Can’t Ski? Lucky for You Leadville Has the Answers!
by Brennan Ruegg, Leadville Today contributor
Whether it’s tight budgets or tight muscles, the ski hill might not be an easy commitment to make, but that doesn’t necessarily mean sacrificing the bluebird day. Here are some (mostly free) alternative adventures to undertake in Leadville, accessible from virtually any ski lodge.
A stroll down historic Harrison Avenue is an experience that never gets old or stays the same. With monuments like The Legendary Silver Dollar Saloon and the Western Hardware Antique Mall, next to new ventures like Harper Rose Studios, this can be a walk through the past, present, and future all at once.
When lunchtime hits, head south on historic Harrison Avenue towards the last standing saloon in the old red light district which also offers some tasty new BBQ items, The Pastime Bar and Café can be found at 120 W. 2nd Street.
Or top the afternoon off at Leadville’s newest suds house, Periodic Brewing on E. 7th Street, where doors open at noon on weekends and 3 p.m.
The National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum (http://mininghalloffame.org/), often called the “Smithsonian of the Rockies”, is always worth visiting. The museum features three levels of permanent exhibits telling the story of the ground beneath our feet and the men and women who broke it. Located at 120 W. 9th St, and open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday thru Sunday.
Sledding and Tubing at Dutch Henri Hill, FREE of charge to folks who bring their own tubes or sleds, with rentals available. Four chutes (sometimes slick, sometimes powdery) lead down the hill, guaranteed to thrill. Located south of town at the intersection of US-24 and McWethy Drive.
Huck Finn Ice Rink at W. 5th St. and Leiter Ave. is now open, featuring its brand new Warming Hut facilities with rentals, snack bar, and sound system. Skating enthusiasts can find drop-in hockey and curling matches.
With a set of snowshoes or skinny skis there is virtually no end to the ground you can cover in Lake County. Head out to Turquoise Lake, Half Moon Creek, up into the historic mining district on the east side, or anywhere along the Mineral Belt Trail for Rocky Mountain winter solitude. For a map of Leadville’s winter trails: LINK.
So head up higher to Leadville, America’s Highest City! More awaits those expecting the unexpected. Where locals are always willing to chat with visitors, share a tale, and set you off on a quest. So now, when that proverbial “skiing or snowboarding?” question comes up, you’ll have more than a mouthful to come back with after a day’s break from the slopes.
Leadville is accessible via Highway 91 from Copper Mountain (some say the most hitchhiked stretch of road in the United States), with the expanded Summit Stage winter bus schedule, or access from the Vail Valley via Highway 24 north compliments of the ECO Transit bus.
Brennan Ruegg skied his first blue hill last season.