December 27, 2017
Winter is here and boy did it come in with a bang. Almost half of the lower 48 US states saw white outside their windows Christmas morning, including Seattle- a rare treat for the warm Pacific Ocean air bathed city. Erie, Pennsylvania saw a record breaking 5 feet of snow in just two days and is still due for more.
In California, however, we read the news in our shorts and Olukai’s while looking on longingly at our new skis, still wrapped up in bows. Needing to satisfy our insatiable winter wanderlust, we collected five US destinations that are inspiring us to pack our vans and bid SoCal’s forever sunny skies farewell.
Grand Canyon – South Rim
The Grand Canyon National Park is one of the most visited natural attractions in the United States, and it is easy to see why. The vastness of the 18 mile wide canyon is unbelievable and truly astonishing on its own. Now, imagine that iconic picture you have stored in your mind of that same canyon blanketed in white. Absolutely incredible.
Visiting the Grand Canyon in winter means less congested roads and trails, milder temperatures and gorgeous views. Because the sun isn’t aligned directly between the walls, the canyon is blanketed in a beautiful purple hue during sunset and sunrise- it’s Instagram heaven.
Photo from Vail Mountain Resort
Colorado seems like a no-brainer when chasing powder this season. Rushing down perfectly blanketed Rocky Mountain slopes is what our inner skier/snowboarder dreams of. Don’t even get us started on the backcountry possibilities out in that wintery white wilderness. The issue we run into is: Where the heck do you go? With so many possible choice of destination we were most inspired by three cities from the Centennial State. When one is good, three is better- right?
Home to a world renowned resort, this town was built to be a skier’s heaven. It’s one massive mountain is home to 31 lifts, 5200 acres of developed ski terrain and some of the most challenging slopes in Colorado. If you are down for the resort feel, Vail is the place to be.
Built during the silver rush, Aspen is flowing with history. Many of the town’s buildings are historic structures paying homage to it’s colorful past. Avoid the uppity resort feel by choosing to explore the four mountains making up Aspen’s snowy playground. Because the route into the city is a little more difficult than Vail, slope lines will be shorter and crowds will be less congested in Aspen than in Vail, both of which are pros on our checklist.
Alright, we feel you, we don’t care about anything but the snow! That’s why Breckenridge made our list. Breckenridge is less expensive, more mountain-town feeling and way less trafficked that the large resorts. This casual snow haven is perfect if all you want is to play in powder and enjoy a post-slope beer with the locals.
Denali National Park/Fairbanks Alaska
Here at the Coop skiing is serious business and we appreciate some quality backcountry time more than anything. Denali National Park is an inspiration to backcountry skiers everywhere. Vast white backdrops are shadowed by sharp, staggered granite peaks towering over the landscape. Alaska is the last wilderness, and we are ready to face it. Snowshoes in hand, GoPro at the ready, we are dreaming of Northern Lights, dog sledding and being immersed in the most wild National Park in the US.
San Antonio Hot Springs
Photo by Merlin Macias via AllTrails.com
Tucked right into the mountainside, the hot springs in San Antonio provide a drool worthy view to their visitors. Snowshoe out and back along the trail for an 11.4 mile round trip hike. Each of the four hot springs varies in temperature but are definitely worth submerging into. Sit back, relax, take in the incredible snowy mountain views. Just make sure you bring your towel!
Joshua Tree National Park
Oh of course Josh is on the list. ‘Tis the season, right? Well, climbing season at least. Joshua Tree is an inspiration to hikers, climbers and outdoor enthusiasts alike. World class rocks, beautiful scenery, and smaller crowds make the high desert a prime location for winter adventuring. While we aren’t planning to pack our snowshoes and skis per say, we have heard of snow in the park from time to time. After seeing pictures of Josh blanketed in snow, we are determined to catch a storm in the park. Whether we are successful in our quest or not, we are more than happy to warm our fingers and toes while climbing a route or two this winter.
We hope this list of destinations has inspired you to take off for an adventure in the snow! Let us know where you end up, we would love to share in the stories of this season and see you all #thriveoutside.