TORONTO — With so many mountains in Canada’s own backyard – and with the struggling loonie – it could be tough to convince clients to head south for their skiing and snowboarding this winter.
But Tim Pansini, Marketing Manager – Americas for the Colorado Tourism Office, says Colorado has two can’t-miss selling features for Canadian travellers: an authentic Western U.S. experience, and some of the fluffiest powder snow in North America.
And while the Colorado ski scene is famous for high-end celebrity-magnets like Vail and Aspen, there are plenty of budget-friendly options too, including Winter Park Resort and Loveland.
With the challenging currency exchange, “there might actually be an opportunity for Canadian travellers to refresh their idea of skiing in Colorado,” said Pansini.
Pansini and the Colorado Tourism Office team, and several of its partners, were in Toronto this week for the ‘Taste of Colorado: An Evening of Bison, Beer and Bluegrass’ event. Speaking of bison, Colorado is onboard with the foodie trend, offering adventurous diners everything from elk to rattlesnake (and yes, bison). Colorado is also home to more than 100 wineries and 70 microbreweries and distilleries, including 30 in Denver alone. “It’s a really cool scene,” says Pansini.
Colorado’s emerging local food and craft beer offerings, not to mention several new hip boutique hotels, are helping establish the state as a four-season destination.
The Curtis Denver – A Doubletree by Hilton boasts a fun and colourful pop-culture décor, with cartoons playing in the lobby and a ‘Five & Dime’ store offering treats from the past. It’s located across from the Denver Center for the Performing Arts.
Another new property, the ART, is a six-minute walk from the Denver Art Museum and one of the only hotels in the city with balconies. The décor leans to Danish Modern, and the funky exterior is in keeping with Denver’s trend to more creative architecture.
One fairly new property, The Crawford Hotel, is located at Denver’s Union Station. The Crawford is known for its in-room iPad minis, C.O. Bigelow bathroom amenities and a Tesla electric car courtesy service “in the heart of LoDo”, Denver’s lower downtown district. The original Union Station was built in 1881 and rebuilt and redesigned twice before making its ‘re-debut’ in 1914 with its current structure. A revitalization project began in 2010 and wrapped up with great fanfare in 2014, restoring the station to its original glory.
Another hotel that will prove convenient for air passengers is the brand new Westin Denver International Airport, just opened this week. Air Canada just announced new daily service between Montreal and Denver starting June 4, 2016.
Several ski resorts are within quick driving distance of Denver, while other nearby destinations have no skiing at all, and still thrive. Colorado Springs, the second-largest city in Colorado, is about an hour’s drive from Denver. There are no mountain resorts but there is Pikes Peak, the second-most visited mountain in the world, and the Garden of the Gods, famous for its 1,300 acres of stunning sandstone formations. Historic hotel The Broadmoor is one of Colorado Springs’ best-known properties, and one of its most luxurious.
Another option for clients heading to Colorado, Grand Junction, has a small ski resort that’s easy on the wallet (Powderhorn Mountain Resort) and a thriving wine scene. This is Colorado Wine Country, “a very central destination that’s also very budget-friendly,” says Mistalynn Meyeraan, Marketing and Public Relations Director for the Grand Junction Visitor & Convention Bureau.
For more information see colorado.com.