Give memories, not things: active gifts


With winter comes a host of new things to do outdoors, which often lead to the best presents of all: lasting memories.

Sure, you could buy someone a sweet striped sweater — but that gift won’t really last. Why not take them on a snowmobile trip, a sleigh ride, to an Avalanche game — or reserve something to look forward to, like a springtime balloon ride?

Here are a few things to keep in mind this holiday season when searching for gifts for your activity-obsessed friends or relatives:

Outdoor Adventures

This winter, Boulder Outdoor Center is booking four snow-based trips and two classes. Among the most popular tours so far, says company president Eric Fader, are BOC’s avalanche safety classes ($119, plus $20 for gear), snowmobile tours (rates vary) and snowcat skiing trips ($290 per person or $2,500 for private cat), which allow skiers and snowboarders to plow through eight to 12 runs in backcountry powder.

“The ski areas don’t have anything to compare to it,” Fader says. “It’s just awesome.”

Also offered by BOC are snowshoeing trips ($79, plus $10 for gear), which include instruction and a full day on the mountain, hut-to-hut trips and snowkite classes.

Pricing and seasonal schedules are available at Reservations are also handled through the company’s website.

Sleigh and Horseback Rides

Sombrero Ranches offers sleigh rides at Snow Mountain Ranch, an hour west of Denver. Hot cocoa rides start daily at noon, 1:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m., and 7 p.m., and end at a bonfire where cocoa and hot cider are served and marshmallows are available to roast. Cost is $28 for adults, $25 for children 6-11, $12 for children 4-5 and $6 for children 3-andunder.

Dinner sleigh rides start at 5:30 p.m.

nightly and last roughly 40 minutes before winding up at a dining hall where dinner is served. Steak, chicken and Rocky Mountain trout are among the meal options. Cost is $60 for adults, $45 for children 6-12, $15 for children 5 and under who are eating and $5 for children 5 and under who aren’t eating.

Sombrero Ranches also offer horseback rides at a number of locations, including Allenspark. Guided trail rides, and their prices, vary on length, with one-hour ($35), two-hour ($50) and three-hour ($65) trips available. Halfday ($75) and full-day ($120) rides are also available.

For reservations, call 970-887-1999, or 970-887-2152, ext. 4146. More information is available at

Balloon and Glider Rides

Boulder’s own Mile High Skyride offers three ways to get up in the air: via balloon, glider — and, yes, warplanes.

Balloon rides are done in the mornings and offer breakfast and post-ride champagne. You’ll see Boulder and the surrounding area from a whole new view. Cost is $195 per passenger; balloons can also be privately rented for $850.

Glider flights are offered in four options: Mile-High, Mountain, City and Aerobatic. Prices vary according to selection.

Mile High Skyride’s Warbird rides are offered in the World War II-era AT-6 at the rate of $600 per hour, or $400 for 40 minutes. Flights typically depart out of Centennial Airport.

Call 303-527-1122 for reservations or gift certificates. For more information, visit

Sports Tickets

With four professional teams in the area, there are plenty of options, and games to choose from.

Football your fix? Tickets to the Denver Broncos games at Invesco Field at Mile High Stadium are available at or by calling 720- 258-3333. The Broncos’ regular season ends in January.

For hockey fans, Colorado Avalanche tickets can be purchased via the team’s website,, or by calling 303-405-7646. The University of Denver’s nationally ranked team may be a cheaper option. Tickets to those games can be purchased at Ticketmaster. com or by calling 800-745-3000. Both seasons run well into the spring.

Basketball options include the NBA’s Denver Nuggets (, and the NCAA’s Colorado Buffaloes ( and Denver Pioneers (

Of course, the Colorado Rockies ( start their season next spring, as well. For ticket info, go to

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