The Pines Lodge is tucked comfortably into the snow bed that is Colorado ski country. Guests can enjoy nearby access to superior slopes, as well as eclectic dining, shopping, entertainment, and recreation options. Each room offers rustic charm and modern conveniences, putting guests squarely into the middle of a Venn diagram of comfort. Skiers can suit up for a full day in the cold outdoors by using the in-room boot warmer and iPod charging dock. Those preferring to stay indoors can snuggle into a fuzzy robe and strap on cyber skis to slalom through a high-speed Internet connection. For a happy medium, guests can enjoy the great outdoors without risking frost-nipped fingers in the resort's heated outdoor pool and Jacuzzi.
Breckenridge Bikebus's eponymous vehicle is, according to owner Curt Cavnar, the "Porsche" of its unique kind of transportation. Consisting of two rows of bar stools equipped with bike pedals, the custom-built craft combines the fun of a party bus with the easygoing workout of a tandem bicycle. Some partiers can sit back and enjoy the ride as 10 others sit at the bar and provide pedal power, with a staff driver manning the wheel to steer clear of oncoming paper boys. A canopy keeps passengers shaded while they sip beverages and listen to tunes on an iPod-ready Alpine sound system. Should the sun go down during trips, the bikebus's lighting system kicks on, making it easy to continue through black holes unencumbered.
The Ice Castles’ creator, Brent Christensen, and a team of ice artists are currently transforming more than 15,000 tons of ice into full-fledged castles in three locations. Once completed, the towering structures of ice and shimmering light are open for exploration. Guests are free to view the organically grown ice towers, tunnels, caves and caverns at their own pace. In daytime, the castles glimmer in the sun; come nightfall, thousands of LED lights create an ethereal glow from within.
Today, the castles delights visitors of all ages, but the idea came from Brent Christensen’s winter playtimes with his kids. They had already made ice rinks, ice caves, and other chilly creations when Brent decided to build a fort entirely out of ice, using icicles as the base structure. The kids dubbed the structure an “ice castle”—and it started to look more and more like one as Brent added a cave, tunnels, and a slide that spilled onto an ice-skating rink. Eventually, cars started detouring to their block to drive past the creation, and local snowmen inquired about home prices. But the idea truly took off when a local resort asked him to build a larger ice castle for them. He’s built ice castles every winter since, including one in the winter of 2010–2011 that was featured in the Denver Post and called “a frosty, fairy-tale-like landscape” by the Los Angeles Times.
Paddles slice through churning waters, keeping rafts on their course down Clear Creek as it cuts through the Denver Mountain Parks . At the base of the red crags of Gore Canyon, the white-capped water of the Colorado River foretells rafters’ trips through daunting class IV and V rapids. Elsewhere, guests make like protoplasmic coat hangers as they zipline over the scenery of Idaho Springs.
But rafting trips and zipline tours are just the beginning. Arkansas Valley Adventures leads all kinds of expeditions through Colorado’s mountains and valleys, tossing in ATVs, hot air balloons, helicopters, horses, and fishing rods with the paddles and ziplines. While flying down the Eagle River explorers will have plenty of chances to get in touch with their rugged side and ask ancient rock faces whether the paleo diet is an apt reflection of the habits of early humans.
An original 1865 newspaper bearing the headline of President Lincoln’s assassination hangs on the walls at The Buffalo Restaurant & Bar in the historic mining town of Idaho Springs. It’s just one of the many historic elements at the eatery, which is comprised of four different buildings—all more than a century old. Like an adaptable vampire, each structure has lived many different lives since the late 1800s, serving as everything from feed stores and hotels to billiard halls and recording studios. The antique bar, built in Chicago in the early 1860s, first journeyed to Colorado by wagon train, and a collection of antique signs also hang throughout the restaurant. The historical Western decor and atmosphere pairs fittingly with the menu, which showcases buffalo as a choice ingredient, from buffalo black-bean chili to barbecue-buffalo-brisket pizza pies.
The pedal-pushing pedagogues at Boulder Indoor Cycling introduce seasoned mountain or road bikers to the domed domain of track cycling in a safe, three-week intermediate program. During three two-hour classes, pupils prepare for the track certification, which enables them to ride during Boulder Indoor Cycling’s open-riding times and can easily be traded for a college diploma. Expert instructors teach classes of no more than 10 students how to whip aerodynamic bikes around a velodrome and stay in a single-file paceline to reduce air resistance and hide their numbers from bicycle hunters.