The Best Colorado Ski Towns For Family Trips With Non Skiers

By Beatriz Strong

Are you a non-skier in a skiing family? It is possible to live in Colorado and not ski. And some ski towns offer many winter activities for both skiers and non-skiers.

Your Colorado ski trip might be as short as a weekend getaway, particularly if you live on the Front Range of Colorado or eastern Utah. Perhaps your family takes ski vacations, or month-long escapes. If you don’t ski, you need choices that don’t involve skiing.

Top choice for weekends or long visits: Basalt.

Basalt is one of Colorado’s hidden gems, and one of the best towns for a ski trip. There are many reasons why Basalt is the best choice for skiers and non-skiers on a short or longer getaway.

Visitors fall in love with Basalt’s small-town, super-laid-back character. Basalt lies amidst two rivers and red-rock mountains. In the summer, folks visit to golf and fish. Basalt’s rivers provide world-famous gold-medal fly-fishing. Basalt has a reputation as a nice place to hide away in the summer, but its slower pace, and less people, makes it a treasure to visit in the winter!

Basalt hosts unique boutiques, a large bookstore, and charming cafes. Everything is a two-block walk in the historic downtown area. And you can stroll by the river on a path, or just look enjoy your views of red-rock peaks that encircle town.

The local day spa is a typical place to find a non-skier. Discover your favorite day spa at Higher Spa & Studio in Basalt! Higher is small and locally-owned, like most of the town’s businesses, so you get royal treatment (better than you get at some big resorts spas). Of course you can get an ooey-gooey hot stone massage (using basalt stones), or a killer work-out with a personal trainer in their fitness studio. But your visit must include their exclusive treatment, the “Endorphin High”, in which they combine oils, salts and sports massage for a unique treatment that your weary muscles will remember forever.

Basalt is centrally located to two winter-destination cities, which provide good day trips for both skiers and non-skiers. By bus or car, Aspen is only minutes away. Skiers can stay in quiet Basalt and ski Aspen or Snowmass resorts during the day. For the non-skier or the skier taking a day off, you can visit Aspen for upscale shopping and restaurants, art galleries, and national music acts.

Glenwood Springs is the other city close to Basalt. Glenwood has several hot springs attractions. You can swim in the world’s largest (commercial) hot springs pool, or relax in their natural steam caves. Your buddies can ski at Glenwood’s Sunlight Mountain while you soak in the hot springs, and then meet you at the local microbrewery for a pint.

Basalt is also centrally located for the active non-skier. If you snowshoe or cross-country ski, trails are abundant around Basalt. In addition to the many forest trails, the paved Rio Grande trail extends throughout the whole Roaring Fork valley, running through Basalt.

Other choices for weekenders.

Steamboat Springs is a town well-suited for skiers and non-skiers. It boasts the Strawberry Hot Springs. If you go, get a watsu session, or water-based massage. There are several options for the active non-skier, such as cross-country skiing and snowshoe hikes.

Some visitors prefer Steamboat’s affordability, compared to pricier visits to Aspen or Telluride. But recent development may change that in coming years.

Steamboat Springs is a bit off-the-beaten-path. This town feels more tucked away than its ski-town neighbor, Vail, and more Interstate-accessible resorts. But travel to and from Steamboat can be precarious in the winter. Mountain roads and passes may get dangerous, or completely closed. This makes Steamboat a better choice for folks with flexible schedules.

For the active non-skiing weekend, Winter Park is a good choice for folks coming from Denver. You can visit nearby Devils’ Thumb for cross-country skiing and a nice spa. But if you leave the Denver-metro area on Friday afternoon and return Sunday evening, you will endure massive traffic. You will enjoy Winter Park more, plus get better hotel room rates, if you plan your “weekend” mid-week.

Other choices for longer stays.

If you don’t mind a bit of extra driving, Durango is worth a trip. For the best week-long experience for a non-skier, you will want to have a car.

Durango is the southwestern Colorado college town with a ski area. It is in the middle of the Four Corners area, and as such, there are no major airports nearby.

From Durango, the non-skier can drive to the hot springs town of Pagosa Springs. Pagosa is scenic, hosts great hot springs pools, and is close to the Wolf Creek Ski Area, which gets the most snow of any Colorado ski area.

Elsewhere in the Durango area, a non-skiing traveler can find Native American ruins and national parks within a few hours’ drive. Santa Fe, Taos, and Albuquerque, New Mexico, offer southwest flavors and culture if you feel like taking an overnight mini-road trip.

In conclusion, your choice in ski towns may be dictated by several factors, such as accessibility, activity levels of the non-skier, length of stay, and the size of the town you wish to visit. With a little investigation, the non-skier can have a great time on the next so-called ski trip.

Go to [] to learn more about massage and fitness in Basalt, or to schedule your Endorphin High spa treatment.

Beatriz Strong enjoys travel, and anything related to health and wellness. When she is not hiking in the Aspen valley, camping in the Sangre de Cristo mountains, and contemplating nature, she can be found getting a massage at Higher Spa & Studio in Basalt, Colorado.





About Owens Publishing

Owens Publishing is a small (independently owned) family publishing company. B K Owens, Marcella S. Meeks
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