Exceptional Mountain Recreation typography
Let Colorado’s Outfitters be Your Guide
The secret to an unforgettable Rocky Mountain adventure starts with finding a great outfitter.

Guides are seasoned pros who live and breathe the lifestyle and can point you to the best recreational activity around.

Not sure where to start? Here we highlight outfitters in Colorado’s resort markets, including Vail Valley, Winter Park, Summit County, Crested Butte and Telluride. Thrill rides, scenic trails, and mountain discovery await!

Nova Guides typography
Situated in historic Camp Hale, Nova Guides has access to a trail system that spans 55,000 acres of terrain with over 100 miles of groomed trails.
When it comes to the Vail Valley, few outfitters have been guiding in the area as long as Nova Guides. As a go-to outfitter for 34 years, Nova Guides offers snowmobile tours in the high country of the White River National Forest, using historic Camp Hale as a base lodge. Camp Hale — which served as WWII training grounds for the 10th Mountain Division — is located 30 minutes from Vail and Beaver Creek, just south on Highway 24 between Red Cliff and Leadville. From here, you can see and learn about the Ghost Town of Gillman, Lovers Leap, and the town of Red Cliff, made famous for its green bridge. Tours in Nova’s fully-enclosed heated Snowcoach are also offered. To provide you with the full scoop, we went straight to the source and chatted with Sales and Marketing Executive Nate Caretto.
In winter, Nova Guides is all about Snowmobile Tours (scenic and high performance), Snowmobile Rentals and Snow Coach Tours.
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Top of the Rockies Half-Day Snowmobile Tour reigns supreme at Nova Guides. The three-hour guided tour includes: mountain top views at 12,000 feet; a history of Camp Hale and the 10th Mountain Division; an opportunity to see wildlife; and a stop at the open field snowmobile playground. After the tour, guests are invited to Nova’s McAllister’s Grill at Camp Hale for a delectable hot lunch. According to Carreto, “This tour is a perfect blend of outdoor adventure and leisurely sightseeing.”
What’s Unique
“Camp Hale!” says Caretto. “We are lucky and honored to operate in the historic Pando Valley where the first ever winter warfare training facility in U.S. military history was constructed. Many of the soldiers returned to the area after WWII to start the Colorado ski industry, including Vail’s founding member Pete Seibert, who trained at Camp Hale.”
Exciting Offering
“We are offering an upgraded high performance snowmobile experience this winter,” he says. “Our Summit 850’s are the perfect machine to experience true Colorado backcountry snowmobiling. Rent them for an unguided tour or have our experienced and professionally trained guides teach you the techniques to ride like a pro.”
man in snow by snow mobile
Insider Tips
Advanced reservations are always ideal to secure an experience that fits your preferences and schedule. As a top tier outfitter, Nova Guides offers top-of-the-line brand new equipment, professionally trained guides, complimentary transportation, a custom-built lodge at Camp Hale and McAllister’s Grill restaurant.
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Grand Adventures typography
The whole family can ‘Ride the Divide’ on a Grand Adventure tour to 12,000 feet.
For those who seek excitement and views just a short drive from Denver, Grand Adventures in Winter Park is your best bet. And the folks there couldn’t be more accommodating. Ryan Barwick with Grand Adventures provided us with plenty of tips to keep the whole family happy and entertained all winter long.
little girl in the snow on a snow mobile
Snowmobiling with Grand Adventures is a popular winter activity. In the summertime they operate MAD Adventures, offering rafting and off-road tours. “We are a year-round outfitter. We are professionals in this industry, not just seasonal. We have multiple activities in multiple areas, so we have something for everyone.” says Barwick. They also offer unguided snowmobile rentals, complete with maps and an overview of the snowmobiles.
The Experience
“Snowmobiling is a family activity with incredible views and fun machines,” says Barwick. Depending on the tour, you can see notable landmarks like the old train trestle along Corona Pass, outstanding sightlines of Rocky Mountain National Park, and the Winter Park ski resort. They have access to over 100 miles of trails and offer tours for all levels, beginner to advanced.
What’s Unique
“We have four riding areas that are unique and different from one another, but the Continental Divide Adventure is definitely the most popular,” says Barwick. The “Ride the Divide” tour really distinguishes Grand Adventures, as the tour tops out at nearly 12,000 feet with extraordinary views of the Winter Park ski area and the Fraser Valley, making it an unforgettable experience.
father and daughter on snow mobile
Insider Tips
Barwick says to book early. “We regularly sell out, so booking in advance is highly encouraged,” he says. “In terms of what to look for, you should always consider the highlights of a trail system.”
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Breckenridge Nordic Center typography
BNC is a great place to experience top-notch outdoor recreation. “We are a 50+ year family business,” says Managing Director Josh Dayton. “We have a deep passion for cross country skiing and getting folks out onto the trails. We love helping people try a new sport. We understand that trying a new sport can be intimidating and we want to make your experience one you can’t wait to revisit.”
With 1,400 acres of forest access, BNC offers trail passes, lessons, tours and rentals for cross country skiing and snowshoeing. One trail pass allows guests to access all of the trails for both sports. They also have a base lodge and excellent rental equipment. Snowcat Adventures are available by reservation.
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“I would have to say it’s a tie between cross country skiing and snowshoeing,” says Dayton. “Both are accessible to people of any age and ability. They are affordable, easy to learn, and the equipment is lightweight, warm, and comfortable. Families can partake in these activities together or individuals can enjoy the beauty our forests, meadows and mountain views. Both activities are really what you make them. They can be relaxing, peaceful, fill-your-lungs-with-fresh-air experiences, or you can push yourself to new heights and experience the thrill of gliding on snow.”
