Cosu winter 2012 family ice skating gsgyly

Ice Skating

When it comes to recreational ice skating, Keystone carries the torch. Not only is it home to a five-acre lake that transforms into a kaleidoscope of gliders in winter (as well as impromptu hockey and broomball games), but a smaller pond opens in River Run this season. When it comes to holiday cheer, however, the bustle of Keystone’s outdoor rink can’t be beat.

Copper Mountain’s outdoor pond invites skaters, too—it’s free if you have your own skates—while Breckenridge’s Stephen C. West Ice Arena offers indoor skating, including lessons if you want them.

Sleigh Rides

Cosu winter 2012 family sleigh rides bmrise

Image: Vail Resorts

Horse-drawn sleigh rides through a Victorian town, across a field of snow, or through the woods past old mine ruins are the quintessence of Colorado living. A romantic outing for couples (chilly air encourages snuggling under cozy blankets), sleigh rides become amusement park rides when the whole family is involved—anytime you throw an animal into the mix, there is a certain air of excitement. Bundle up and set out for a nighttime ride paired with sumptuous suppers. Stables in Breckenridge, Frisco, Keystone, and Copper Mountain will help pick the right trip for you—with or without a cowboy.

Summit Specialties: Nordic Skiing & Snowshoeing

Gliding through the woods under your own propulsion on a still afternoon may be the ultimate in Summit County Zen moments. Not only does skating and gliding keep your body temperature up, but the Nordic boots feel like slippers compared to alpine and tele gear—another Zen-sation. If it’s not enough that Nordic skiing is peaceful and comfortable, it’s also one of the best forms of cardio you can get, and Summit County has endless scenic places to ski.

If skinny skis strike you as new and wobbly, any of Summit’s Nordic centers can set you up with equipment rentals and lessons before setting you loose to explore the dozens of miles of trails each center offers.

For an ambitious classic Nordic or snowshoe outing, the Peaks Trail, anchored on one end near the base of Peak 8 in Breckenridge, will take you nine miles through gorgeous pine forests, up and down hills along the woodsy base of the Ten Mile Range, all the way to Frisco.

Not minimalist enough, you say? Well, if you can walk, you can strap on a pair of snowshoes—also for rent at Summit’s Nordic centers—and clomp around separate trails designed for snowshoers. Copper Mountain has free guided tours, including snowshoes and poles, covering the history of the area and its wildlife.

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