Life might be a box of chocolates, but chocolates for a Valentine’s Day surprise are as cliché and overdone as quotes from Forrest Gump.
Fortunately, Grand County offers a plethora of unique, high-adventure and highly romantic activities. If you put your planning off until the last minute, don’t panic. I’ve assembled a list for you with options bound to impress the apple of your eye. Just don’t let your sugar see this column and it’ll be our little secret.
Head-over-heels tubing in Fraser
Nothing screams romance like plunging down groomed slopes atop neon-colored inflatable tire innards. Most people call this tubing, and the Historic Tubing Hill in Fraser is offering a buy-one-get-one-for-half promotion this Friday. Make sure the Fraser hills are alive with the sound of your date’s squeals, then sooth your chills by cuddling up with some hot chocolate at the concessions. They’ll give you your cocoa gratis if you ask nicely and mention this article.
What: Historic Fraser Tubing Hill, 455 County Road 72
The goods: Buy-one get one half off (normally $18 for 60 minutes), plus free hot chocolate
Hours: 5 p.m.-8 p.m. for discount
Contact: frasertubinghill.com or 970-726-5954
Steam and dream in Hot Sulphur Springs
Steaming water and skimpy bathing attire is a no-brainer for stoking romance with your beloved. Cozy up in some piping-hot mineral water naturally billowing out of the earth at as much as 126 degrees. If the warm water soothes you a bit too much and you find yourself sleepy, try an invigorating deep-tissue massage to re-stoke your energy for later.
What: Hot Sulphur Springs Resort and Spa, 5609 Spring Road
The goods: $18.50 per adult for outdoor pools, locals get a discount at $14 with ID; massages range from $45 to $125 (call ahead to book)
Hours: 8 a.m.-10 p.m.
Contact: hotsulphursprings.com or 970-725-3306
Get your XOXOs on X-country trails around Grand Lake
Cupid, Venus and all those other love gods must have conspired for Valentine’s Day 2014. It’s a full moon, and a perfectly good time to tour Grand Lake’s winter wonderland. Grand Lake Nordic Center is offering a two-for-one trail pass on V-Day, along with free cocoa around a bonfire. Who doesn’t love chocolate on Valentine’s Day?
What: Full Moon Valentine’s Day Ski, Grand Lake Nordic Center, 1415 County Rd 48
The goods: Two-for one trail pass (regularly $14 each); rentals $12 each
Hours: 9 a.m.-9 p.m., bonfire from 5-9 p.m.
Contact: grandlakeski.com or 970-627-8008
Night skiing and dinner au deux at Granby Ranch
For many in this county, nothing spells love like some long, sensuous curves – carving down the slopes, of course. Dress in your warmest ski garb and hit Granby Ranch for a night-skiing session – did we mention it’s a full moon? After you’ve burned it up on the slopes, slip into something a little more comfortable and catch the resort’s Valentine’s Dinner for two.
What: Ski Granby Ranch, 1,000 Village Road, Granby
The goods: Night skiing $14 all ages; Valentines Prix-Fixe Dinner at Granby Ranch Grill, $60, includes two appetizers, two entrees and a dessert
Hours: Night skiing 5-8 p.m., dinner 5-9 p.m.
Contact: granbyranch.com for online reservations or 887-5200
starry-eyed on a snowmobile ride through Parshall
It might be difficult to whisper sweet nothings over the roaring engines or gaze into your partner’s helmet-covered eyes, but the romantic seclusion and dancing shadows of a Valentine’s moonlight snowmobile tour is bound to bring you closer together. After the two- to three-hour tour with Aspen Canyon Dude Ranch, you can recount your experience while feeding each other chocolate- and cheese-covered tidbits at the post-ride fondue dinner.
What: Moonlight snowmobile ride and fondue dinner, Aspen Canyon Dude Ranch, 13206 County Rd. 3, Parshall
The goods: $210 per person for a three-hour trip, $140 per person for a two-hour trip.
Hours: Friday or Saturday, 4-7 p.m. or 5-7 p.m.
Contact: aspencanyon.com or 970-725-3600
High on love and good grub atop Winter Park Resort
Winter Park has lots of fine dining options, but imagine sweeping your sweetie off his or her feet into a snuggly gondola car and up to the Sunspot lodge for a swanky dinner with a view. The ambience and 10,700-foot elevation is bound to make you both dizzy with desire. And for the guys who forget flowers, don’t fret — ladies get a long-stem rose, too.
What: Valentine’s Day Dinner at the Lodge at Sunspot, Winter Park Resort
The goods: $79.95 per person for gondola ride, five-course dinner, non-alcoholic beverage and glass of champagne with dessert
Contact: Reservations required, 970-726-1446
l’Amour on ice at the rink in Kremmling
Ice skating is a great opportunity to show off your pirouette and triple-axel to your shnookums. Or, for the lesser-talented, it’s a great excuse to cling to your dearest for stability. The Kremmling’s Chuck Lewis Ice Skating Rink is roofed and about as warm as sitting on top of an ice sheet can be, but as you swoon over your partner’s moves, your heart is bound to melt. Surprise your date with a local bouquet or candies from the Flowers by Marcia shop, which is staying open until 7 p.m. to accommodate Valentine’s love-birds. Or, if you’re flying solo for the holiday at the local watering hole, and someone catches your eye before last call, Marcia will be at the Quarter-Circle Saloon and Rocky Mountain Bar and Grill to sell her leftover flowers after closing.
What: Ice skating at Chuck Lewis Ice Skating Rink, off Central Ave and 22nd St, and Flowers by Marcia, 202 Park Ave., Kremmling
The goods: Skating is free and unmanned; helmet and knee pads recommended
Hours: Marcia’s will be open until 7 p.m., the ice rink is open until 10 p.m.
Contact: For flowers, call Marcia at 970-724-9667; for more information on skating, call the Kremmling Chamber of Commerce at 970-724-3472
Leia Larsen can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext. 19603.