Denver is famous for any number of things, from its location a mile above sea level, to its perennial favorite sports teams. Among winter sports enthusiasts, Denver is known as the gateway to numerous world-class skiing venues, which are scattered throughout the nearby Front Range peaks of the Rocky Mountains.
If you are enrolled in nursing school at our downtown campus, you may be wondering about life in Denver — especially life during winter in Denver. Out-of-towners may be under the impression that Denver receives massive amounts of snow and experiences bone-breaking cold for much of the (unusually long) winter. But that is not accurate. Winters in Denver can actually be relatively mild, and snowfall usually amounts to squalls in the morning that melt away by early afternoon, often assisted by sunshine.
Skiing is the white elephant in the room when it comes to winter fun in Denver. Summit country resorts alone include some of the most impressive ski venues in the world. Most of these are within a one-to-two-hour drive of downtown. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of other winter activities and attractions available to Denverites. For example, consider sampling some of the following adventures.
Ice Skating at Skyline Park
Strap on your rented skates (or bring your favorite pair from home) and glide around the rink at Skyline Park, corner of 16th and Arapahoe. Admission is free but rentals cost about $6 to $8. A great place for friends and family to enjoy the outdoors while gliding gracefully across the ice. Open through mid-February each year.
Winter Brew Fest
Each winter, at Mile High Station, join in the fun among crowds of people who come to sample craft beverages from around Colorado and the U.S. You’ll enjoy music, food, and the offerings of various other vendors, conveniently located indoors at Mile High Station, 2027 West Colfax Ave. Located in a shiny new venue converted from the old Midwest Steel and Ironworks building, this venue holds up to 1,200 people at once.
Icelantic’s Winter on the Rocks
By now you have probably heard about Denver’s unique amphitheater, Red Rocks, on the edge of town. Built into a remarkable, amphitheater-shaped rock formation, this venue has hosted some of the biggest acts of the past few decades. Located at 18300 West Alameda Parkway, in Morrison, Colorado, Red Rocks typically closes for the winter. This annual concert is the rare exception. Date TBA.
Day Trip to Rocky Mountain National Park
RMNP is just an hour from Denver, via I-25 North to Exit 217, US Hwy. 36 west to Estes Park. From snowshoeing to cross country skiing (rent in Denver) there are numerous things to see and do in this massive, scenic park. Visitor Center rangers can provide guidance regarding appropriate trails.
Ski the Rockies
If you are a skier, or would like to become one, you are in luck. As noted above, Denver is the gateway to some of the largest, best ski resorts in the world. Winter Park is perhaps the closest resort to Denver that offers great vistas and superb skiing.
Or go big and go to Vail. With some of the most expansive skiable terrain in the world, and a massive retail/restaurant/shopping complex at its base, Vail offers something for everyone. With more than 5,000 acres of terrain, it is possible to hit the slopes in the morning and never come back down again until sunset, without ever running in the same tracks twice.