Why ski when you can sled instead?

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Each year, students flock to the mountains to fully experience winter in Colorado. Typically, this means skiing and snowboarding for most adventurers, but not everyone finds the same thrill from vertical drops and moguls. For those with no coordination or who have a safer idea of adventure, there are countless activities for the colder months.

For those who have balance, ice skating is a great option. There are tons of ice skating rinks throughout the state. For a fun, short road trip, there are rinks in Boulder and Fort Collins. Boulder is a 40 minute drive from the Denver area and Fort Collins is about 70 minutes away. While there, check out the beautiful lights that drape the downtown areas of these college towns. For the most local option, DU itself offers public ice skating hours  almost every day in the north side of the Ritchie Center. These hours are free to students.

Another fun option on the mountains is to go sledding and tubing. One option is to drive west and start sledding at the first slope there is. There are also specific hills at Vail, Steamboat, Keystone and Copper Mountain. The benefit of these hills is that they provide ways to get to the top without the walk. Usually there is a lift, tug rope or magic carpet. Not only are sledding and tubing reminiscent of childhood, but they are fun no matter how old people are.

There is also snowshoeing, which can be physically demanding but doesn’t take a whole lot of balance or skill. Snowshoeing often takes people through tunnels of trees and is a welcome activity to all. Some of the best snowshoeing throughout Rocky Mountain National Park just an hour and a half from Denver. There are also trails at Brainard Lake outside of Boulder. The main trail is hard work and may seem long, but the view at the top is stunning. Try to get there on a less windy day and it will be a great adventure.

Last but not least is for those that want to splurge to check something off their bucket list. Snowmobiling is a huge thrill, and the only skill required is a general ability to steer. Rentals from Mile High Adventure Rentals, Good Times Adventure Tours and Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp.. can cost upwards of $300 for a full day, but that is definitely worth it for those looking for a one time thrill. In Colorado, there are snowmobiling areas at Grand Lake, Winter Park, Leadville, Buena Vista and South Fork.

There are plenty of winter activities for those who choose to opt out of skiing and snowboarding. Winter is a great time to experience the outdoors in several capacities. It is a season that lends itself to adventures, hot tea, great photos and mountain memories. So get out there and take advantage of the snow before the weather turns up in the mountains.

Grace is a freshman from the suburbs of Chicago. Born in Alaska, raised in California, and now a Midwest native, she seeks adventure through hiking, skiing and exploring the outdoors in whatever way it surrounds her. Grace fills her free time with nature, photography, good music and lives for rainy days in fall and spring. She also has a passion for traveling and can’t wait to see more of the world.

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