How to Set Up a Tent in the Snow

A winter camping trip brings about a massive list of perks and small adventures. A short, mile-long trek can quickly turn into hours of tromping through deep snow and laughing with each other as you posthole your way to camp. It’s a trip to be remembered, and if you want to remember it fondly, you need to come prepared. 

Your general skills and knowledge will go a long way when you try to get comfortable in a winter wonderland. If you’ve already figured out how to dress for winter hiking, it’s time to continue adding to your toolbox. 

One of the first steps in the entire process is setting up a tent in the snow. It’s a task that becomes drastically different once the snow hits, and you’ll be developing a brand new set of skills than those you need in the summer. 

Site Selection

Once you’ve arrived at camp, it’s time to look around for the best tent site imaginable. The snow brings a lot of new elements you need to navigate to stay safe while asleep at night. In the summer, it’s watching out for bears or other critters, while in the winter, you’re watching for avalanches. 

Pick a site as far as possible from any slopes, and therefore any avalanche potential. Even a lower angle slope can be triggered at night, leaving you to wake up partially or fully buried. A safe winter camp is far away from any possible avalanche terrain. Even if you’re planning on going up the mountain in the morning, basecamp should be a safe distance from any potential slides. 

Another hazard you need to watch out for in the winter is snowfall from trees. If you’re below the treeline, pay even closer attention to what’s above you. Dead trees are less obvious to spot in the winter, and you now need to watch out for trees that may break under the weight of snow and ice. Even the snow sitting on those branches can be dangerous if it’s filled with ice. 

If you’re sleeping in an area with a large amount of snow, you’ll need to consider what’s underneath you. At higher altitudes, you’ll often be sleeping multiple feet above small trees and bushes that have been buried. The plethora of landscapes you can find below the snow can lead to one major issue.

Depending on how the snow has packed down, you may be on top of some voids that are waiting to collapse inward. If this happens while you’re sleeping, you’ll wake up a few feet lower than where you started and probably covered in a decent amount of snow. To avoid this nighttime disturbance, probe around and try to find a spot that seems like it’s above flat ground rather than rocky terrain. 

Pack it Down to Put it Up

Now that you’ve found a spot, it’s time to make the footprint. If you’ve been hiking in snowshoes, you’ve got the best tool for the job strapped onto your feet. Using the snowshoes, stomp around and flatten out the ground where you will soon put the tent. This will help create a more stable, flat surface where you can sleep. 

Expand the footprint out a bit past where the tent will go. This will give you some more stable ground to walk around on. Be careful when you get out of the tent at night for the bathroom, as it’s easy to forget you’re in the snow and will soon be up to your waist in it. 

The snow shouldn’t pack down any further when you start to walk around on it. Remember, this is where you’re sleeping. You don’t want to start sinking while you sleep. 

Once your area is fully packed down, you can set up your tent. 

Tent Setup

In general, a freestanding tent is better than relying on a staking system. With a freestanding design, you don’t need to worry about staking out the tent without access to solid ground to hammer a stake into. Snow can be tricky to work with, but it can also be incredibly useful. If you’re looking to use a tent that requires staking, look at snow tent stakes. 

These stakes are ingenious. First, you dig a small hole and place the stake horizontally in the snow. After you’ve attached your tent line, you will pack the snow down onto the stake firmly to cement it into place. 

The only drawback to this kind of stake is that they can be difficult to remove in the morning. If there has been any level of melting and freezing overnight, they may be inside a solid block of ice that you’ll need an ice ax to get through. 

Set up Your Dream Camp

According to Leave No Trace, snow is the most durable surface you can travel on. This is because it will melt and disappear without a trace of you present. This means that you can do just about anything with your camp in the snow, and you won’t be creating a huge impact. 

With enough snow, time, and shovels, you can create benches, tables, and full-blown snow castles to enjoy your time in. Whatever you can imagine, you can create. This is one of the best things about winter camping. You’re able to create an entire kingdom in the snow without needing to worry about ruining the campsite. It also makes winter camping a fun-filled activity to do with kids. They get to create their winter wonderland, where they can stay overnight. 

Does Broadmoor Outfitters Run Tours in the Winter?

Colorado is a haven for year-round adventure, but which tour companies run tours through the winter? Is skiing the only option?

Once the snow hits the slopes, it seems like most of the tourism follows suit. The thing is, while the mountains fill up with snow, Colorado Springs actually sees very little snow until the springtime. While the weather can often change and fluctuate, Broadmoor Outfitters aims to run tours all year long. 

So, don’t worry, Broadmoor Outfitters runs tours through the winter season, weather permitting. Read on as we answer some of our most common questions about winter tours in Colorado Springs.

What is winter like in Colorado Springs?

Colorado Spring is well-known for its mild weather during other seasons, and winter is no different. Temperatures are known to range from 17-61 degrees Fahrenheit. The average winter temperature is around 40 degrees Fahrenheit, so add a little sun and some quality clothing layers, and you’re set! With the lack of moisture in the air, sunny daytime temperatures feel much warmer in the sun, making outdoor recreation not only doable but rather enjoyable. 

Sure, it can get chilly some days, but that’s where planning ahead and preparation come into play. When you are booking outdoor tours during the winter, knowing how to layer properly and spending time looking at the weather forecast will help you prepare. 

Heading into the Pikes Peak area is a really popular choice, and it can be done in the winter. Be aware that going up to Pikes Peak will be much colder than in the city of Colorado Springs. The average high temperature during the winter on Pikes Peak is around 10 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Which tour is the best during the winter?

Although winter is relatively mild in Colorado Springs, we do not run all of our tour options in the winter months. Things like stand-up paddleboarding aren’t very popular when it is 30 degrees outside! 

Many guests enjoy our guided hiking tours during the winter months. When hiking in a new area, especially as a novice hiker, going along with a guide can ease some of the anxieties and help you feel more prepared and comfortable for the journey. 

We run more than our guided hiking tours in the winter, but this is a top choice among Colorado Springs’ visitors. 

