What may be your ideal winter wonderland November through March could be your dream wedding or reunion destination during the summer. Many of Colorado’s Nordic centers have an alternative identity as an event venue, and it’s no wonder why. Views of the Rockies capture the horizon, outdoor patios and lawns are scattered with vibrant flowers, lodge buildings reflect humble, mountain living, and many include services ranging from catering to live music.
The Oh Be Joyful Lodge
This spectacular lodge lies at the foot of Peak 7 in Breckenridge, Colorado. In the winter it hosts cross country skiers and snowshoers, but in the summer, the lodge is a beloved location for weddings, family reunions, Boy Scout events, ski team events, birthdays, concerts, private parties and funerals.
“Once the lodge was built, people walked in and the first word out of many of the mouths of our visitors was, ‘Wow, can we get married here?’” said Breckenridge Nordic Center Owner Gene Dayton.
Built from logs native to the Rocky Mountains, as a result of the pine beetle epidemic in the early 2000s, the environmentally efficient lodge is a sizeable 10,000 square feet and makes for the perfect dream destination. The grounds are wheelchair accessible, walls of trees enclose the lawn to create a more intimate feel, and the weather is mild. In fact, according to Dayton, they have never had to cancel a wedding that was scheduled to be outside.
Since the first summer weddings were offered at the lodge, it’s been a huge success. A variety of offerings include hosting the rehearsal dinner, the wedding rehearsal, a full bar, catering, games, and photography. For those currently in the planning process, book your wedding or event well in advance. Summers are fully booked with 25 weddings taking place, and currently the lodge is booked through the 2017-2018 seasons. Weekdays are less heavily scheduled, and accommodations can usually always be met.
The Oh Be Joyful Lodge has become a resource for the community, but it’s not the only Nordic center that takes on another role during the summer.
Frisco Nordic Center
During the summer, the land surrounding the Frisco Nordic Center is open to the pubic for mountain biking and hiking on the same trails used for Nordic skiing in the winter. Mountain bikers are able to enjoy the trail, or may choose to participate in biking camps. There are even camps specifically geared to kids.
Devil’s Thumb Ranch Resort & Spa
Devil’s Thumb Ranch Resort & Spa hosts a number of events that keep their summers packed with entertainment. This summer, the ranch has already held a Junior Wrangler Camp, teaching kids the basics of horseback riding, as well as a few barn chores and the value of horses. Saturday evenings are reserved for live music on Heck’s patio and this occurs all summer, from June through September. Private parties, family reunions, and of course, weddings. These events are made easy at the ranch, with lodging, food and drink available.
Something a little different the ranch hosts is Women, Wheels, and Wine, which will be held on July 31 this summer. The event brings together 60 women to bike, to eat, and to enjoy Devil’s Ranch’s Spa. This is a women’s only event where bikers not only get the opportunity to ride, but also to learn bike repair and expand on their skills, no matter their expertise.
More than Just Winter Fun
The locations that are home to Colorado Cross Country Ski Association provide guests with the same excitement and entertainment throughout the off-season, but just as a different kind of experience. Just because there is not snow on the ground doesn’t mean that these mountain trails, lodges, and views should be forgotten during the summer.