The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
With daylight savings and the realization that summer is officially over, it seems like some of the fun is ending in our daily lives. Winter can be depressing, but it’s not so bad in Boulder where it’s sunny 300 days a year and there are so many different things to do. I compiled a list of things that made me love the winter during my first year in Boulder and that are all mostly affordable or free.
Getting out in nature is the best free activity to do in Boulder and is doable even when it’s cold out. I made it to Chautauqua a couple of times last winter and it was so fun. My friends and I hiked some easy trails just to go on a walk and get out of our winter slumps. This was such an easy thing to do to feel reenergized as it got darker and more gloomy out earlier. It was also a nice way to connect with my friends during the crunch time of the school year where everyone’s workload picked up.
Snow Days in Boulder
My favorite winter activity at Chautauqua, though, was sledding, and if you haven’t experienced a Boulder snow day, they’re some of the best days of the school year. Last March on the first snow day of the year it seemed like the whole school came outside to enjoy the snow together. At Chautauqua, my friends and I brought sleds and sled down the huge hill right by the entrance of the park. Skiers and snowboarders could also be spotted sending it down the hill. Likewise, people built DIY ramps near campus and used roofs to ski and snowboard off of and sled down the streets attached to cars. Needless to say, the vibes are high on snow days and give you the chance to get out and do some wholesome activities in the snow.
Beginner’s Guide to Skiing and Snowboarding
Hitting the mountain is a no-brainer for most Colorado natives and avid skiers and snowboarders from out of state, and this information is nothing new for those people out there. However, I’m from the city, so skiing or snowboarding was never something I had the chance to get good at. I wanted to learn and have something to do with my friends during weekend days. I found it to be really fun despite wiping out all the time and going off on my own to practice. My friends all had IKON passes which I decided to get this year since it gives access to Aspen Snowmass, Steamboat, Winter Park, Copper Mountain, Arapahoe Basin, and Eldora. There’s also the Epic pass which includes Vail, Keystone, Crested Butte, Beaver Creek, and Breckenridge. My favorite places I got the chance to go to were Copper Mountain and Winter Park which both had incredible views and easy, wide runs for beginners.
Some things I wish I would have done during the past season was buy a pass and get skis ahead of time before getting to the mountains. Having to buy a day pass every time I went was a pain and way more expensive than getting a season pass. Similarly, renting skis for the day once I got to the resort took a lot of time and the cost started to add up. There’s also teen and student discounts you can utilize to help save some money.
Then there’s the option to buy skis or rent them ahead of time which can be done affordably. If you’re a beginner and just want to test out skiing or snowboarding, renting for the weekend or the season is a really good option. Crystal Ski Shop, which is close to campus, offers seasonal adult ski or board packages for $195 and seasonal customers get discounts on weekend and weekday rentals. If buying skiing equipment fits into your budget, you can buy used or new equipment in person or online and get the bindings fitted at shops like REI, rental shops like Crystal Ski, Alpine Ski Shop or Epic Mountain Gear.
If you or one of your friends has a car, driving to sightsee is a quick and easy way to get out and enjoy the Boulder winter. I’m sure most of the students here have heard of or been to the Lost Gulch Overlook, but in the winter the snowy views are particularly beautiful. Just driving up the mountain is an experience in itself and you can spot some wildlife like deer or pull off to the side and take photos with the view.
Another activity up in the flatirons is going up to the lookout about halfway up the road to Lost Gulch. There’s a big parking lot where you can park your car and look out onto the lit-up view of Boulder and see the stars up close. My friends and I also brought a Cosmos pizza when we went and it ended up being such a relaxing night.
Whether you want to be active during the winter or lay low and chill, you’ll never run out of cool things to do in Boulder.