Colorado is so hot right now. And by hot, I mean cold. While it’s a year-round destination, Colorado’s snowy season welcomes visitors from near and far. Picture majestic Rocky Mountain landscapes under a blanket of snow and snowcapped peaks in the distance. Pack your camera. We’ve got some amazing adventures ahead with plenty of photo ops!
SKIING AND SNOWBOARDING
First things first. Colorado is home to 26 ski resorts, and no two are the same. You’ll find world-renowned destinations like Aspen, Vail and Telluride, plus lesser known places where you can have the slopes all to yourself. Colorado has it all.
Capturing your adventures skiing and snowboarding is great fun. I always bring a small waterpoof action camera. It’s got to be small so I can put it in a pocket and it has to be waterproof to withstand the snow. GoPro and the Sony ActionCam are great choices for the slopes. You can also capture steady shots with GoPro’s Karma Grip, the DJI Osmo, or DJI Osmo Mobile for your iPhone—great fun to capture action on a bluebird day.
Experiment with different mounts like the chesty or helmet mount, which offer a fun point-of-view. The downside is that you only get one angle. My favorite tool for the slopes is the Manfrotto Compact Xtreme 2-in-1 Monopod / Pole. It’s versatile, and it’s easy to get multiple angles. Extend the pole and adjust the ball head to tilt the camera to record at eye level. You can film yourself from the front, off to the side, or from behind. You can also flip the selfie stick upside down to get a cool low angle shot. The Manfrotto Compact Xtreme is also very sturdy. I’ve broken several flimsy selfie sticks that can’t seem to withstand a day snowboarding. This one up to the challenge.
Just a hop, skip and a train ride from Denver International Airport, you can board the Winter Park Express Ski Train on the weekends. The train offers a relaxing ride (and power for your devices). You’ll have access to beautiful scenery, all while avoiding the usual ski traffic on I-70. The train drops you off at the foot of Winter Park Resort, Colorado’s 4th largest ski resort. Here, you’ll enjoy over 3,000 acres of terrain, sure to make your legs tired before you catch the train home.
While filming my TravelingJules vlog about the ski train experience, I used a few different cameras: a GoPro, the Sony RX100v, and the Sony A7Sii. Each camera offers a different look and level of utility for different situations. The GoPro is perfect for action shots. It can survive the snow, and its wide-angle lens offers a unique look. The SonyRX100v is a wonderful vlogging tool because of its size, impressive quality, and tilting flip screen! It’s hard to believe this small camera shoots 4K and slo-mo (up to 960fps on super slow motion). The Sony A7Sii is powerful, compact and lightweight. It has a full frame sensor and gives you the ability to change lenses.
VIDEO: WINTER PARK EXPRESS SKI TRAIN
Dig a little deeper, and you’ll find Colorado’s hidden gems. These smaller ski resorts have the same great snow, but offer affordable lift tickets, close-in parking and fewer crowds. Find information on these gems and discounts here.
VIDEO: GEMS OF THE ROCKIES
For those seeking an adventure, the next best thing to having a ski resort all to yourself, is having a private snowcat take you to untouched terrain. Some resorts let you book one ride at a time, while others offer full day experiences. At Ski Cooper, Chicago Ridge Snowcat Tours offers all day adventures, spectacular scenery and great snow.
VIDEO: CAT SKIING at SKI COOPER
If you like to travel off the beaten path, check out Silverton Mountain. Skiers and snowboarders revel in Silverton’s 400+ inches of annual snowfall. It’s an entire mountain of expert-only terrain. With just one chairlift, most of the runs are only accessible by hiking. And, get this, you have access to a helicopter! You can buy as few or as many rides as you like. It’s an amazing experience. You won’t want to leave your camera at home. Remember to pack light, so you don’t get stuck schlepping all that heavy camera gear.
VIDEO: SILVERTON HELIBOARDING
A fun activity that promises big thrills without requiring any athletic ability is snow tubing. Each location has several lanes to choose from, with varying degrees of excitement. Many tubing hills have special lifts to carry you back to the top (so you won’t be huffing and puffing walking back up the hill). Look for snow tubing hills at Vail Mountain, Copper Mountain, Winter Park Resort, and more!
When I shot this snowtubing story for the Colorado Tourism Board, I used slow motion and timelapses to capture the excitement. It was important to work the space. I was constantly changing locations to get different angles. At any given moment, I was shooting from the top of the hill, the middle, and the bottom to capture multiple vantage points. I even hopped in a tube to film kids faces and see their point-of-view. I also worked to find expansive wide shots to get a feel for the space, while also looking for interesting close-ups to keep the story moving.
VIDEO: SNOW TUBING IN COLORADO
While chilly temps keep the snow in pristine condition, there are plenty of places to warm up. Hot springs are a favorite Colorado tradition. These hotspots are sprinkled around the state, so there are plenty to choose from. Glenwood Springs is home to the world’s largest hot springs pool. Pagosa Hot Springs has multiple pools of varying temperatures, great fun for those who like to test the waters. Strawberry Park Hot Springs in Steamboat Springs offers a secluded escape in the forest. Note that after dark, clothing is optional, which is why it’s best to leave your cameras at home for this one. No cameras allowed.
If you’re after great views, you’re in luck. There are so many places to choose from on any Colorado highway. Pull over along your road trip to take in the surrounding beauty.
One place you might want to see is Leadville, the highest incorporated city in North America. It’s surrounded by the tallest and second tallest peaks in the state, Mt. Elbert and Mt. Massive—definitely a worthy photo op if you’re passing through. Plus, you can stroll down Leadville’s main street, which has a saloon, a speak easy absinthe bar and an oxygen bar, all on the same block.
If you haven’t had enough adventure, you can seek out other winter activities like ice skating, sleigh rides, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and more! Rev the engine for an action-packed adventure by snowmobile. Sunlight Mountain offers snowmobile tours right from the base of the ski resort. And who could resist a dogsled ride through Colorado’s winter wonderland behind our frisky four-legged friends? No matter what you get up to, you’ll find good reason to pack your camera to capture the memories.
Get ready to choose your own adventure on your next trip to Colorado. The Colorado Rocky Mountains are calling.