Things to do in Summit County
The heart of big mountain skiing in Colorado, the winter wonderland of Summit County, lies just over 70 miles west of Denver. Breckenridge, Copper Mountain, Keystone and Arapahoe Basin, some of the state’s most iconic ski areas, can all be found here within 20 miles of each other (or in the case of Keystone and A-Basin, just five miles). It’s a place where skiing and snowboarding is a way of life, and if you think you’re a good skier, the guy next to you at the bar is probably better. And he or she is probably spending the winter as a ski bum crammed into a tiny apartment with four other ski bums. Though this was once a hardscrabble mining region, tourism has long since replaced mining, and the cost of living is one of the highest in the state.
It’s not just the downhill skiing that brings visitors here from the Front Range and around the world. The family-friendly resorts offer tubing hills, roller coasters, Nordic trails, and world-class mountain biking and hiking in the spring and summer seasons. Breckenridge is known for its shopping, restaurants, and nightlife. Keystone is a ski resort base village disguised as a town and offers some of the only night-skiing in the state. The other towns – Frisco, Dillon, and Silverthorne – offer more affordable lodging closer to Interstate 70.
Summer and fall are just as busy here. Once the snow melts, the White River National Forest offers more hikes than you could do in ten vacations to Summit County, from quick morning jaunts to epic multi-day trips in the Eagles Nest Wilderness, home of the jagged Gore Range mountains. The fall colors bring in more multitudes. About the only time the streets aren’t full here is April and May, known as “mud season” in mountain towns, when all the lifties and ski bums go to Moab. And even then, A-Basin is usually open. They have the longest season in North America.