DENVER ─ A strong El Nino and heavy snowfall predicted for the upcoming winter are not the only exciting forecasts for Colorado. The state is also buzzing with major news, developments, activities and events launching in destinations and resorts across the state this winter season. From new women’s ski programs and luxe on-mountain “clubs” to the 100th anniversary celebration of the national parks system and major renovations at some of the state’s most noted lodging properties, the scene is set for another blockbuster Colorado winter.
Following is a sampling of what’s new in Colorado for winter 2015-2016. For more information on Colorado or for a free copy of the 2015 Official State Vacation Guide, visit www.Colorado.com
New Attractions, Activities and Amenities:
The Arrabelle in Vail Offers New “Spa on Demand”. The Arrabelle in Vail Square will be offering a new “spa on demand” service for winter 2015-2016. Presented like room service, guests have a choice of three spa offerings — including one for kids — and can call down or order on in-room iPads. For $36, “Feeling Smitten” for kids provides a gelato sugar scrub, body cream pop (lotion) and a cupcake bath bomb that comes in fun colors.
Beaver Creek Opens White Carpet Club. New for winter 2015-2016, Beaver Creek will present the White Carpet Club – the exclusive, private retreat within the heart of Beaver Creek Village. The White Carpet Club hosts spacious lockers; boot drying; a continental service island offering beverages and decadent morsels; private restroom facilities and an intimate lounge adorned with soft, cozy seating. The dedicated on-site concierge offers instant assistance with lift ticket and pass purchases, as well as dinner and activity guidance and reservations.
Bison Return to Soapstone Prairie Natural Area near Fort Collins. In fall 2015, plains bison will be reintroduced to Soapstone Prairie Natural Area located near Fort Collins. Bison once roamed this area and are integral to its ecology. They were hunted to near extinction in the 1800s and later bred with cattle, accidentally and unintentionally, making bison herds without some level of cattle ancestry rare.
Devil’s Thumb Ranch to Offer Backcountry Snowcat Tours. Cozy up in the new heated, eight-passenger Pisten Bully snowcat for a one-hour “Happy Hour” tour that includes unparalleled views of Devil’s Thumb Ranch and surrounding peaks. Located just outside of Winter Park, in Tabernash, visitors will learn about local wildlife and the history of the area, as well as enjoy a stop at the Lakeside Yurt for a hot beverage.
Keystone Launches Private Family Ski/Snowboard Lessons. New this winter for families new to skiing and snowboarding or are seasoned snow veterans, Keystone’s private family lessons will help visitors develop new skills and/or improve technique. Taking advantage of shared on-snow time, bonding is just an added bonus to these specially designed lessons. Private lessons can be reserved for up to six family members (or friends) of similar ability.
The Little Nell’s Skiing & Winter Adventures Program Expands. The Little Nell’s Skiing & Winter Adventures program, which debuted last year, is back for winter 2015-2016 with the popular First Tracks on Ajax, Friday Powdercat Skiing, Sweep the Mountain with Aspen Mountain Ski Patrol and Groom the Mountain in a Prinoth Bison 360 Snowcat programs. Plans are underway to expand the program this year with a “Snowcat Academy” for guests to learn to commandeer a snowcat at nearby Buttermilk Mountain. The Little Nell has also partnered with T-Lazy-7 Guest Ranch to offer new snowcat winter dinners at their private yurt.
Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Launches Ultimate Heli-Ski Experience. New this winter, Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort & Spa will offer guests the Ultimate Heli-Ski Experience, including a private helicopter transfer to the San Juan Mountain Range for a day of professionally guided heli-skiing. The package also includes four nights of accommodations for up to four people, skiing Beaver Creek Resort’s fresh tracks with a Park Hyatt Beaver Creek executive, a therapeutic massage, a private dinner at the Chef’s table at 8100 Mountainside Bar & Grill, gourmet breakfast daily and HD Camera Goggles by Zeal.
The Pines Lodge Introduces Pines Pup Bucket List. This winter, The Pines Lodge, A RockResort, in Beaver Creek, offers travelers the opportunity to give man’s best friend the ultimate pup-cation with the Pines Pup Bucket List. The new package includes dog hiking, spa treatments, “yappy” hours, pup pillow service and doggie GoPro rentals.
