Pagosa Springs, Colorado: population 1,700; elevation 7,000 feet, has always been true blue Colorado. If you’re short on time but big on adventure, here are five must-do things to take a little of Pagosa with you wherever you go.
1) Ski the the Creek . This 1,600 acre family owned and operated ski area doesn’t have trendy slope side après ski amenities. There’s no valet parking. You can’t buy your pet gourmet treats there. And fresh sushi is not delivered daily. But there is one thing it does get: snow. With 430 inches of it annually, it earns its name, “The Most Snow in Colorado.” Powder tip: Hike up the Knife Ridge off the Alberta Lift and catch a Snocat to the Horsehoe Bowl. Secret stash: Wednesday is local appreciation day. If you’re there, you’re a local.
2) Soak it in … at the deepest geothermal hot springs in the world. The Pagosa Hot Springs are a 1000-foot deep dream come true. Immense, people bask like sea lions in the steam and heat. The lodge is majestic, complete with a giant chess set next to a dazzling fountain. Nineteen pools at various temperatures, shapes and sizes are scattered over a hillside and spill into the Piedra River. In some cases you can drape an arm or leg in the river itself to cool off. Secret Hideout: The lodge at the springs offers discounted ski and soak packages.
3) Have a pint … or three. Craft beer is a cherished art in Colorado mountain towns, and in Pagosa there are no less than three craft brewers. Wolfe Brewing uses German and English barley. “Our IPA (6.2 percent) is brewed as the English intended it to be brewed,” according to Wolfe Brewing. Down the road check out Pagosa Brewing; Their Peachy Peach took the gold at the 2013 Great American Beer Festival. Downtown at Riff Raff Brewing, visitors can grab a tin CANnon- the coolest beer can ever- of award winning Oatmeal Stout. Their Oatmeal Stout claimed a silver medal at the esteemed All Colorado Beer festival in 2015.
4) Grab a bite at Kip’s. Elk, the other hamburger. The taco plates are dynamite at this local’s favorite, but for a little more flavor of Colorado, order up an Elk Burger, from elk raised in the San Luis Valley. This one is sure to “please the people.”
5) Get a new sweater. You might have a closet full of wool sweaters, but nothing is like this. Pagosa’s Voormi is reinventing wool, and it’s catching on. Developing what they call precision blending, Voormi adds a sheer layer of synthetics to a process-hardened Rocky Mountain Merino wool that’s as tough as your burliest jacket, but as soft as your favorite sweatshirt. And they’re just getting started. Best of all, it’s all made in Colorado. Skiers and snowboarders love the High-E Hoodie, with a snug scuba hood and long cut that never comes un-tukced.
Contact reporter Brandon Mathis at firstname.lastname@example.org or 970-375-4576