Sure, Denver has morphed into a city of top-notch hotels, edgy architecture, and great restaurants, but much of the action remains in the year-round playground of the Rocky Mountains. Some of America’s most gorgeous terrain has long been a wealth-magnet for towns like Vail and Aspen, but celebrated chefs and high-end shops are making their way into smaller hamlets as well. And every place from Boulder to Telluride wants a piece of the action. After all, it’s nature that people come for, whether to carve fresh tracks on a ski slope, bomb down a hill on a mountain bike, or just sit on a balcony and watch as the red fingers of dawn reach out over massive mountain peaks to grasp a new day.
Skiing Vail’s Back Bowls. Seven bowls, more than 3,000 acres: Carving fresh tracks through the seemingly endless groomed trails and powdery mogul runs is one of Colorado skiing’s greatest pleasures.
Dining in Denver. Sure, Denver always has had great steak, but now there’s a true culinary scene, from the foie-gras-and-foam menu of Restaurant Kevin Taylor to the flown-in-daily seafood of Sushi Den and the Mediterranean-inspired dishes of Rioja.
Playing in the sand. The giant sandbox known as Great Sand Dunes National Park inspires childlike wonder for all ages. Hike up, board down, or just wander through the ever-shifting mountains of sand.