Red Rocks Park Named National Historic Landmark. Red Rocks Park and Mount Morrison Civilian Conservation Corps Camp was recently named a National Historic Landmark by the National Park Service and Department of the Interior. Red Rocks Park is renowned as the only naturally-occurring, acoustically perfect amphitheater in the world, and the diverse landscape attracts thousands of outdoor enthusiasts and even dinosaur fans.
St. Regis Aspen Resort to Provide Altitude Concierge. New for winter 2015-2016, The St. Regis Aspen Resort is providing guests with an Altitude Concierge to assist them with adjusting to Aspen’s altitude of 8,000 feet above sea level. The Altitude Concierge can provide a personal oxygen machine for easier breathing, offer ideas for low-impact activities, curate a selection of non-alcoholic and non-caffeinated beverages, and provide meal suggestions known to lessen the impacts of altitude sickness.
Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club Training Facility to Open. The Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, considered one of the best winter sports clubs in the U.S., will elevate its training capabilities with a new championship caliber training and competition venue this winter at Steamboat Ski Resort. The dedicated course will allow athletes to train on conditions specifically set for alpine skiing, telemark sking and snowboarding.
Tracks Across Borders Scenic & Historic Byway Receives Official Designation. The Tracks Across Borders Byway is the first Scenic & Historic Byway to be designated in Colorado in the last 10 years. Located along the Colorado and New Mexico border, the Byway travels along Native American cultures, breathtaking countryside, and across ancient and historic time. The Byway’s primary feature is one of Colorado’s greatest stories – the creation and development of the state’s first, and ultimately the nation’s largest, narrow gauge railroad system – the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad.
Vail Mountain Offers New Women’s Ultimate 4 Program. New for winter 2015-2016, this premium group ski lesson offers a prime learning environment for up to four women and is led by a female instructor from the Vail Ski & Snowboard School. In these lessons women can learn or brush up on their ski skills in a small group setting, from the foundation-building basics of a first-timer class, to navigating the easiest greens, to sharing tactics and camaraderie on the resort’s beginner and intermediate trails. This lesson is offered from 12:45 to 3:15 p.m., which helps to provide convenience for mothers who might have children in ski school.
Viceroy Snowmass Introduces Ski-In/Ski-Out Spa Treatments. This winter, Viceroy Snowmass will be the first hotel in the U.S. to offer ski-in/ski-out spa treatments. The treatments run 30 minutes or less, and are aimed directly at reinvigorating skiers/snowboarders to get back on the slopes to finish their day. Executive Chef, Will Nolan, has also created a Mediterranean lunch menu solely available within the spa to accompany the ski-in/ski-out treatments. Viceroy Snowmass’ spa is located steps from the slopes, so guests can ski right into the spa, and then back to the lift following their treatments.
Lodging and Accommodations News and Renovations:
Adventure Lodge Opens in Boulder. Boulder’s newest hotel, A-Lodge, a.k.a. The Boulder Adventure Lodge, opened in July 2015, and was created to provide visitors with access to the best outdoor adventures the city has to offer. Whether it’s climbing, skiing, cycling, hiking, or taking in the town, the A-Lodge provides guests instant access to top adventures and the essential amenities after an exciting day off-the-beaten-path. The hotel’s philosophy centers around the three A’s: Access, Adventure, Amenities.
ART Hotel Welcomes Guests in Denver’s Museum District. Opened in June 2015 and located in Denver’s Golden Triangle Museum District, the 165-room ART Hotel is a one-of-a-kind boutique experience focused on delivering Denver’s most premier accommodations paired with captivating pieces of contemporary art. The new luxury property is the only hotel of its kind in the U.S. to showcase original works of art of this caliber. In-house curator, Dianne Vanderlip, has assembled a collection that boasts the “who’s who” of modern art, including Andy Warhol, Claus Oldenberg, Tracey Emin, and Sol DeWitt. Contemporary works grace two galleries and inspire the hotel’s restaurant, terrace bar and meeting spaces. Each guestroom floor is inspired by a particular artist, whose style is translated throughout each room and showcased into the hallways.
Historic Brown Palace Hotel Unveils $10.5M Million Remodel. The iconic Brown Palace Hotel completed a $10.5 million renovation in July 2015 including a full remodel of the property’s 200 guest rooms that have been masterfully updated while maintaining the hotel’s classic Victorian charm.
