Mountain Musings: Get out and enjoy spring time in the Fraser Valley
Ryan Summerlin April 4, 2013
The winter season is coming quickly to a close, and I find myself half-wishing there were more of the season ahead rather than behind. For many locals and visitors alike, winter slips away while enjoying alpine skiing and snowboarding.
Snowshoeing or hiking local trails has long been my favorite go-to adventure when not snowboarding; I’ve found that another winter has passed by without my taking advantage of other ways to enjoy the season. Speaking with visitors, I’m constantly hearing about how much fun they’ve had doing things like snowmobiling, dog sledding, cross country skiing and tubing. With added pressure on locals to maximize the busy season, it’s easy to miss out on all the other outdoor activities Grand County has to offer. Spring conditions make for ultra-fun skiing and riding, but after hearing the praises of other winter activities, I’m definitely carving out some time for a couple of the following this month!
I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I can get this activity in before their season ends, so dog sledding is first on the list. Snow is melting quickly; as such, Dog Sled Rides of Winter Park is open for morning rides only. Call ahead 970-726-8326 or check out their website, dogsledridesofwinterpark.com, to check ride availability.
Hiking trails abound on the Continental Divide and are favorites for travelers and locals alike. The Divide offers a unique and spectacular vantage point of the valley, and the opportunity to see the winter version of those views puts this activity second on the list! Grand Adventures, grandadventures.com, offers snowmobile rentals and tours at several locations throughout the valley. Guided and unguided tours are available, as well as kid-friendly options.
Cross Country Skiing
Several of my friends and acquaintances tout cross country skiing as one of their favorite winter activities, and with the availability of moonlight ski trips it’s hard to keep cross country skiing at third on the list. Both Devils Thumb Ranch, www.devilsthumbranch.com, and the Nordic Center at the YMCA of the Rockies, ymcarockies.org, offer miles of trails, lessons and rental gear for first-timers like me. Find up-to-date trail lists on their respective websites. While my dream of a guided moonlight cross country ski session will have to wait until next season, sunshine and quiet trails sounds like a great way to spend a spring day.
Tubing is a blast! I confess, I have taken part in a night tubing session here and there. Some of the pressure to squeeze in this activity is off since I’ve done it before, but tubing is so much fun that it’s definitely worth a mention and place on the list of fun April activities. With three tubing hills to choose from near Winter Park Resort, both locals and guests will be able to find an option that works. The Fraser Tubing Hill, thefrasertubinghill.com, and Colorado Adventure Park, coloradoadventurepark.com, are both located in Fraser. The newly opened Coca-Cola Tubing Hill is situated right at Winter Park Resort, www.winterparkresort.com. Historically, snow melts quickly at the tubing hills, so grab your buddies and get your tube on soon!
Grand County offers so much more than skiing and snowboarding, and I plan to try and enjoy at least a couple of these activities while conditions cooperate. Long-time locals and visitors to Fraser Valley: consider gaining a fresh perspective on spring recreation by taking a day off from the alpine boards and experience some adventures offered by local businesses! Shake up your routine by adding a new outing into your outdoor activity mix.