With longer days and perfect snow conditions spring is the most enjoyable time of the year for snowshoeing. At least according to this expert. Actually, I’m just an enthusiastic snowshoer who happens to love being outdoors in the winter, but when it comes to snowshoeing, sun and snow are the biggest factors in considering when and where to go. There are so many places to take your snowshoes that deciding where to go may be the toughest decision of the day.
Aspen, Colorado has some of the most amazing snowshoeing in the world.
I grew up in Colorado and spent my youth skiing in Aspen and the western slope resorts of Vail, Powderhorn, Sunlight and Steamboat Springs. Really, you can’t beat any of those places and now when skiing is too crowded or too expensive to do all the time we go snowshoeing instead. And by the way, there is nothing better than a morning ‘shoe to get you tuned for a great day of skiing, but it’s also its own reward and snowshoeing all day surrounded by some of nature’s most magnificent mountains can make a grown man cry. And snowshoeing delivers it without lines, without noise, and best of all, without drama in the parking lot or lodge. Choosing one of these spectacular places to explore may be your toughest decision of all. If you’re flying into Aspen, for example, here are a couple of recommendations for your consideration:
Where to Stay
If you’ve never been to Aspen, well, shame on you. One of the most beautiful, picturesque places on earth and certainly one of Colorado’s gems. There are plenty of hotel choices and accommodations and for those who have no budgetary concerns, the sky is the limit. For the rest of us mortals, with pockets that have a defined depth, we prefer to rent a house where our family can tap into the vein of the local feeling. I appreciate having some space where we can share family time and relax on a couch after a big day of adventuring. Renting a home is a great way to do it. My recommendation is Aspen Vacation Rentals to find something that works for you and find the kind of place where you can feel like you’re home – away from home. And when you’ve got a base you can explore both day and night to your heart’s content, and just like an insider you’ll also want to take advantage of a guide who can show you the most incredible snowshoe trails and hikes in the area.
Finding a guide to take you to those places only the locals know.
No, you don’t necessarily need a guide, but I guarantee your experience will be better if someone who knows and loves the area and is willing to share his passion for both the environment as well as the activity of snowshoeing, can take you. Aspen’s SunDog Athletics leads the pack and Erik Skarvan, proprietor and practitioner extraordinaire, is perhaps the most qualified snowshoe guide in all of western Colorado. No one can show you a better time. He’s been snowshoeing in “happy valley” for over 20 years and Erik’s love of the sport and Aspen in particular, are infectious. He does a daily feature on local television where he shares a trail or a run that gives you some insight into what to do that day. Erik delivers amazing blue bird days or snowy treks through the most beautiful forests and terrain found any where in the world. Guaranteed, every time. By the way, you don’t have to have your own snowshoes. Erik provides Crescent Moon Snowshoes, some of the best snowshoes in the world, (and made in Colorado) for all his guests who don’t have their own.
Snowshoeing in the rest of Western Colorado
Perhaps you didn’t know, but Colorado is divided into halves (and halve-nots) with the western part of Colorado on that side of the continental divide. The other half being where the majority of Colorado’s population lives, the Front Range greater metropolitan area. The great thing about snowshoeing is that you can do it anywhere there is snow from downtown Denver to the greatest flat-top mountain in the world to Grand Mesa, near Grand Junction, which is as far west in Colorado as you can get. If you choose the latter, then go the Grand Mesa Nordic Council’s web site for local weather conditions, trail recommendations, and an insider’s perspective on the best kept secret for snowshoeing, perhaps in the world. Spectacular. Every time I’ve been to the top of the great Grand Mesa, I am humbled by its scale, its world class quiet, and endless vistas. Breathtaking and breath giving, its a grand experience and one you won’t find on just any old flat top mountain.
So when is the best time to go snowshoeing? Just about anytime the conditions allow. No matter where you go, there you are. Make time this Winter to take your family out and enjoy some time together.