I look forward to January and the rest of winter every year.  Geez, that almost sounds like some hipster statement, just trying to go against the grain.  It's not, though.  Every season here has huge, amazing adventures waiting.  No holidays?  No summer?  Awesome!  Let's go play in the mountains!

Here are some upcoming opportunities for that which are reasonably close to home.  I've listed this by 'festival,' although there are plenty of individual items for you to pick and choose, within:

  • Breckenridge, January 10th-13th:  The Ullr Festival.  A bunch of people round up and beg the Norse Snow God "Ullr" for a blanket of fresh powder over Summit County.  Expect bonfires, a parade, live music, and every snow sport imaginable.  Read more here. 
  • The Estes Park Winter Festival, January 13th & 14th.  This is one way to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr., Weekend.  Nightly live music, a parade, ice skating in the historic downtown area, and lots of ski and snowboard competitions and demonstrations.  See more here.  My favorite things to do in Estes?  Stay at Rustic River Cabins, with an outdoor hot tub on the river... do some sampling at Snowy Peaks Winery while the kids have fun in the play area... and take out my sled at the former Hidden Valley Ski Area (or, yes, skiing is a complete possibility there, too!)
  • The Steamboat Winter Carnival, February 7th-11th.  When Steamboat does a fireworks display, they don't mess around.  If you missed the one on New Year's Eve, here's your next chance.  There are foot races, as well as skiing and riding competitions.  Or, you could just take in the festive feel and hit up a hot spring, hit the slopes on your own terms, do nothing and just freaking love being in Steamboat, or like I enjoy, a bit of all that.  More info here!
  • Nederland, March 9th-11th:  The Frozen Dead Guys Festival.  You've heard about it.  You know you've gotta see it at least once.  We're talkin' coffin races... a slow motion parade... and decorated hearses.  Sounds creepy enough, but the story is a sad and unique one, and this is an attempt to turn it positive by paying honors and having fun:  A guy from this town was abandoned by his family and cryogenically frozen.  Here's more on that.

What should we add to the list?  I've got a few snowboard trips to Mary Jane and Steamboat ahead, as well as some Saturdays when we just wake up, drive to Boulder or Denver, just get out of the car and do whatever feels right that day, and then go back home.  Nobody says fun has to cost a million bucks every time!