Tours up to see Pikes Peak are also feasible in the winter months. Much like other mountain attractions that are open year-round, closures may occur due to weather conditions. 

Why would a tour be canceled?

Other than a cancellation on your end, the main reason a tour is canceled during the winter is due to inclement weather. It is relatively rare that weather gets in our way, but we take precautions when necessary. 

In most cases, tours can be rescheduled, and if we need to cancel due to weather, you will work directly with our team to find a solution that works for you. 


If you have a question about booking a winter tour or you want help choosing the best winter tour in Colorado Springs, contact us directly at +1-719-471-6168 or reserve your tour online.

Best Winter Activities for Families in Colorado Springs

Colorado becomes such a hotspot in the wintertime, and people flock towards the cities as their home base. Colorado Springs is one of the best locations for any family to choose as the spot to come for a winter vacation. It has each and every type of attraction, from underground tours to mountaintops that bring you into the deepest snow. No matter what you choose to do, you won’t come up short of options when figuring out what to do in the winter in Colorado Springs. 

The list we’ve come up with only grazes the surface of winter activities in Colorado Springs. A family could spend the entire winter tucked away in the city and still have places to go and see by the time the thaw comes.

Here’s a list to get your family started. Think of it as a launching point and winter fun as your destination. 

Photo by Josh Hild on Unsplash

Best Winter Activities for Families in Colorado Springs

Snowshoeing

One of the most classic winter activities that come along with deep snow is snowshoeing. It’s a traditional mode of travel that goes back thousands of years, but technology has come a long way. 

Today, lightweight snowshoes and designated trails make snowshoeing a fun activity rather than an arduous task to get from one place to another. This can fill an entire day with the family and have even the most energetic kids completely wiped out by the end. 

There are plenty of places to visit in Colorado Springs if you’re looking for prime snowshoeing trails. Mueller State Park has a ton of trails that will take hours to fully cover, Horsethief Park will take you around the Pancake Rocks, and the Barr Trail can take you up Pike’s Peak. These are just a few of the trails found within a short distance from the city. 

Ice Skating

No cheesy Christmas movie is complete without the happy couple skating around the ice rink in the local city park. While you may not be filming a cheesy movie, the same goes for a winter family vacation. 

Ice skating is so much fun for beginners and experts alike. Colorado Springs is home to a variety of indoor and outdoor rinks for the public to try out. Monument Ice Rinks, Sertich Ice Center, and Honnen Ice Center are just a few places to visit. 

Within minutes of getting on the ice, the entire family will be slipping and sliding around, which guarantees to put smiles on everyone’s faces. It can be a humbling experience, but ice skating is a great workout and a ton of fun once you get the hang of it. 

Manitou Springs Hot Springs

It’s an easily agreed-upon fact that hot tubs are one of the best parts of the winter. Finding natural hot springs that allow for a chlorine-free experience increases the value ten-fold. Finding natural hot springs isn’t always easy, and you often have to work for the reward. 

Manitou Springs is located just west of Colorado Springs and is filled with various springs to soak in. This small town makes finding hot springs a simple task and getting in them an even easier one. 

This could be done with the family if the kids are a little wiped out already. It’s the kind of space to take a deep breath and let it out slowly, not a water park to splash around in. Get the family to unwind at the end of the day, or get the body loosened at the beginning.

Royal Gorge Suspension Bridge

The Royal Gorge Suspension Bridge used to be the highest suspension bridge in the world until a bridge in China surpassed it. Today, it is still the tallest bridge in the United States and ranks highly on the list of highest bridges worldwide. Needless to say, if heights are not your thing, maybe stay on land. 

Just a short walk across the bridge is even to take in the dramatic views you can get in the wintertime. It can be astonishing to see the way the snow makes its way down the gorge and to feel so small standing above it. 

The park home to the bridge is also home to ziplines, a sky coaster, bungee jumping, and the newest via ferrata. For those unfamiliar with via ferratas, it’s essentially clipping into metal wires, scaling cliff sides, and looking down at the abyss. Maybe it would be best suited for the family that classifies themselves as highly adventurous. 

Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center

The winter is the best time to visit the Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center. The center is dedicated to the rescue of wolves, as well as educating the public. The wolves that call this center home are the most active in the winter, which is why we highly recommend putting it on your winter bucket list. 

The Wolf and Wildlife Center is also home to four different foxes. This is an excellent opportunity to throw a bit of education into the mix of other fun on vacation. 

Cave of the Winds Mountain Park

The final destination on our list may be more unexpected in the winter. Why? Because it is completely without snow. That’s what may make it one of the best winter activities in Colorado Springs.

Cave of the Winds Mountain Park is located a short drive west of Colorado Springs in the Pikes Peak region. This complex of intricate caves isn’t just a great relief from the snowy wonderland above ground. It’s full of fascinating geology. The tour takes you through 15 different rooms and on over a half-mile of trails. 

Cave of the Winds also has Christmas Underground, a Christmas celebration full of songs and stories to bring the holiday cheer below ground. It is the perfect thing to do with your family to get that brief escape from the snow without being tucked away in a hotel room. 

Prepping for Ski Season in Colorado Springs

The days are getting shorter, and the cold is settling in. It’s time for a lot of people to head inside, get cozy, and wait for the spring thaw to come around. While they’re all inside, many others have a single thing on their mind: skiing.

Skiing in Colorado Springs is one of the greatest parts of living in the great state of Colorado. The number of bluebird days is unbeaten by anywhere else in the US, and the snow seems to keep coming. 

So instead of preparing to hibernate, most of us know that it’s time to prepare for ski season. With a ski season that can easily run from mid-October to May, it can seem like you were just on the slopes yesterday. It’s important to remember that there’s still a lot to get done before you can comfortably and safely get back out this year.

Get your lift ticket, and get it early

The first step in getting ready for ski season is ensuring that you’ll have a spot on the lifts. Season passes can get picked up quickly, especially in the early months when prices are low. The best move is to decide when exactly you will be skiing.

