DENVER—The spring season in Colorado invites visitors to engage in unique learning experiences that train body and mind on the snow and in the sun. From ice climbing and arts courses to gardening and archaeology workshops, visitors can master their skills or learn a new trade. Below is a sampling of spring learning vacation options that will leave a lasting impression. For more, visit www.COLORADO.com
Environmental Studies (Aspen). This spring, the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies (ACES) will offer a variety of daily programs at spectacular locations around Aspen. Guests can join an ACES naturalist for daily guided snowshoe tours on top of Aspen Mountain, in Snowmass and in Ashcroft, or hop on a naturalist-guided ski tour in Snowmass.
Skijorking Lessons (Aspen). Partnering with the Aspen Animal Shelter, the St. Regis Aspen Resort offers skijoring lessons, a winter sport where a person on skis is pulled by a horse, dogs or motor vehicle. Guests and their dogs, or dogs from the local Aspen Animal Shelter can take a two-hour private lesson with Aspen Animal Shelter’s in-house skijoring coach and dog trainer.
Up Your Running and Cycling Game (Boulder). For those whose New Year’s resolution included running a 10k, completing a 100-mile bike ride or even training for an IRONMAN, this learning vacation in Boulder, helps guests accomplish their fitness goals. The Up Your Game spring packages focus on training aspiring triathletes and bicyclists. Participants learn how to change their gait to run better, how to eat better and how to gain strength and speed. Athletes are taught by top performance experts from the University of Colorado Sports Medicine and Performance Center.
Dog Sledding Lessons (Breckenridge). Good Times Adventures is one of only a handful of outfitters that let guests mush the dog sled team. The hour long interactive tour handles up to six people, is run as a “relay” and guests switch off between running the dogs, riding in the dogsled and riding on a small passenger sleigh with the guide. Guests learn how to control the dogs and sleds and also develop an understanding of the anatomy of the dogsled team.
Learning the Ropes of Ranch Life (Clark). With a myriad of diverse learning opportunities, everyone can find something to dive into and explore at Vista Verde Ranch. Whether it’s heading out with a backcountry ski guide and learning how to navigate the snowy terrain, applying the teachings of the ranch’s horse whisperers during horsemanship clinics or spending an afternoon with the talented chefs learning new culinary tips and tricks during a cooking class, guests get a chance to play and share new experiences all while building their skill base.
Animal Interaction (Colorado Springs). From watching elephants paint to experiencing the sight of grizzlies playing, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo offers a variety of animal interactions. Guests can choose a favorite species and meet with a zoo keeper who will take them on a half-day safari trail tour. Visitors also have the opportunity to spend an entire day shadowing a caretaker while helping feed, clean and interact with their choice of two animal species.
Archaeology and Learning to Dig (Crown County). Founded on the idea that members of the public could play an important role in archaeology, the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center has welcomed people of all ages to its campus near Mesa Verde National Park for nearly 30 years. The volunteers support Crow Canyon’s mission of archaeological research, education programs and partnership with American Indians. One experience allows lifelong learners to join Crow Canyon on a dig. As a “citizen scientist,” participants excavate alongside the Crow Canyon archaeologists and help them understand a defining time in Pueblo Indian culture.
Avalanche Education Course (Estes Park). The Colorado Mountain School’s Estes Park location offers avalanche education courses, which educate more individuals in avalanche safety than any other provider in the United States. The action-packed course combines classroom and field instruction to provide participants with a firm foundation of avalanche awareness and skills including traveling in and around avalanche terrain, design-making strategies, critical planning, travel techniques and human factors involved in avalanches.
Dinosaur Explorer Package (Lakewood). The Dinosaur Hotel and the Morrison Natural History Museum have teamed up to offer a “Dinosaur Explorer Package” during the Spring Break period ranging from mid-February to mid-April. For $72 per night for four guests, Dino Explorers receive accommodations, breakfast, a chance to interact with a fossil interpreter or trained paleontologist at their daily fossil table, a guided tour of the dinosaurs and paleo art of the hotel and a chance to dig for real fossils in the hotel fossil dig pit. Explorers will also receive half-off admission for the entire group at the Morrison Natural History Museum along with behind-the-scenes access to the museum.
Intro to Ice Climbing Course (Ouray). Based in the renowned Ouray Ice Park, the San Juan Mountain Guides offer North America’s most comprehensive and thorough two-day introduction to ice climbing. This program is recommended for first time ice climbers who are looking to learn from a team of dedicated professionals. Beginning on low-angled terrain and venturing onto steeper terrain as climbers’ comfort levels increase, this course covers some of the best offerings of the Ouray Ice Park.
Abundance Garden Workshop (Paonia). Available March 13-14 the Living Farm’s abundance garden workshop is a complete beginner’s weekend intensive that teaches gardeners of all levels how to implement the abundance garden system anywhere; whether on a small scale farm or a first time backyard garden plot. Regardless of guests’ gardening skill level, by the end of this workshop visitors will have developed the knowledge to grow the best tasting produce in a high performing garden system.
Ah Haa School for the Arts (Telluride). Dedicated to inspiring all people to discover, nurture, and celebrate creativity, the Ah Haa School offers year-round classes, workshops, art trips and retreats, open studios, lectures, family days, exhibitions and special events. In 2016 the Ah Haa presents the first 2016 Masterclass Series – an opportunity to engage deeply with unique and established artists working in different mediums during a weekend-long Masterclass visit. Masterclass weekends begin with a Friday public lecture by the artist, followed by a Saturday workshop and a Sunday critique and discussion.