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Celebrate Mardi Gras on the Ski Slopes of Colorado
12/1/2019 1:00:00 PM
Celebrate Mardi Gras

Do Mardi Gras crowds make you want to run for the hills? How about celebrating Fat Tuesday in the mountains this year? Let the good times roll at one of these fabulous Colorado ski resorts. Whether you’re in it for the top runs or the hot toddies, we’ve got just the lift you need. Some resorts even come with their own mountain town version of Mardi Gras mayhem! 


Settled in the 1859 Gold Rush, Breckenridge has the feel of a vintage Western movie. After a day on the slopes, warm up by the wood burning stove at The Gold Pan Saloon, which has the oldest liquor license west of the Mississippi. This charming old mining town becomes a party town every year at Mardi Gras, giving the Big Easy a run for its money. This year’s Fat Tuesday Street Party is planned for Feb. 25. Previous street parties have included free hurricane drinks, gumbo, live music, fire dancers and larger-than-life street puppets, so expect the town’s Main Street to be packed with partiers. Gather along the fenced route to catch incoming beads from participating floats in the Mardi Gras Parade.

Arapahoe Basin

There’s a flurry of great mountains, but the most convenient, affordable option is flying into Denver and choosing a nearby ski resort. One of the closest, just 90 minutes from the Denver airport, is an old-school favorite with locals. Arapahoe Basin often has the longest ski season in Colorado. In fact, this year they were the first ski resort to open in the country, on October 11. Fly into Denver in the morning, and you can be on the slopes in the afternoon. A-Basin, as it’s commonly known, isn’t as built up as some of its nearby cousins. But what it lacks in apres-ski, it makes up for on its scenic slopes.

Winter Park

Worried about driving on icy mountain roads? Hop on the Winter Park Express train, going directly from Denver’s Union Station to the platform at Winter Park, just steps from ski lifts. The introduction in 2016 of Denver’s A line rail service linking the airport to Union Station, means you’ll never need a rental car or cab. The Winter Park Express train runs on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, with tickets starting at $29. Tickets sell out way in advance, so book early.

Once you’ve had time to enjoy the slopes, have lunch atop Winter Park Mountain at Sunspot, with its breathtaking views. Mardi Gras revelers can meet up at the party tent at the base of the ski mountain, where they’ll have special drinks and a cajun-inspired menu, street performers, and live music. Looking for a milder way to take the chill off? Apres-ski at Goody’s Mountain Creperie. 

Where to stay? A unique, budget-friendly lodging alternative for larger groups is the YMCA of the Rockies Snow Mountain Ranch, 20 minutes from Winter Park’s slopes. Lodging ranges from standard rooms in the lodge to rustic 5-bedroom vacation homes. Plus, there’s a flurry of activities for all ages, including cross country skiing, sledding, tubing, ice skating and snowshoeing. If you’re looking to save money, Snow Mountain Ranch offers cafeteria style meals that are a whole lot cheaper than eating on the mountain. YMCA members receive $15 off per night on lodging.

Copper Mountain

Skiing with kids? Check out Copper’s "One, Two, Free!” promotion—kids under 12 ski free with an adult who’s bought a two-day ticket. Plus, stay two nights at any one of Copper’s lodging villages, and the third night is free. Another cost saver? Copper offers soft goods rentals. That means you won’t have to invest in ski pants, jackets, gloves, and all those cold weather comforts Louisianans are blessed to rarely ever need!

There’s plenty to do off the slopes at Copper Mountain, as well. Got an extreme skier or snow boarder, but don’t want an extreme injury? Practice nailing those new tricks at Woodward at Copper, an indoor practice facility where foam pits soften rough landings. Instructors at Woodward will give your powderhound a crash course in how to take their sport to the next level safely.

Beaver Creek, Colorado

Two hours west of Denver, Beaver Creek is one of Colorado’s poshest powder spots. Freshly baked cookies offered at the mountain’s base each afternoon are a sweet reward after a day spent enjoying breathtaking views and great runs. The Pines Lodge, a ski-in/ski-out boutique hotel decorated in alpine chic, is perfect for a romantic getaway. Its elegant Grouse Mountain Grill, specializing in farm-to-table Colorado-centric cooking, has floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Beaver Creek Valley. After dinner, soak in the scenery from the hot tub, perched high above the surrounding pines and aspens.

Posted by: Andrea Guthmann | Submit comment | Tell a friend


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