yourself at risk.
2. Hunting and Fishing
Traditionally, autumn is associated with hunting season. However, this is primarily because autumn is a good time to hunt deer. While autumn is breeding season for many deer species and therefore makes bucks more likely to drop their guard to become available to hunters, the winter is still a great time for Colorado hunters and fishers to explore the available game. Many would actually consider the winter the best time for hunting. Although it’s cold, many animals are more likely to be scavenging or searching for food, as it becomes more scarce during the winter. For that matter, if you hunt after a snowfall, some animals that would normally be camouflaged are more clearly visible. Rabbits are very popular among smaller types of winter game for this reason. It’s important that you make sure the game you’re considering hunting can be hunted year-round before you visit a gun shop to buy supplies for the winter.
You may also want to consider fishing during the winter, if you aren’t interested in the types of game that need to be hunted with a gun or crossbow. Winter fishing is actually fairly popular among Colorado outdoor recreation activities. Fly-fishing is particularly exciting, though you’ll want to make sure that you get the right gear in order to prepare for the cold, knee-deep waters. Lots of people take the time to try tenkara, which is an ancient type of Japanese fly-fishing that utilizes a lightweight bamboo rod, line, and fly without a reel. You could also consider ice fishing, especially in the mountains. Salmon, trout, and pike can be fished through ice fishing. Most people use custom ice fishing rods in order to go ice fishing, and you’ll likely want to learn from someone experienced before you attempt to ice fish for the first time. Furthermore, make sure that you’re visiting an area that is safe for people interested in ice fishing. Although it’s definitely a worthwhile winter activity, it’s not for the faint of heart and requires a good deal of physical effort.
Of all of the wintertime Colorado outdoor recreation activities, skiing is one of the most famous. There are two main types of skiing that people tend to indulge in. One type is cross country skiing, which will usually involve moving across flat terrain, as well as ascents and descents, by ski. Typically, people will cross-country ski at a slower rate than they would when downhill skiing. Speed isn’t the point here, so it is often considered the safer option — though it’s certainly quite athletic. Downhill skiing is the type of skiing we often picture. People can ski downhill from great heights or small slopes. It’s important that you not only prepare through lessons and training but make sure that when you buy ski apparel online, you’re buying the right ski apparel. You have to make sure that you’re fully prepared for the type of skiing you’re interested in.
Another important consideration to make when skiing is finding the right place to ski. While the summers in Colorado may be focused around dude ranches and public golf courses, the winter is for skiing. Fortunately, Colorado has plenty of ski slopes and resorts available. Some of the best ski locations in Colorado include, of course, Aspen. With its beautiful mountains, Aspen has plenty of lodges available and slopes fit for experts and beginners. Vail is a rather trendy town, right at the base of a popular ski resort. It has a great “hipster” vibe, while at the same time giving visitors the opportunity to go sporting. If you’d like to have a more historic experience, why not consider Breckenridge? Breckenridge Ski Resort is located near the town of Breckenridge, which is at the heart of famous Gold Rush history. You should keep this in mind when choosing which ski resort to visit, putting aside what is closest to you.
There are plenty of Colorado outdoor recreation activities that you should consider when trying to spend time during the winter. Perhaps one of the more offbeat ones is snowboarding. Having gained more popularity through the Olympics and the X Games in recent years, snowboarding does require a good bit of dedication for those that would like to become experienced at it. Furthermore, snowboarding is often seen as similar to skiing. But it really is quite different, though it can often be practiced at ski resorts. If you’re planning on snowboarding, you should invest in the right gear well ahead of time, including Goodr glasses that will shield your eyes from the sun while at the same time being polarized and ready for the winter. Additionally, you’ll need to invest in a high-quality board.
You should also be aware that there are two types of snowboarding (both of which will require lessons). Slopestyle snowboarding is similar to downhill skiing, though it requires even more balance and can sometimes be difficult to control. The other type of snowboarding, practiced on a halfpipe, isn’t for the casual practitioner. This type of snowboarding involves tricks and flips, and it’s quite easy to incur a sports injury even while beginning to learn. Yet if you are interested in snowboarding of any kind, winter is obviously the ideal time to practice. Colorado sees plenty of its fair share of snowboarders visiting during the season.
You don’t need to be a figure skater or a hockey player in order to enjoy skating. But you do need to be ready to fall! Skating rinks are technically available all year round, especially for people who are interested in competing on the ice. But if you’d rather spend time outdoors skating, there are skating rinks that are specifically hosted outside during the wintertime. It’s important for you to remember that you need to go to a safe skating rink if you’d like to spend time on a leisurely skate session. Don’t visit a pond or lake that seems to be frozen over. There is no way for you to know that the body of water is fully frozen solid. The ice could easily crack and lead to you falling into freezing water. Additionally, the ice on an ice rink has been properly smoothed over, which makes it less likely that your blades will catch on a ridge and lead to you falling over and hurting yourself. Remember, too, that skating is strenuous. Even though it will be cold outside anyway, you may want to keep drinks nearby in a hard sided cooler so that you don’t become dehydrated.
If you’d like to learn how to figure skate and perhaps even attempt some jumps, it’s never too late to take up figure skating as a hobby! Although figure skating and jumping competitively is something that typically should be taken up as a young child, plenty of people casually figure skate simply to stay in shape and enjoy themselves. This is especially fun if you enjoy watching competitive figure skating. Be careful, however. You need to make sure that you’re not putting yourself at risk when skating and that you at least receive some lessons if you want to attempt jumps. Even small jumps can result in big injuries. But even skating sedately outside can allow you to enjoy a more traditional Colorado outdoor recreation activity in a calm, relaxing way.
There are so many things that you should consider as you’re planning your wintertime Colorado outdoor recreation activities. Spending time outdoor during the winter does require a good bit more planning in general than spending time outdoors during ideal weather. But it’s also well worth the effort because you can maintain your physical health and have fun at the same time.
In a lot of ways, Colorado is the perfect place for wintertime outdoor activities. It’s picturesque, providing all of the cool weather and beautiful snowscape that you could want. So do what you can to enjoy the winter weather outdoors. You’ll miss it once it’s gone!