7. Ouray, Colorado
Why go: Forget the ski adventures for a minute. At Ouray Ice Park, which sits at nearly 8,000 feet above sea level, surrounded by snow-capped peaks, there are over 200 ice and mixed climbs less than a mile from town. It’s a free manmade park that’s re-iced each night, making it the perfect spot for experienced climbers and those who want to give a new winter sport a try. The best way to get there is by flying into a nearby regional airport and making the drive through the San Juan Skyway. Just note it’s only open from mid-December through the beginning of March, so plan accordingly.
Where to stay: The Box Canyon Lodge has the best possible remedy for a day out in the cold: private hot springs. Four redwood tubs have been terraced into the mountainside right behind the lodge, so you can warm up while enjoying the crisp mountain air and 360-degree views of the San Juan Mountains. Plus it’s just five minutes from Ouray Ice Park.
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