Crow Canyon Archeological Center to Add New Student Cabins. The Crow Canyon Archeological Center in Cortez is undergoing a $1.3 million development project that includes the addition of six cabins and three stargazing plazas that will provide an educational and experiential space for students to learn about the local environment and see the night skies. The Crow Canyon Archaeological Center is a non-profit organization dedicated to understanding and teaching the rich history of the ancestral Pueblo Indians who inhabited the canyons and mesas of the Mesa Verde region more than 700 years ago.
Hostel Fish Debuts in Downtown Denver. Opened in July 2015, Hostel Fish, an 80-bed upscale hostel, offers luxurious accommodations at a fraction of the cost of traditional Denver hotels. The newly renovated historic property is a mash-up of classical, modern, and shabby chic that pays homage to the historic beauty of the 120-year-old building. The interior design was a collaborative endeavor lead by local Denver designer, David Schiach, of Shike Design, who worked with multiple other interior designers on individual rooms and tied in the iconic furniture of Denver-based designers, Fin Art. Hostel Fish celebrates the spirit of travel, and believes that affordable accommodations should still offer exemplary service and more than expected perks. Hostel Fish offers nightly stays starting at $45 per person.
Telluride’s Madeline Hotel and Residences Completes First Phase of Renovation. Located in Mountain Village in Telluride, Madeline Hotel and Residences recently completed the first part of a two-phase, $10 million renovation including upgrades and enhancements to the hotel’s restaurants, ski services and more. The newly renovated restaurant Black Iron Kitchen and Bar, was upgraded to include outdoor “fire tables” as well as a revamped menu featuring “modern mountain cuisine.” The Ski Valet has also been redesigned, featuring state-of-the-art ski and boot storage, and a hot chocolate bar. Madeline’s new Ski Ambassadors invite guests to “ski like a local” with guided Mountain Tours throughout the ski season. Other additions include the new kid’s hangout, 20 Below.
Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa Undergoes Major Renovation. Beaver Creek’s award-winning Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa will complete nearly $7 million in renovations this fall, including a major revamp of all 230 luxurious guest residences, the public corridors, the Ski Valet and the Kids Club. For après, the hotel’s lobby is now home to Parlor 126, which pours a wide variety of handcrafted cocktails, along with an extensive wine and beer menu. Parlor 126 serves gourmet pub fare made with locally-sourced ingredients and offers live music nightly during the ski season.
Westin Hotel and Public Transit Center at Denver International Airport to Open. Making its debut on November 19, 2015, the new 500-room Westin Hotel will open its doors at Denver International Airport as part of the South Terminal Redevelopment project. The hotel will have its own station on the electric commuter rail line that will run from the airport to downtown Denver, opening in 2016. The 22.8 mile rail line will run trains as often as every 15 minutes, taking just 30 minutes to get from the airport and Westin Hotel to Union Station in downtown Denver.
New Events, Festivals, Anniversaries and Exhibits:
Jaipur Literature Festival Boulder Makes Its Debut, September 18-20, 2015. India’s Jaipur Literature Festival, the largest in the world with 250,000 attendees, will expand this year with a new U.S. festival to be held in Boulder. The free, three-day festival will be called JLF@Boulder and will include a series of talks, readings, music, writing workshops and debate.
Denver Art Museum Presents Wyeth: Andrew and Jamie in the Studio, November 8, 2015–February 7, 2016. The Denver Art Museum presents a groundbreaking exhibition exploring the art of Andrew Wyeth and his son Jamie. Wyeth: Andrew and Jamie in the Studio will feature more than 100 works created in a variety of media. Never before has an exhibition displayed Andrew Wyeth’s and Jamie Wyeth’s work on this scale.
The National Parks Service Celebrates its Centennial. 2016 marks the 100th anniversary of the national parks service and its history of protecting treasured places, telling American stories and engaging communities through recreation, conservation and historic preservation programs. Home to four National Parks including Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Great Sand Dunes National Park, Mesa Verde National Park and Rocky Mountain National Park; as well as eight National Monuments, including Browns Canyon that became a national monument in 2015, a series of special events and programs will take place across Colorado throughout the year as visitors and locals alike count down to the Centennial in August 2016.
Purgatory Commemorates its Golden Anniversary. The 2015-2016 season marks Purgatory Mountain Resort’s 50th winter of skiing in southwestern Colorado. Purgatory is hosting special parties and events all season, as well as featuring special anniversary exhibits and a 50th commemorative book.
