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When we hear the phrase “vacation to Colorado and Utah,” most of us probably picture cozying up by a fire with a cup of cocoa or shredding left and right down a black diamond (or an easy green circle!) mountain trail. And although these states boast arguably some of the best winter playgrounds for both kids and adults, the Western locales also host a bounty of unique, engaging activities year-round.
Here, we highlight the idyllic cities of Breckenridge, Colorado, and Park City, Utah, by featuring a top seasonal activity or two to check out any day of the week. For those who prefer smaller crowds, schedule these activities on a weekday for a more intimate experience with nature.
By the time Breckenridge’s snowcaps finally start to melt toward the end of winter, rafting junkies are likely to ogle the gargantuan whitewater waves that start to build up on the city’s surrounding rivers. There’s a host of rafting companies to choose from, but just be sure you’re not venturing out on your own––especially when the water is high.
Home to the 2002 Winter Games, Park City built a handful of Olympic venues near the Kimball Junction that the public now has access to, including Nordic ski jumps that transitioned into zip lines and tubing rides for visitors. Sports junkies will also appreciate the real-life (and snowless) bobsled opportunity. After you’ve tuckered yourself out with all the sledding, zip lining and hill climbing your weary legs can manage, venture down to the on-site museum––a historic treat any Olympic fanatic will appreciate.
As the first crisp cold hits the air, the golden-brown mosaic of aspens begins to emerge in the Breckenridge mountains––transforming the area into a truly brilliant sight for sore-eyed hikers, bird-watchers and campers. Grab your backpack, plenty of water and snacks, a camera and a loved one and venture to any one of the area’s gorgeous trails, including Sawmill Creek trail, a shorter trek with a trailhead nestled conveniently in the heart of town. For a more advanced excursion, Boreas Pass will boast a bounty of remarkable views.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a trip to Park City without whipping down the same slopes that some of the world’s greatest athletes competed on back in 2002. The Park City Mountain Resort hosts a program called Epic Pass, which allows buyers to purchase in advance to potentially receive deals (up to 25 percent per lift ticket, if you book far enough in advance). The further in advance you book, the more discounts you’ll receive from the pass. Trekking with little ones in tow who might not be mature enough to bump down moguls just yet? Enroll them in the resort’s Ski School program, which uses that same book-in-advance-for-deals methodology. Adults can enroll in the program, too.
*Park City, Utah, at dusk. Photo by Adventure_Photo / Getty
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