Will it be weekends only?

How about the weekdays?

Are you just getting out for Christmas vacation?

The amount of time, especially what days of the week that time falls on, will greatly influence the pass that will work best for a skier or snowboarder.

Weekday season passes will be significantly cheaper than passes that can get you on all week long.

Day passes tend only to be good if you’re only going to a resort a few times in a year.

Season passes quickly pay for themselves if you use them regularly. 

The most popular passes in Colorado these days are the Epic and Ikon passes. They have a few significant differences but are both well-known for getting you powder days at resorts across the West. The best option depends on the mountain that will be your go-to.

The prices of season passes can be a huge turnoff that can feel discouraging. When the season hits, though, if you don’t have a season pass, you will second guess spending money every time you want to go ski. Having that season pass allows for freedom and guilt-free (or at least low-guilt) skiing throughout the entire season. 

Get your gear in proper, working order

The second major step necessary to get ready for ski season is to make sure all of your gear is as ready for the snow as you are. Skis left sitting in a garage for months on end after an entire season will need some tender loving care before getting back on the slopes. It’s often easy to get your skis tuned up by a professional. It isn’t too expensive and will make a world of difference. 

If you’re looking to do the job yourself, it’s a difficult skill to pick up but easy to do once you know the basics. A general tune-up will have your skis back with sharpened edges, smoothed-out bottoms, and a full wax job. 

Next up is to make sure your boots still fit and seem to be in good condition. If they’ve been stored away deep in a crawlspace, mice may have used them as temporary housing over the summer, and new liners will be a necessity. Freak growth spurts can also happen, or sometimes the boots need to be remolded to fit your feet. Try them on and make sure no surprises come up when opening day rolls around. 

What about renting gear?

When skiing is just a now-and-again hobby, it can be a bit ridiculous to carry skis around everywhere you go and keep paying to tune them before the ski season. If you aren’t skiing continuously throughout the year, renting gear can have huge advantages over having your setup. 

Renting gear means not having to worry about what happens when you hit a rock, bust a binding, or start to feel the wear and tear happening. You return skis to where you rented them from, and they’re the ones who have to fix them. It’s the best and kindest practice to treat rental gear with love and care, but accidents happen. 

When you own gear, the investment can be worth it to get skis and boots that are more personalized to your skiing style. Certain skis fit the different types of skiing that some people do, but most beginners won’t be able to tell the difference. Owning your gear is like buying a house. Everything that the landlord used to take care of, a leaky faucet or busted heater, is now your responsibility. Every scratch that makes its way onto your skis stays there until fixed by you.

Photo by Kellie Enge on Unsplash

Get your body moving and back in shape

One of the easiest things to get out of shape and need some lubrication in its joints is your body. Six months off can quickly get anyone out of shape if they aren’t constantly running or doing some summer exercise. 

Skiing is far more physically demanding than a lot of people imagine. Even when it’s only downhill, the amount of strength required in your entire body is impressive. The best way to avoid getting injured early on in the season is to go in prepared. 

Set a workout routine that can be followed for a reasonable amount of time before opening day. It will help your body remember what it’s like to move and groove again. There’s no shame in taking the summer off, but there’s no good reason to slack off when winter hits. 

It doesn’t even need to be an extreme workout. Adding some lunges, burpees, and crunches into your daily routine can be enough to remind the body of what you’re about to ask it to do. Fifteen minutes a day can save an entire ski season from being ruined by one silly mistake. 

Photo by Luka Senica on Unsplash

Prepping for Ski Season in Colorado Springs

Getting ready for ski season can often bring up a lot of questions. This is especially true if it’s the first year you have chosen this wonderful city as your base, or if you’ve never skied before. From lessons to opening days, finding all of the answers can be a difficult task.

Here is a quick FAQ to help get everything straight and help to make sure that ski season comes smoothly this year. 

Where to ski in Colorado Springs

While there isn’t much resort skiing right outside Colorado Springs, there is plenty of incredible skiing within a quick drive. Monarch Mountain, Cooper, Copper, Breckenridge, Keystone, and more are reachable in less than three hours. It makes Colorado Springs a great hub for getting to loads of different resorts easily. 

When do the resorts in Colorado Springs open?

Resorts across Colorado have varying start dates, mainly due to their location and snow accumulation. Some of them open as early as mid-October, but some won’t be open until December. For current, up-to-date projections for opening, check out each resort’s website. You can find a general projected opening date here, but it may not be the most accurate. 

Where can you get your skis tuned up?

There are many different places to get your skis tuned within the city limits of Colorado Springs. It makes sense, as so many people choose to live here to have world-class skiing easily accessible. The Ski Shop, Christy Sports, and Colorado Kite and Ski are all popular places to get your skis fixed up in town. There are plenty of other shops that will leave you ready for the season; check out Google or ask around town. 

Can you rent or buy skis in town?

Like we’ve already mentioned, people live to ski in Colorado Springs. It’s a town that’s made to have skiing accessible, and that means being able to buy just about any skis you can imagine or renting a full downhill or touring set up the day you need it. 

Where can you get lessons?

Typically, the best move is to get lessons at the resort you are planning on skiing at. They have lessons for all experience levels and ages and run for different lengths of time. Be sure to arrange lessons ahead of time because the classes can fill up quickly, especially on busy holiday weekends. 

Best Time of Year to Visit Colorado Springs

As tourism across Colorado continues to rise, Colorado Springs has become a popular destination during all seasons of the year. However, like any tourist destination, there are peak seasons, shoulder seasons, and off-seasons. 

Are you trying to avoid crowds?

Do you like to whitewater raft?

Are you thinking more of a foodie city tour?

The best time to visit often revolves around the type of activities you like to do, when you have time, and your personal preferences. To match your travel needs, find out when the peak tourist season is as well as our favorite time of the year.

What is the peak tourist season in Colorado Springs?

