I have lived in multiple ski towns in Colorado and it’s quite funny that so many people think that they would get bored because “there’s nothing to do” in the mountains!
In reality, it’s hard to choose just one event to attend each week - especially during the summer months!
If you are the leader of a remote team and your team wants to explore Colorado, one of these events is sure to suit your fancy!
1. Ullr Fest
Breckenridge, Colorado. The next Ullr Fest is January 9-13, 2019.
If you are a lover of snow, you know and respect Ullr.
Ullr is the Norse God of Snow and Winter - get your viking hats ready!!
The idea is that when you dance for Ullr, have a parade for Ullr, build a bonfire for Ullr...that he will deliver copious amounts of snow; the 2019 event marks the 55th year of the Breckenridge’s Ullr Fest...clearly it’s a tradition that is going nowhere.
Over the years Ullr Fest has become many traditions:
Breckenridge, Colorado. The next Big Beers Festival is January 10-12 2019.
This world class festival is exactly what you’re looking for if you identify as a homebrewer, as a beer fanatic, as a cigar lover, or as a beer professional!
These beers are no joke - watch the alcohol content while enjoying the tasting portion as the beers as a whole have high alcohol content. This festival is also held at 9,600’ above sea level where alcohol may affect you more quickly and more intensely.
The Big Beers festival has much more than just tastings:
This event takes place at Buttermilk Mountain near Aspen, Colorado. The next Winter X Games is January 23-26, 2019.
By 2019, the Roaring Fork Valley will have hosted the iconic contest for 18 years.
Entrance to the XGames as a spectator is free (unless you want to upgrade to VIP) and you’ll have up-front access to see events such as halfpipe, SnowCross, Big Air, and more!
You and your team will have the opportunity to meet tons of sponsors in the industry, spend some time at the bar areas to relax, enjoy concerts on the snow, catch concerts at the Belly Up (downtown Aspen), attend after parties galore, and more!
If your team wants to get the full XGames/Aspen experience, you may want to ski or snowboard while you are in the area. You can choose from Snowmass, Buttermilk, Aspen Mountain (AJAX), Aspen Highlands, or Sunlight Mountain.
If you plan to fly your team to the Aspen area, you can fly in to Aspen/Pitkin County Airport (5 minutes from the XGames), Eagle-Vail Airport (1.5 hours from the XGames), or the Grand Junction Regional Airport. You can certainly save money on your retreat by flying in to the Denver International Airport...but keep in mind that the other visitors in town for the XGames may turn your 4 hour drive into a 6 hour drive (or more)!
Transportation in the immediate area on the RFTA busses is free and easy; transportation to other parts of the Roaring Fork Valley is available for a small fee (under $10).
This festival takes place every March. The 2019 dates have not yet been confirmed.
Every March since 2000 this delightfully quirky and unlikely festivals gathers thousands to celebrate the story of Grandpa Bredo Morstoel, a Norwegian who died in 1989.
This celebration showcases an array of icy events and crazy contests—frozen salmon tosses, the Newly Dead game, ice sculpting contests, coffin races and polar plunges are some of the highlights!
If your team wants to have fun with the locals, Nederland is the place to be every March for lots of cold local beer, the Blue Ball (live bands) and dead guy races!
5. Gaper Day
This event takes places at multiple mountains every year on April 1st - next Gaper Day is this coming Sunday!
Though this event is not an officially sanctioned event by any of the mountains, it is a celebration that locals enjoy year after year! Arapahoe Basin is known for having the most draw for Gaper Day - Aspen Highlands and Vail Mountain are close seconds!
Gaper is the term that locals use to describe skiers and snowboarders that don’t fit in. Gapers can be identified by outdated ski gear (think neon!), wearing jeans (not ideal for skiing as they are not waterproof), having a gaper gap, and/or falling on every other turn.
On gaper day it is common for skiers to snowboard, for snowboarders to ski, for people to use a ski bike or snow blades, and for locals to not even take one run on the slopes because they are too busy partying.
