1. Aspen is a true representation of Colorado ski culture.
No. Well, maybe if you’re from Hollywood. But to see how the locals live and what they’re into, start by heading up the road to Carbondale or venturing off the gold-beaten path to towns like Salida or Gunnison, where the ski bums can actually afford to live.
2. No one is actually from here.
Actually, there are lots of us. We just don’t feel the need to talk constantly about the fourteener we just bagged or our cousin’s ski in/ski out condo at Breck, so we’re often drowned out. Head to the local sports bar during a Broncos game and you’ll see what I’m talking about.
3. Everyone is walking around with skis on.
In the bigger cities, particularly the suburban areas, plenty of people don’t ski. But even in the mountain towns, there are the die-hard mountain bikers and others that live here for the summer activities and spend more time at the gym than on the slopes during winter.
4. Denver is kind of like a big mountain town.
Denver is one of the flattest cities in the country, hence its nickname “The Queen City of the Plains.” It has altitude but it isn’t San Fran or Quebec when it comes to urban vertical. Additionally, Denver is a major metropolitan area. Outdoors culture is very popular, but getting to the mountains takes effort (and a vehicle).
5. The winter weather is all hardcore snow and freezing temps from November to April.
Most winter days are quite mild temperature wise. Near the beginning of winter, we typically have a cold front but it isn’t uncommon to see 40, 50, sometimes even 60F degree days scattered in between the snow storms.
6. We’re all a bunch of lackadaisical stoners.
Not even close. Colorado is one of the fittest, most active states in the country and while many enjoy marijuana as an enhancer (a la John Stewart’s character in Half Baked), the average Coloradan is far from the potato chip eating couch potato portrayed in the cannabis cult movies.
7. Culturally, the state is all the same.
While it is true that certain activities, styles, and expressions are very ‘Colorado,’ you’re not going to find everything the same here. Urban Denver lifestyle to the rural western countryside; upscale ski resorts to prairie farming communities and honkytonks. The flat portion of the state east of Denver receives little to no media coverage at all but represents part of the state’s history and culture.
8. Getting up into the mountains from Denver is super easy.
It really depends on where and when you’re going. I-70 is an absolute nightmare from Friday night thru Sunday between Denver and Summit County. With the massive population growth, even Highway 285 is beginning to get backed up as swarms of people flock back to Denver on Sunday afternoons after a weekend in the hills. Plan your trips and get on the road early.