Like many areas of the United States, summer tends to be the peak tourist season. The reason summer is peak tourist season is because that’s when children are off of school and families can vacation together. There also happens to be some pretty stellar weather for outdoor activities.

Although summer is a beautiful time of the year, summer in Colorado Springs is hot and dry. The average temperatures range from 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit, which is warm but not too hot to stop outdoor activities. In this region of Colorado, summer is also a popular time for festivals and special events, drawing in even more visitors and providing more options for activities.

When visiting at the peak of the summer tourist season, remember that we have afternoon thunderstorms in the mountains. So, hiking in the mountains can be cut short without proper planning. If you’re new to hiking in Colorado, the safest option is to book a hiking tour with experienced guides and locals that can keep tabs on essential things like weather for you. 

If you’re not a fan of crowds, it is a safe bet to steer clear of visiting during the summer months. Overcrowding at popular destinations like Pikes Peak or Garden of the Gods is expected in the summertime, so if you are seeking solitude, try a different time of the year. 

Best time of year to visit Colorado Springs

In our opinion, the best times of the year to visit Colorado Springs are March to May and September to October. The Spring and the Fall still see a decent number of visitors but won’t be as crowded as Summer. 

The temperatures tend to be colder in both shoulder seasons, but they are still quite comfortable for outdoor activities. Visiting Colorado Springs in the shoulder seasons also means fewer crowds and potentially lower prices on lodging and tours. 

Spring in Colorado Springs

Visiting in the Spring is a great option, especially if you are looking for outdoor activities to do. The temperatures range from 45-65 degrees Fahrenheit most days, which is excellent for those that want cool hiking temperatures. 

Another popular attraction during the Spring is the whitewater. With the mountain snow melting, the water rises and quickens in rivers and streams around the area. The higher water levels mean an increase in the opportunity for kayaking and rafting. 

Fall in Colorado Springs

Fall in Colorado Springs has begun to grow in popularity with tourists as many visitors enjoy the fall colors in the mountains. The Fall colors bring in a lot of day-trippers and weekenders, but as the temperatures begin to drop, so do the number of visitors. 

The average temperature in the Fall ranges from 45-70 degrees Fahrenheit. This is decent weather for hiking well through the first weeks of October. One of the best ways to see the Fall colors is to join one of our zip line tours. You’ll get a unique view of the foliage and get the best overlook in the area. 

If a zip line isn’t your scene, the views are still breathtaking when taking a trip up Pikes Peak by car, hiking, or choosing a Cog tour

Photo by Matt Noble on Unsplash

The offseason

While we enjoy the Spring and the Fall for outdoor activities, do not discount Winter vacations in Colorado Springs! Winter in this part of Colorado is not too cold. The average temperatures sit around 40 degrees Fahrenheit. When it does snow, the snow tends to melt quickly as well. 

The only catch with visiting in the winter is that some of the hotels and other tourist attractions are closed. So, if you plan to visit in the winter, check-in in advance and book ahead of time to make sure that you can find a hotel during your stay. Plus, the hotels that remain open tend to have much better prices than any other time of the year. 

With more affordable prices in the winter, it is one of the best times to stay at the Broadmoor Hotel. If you love the holidays, you’ll enjoy the city, and the Broadmoor decorated for the season’s festivities. A winter vacation in Colorado Springs is ideal for those that like quiet winter hikes, snowshoeing, and cozy activities like cooking classes, fine arts, and food tours. 

Although it doesn’t tend to be a primary winter sports destination, it is still close enough to take a trip up the pass to ski or snowboard in Vail, Keystone, or Breckenridge. 

Rock Climbing Safety for Outdoor Climbing

No matter your skill level or knowledge base, rock climbing is an inherently dangerous sport. Yes, risk can be minimized but never eliminated. 

That’s why establishing a base of knowledge and know-how when it comes to outdoor climbing is imperative to help you have the safest outdoor climbing experience possible. 

It is better to be more prepared and well equipped to handle any situation when it comes to outdoor climbing. If you’re new to climbing, the safest way to get outside is to hire a guide or take an instructional course to teach you the ropes.

Photo by Jon Hieb on Unsplash

Dangers of outdoor rock climbing 

What’s more is that most rock climbing accidents and deaths are due to human error of some kind, not a gear failure. That means that most of the dangers involved in outdoor climbing are under our control, and we can do our due diligence to prevent them. 

Things like 

  • knowing how to use your safety gear properly, 
  • learning how to land safely when bouldering,
  • doing your safety checks,
  • being aware of climbing and weather conditions, and
  • climbing within your skill level is somewhat within your control as a climber. 

There are always natural risks, such as falling rocks, sudden weather changes (common in the mountains), or gear failure that can cause severe injury or even death. 

But rock climbers are far more likely to experience a minor injury versus a serious injury in their climbing career. These will be things like scraped knees or elbows from the rock wall or maybe a sprained ankle from landing on the edge of a crash pad. 

Most of these minor injuries tend to be reported by sport climbers, trad climbers, or boulderers. So, if you are venturing into outdoor climbing in pursuit of top-roping, your risk has already decreased because you won’t be lead climbing or bouldering.

Minimize risk when climbing outdoors with these safety tips

Severe injuries and minor injuries can be minimized with the proper knowledge and attention. Here are our top tips to improve your level of outdoor climbing safety. 

1. Climb within your ability level

It is great to get outside and push grades, but this should be done in a controlled manner. It is one thing to go out to the crag and push grades with a group of experienced climbers, and it is something else to jump from lead climbing in a gym to trad climbing a multi-pitch. 

We aren’t saying that you should never challenge yourself when climbing outdoors, but be aware of your physical boundaries and technical knowledge. 

In some cases, you may be strong enough to climb something, but you may lack the technical knowledge (i.e., how to build a trad anchor or clean a sport anchor) to do it safely. To overcome these barriers, enroll in an instructional class on anchor building, climbing technique, or climb with more experienced people. 

You can also hire a personal trainer to help you build up your climbing endurance if you’re preparing for a big climb and want to be physically prepared. 

