October 08, 2021 4 min read

7 Must-See Festivals For Colorado Winter Vacations for Non-Skiers

Are skiing and snowboarding not your thing? Don’t stress: there are plenty of options for Colorado winter vacations for non-skiers to choose from. Get started with these one-of-a-kind Colorado winter festivals and events.

While the ski slopes might get all the attention once the snow starts falling in Colorado, there’s so much more to explore. From hidden hot springs to awesome Colorado winter events, Colorado winter vacations for non-skiers are just as (if not more) exciting. If you’re planning a winter vacation for a big group, festivals are a great option. There’s something for everyone at these unique Colorado winter festivals!


Planning Colorado Winter Vacations for Non-Skiers: 7 Must-See Festivals

Pagosa Winterfest

When: January 21-23

Where: Pagosa Springs, CO

A gem of southwest Colorado, the small town of Pagosa Springs is home to amazing natural hot springs, great restaurants, and the Pagosa Winterfest festival! This family-friendly event takes place in downtown Pagosa Springs for an entire weekend. If you’re feeling brave, take part in the polar plunge. Otherwise, watch the skijor competition and enjoy epic views of a massive hot air balloon take-off. Looking for a place to stay? Book one of thesecozy local cabins.

Winter Wondergrass Festival

When: February 25th-27th

Where: Steamboat Springs, CO

A trip to see Steamboat Springs in the winter is worth it, even when there’s no festival. But the Winter Wondergrass Festival takes this iconic mountain town to a new high. This three-day winter music festival sells out year after year for good reason. Dancing your way through three days of bluegrass performances will keep you warm. The festival began as a way to celebrate the connection between music and nature, and it does just that. But don’t worry- while the main stage is outdoors, you’ll enjoy performances in a heated indoor venue as well. Local food and beer abound, and kids 12 and under are welcome for free.

 

Ouray Ice Fest

When: January 20th-23rd 

Where: Ouray, CO

This one is for the thrill-seekers! The Ouray Ice Fest takes place at the world-renowned Ouray Ice Park, a safe and contained space for ice climbers to learn the craft and push their limits. The yearly ice fest draws climbers and non-climbers alike for a weekend of fun and competition. Watch with awe as professional ice climbers compete for a winning trophy, try your hand with a guided experience, or just enjoy a weekend of local events and plenty of good food!

 

The Breckenridge Ullr Festival

When: December 8th-17th

Where: Breckenridge, CO

Get ready for a Colorado winter event you won’t soon forget! The Ullr Festival is a time-honored tradition celebrating the Norse god of snow, Ullr. Don’t miss out on ski burning bonfires, live music, and the world’s longest shotski. Between the Ullr Ball and the Ullrlympics, you’re in for an action-packed weekend. Got little ones? They’re welcome, too! And we bet that they’ll love the Ullr Parade...


Vail Snow Days

When: December 2nd-5th

Where: Vail, CO

Kick off the winter season at Vail Snow Days. This lively ski town is even more alive for a weekend-long winter festival that celebrates the start of the snowfall season. If you’ve never been to Vail, you’ll quickly learn that it’s known for much more than its ski slopes. With amazing restaurants and bars and beautiful mountains all around, there’s plenty to do. During Vail Snow Days, enjoy two free concerts at the downtown park, apres parties, and an expo of local artists and creators.

 

Aspen Wintersköl

When: January 13th-16th

Where: Aspen, CO

This Colorado winter festival dates all the way back to 1951! Wintersköl is a tribute to Aspen’s eclectic alpine lifestyle and european heritage, and this four-day long winter event has plenty to see. The usual mix of local eats and drinks, along with several concerts make the trip well worth it. If you’re looking for something beyond the usual, save the date for the canine fashion show, bonfire, fireworks, and watch the torchlight descent of Aspen mountain.



International Snow Sculpture Championships

When: January 24th-30th

Where: Breckenridge, CO

16 teams from around the world land in Breckenridge each winter for a weeklong festival and competition. For onlookers, it’s a chance to view truly breathtaking works of art, all made of ice. Teams spend an entire week sculpting 20-ton blocks of ice into sculptures that are a true work of art. With only hand tools allowed, the effort is admirable, and the end results are showcased for a week in the festive streets of Breckenridge.


Never been to a Colorado winter festival? Here’s what to expect

The show will go on, no matter the weather

The forecast might be calling for a whiteout, but you can bet that the Colorado winter event you’re heading to will go on as planned. If there’s one thing Coloradans know how to handle, it’s the snow. Be prepared by giving yourself extra time for your drive, and never put yourself in an unsafe situation just to make it to a festival!

You’re in the mountains, so remember the altitude

Sure, you might be right downtown, but the best Colorado winter festivals all take place at a higher altitude than you’re used to. Altitude sickness can hit you at full force at just 8,000 feet, so don’t take your weekend too lightly. If you’re travelling from out of state, give yourself a day or two to acclimate to the Colorado altitude. And even if you live in Denver, remember to keep yourself well hydrated (and remember that those craft beers effect you much more easily up high).

Dress for all occasions

You’ll have the most fun if you can feel you toes while you’re dancing, so make sure you’ve got the layers you need to stay warm! A puffy vest is a great way to add warmth and easily cool down if you’re heating up. And, make sure to pack a beanie hat to keep your head and ears warm when you’re spending the whole day outside.


Are you excited for these amazing Colorado winter events? Us to! Follow YoColorado on Instagram and sign up for our email list to find out which Colorado winter festivals you can find us at this year.

Karen Williams
Karen Williams


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