Spring is here, well, sort of. With all of the precipitation and cold temps of late, it’s hard to believe that the season has arrived. But we’re most certainly in the midst of offseason with another epic Colorado ski season in the books.
As the snow slowly melts, and the mud emerges in towns across the Rocky Mountain range, the transients are preparing for their next adventure on the beaches of Nantucket or on the slopes of South America, sure to return again when the lifts open in late fall.
This is that time of year when those of us with full-time occupational obligations start to get a bit of cabin fever. As businesses close or change their hours for spring and the streets empty out, there is a sense of lethargy in the air. There is a need to get out.
Offseason in the Colorado mountains gives us all the opportunity to break past the high walls of the Rockies and find renewal in different places. Some people may head to Moab to hit the bike trails (that’s my plan in a couple of weeks); others go to the East Coast or maybe even to Europe for a few weeks of adventure.
For me, being nestled in the Rockies, as much as I love it most days, can get a bit claustrophobic. Whether we like to admit it or not, we do live in a bubble up here in the mountains, a gorgeous bubble, but a bubble nonetheless. Getting out and getting a new perspective is important, and oftentimes we don’t have the opportunity to do that during the busy summer and winter seasons.
Though I do not have big travel plans for spring, I find even a brief weekend away can cure a bit of cabin fever, and it doesn’t have to be super expensive. Below are a few of my go-tos during offseason.
When spring and fall roll around, I make a point to visit Boulder, my hometown. There’s something about that uninhibited horizon on the Front Range and the loads of open space that Boulder has to offer that relaxes me. A nice alternative to Denver, this town has impressive restaurants for the dedicated foodie. And, for the dedicated drinker, there’s also plenty to imbibe on. The town has a lot of boutique shops that are interesting to peruse. If you happen to go, I recommend spending a day and a night on Pearl Street. If you get out of the mountains and find that you want, well, more mountains, there are also great hikes in the area. Spend some time on trials near Flatirons (those iconic slabs of rock on the town’s flagship peaks) or in North Boulder on the Mount Sanitas Valley Loop Trail.
There are other close by options to relieve the claustrophobia. As I mentioned above, Moab is one of my favorite trips to take in the offseason. Moab has it all: great places to hike, mountain bike, eat and camp. You can enjoy the whole weekend without ever entering the town, but I do recommend checking out some of the shops and restaurants if you have time. And, if you didn’t know already, there are two incredible national parks — Canyonlands and Arches — minutes away from downtown area.
And my last offseason suggestion, at least for this column, is Paonia. Yes, it’s kind of a mountain town in its own right, but I think it has a very different vibe than Telluride. No matter what time of year you go to Paonia, the wine is flowing heavily. Many people give Colorado flak for its vino, but considering this state’s dry climate and unpredictable weather, there are people making some really great stuff. The beer and cider also flow in this town, if you’re not a huge wine fan.
We have under a month left until the madness of summer begins. I’m looking forward to the warmer months filled with outdoor music festivals, some long hikes up fourteeners and some serene time in the wilderness camping. But, for the moment, I’m going to take a little break from my mountain town abode by adventuring out of my bubble.
Where’s your favorite place to offseason? Tell Barbara at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @barbaraplatts.