‘Tis the season when winter sets in, and not in a good way. Here on Colorado’s Front Range, we are experiencing a dreary day. No snow is falling and it looks like Seattle-weather (something I am all too familiar with from childhood).
So what’s on tap to bring joy to this gray, wintry world? If I am planning, I am happy. A plan means something to look forward to, and there is a lot to be excited about over the next few months.
Here are some festivals and food events to liven up the mood during the doldrums of winter.
Valentine’s Day in Loveland
All the cool kids will be in Loveland this Valentine’s Day and here’s why. There’s a festival here that rivals any Valentine’s Day event in the country. The Sweetheart City has been celebrating love for 75 years through their Valentine’s remailing program.
Today, festivities start with a group wedding on February 14 followed by the two-day Sweetheart Festival (Feb. 14-15) that includes everything from horse and carriage rides to a beer tasting tent. Whether you come for the day or spend the weekend, bring someone you love to Loveland this February.
Ski Train, Winter Park Express
Hop on the ski train in Denver from now until the end of March. The ski train leaves early in the morning so if you don’t live in Denver, make it easier on yourself by spending the night at The Crawford Hotel.
I love this hotel and Union Station in general. Not only do delicious restaurants abound, there’s a feeling here that is hard to put into words. On one hand, the people at Union Station are in-transit, catching the train to various far flung destinations, but many people come to enjoy the offerings at the station. I think it is a place where adventure and happiness meld together, and like chocolate and vanilla, it’s a satisfying combination.
The ski train will take you from Denver’s Union Station to Winter Park Resort for a day on the slopes or a day of exploring via snowshoes or any other way you like to play in the snow. Winter Park is a favorite of a lot of Coloradans, so if you haven’t been lately, jump on the train.
Two very different festivals to put on your radar are Leadville Ski Joring (March 6-8, 2020) and Taste of Vail (April 1-4, 2020). You’ll have to battle the crowds on I70 for both of these events, but it will be worth it. First up, Leadville Ski Joring & Crystal Carnival. I’ve been to this event a handful of times and each and every time I am flabbergasted at the bravery of those who complete in ski joring.
If you don’t know what ski joring is, it was invented in Europe but perfected in Leadville. For 72 years they’ve been practicing this wild sport that they spell with two words, ski joring.
If you haven’t been to this event, GO! This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see some of the bravest men and women on skies and horseback. The course is located on the main street of Leadville and has obstacles like jumps as well as rings for skiers to collect as they maneuver down the course.
I have written about the following event extensively because it is simply delicious. Taste of Vail is like no other food event in the country and I don’t make that claim because I’ve been to them all (I wish). I’ve been told by winery owners that this is the case. Eating top notch cuisine and drinking world class wine in ski boots is only done at this Vail event.
Taste of Vail events can be bought al la carte so if you attend just one event during this food and wine extravaganza, I recommend The American Lamb Cook-Off. The chefs go all out for this this cook-off and tasting which is also a competition. There are judge favorites and a people’s choice winner. Tickets are $85 or $5 per tasting ticket. Not too bad when you consider this is a foodie town where dinner easily costs $100 or more for two.