What’s Unique
“We have amazing instructors ready to teach guests of all abilities,” he adds. “Whether this is your first time on snow or you are an advanced skier looking to get a little faster, we have instructors who guide you to the next level. Our snowshoe tours are a blast. The snowshoe guides are very knowledgeable and will share memorable stories of our unique cultural and mining history while teaching you how to recognize animal tracks from the diverse wildlife found on our trail system.”
Insider Tips
“I always recommend that rentals be arranged through a Nordic Center or a shop on the trail or at the trailhead,” Dayton says. “That way if something doesn’t fit right, a piece of equipment doesn’t work properly or you just want to try a different type, you can switch it out right there and you don’t lose time on the trail. Some facilities, like ours, even allow you to switch between skis and snowshoes without any additional cost, so you really get two rentals for the price of one.”
two skiers in the snow
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Xavier Fane ©
With trails starting right from town at three different trailheads, CB Nordic’s 50 kilometer cross country trail system holds a unique place in the community.
Want to ski, but searching for the non-alpine variety? Look no further than Crested Butte Nordic. The nonprofit maintains 50 kilometers of scenic cross country ski and snowshoe trails the whole family will enjoy. Executive Director Christie Hicks tells us, “Cross country skiing is still skiing, but certainly a fantastic alternative to downhill alpine skiing. Locals can be seen riding to the trailheads, carrying their cross country skis in homemade PVC carriers strapped to the frame of their bikes. Locals know that cross country skiing is a great way to stay in shape, get outside, and spend time with friends and family during the long winter months.”
CB Nordic provides trail passes and rentals for cross country skiing on 50 kilometers of groomed trails. They also provide lessons, backcountry ski and snowshoe tours, community clinics, and ski-in yurt dinners. Additionally, 10 kilometers of trails are open to fat bikes and free to use. They also provide ice skate rentals for the adjacent public rink.
woman with dogs walking through snow
Xavier Fane ©
The Experience
“Cross country skiing is a great alternative to alpine skiing, and many people choose to spend a day cross country skiing on our trails during their ‘ski’ vacation. Snowshoeing is also an option for those looking for alternatives to skis of any kind. We also offer backcountry tours and lessons to help folks get out and explore with confidence,” says Hicks.
What’s Unique
The Magic Meadows yurt makes a fantastic destination. They offer a limited number of ski-in dinners throughout the season at this unique location. These very special events are not to be missed!
Exciting Event
The Alley Loop is one of the biggest cross country ski races in Colorado, and will be held over two days this winter, February 6-7. The town of Crested Butte fills Elk Avenue with snow, which CB Nordic grooms into a race course that loops through the Alleys of town before heading out onto their trail system. “This event is a fantastic mix of serious athleticism and amateur enthusiasm,” Hicks adds. “While many participants race competitively in spandex, just as many dress up in costume and help create a festive and fun weekend.”
Insider Tips
“Holidays and weekends are traditionally very busy for us and we recommend booking online in advance for ski and snowshoe rentals, lessons, and tours,” says Hicks. “Mid-week, things are much quieter and folks can enjoy our pristine trail system with fewer crowds. However, it rarely feels crowded on our trails.”
cabin in the snow at night
Xavier Fane ©
The Best Part
Hick says, “I love working for CB Nordic because as a non-profit organization, we can really focus on giving back to the community. When the ski resort closed during our COVID lock-down, CB Nordic kept grooming and made all passes “pay-what-you-can” so that residents could continue to get outside and exercise during the lock down. This was risky for us financially, but the right thing to do for a mission-focused organization.”
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jeff cricco / Helitrax ©
Telluride Helitrax typography
The Telluride area contains some of the most spectacular terrain found anywhere in the world.
If you are an avid skier looking for a new experience, then look no further than Telluride Helitrax for out-of-the-ordinary fun. Heidi Lauterbach with Telluride Helitrax says there is no better time to book your heli-ski experience, than now. “Telluride Helitrax is a family-owned guide service providing tailored, personalized guest experiences,” she says. “We still believe strongly in powder days and fun, and we work hard to deliver unforgettable memories. Our team is the best.”
Telluride Helitrax’s big draw is obviously heli-skiing. They also offer guided backcountry tours and scenic helicopter tours and charter flights.
The Experience
Heli-skiing affords guests a ski and snowboard experience unlike any other. Guests can book anything from a single day with six runs (totaling 10,000 to 14,000 feet of vertical), to a fully customized multi-day experience. Each adventure includes everything you need from powder skis to snacks to safety equipment.
What’s Unique
Telluride Helitrax utilizes small, intimate groups of four guests to one guide. The operation and staff have earned a reputation as one of the safest and most experienced helicopter skiing and snowboarding services in North America.
Fun Fact
“Almost all of our terrain is above tree line,” says Lauterbach. “It is considered some of the most spectacular ski terrain found anywhere in the world. We have hundreds of different helicopter drop off locations to choose from and a wide variety of runs.”
Exciting News
Last year, Telluride Helitrax launched single heli-drop backcountry skiing. The company uses their helicopter to access terrain over 13,000 feet near Telluride. Then, skiers and boarders descend 4,000 feet to the valley floor. It is advised that only expert skiers should consider this offering.
Insider Tips
“We’re anticipating a busy season. Book as soon as you plan your trip to Telluride,” says Lauterbach. Helitrax can accommodate different skill levels and skiers don’t have to be experts to enjoy the experience.
skier going down a mountain
jeff cricco / Helitrax ©
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