2. Have the proper safety equipment (and know how to use it!)

You need to know the gear necessary to complete a climb safely when you head outside. This knowledge can be found on online resources like Mountain Project or guidebooks for the area you plan to climb. These resources also provide you with approach information, and if you use online platforms, they may also provide weather updates.

Knowing what you need before you go can save you a lot of time, trouble, and potentially an accident. Just having the safety gear will only get you so far, though. You need to know how to use it too!

If you’ve climbed in a gym before, you likely already know how to wear your harness and tie a few knots. But do you know how to clip draws when sport climbing to avoid back clipping or z-clipping?

Can you build a toprope anchor using your own gear?

Do you know how to place solid gear?

You need to ask yourself these types of questions when you are investing in gear and when you are heading outside to climb. There are several resources to learn how to do these things, such as articles online, videos, books, courses, and friends. 

Simply taking the time to practice these skills under the supervision of someone who already knows the ins and outs of climbing safety will help you feel more confident when climbing outdoors, and it will be much safer when you go on your own. 

Other safety gear to always use outdoors: helmets.

Helmets should ALWAYS be worn by both the climber and belayer.

3. Understand belay systems and knots

A big part of knowing how to use your safety gear is knowing how to belay correctly and tie your knots. On top of that, always do safety checks for your climber and belayer. Even if you are experienced as a climber, a safety check can save your life. We are all human, and humans make mistakes. Double-checking helps us catch those mistakes before it is too late.

Lead belaying and toprope belaying differ, so know how to do both if you plan to climb in both styles. 

There are a few ways to tie into your harness as the climber. The most common way is to use the figure-eight follow-through knot. Know how to tie this knot with proficiency and perform checks on your partner. 

Other knots should be learned and practiced for anchor building, self-rescue, and other climbing skills. 

Knowing how to tie knots is essential. Take the time to learn about anchor systems and how to clean anchors. While sport climbing tends to be less technical than trad climbing, plenty of accidents occur when cleaning anchors due to a lack of knowledge and know-how. 

4. Have experience or climb with someone who does 

If you read the above tips and were thoroughly confused, then the best tip to apply is this one: climb with someone more experienced so they can teach you best practices for outdoor climbing safety. 

You don’t necessarily need to book a guided trip with a professional or enroll in an instructional course if you have a knowledgeable friend. Still, the benefit of booking with a certified climbing guide is that they’re professionally trained. 

They’ve not only done these things themselves, but they’ve gone through classes to learn best practices and how to teach rock climbing safety to people of all skill levels.

In the end, while some risk in rock climbing is left up to nature, a lot of it is up to you. With the proper education, practice, and safety equipment, you can minimize some risks.

Not sure if you’re ready to climb outside on your own yet? Hire a guide!

Best Places to See the Fall Colors in Colorado Springs

The fall transforms Colorado into a gold-rich state once again. The colors of the aspens flow through like liquid gold, rushing in and out quickly, so you need to know exactly where to see fall colors in Colorado. 

It’s time to cozy up and tackle the brisk Autumn air to let your eyes soak up Colorado Springs at one of its finest moments. These trails will take you to some popular, easy-access views and some hard-to-reach, hidden gems in and around Colorado Springs. 

Best places to see the Fall colors in Colorado Springs

Photo by Devonshire on Unsplash

1. Pikes Peak

One of Colorado Springs’ local Fourteeners brings a wide variety of options for those looking to get one of the best fall colors tours Colorado has to offer. At 14,115 feet of elevation, you are looking down on thousands of acres of national forest. The bird’s eye view lets you grab a completely different perspective from walking down on the ground.

It’s a view that everyone should take the time to see in their lifetime and one that everyone can. You can take the easiest route of driving to the top for a short day or hop on the Barr Trail for a 25-mile trek that will genuinely make you work for the views. The most challenging part of Pikes Peak is determining how you want to experience the mountain. 

Another option for the more adventurous is to hop on a bicycle and give your legs a real workout. Don’t worry. There are plenty of places to stop and catch your breath while enjoying the view. 

Check out our newest Cog Up, Bike Down Tour that shuttles you to the top of Pike Peak and turns the bike ride into a downhill cruise. 

2. Pikes Peak Greenway

In the fall, Pikes Peak Greenway gets a little less green and a whole lot more golden. 

Urban trails offer easy access and many options with how far you want to go and for how long. Plus, you can walk down to one of your favorite restaurants while still getting the feeling of an Autumn hike. 

The Pikes Peak Greenway runs through Colorado Springs. It’s mostly paved, sometimes gravelly, and is a well-maintained trail that connects several other local trails. Most bikes and all feet can take you around town to see how the fall colors transform Colorado Springs. 

The Greenway gives you easy access to loads of the local parks in Colorado Springs. This is the perfect choice for a walk around town that can end in a picnic overlooking beautiful fall colors. Stop off at Monument Valley Park, Boddington Park, or America the Beautiful Park for a great spot to sit and spend the day with a thermos full of warm drinks and a bag of delicious goodies. 

3. Cripple Creek

Just outside of Colorado Springs lies Cripple Creek, a small mining town that sits in a nest of aspen groves shining brightly in the fall. 

You can cruise towards town in several ways that allow you to experience the countryside differently. In town, you can hop onto the Cripple Creek and Narrow Gauge Railroad for a slow crawl through the forests you have been looking at from afar. 

Just make sure to get there in time; the railroad only runs until October each year. 

4. Mount Esther Trail

Just northwest of Colorado Springs sits a relatively small mountain dubbed Mount Esther. While the peak is “only” 9,505 feet above sea level, the climb to get there will test your endurance. 

The Mount Esther trail is 4.2 miles round trip. Trust us, it is worth the energy and the short, but steep climb. 

The treasure at the top of the trail is a golden meadow that reflects all of the colors of Colorado’s autumn season. If you push forward just a bit further, you will find yourself at the Crystal Creek Reservoir. Here, the colors are reflected off the glassy waters, bringing even more color to your world. 

