It doesn't get much better than winter in Colorado, and that holds true for Leadville and Twin Lakes. The area's abundant snow provides for a vast number of popular winter activities, including snowshoeing, alpine and telemark skiing, Nordic and cross country skiing, snowmobiling, snowboarding and dog sledding. There are many special events as well, including the Leadville Loppet Race, Winter Carnival, snowshoe races, turkey shoots, winter mountain bike races and ice fishing competitions.
Winter Activities: Colorado
Ski Cooper — With an origin dating back to World War II, when the U.S. Army developed Cooper Hill and nearby Camp Hale as a training site for the ski troopers of the famed Tenth Mountain Division, Ski Cooper is Colorado’s fifth-oldest ski area. Ski Cooper and Chicago Ridge attract skiers and riders from all around the world. Five lifts, 2 chair and 3 surface, serve the 400 ski-able acres. There are 26 runs: 30 percent beginner, 40 percent intermediate and 30 percent expert. Ski Cooper averages 250 inches of natural snowfall a year. The longest run is Trails End, at 1.4 miles. The base sits at an elevation of 10,500 feet, with the summit at 11,700 feet.
Amenities include a new Children’s Center, Day Care, Ski School, Day Lodge, Tennessee Pass Nordic Center and the Tennessee Pass Cookhouse. The resort's reasonably priced lift tickets make it one of the most affordable ski experiences in the country.
High-country Trails — Hitting the trails is one of the most popular winter activities Colorado has to offer, no matter what the season. There are more than 50 miles of free, groomed trails in Lake County, ranging from beginner to expert. Perfect for Nordic and cross-country skiing and snowshoeing! Leadville and Lake County often has the earliest and latest skiing in the state, for the longest season to get out and enjoy the trails. There are also trails suitable for for hiking, winter biking and snowmobiling. A new winter trails map is available at the Visitor Center at 809 Harrison Avenue and other area businesses.
Free Sledding at Dutch Henri Sledding Hill
Dutch Henri Sledding Hill is perhaps the highest, fastest sledding hill in all of Colorado,and it’s just a one-minute drive south of downtown on Highway 24. If you bring your own sled or tube, the hill is completely free. Tube rentals are available from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. for $7 per hour on Saturdays and Sundays during the winter. Call the Lake County Recreation Department at 719-486-7484 for more information.
Ice Skating at Leiter Ice Rink
Located at the end of West Fifth Street, the ice rink is open from December to March, weather permitting. At 30,000 square feet, this is one of the largest manmade rinks in Colorado. The facility features skate rentals, a snack bar, warming hut, and a great sound system. Open daily from 3:30 to 9 p.m. Admission is just $2.25. Skate rentals are $1 for kids and $2 for adults.
Ski Joring — In this sport, skiers are pulled over a series of jumps by a horse and rider. The goal is to stay on your skis, spear rings and complete the course in the least amount of time. Ski joring is the highlight of Leadville’s annual Winter Carnival, which takes place the first weekend in March. Along with a Nordic race and dog sledding events, the weekend is packed with winter activities that your family will talk about for years to come.
Whatever your favorite winter activities in Colorado might be, you'll find them — perhaps with a new twist — in Leadville and Twin Lakes. Visit Lake County soon, for your Colorado mountain getaway.
Considering a hut trip? Check out this incredible video from a fan!