Mary Jane Marks its 40th Anniversary. This season marks the 40th anniversary of the iconic Mary Jane Mountain at Winter Park Resort, which opened on January 10, 1976. To celebrate, The Resort is planning a series of special events and activities including a winter carnival, parade, snow sculptures and more.
Breckenridge Offers First Women’s Ski Week, February 12-20, 2016. Breckenridge will host its first Women’s Ski Week, February 14-20, 2016. This event includes Ski and Snowboard School programs like Ultimate 4 lessons for women and the popular Women & Wine program, as well as gear demos and First Tracks access.
New Food and Beverage Offerings:
Avanti Food & Beverage Opens in Denver. Opened in July 2015 and inspired by European markets and food truck roundups, Avanti Food & Beverage in Denver’s Lower Highland’s Neighborhood (LoHi) is a modern day food hall. Seven different restaurant concepts developed by some of Denver’s most noted chefs are housed in modified shipping containers and provide guests with an eclectic mix of affordably priced, chef-inspired cuisine. Diners are able to explore their culinary options while imbibing on 20-plus draft beers, classic cocktails or affordably priced wines.
Caffé Giocondo to Open in Winter Park. Caffé Giocondo brings a traditional taste of Italy to the Winter Park area with hand crafted cappucinos and pasticcino (pastries) to start the day. Pranzo (Italian sandwiches), insalate, zuppa, charcuterie, contorni, formaggio and wine are served mid-day through sunset.
Aspen’s Cloud Nine Restaurant Gets Remodel. Cloud Nine Alpine Bistro, the cozy European-style restaurant located mid-mountain on Aspen Highlands, is undergoing a remodel. The bistro will maintain its unique historic essence while opening up the space in order to improve restaurant flow and service. Improvements will include two functional dining rooms and upgraded features such as a cozy fireplace. The $1.1 million restoration will also include kitchen enhancements.
New Breweries Open in Estes Park. With recent changes in local liquor laws, Estes Park is booming with new brewery, distillery and winery additions and experiences including: The Stanley Hotel’s 1,000th whiskey pour celebration; Dancing Pines Distillery; Expanded Snowy Peaks Winery; opening of the new Lumpy Ridge Brewery; The Barrel Brewery and Distillery; and the upcoming Rock Cut Brewing Company.
Great Divide Barrel Bar Now Pouring. Opened in July 2015, Great Divide’s Barrel Bar is the second location of the 21-year-old Denver brewery. Situated in the RiNo (River North) district along the South Platte River, the Barrel Bar has a great patio space with views of the Rocky Mountains and Denver cityscape, a tasting room with the full line-up of Great Divide beers, rotating specialty taps, and a new state-of-the-art canning facility.
Matsuhisa to Open in Denver’s Cherry Creek Neighborhood. Acclaimed chef Nobu Matsuhisa will open a third Colorado installment of his world-renowned sushi restaurant, Matsuhisa, in Denver’s luxe Cherry Creek neighborhood this fall. The 7,800-square-foot restaurant will feature the chef’s exceptional fusion cuisine blending traditional Japanese dishes with Peruvian and Argentine ingredients.
“The Remedy,” Vail’s Cure-All Cocktail Bar & Lounge Debuts at Four Seasons Vail. Opened June 2015 inside the Four Seasons Resort & Residences Vail, The Remedy is an energetic, casual hang-out for visitors to unwind, socialize and imbibe. The provocative bar program serves-up playful concoctions and The Remedy’s seasonally-inspired culinary offerings pay homage to its Colorado roots.
Stanley Marketplace to Open. The popularity of food halls continues in Denver, with the early 2016 opening of Stanley Marketplace. The more than 22-acre, 100,000 sq. ft. indoor/outdoor space was once Stanley Aviation headquarters, where airplane ejector seats were engineered and manufactured. Now it is an adaptive reuse community hub, home to a park, beer hall, multiple restaurants, boutique shops and more.
New Umbrella Bar to Open at Ten Peaks at Crested Butte Mountain Resort. Opening this winter, the new Umbrella Bar at Ten Peaks will debut along with a large deck seating area, as part of a million dollar renovation project at Crested Butte Mountain Resort. The Umbrella Bar at Ten Peaks will feature glass walls, a 35-foot diameter retractable umbrella roof, and seating for 75 people. Additionally, there will be a 2,400-square-foot deck area for outdoor seating.