Before the Defrost

04 Dec 2023

Fun ways to work up a sweat this winter

By Christopher C. Wuensch

A little cold weather doesn’t prevent the people of Colorado from breaking a sweat during the icy winter months. Boulderites and beyond are just as active with
 the temperatures below freezing as they are with the summer sun tanning their faces.

Boulder is a hotbed for winter sports fun. With so much to do, there’s something for everyone willing to brave the elements.

Looking for some winter thrills? We start by looking up at the mountain, rather than down it.


Ice Climbing

Forget the gondolas and ski lifts. The most rewarding way up the mountain is by climbing it yourself!

The members of The Ice Coop know this quite well.

Located at 2500 47th St. in Boulder and opened in 2019, The Ice Coop is Colorado’s first dedicated ice-climbing facility.

It’s here where curious beginners can climb the bouldering walls of this 2,000-square foot facility side-by-side with some of the nation’s elite climbers…and do so in a welcoming communal environment.

“The great thing about The Ice Coop is the humility and the desire among everyone here to share the sport,” said Micah Day, a board member of The Ice Coop and climber with more than 15 years of experience under his harness.

While The Coop is home to world class climbers competing on Elite, Competitive and Recreational levels, it’s also the perfect place for novices to discover a new passion.

Day recommends beginners take advantage of the gym hours, private lessons and regular open theme nights for Beginners, LGBT groups and more.

And you’ll always find several members of all skill levels willing to go on a weekend climb to areas such as the Vail’s renowned Rigid Designator area during the October to April climbing season.

With The Coop, beginners walk in curious and find themselves hooked via carabiner for life. Give them a look at


While ice climbing is ascending in popularity, skiing, and its rebellious cousin snowboarding, remain the kings of the mountain when it comes to working up a sweat in Colorado.

Located roughly 20 miles from Boulder, the family-friendly Eldora Mountain: Colorado Ski Resort is the ideal day trip for beginners and intermediate skiers.


Ice Skating

Strap up the skates, some hot chocolate awaits after a few laps around the rink. Looking for that authentic outdoor ice-skating experience? WinterSkate is a snow-swept facility located downtown historic Louisville, just a quick salchow away from Boulder.

Closer to home and a lot less windy, the indoor Ice Rink found on the University of Colorado campus is Boulder’s only ice rink. Hockey, group skate parties and lots more are big here, but you will need a Rec. Center membership.



There are times when sledding down the hills at Scott Carpenter Park will feel like you’re in hyperspace, which is appropriate for a facility named after a former astronaut.

Want to go even faster? Longer than a football field and wider than 60 feet, Tantra Park offers a thrilling upgrade on one of the biggest hills in Boulder.

Same goes for the steep inclines at Chautauqua Park…if you dare. After you arrive at the bottom, go find yourself a hot spring to rewarm your soul.

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