If your team likes to party and to get involved with the local culture of the mountains, this is an event you won’t want to miss - good times for all people, crazy costumes, huge smiles, and paparazzi galore!
Aspen, Colorado. The next Food & Wine Classic is June 15-17, 2018.
America’s premier culinary event is held in downtown Aspen - at $1,700 a ticket this luxury event brings hundreds of members of the press and thousands of other attendees.
FOOD & WINE will continue its efforts to raise funds and awareness for Grow for Good, the national initiative dedicated to supporting local farms and encouraging sustainable agriculture. There is a $4,000 VIP Grow For Good Pass that can be purchased that donates $1,000 of your purchase directly to Wholesome Wave.
Keystone, Colorado. The next Bacon & Bourbon Festival is June 23-24, 2018.
If you thought that bacon was just bacon, prepare to be proven wrong!
The Bacon Fest is a newer festival as it started only 8 years ago - and it’s so great that it returns every year and gets better and better each year!
Vendors from Summit County all the way to Des Moines, Iowa create great dishes that range from Maple Bacon Milkshakes (Inxpot) to Pizza with Bacon (Gusto), to Crepes (sweet and savory bacon options), to Bacon Mac & Cheese, to Bacon wrapped Jalapeños, to Smoked Gouda & Pancetta Fondue w/Green Onions in a Roasted Apple (Der Fondue Chessel) and so on a and so forth! You can even get Beggin’ Strips for your dog!!
Keystone offers multiple ticket options - you can purchase single tickets “Bacon Bucks” at $4 each or you can choose one of the ticket packages which include the Piglet Package, the Samplin’ Swine Package, and the Hungry Hog Package which includes entrance to the festival’s Jim Beam Bourbon Tour.
Each year there are great bands playing at Bacon Fest - anybody can watch the live music at no charge. Hell’s Belles & Lez Zeppelin are two world famous bands that play every year at Bacon Fest and really put on an amazing show are!
If your team is full of bacon lovers, this is the festival for you!
Beaver Creek Ski Resort, Colorado. The next World Cup races will be held November 30-December 2, 2018.
If your team wants to see where winter begins, go to Beaver Creek for the Beaver Creek World Cup. This event is ranked as the number one overall stop by the athletes and coaches who participate, the Beaver Creek Audi FIS Ski World Cup has become legendary in the ski world.
You and your team can watch racers competing in Super G, Downhill, and Giant Slalom front row! This event has been going on on the Birds of Prey course since 1997 and the course features a 757 meter vertical drop with an average gradient of 27% and this gradient goes up to 45%!
As with most events and festivals in the area, the Beaver Creek World Cup includes other festivities such as live music, beer tastings, parties, and ski films!
Crested Butte, Colorado. This event no longer takes place but locals are hoping to bring it back!
Crested Butte is a small town in southern Colorado and Elk is the name of the main drag.
Big Air on Elk has brought local, regional, and national athletes to the small town of Crested Butte where the athletes show off their Big Air ski and snowboard tricks in the heart of downtown!
Snowmobiles tow skiers and riders in towards the huge jump at 50mph and they soar far above the buildings across a 50 foot gap to showcase their talents to all of the onlookers!
As You Can See…
There is certainly no shortage of things to do in the ski towns of Colorado! To be honest, it was hard to choose these top 9 events as there are so many great events in these small mountain towns!
Each event and mountain town has their own vibe; you can get the full cultural experience of Colorado by attending these events with your team - don’t miss out!
If your team wants to go on a retreat to the mountains these are some of the best events but there are many more to choose from. Feel free to reach out to me for any additional advice and share any of your favorite Colorado mountain town events in the comments!
Please add comments and ask questions in the comment section below. If you want ideas for events in other countries, please reach out and let us know!
Ready to book your retreat to Colorado?
Rebel + Connect creates custom retreats for remote teams. A Colorado based company owned and operated by Charlie Birch, Rachel McGehee, and Summer Weirich, we operate remotely and service clients from all over the globe. Join us as we create cultures of meaning and celebrate human connections in a digital world!
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