5. Gold Camp Road

While there are loads of great drives in the area, some can be a bit more adventurous than others. Not all roads are smoothly paved yet, and those that aren’t let you get to some of the less traveled, more unique spaces of the Pikes Peak Region. 

If you’re equipped with a 4×4 or an AWD vehicle, be sure to check out Gold Camp Road, as it is where to see fall colors in Colorado with a bit of bump and spicy adventure. 

The name does a pretty good job of encompassing what the drive is going to get you. The rugged drive takes you through tunnels and corridors of aspens that puts you amongst some of the brightest fall colors the area has to offer. 

6. Best Fall Colors Tour in Colorado Springs 

If you’re looking to add in a bit of adrenaline to help warm you up on a brisk autumn day, a zipline tour is one of the best ways to see the fall colors of Colorado Springs. This option gives you a unique view that is constantly changing as you fly through the air. 

This zipline tour will engrain the memories of fall colors into your mind in a way that is hard to find doing anything else. 

An 1800 foot zipline gives you the chance to take in sweeping views of the colors while feeling the breeze across your body. A 1500 foot line takes you over a 150-foot deep canyon, really giving you a unique view of the forests below you.

Paintballing Safety Tips

Paintball is a fun and exciting team sport. It requires strategy and cooperation, and it certainly gets players physically active. However, it can also be dangerous, and that’s why it’s important to learn and follow basic safety rules. In this guide, we’ll go over the key paintball safety tips you need to know before getting on the field. Once you’ve read through this list, you’ll be ready to enjoy the best paintball Colorado Springs has to offer.

1: Always Wear Eye Protection

Safety goggles are an absolute must when paintballing. Getting hit with a paintball on your skin can be a little painful, but it won’t cause a severe injury. Especially if you are wearing padding, you’ll just end up with a little bump or red area. A paintball to the eye, however, can cause very serious injury. This is why safety goggles are the number one paintball safety tip. A full-face shield, which includes protection for your eyes and breathing holes for your nose and mouth, is even better. But either way, the primary paintball safety rule is to keep them on at all times.

If you need to adjust your eye protection, you will have to exit the field of play or go to a designated “safe zone” if there is one. Do not take your goggles off anywhere else, even if you think you are hidden. 

If you have your own goggles, be aware that the lenses need to be replaced according to the manufacturer’s guidelines, and you should never play with cracked or old lenses. Also, be sure only to use dedicated goggles cleaner, as other products could be corrosive to the lenses and wear them down.

Image by Evan Cornman from Pixabay

2: Look Where You Shoot & Do Not Hit Anyone Without Eye Protection

It is very important to make sure that you are not “firing blind.” Beginner paintballers tend to close their eyes when shooting. This is totally natural! However, you will be allowed to practice firing at a marker before the competition starts so you can get used to the feeling. 

You always need to look where your marker is aiming before you shoot. First, make sure that you are within the field of play. Then be sure that the person you are aiming at, and everyone else around, is wearing proper protective equipment. Next, check that the person you are aiming at does not have their hands up. (As you will read below, this means that they are already out and exiting the playing field.) Finally, make sure you are aiming at the person’s torso, not their face.

If anyone does not have goggles on, your marker should be pointed down at the ground! Do not shoot even if the person without eye protection is on the side and not where you are aiming. Paintball markers are not the most precise shots, and someone could easily run in front of your target at the last second. This is why if you see someone without goggles on, you need to lower your paintball marker until they exit the field of play.

3. Give a Player the Opportunity to Surrender & Be a Good Sport

One common paintball safety practice is the idea of surrendering. If a player is close to you, within twenty feet when outdoors, you should give them the chance to surrender before shooting them. Getting hit by a paintball at such close range can be quite painful, so it is sportsmanlike to announce yourself and not actually shoot the person. You can yell “Surrender” or “You’re out” to tell the person that you got them, even though you aren’t firing your marker.

On this same note, if someone has snuck up on you and lets you surrender, do it. It would be poor sportsmanship to run away and say you are still in the game because you didn’t get hit. Trust us when we say that you do not want to get hit at such close range. When someone lets you surrender, put your hands up and exit the field.

4. Do Not Shoot Anything but Your Target

If you need to practice shooting, you will have access to a practice range and targets. Otherwise, you should only shoot at other players or targets in the field of play. Do not shoot at any wildlife, passing cars, or structures outside of the playing area. 

For one thing, it may be illegal, but it is also dangerous. You could hurt someone, and the paint in paintballs can leave behind a stain. Shooting when you are not supposed to is an easy way to end your day early by getting kicked out. Be respectful of your surroundings and only shoot at designated targets.

Photo by Pengyi zhang on Unsplash

5. Always Use a Barrel Sock and the Safety

There are two features of a marker that both make for essential paintball safety tips. First, a barrel sock is exactly what it sounds like: a sock that goes over the head of your marker’s barrel. This blocks paintballs from exiting the barrel if the marker accidentally discharges. Leave the barrel sock on until play is about to begin, and put it back on the barrel immediately once you exit the field.

The second is the safety, which you toggle on or off to be able to shoot. Anytime you are not on an active playing field, your safety should be in the ‘on’ position. This will make it impossible to pull the trigger, thus preventing you from accidentally discharging the marker.

6. Exit with Your Hands Up

When you are ready to exit the playing field (because you were hit, surrendered, or just need a break), you must announce yourself. To make it clear to other players that you are leaving, you should yell “out” and raise your hands and your paintball marker above your head. 

Be sure to walk off the field of play quickly and directly. If you are looking around at other players or zigzagging through obstacles, other players might mistakenly shoot you. Keep your hands up the whole time and keep your goggles on. 

Once you are out of the playing zone, you should first turn the marker’s safety on and put the barrel sock back on. Once your marker is protected, then you can take your goggles off, relax, and watch the rest of the game.

Photo by Vince Fleming on Unsplash

7. Take Cover to Rest and Reload

The best way to avoid getting hit is to ensure you don’t spend too much time in the open. Here are a couple key paintball tips for finding good positions on the field. First, if you can see in all directions, it means you are visible in all directions. And second, just because you can’t see someone doesn’t mean they can’t see you. It just means they are better hidden than you are. 

You want to keep yourself hidden, but not overly so. After all, if you stay in one spot all day, you’ll never hit anyone. Moving among protected areas is actually safer, too, as your opponents are doing the same to find you. You should run between trees or shelters, also called bunkers, and rest only when you are in a protected spot.

When you need to reload, find a safe spot, get low, and keep your back to a wall. You may be tempted to fire a shot to make sure your marker works, but be warned that the sound will give away your position!

8. Do Not Attempt to Fix a Paintball Marker Yourself

If your marker is jammed or having an issue, do not try to make any modifications on your own. You should bring it to staff or experts to fix it for you. Attempting any maintenance can be very dangerous for you and other players.

For one thing, markers may still have a charge after the CO2 canister has been removed. The proper way to take off a CO2 canister is to fire the marker (with no paintballs in it) as you remove the tank in order to release built-up air as you go. However, if you are renting a marker for the day, this is not even something you will have to worry about. You should leave the canister alone completely and tell staff if something is wrong.

Similarly, a paintball marker that you rent will come ready with proper settings. For outdoor challenges, markers should be set to around 300 feet per second (fps). Some ranges might require a slightly lower velocity, like 285 fps. Whatever it is, do not make any modifications to the marker.

Image by Christoph Schütz from Pixabay

9. Stretch & Drink Lots of Water

Paintballing requires a lot of physical activity. With all that running around, it’s important to stretch beforehand like you would for any other sport. Make sure you stay hydrated and listen to your body if you get too hot or tired. A paintball competition could last for a couple of hours, depending on the type of play and the number of players. Take a break when you need it so you can head back on the field strong and ready.

10: Have Fun!

Paintballing is an awesome outdoor activity to enjoy with a group of friends. With just a little preparation and practice, you can start an invigorating new sport that lasts for hours at a time. These tips will help ensure your paintball challenge is fun, safe, and injury-free. Now get out there and enjoy the game!

How to Start Mountain Biking

Are you looking to add some excitement to your cycling? Mountain biking is an awesome exercise, adventure, and challenge all in one. The trail can be intimidating to beginners, but you’ve come to the right place to learn how to start mountain biking. If you know how to ride a bike, you’ve got all the fundamentals you need.

In this beginner’s guide to mountain biking, we’ve got everything else you should know before hitting the trail.

Photo by Joanne Reed from Pexels

What is Mountain Biking?

First and foremost, you should know some fundamental differences between road cycling and mountain biking. This is because mountain biking involves biking over uneven terrain, like rocks and tree roots, creating a need for a very different type of bike than those used for road cycling.

Unlike road bikes, mountain bikes have wider tires with improved grip and suspension frames to provide a smoother ride over bumpy terrain. You can imagine how a rigid frame wouldn’t fare well on a mountain biking trail, so the suspension is key to a comfortable ride. Mountain biking frames also allow riders to sit taller to have better visibility of the trail. 

Finally, it’s best to use platform pedals on a mountain bike, which means you don’t clip in. Most important for beginners, you should be prepared to fall or jump off the bike at any time when going down a trail for the first time as you can pick up speed incredibly fast. Strapping into your pedals can actually be more dangerous on a mountain bike.

Gear Needed for Mountain Biking

The Essentials

Obviously, you’ll need a mountain bike. As noted above, you should make sure your bike has partial or full suspension for the most comfortable ride. Some mountain bikers use rigid bikes, as they use less energy for climbing the mountain. However, this beginner’s guide to mountain biking recommends at least partial suspension to absorb some of those bumps on the trail. This will keep you safer and more comfortable as you get used to the difference between road cycling and mountain biking.

The other essential items for getting started mountain biking are protective equipment. As a beginner, you should expect to fall, and protecting yourself will save you from a rough descent that ends early and in pain. A helmet is an absolute must while mountain biking, as there are plenty of hazards, you could hit your head on if you fall. Unlike road biking, mountain biking helmets are full face, with visors to protect your eyes from tree branches and debris. Elbow and knee pads are other important pieces of gear to keep you safe on the trail.

What to Wear on a Mountain Biking Trail

Dress according to the weather to stay comfortable and safe on the trail. It’s best to wear a dry-fit shirt that will wick away moisture and keep you dry. Mountain biking shorts with chamois padding (aka butt pads) are key for absorbing some bumps and reducing saddle fatigue.

Similarly, gloves are essential for keeping your hands and wrists comfortable all day long. Mountain biking with bare hands can cause blisters, and when you fall, you could cut yourself. Gloves will protect your palms and offer a little padding and warmth. 

Finally, a comfortable pair of light boots are the best alternative to mountain biking shoes if you’re learning how to start mountain biking. You want something with a stiff sole for stronger pedaling, breathable material to keep your feet dry, and a grippy textured bottom for good contact with the pedals. Another alternative is skate shoes, though these tend to be less breathable. High-rise shoes are also helpful to protect your feet and ankles in the event of a fall.

Packing Smart for a Mountain Biking Trip

There are many things you should pack on a mountain biking trip, and this is where there is a big difference between mountain bike rentals vs tours for beginners. When you rent a bike, you’ll just get a mountain bike and a helmet. On a mountain biking tour for beginners, you’ll have a guide who will pack all the essential gear and help ensure you have a great day.

The most important bit of gear is a map! If you’re heading out without a guide, please don’t forget a hard copy of your directions. It’s important to not rely on electronics on the trail: there likely won’t be cell service, your battery could die on an unexpectedly long day, or a hard fall could break your phone. Know the trail and the day’s plan before heading out, and always bring emergency gear in case you get lost. 

Next, a small first aid kit is essential for a beginner mountain biking trip since we all fall when we’re learning. As far as getting your bike back in shape after a crash, there are a few things you’ll need. You should always carry a spare tube or two and a bike pump. Unlike biking on the road, potential tire busters are all around on a mountain biking trail. Knowing how to replace a tire and having the gear you need will keep you prepared and safe on the trail.

A bike multi-tool is another must, especially for longer rides. Even with suspension frames, mountain biking is a bumpy ride, and it’s normal to need to make small adjustments or fixes over the course of the day. A bike multi-tool with the right size hex wrenches for your bike will make a huge difference in your trip’s success.

Finally, when you pack food and water for your day on the trail, go ahead and pack extra. It’s easy to get a little lost or delayed due to a mechanical issue. Expect a mountain biking trip to last longer than an equivalent road cycling trip, and pack accordingly. If you have one, a hydration pack is a great way to make sure you’ve got enough water for a long day. We promise: it’s worth the extra weight to have the energy and hydration needed to finish strong.

Photo by Chris Henry on Unsplash

Mountain Biking Tips and Techniques

Get a guide

Finding a tour that specifically offers mountain biking for beginners is a great first step. You’ll get in-person professional advice on how to start mountain biking, and you’ll start down an easier trail that is suitable for beginners.

Stretch Well and Don’t Tense Up

When going over obstacles on the trail, it’s important to stay loose and let the bike ride free. Hover your butt over the seat, so you don’t feel every bump, and keep your elbows high and your knees out so you can go with the flow.

Stay Balanced 

A big difference between road and mountain biking is the need to shift your weight around to stay on the bike. On a flat road, you can pretty much sit back and relax. On a mountain bike, you need to make constant small adjustments – side to side and front to back – to maintain your center of gravity and not tip over. It’s sort of like riding a bull, hopefully with less bucking.

Keep a Steady Pace

One thing that will help you manage rough terrain is maintaining an even speed with your brakes and gears. Big obstacles are frightening, and it makes sense that you’ll want to slam on the brakes sometimes. But that’s a good way to go over the handlebars (via the front brakes) or fishtail and skid out (on the back brake). 

Gentle use of the brakes will help you keep an even speed and give your bike the momentum it needs to get over bumps without too much work on your part. You can also move between gears in response to terrain changes that you see down the line. Paying attention and shifting early will make your life easier and help you keep your momentum. 

Chin Up, Eyes Down

Paying attention while on the trail is key. Road cycling offers consistent, smooth terrain, and you have time to look around, enjoy the scenery, and even change the song on your phone. As a beginner mountain biker, you need to stay vigilant by watching the trail in front of you. Look past obstacles and focus your eyes on where you want the bike to go. This will help you naturally bike around danger without needing to think too much about it. 

Proper biking posture will also keep you focused and safe. Mountain bike frames keep riders in a more upward stance for a reason. You want to keep your head up, looking down the trail at future terrain. This will give you time to prepare and react to potential obstacles. Just like driving, focus your attention a few seconds down the trail and use both your central and peripheral vision. This way, you can see the whole trail, including problem areas and safer alternate routes.

Have Fun!

Now that you know what to wear and pack and how to start mountain biking, you’re ready for your first trail experience. We hope you are feeling confident and excited to explore this rugged alternative to road biking. Thanks for checking out this beginner’s guide to mountain biking.

Have a safe and amazing time on a mountain biking for beginners guided tour!

Pikes Peak Railway: Cog Up, Bike Down

If you’re visiting Colorado Springs, chances are you’ve heard of Pikes Peak. It is famous for its hiking trails and downhill mountain biking, but did you know there was a railway that went to the top?

While riding to the top and back down may not seem like much of a thrill, what if we told you that Broadmoor Outfitters added a twist with their newest tour? Now, you can Cog up to the top of the famous Pikes Peak and mountain bike back down. 

Yep! You skip the grueling uphill pedal and simply can take in the views as you Cog Up Pikes Peak, but you get the adrenaline rush of biking down the mountain. 

The Broadmoor Manitou & Pikes Peak Cog Railway

In Colorado Springs, CO, the Cog Railway has recently reopened after being closed for reconstruction the last three years. The rebuild of the Cog Railway features all-new trains, a new track, a new depot, and a new visitor center. 

This particular railway was built back in June of 1891 as the highest rack railway in the world at the time. Now, the Pikes Peak Cog Railway remains the world’s highest and longest cog railroad, and it is the highest railroad in the entire Northern Hemisphere. 

There are only two cog railways in the United States, and Pikes Peak Cog Railway is one of the most unique railway experiences you can have in the world. 

Cog Up and Bike Down Pikes Peak

Not only is riding the railway up an exhilarating and unique experience but biking down the mountain will be one for your bucket list. While it may be tempting to try and book a ride up the mountain with your bike, the Manitou and Pikes Peak Cog Railway does not allow bicycles on board due to a limited amount of space. 

The only way to combine the railway experience with downhill mountain biking is to book with Broadmoor Outfitters. 

You will enjoy the 5.5-hour ride to the top of Pikes Peak. Then you will have a chance to check out the newly constructed Summit House at the top. We give you plenty of time to enjoy the view before the next stage of your adventure starts. 

Biking down the mountain takes you on a 19.5 miles journey. While that is a daunting distance at an exhilarating incline, we provide safety gear and safety information to help minimize risk on the descent. We provide full-face helmets, biking gloves, high visibility vests, and GT 29” cruisers. 

The bike down Pikes Peak is a supported ride. You will have a guide to lead you down the mountain and a van that is available to take any rider back down in case they choose to leave the ride early. 

The Pikes Peak Railway Cog Up, Bike Down tour is one of our most challenging tours and does require a fair level of fitness. Most biking abilities will be able to do the ride. However, we do require some biking experience to ensure you can navigate the terrain and control your bike. 

Please consult a physician before booking your Cog Up, Bike Down tour with Broadmoor Outfitters and ask them about your fitness for a high-altitude biking adventure.