10 things to do in 10,000-foot Leadville, Colorado, this winter | SummitDaily.com

10 things to do in 10,000-foot Leadville, Colorado, this winter

Ski, fish, go dog sledding, and learn about history in this famed silver-mining town

Sarah Lamagna
The Denver Post
Marvin Wells, 73, walks his dog Shila while taking in the spectacular view of Mount Massive on March 1, 2022, in Leadville, Colorado. Wells has spent his entire life in the small mining town. “I’ve seen this town change so much over the years,” he said. “I used to hike all of these mountains around me but am too old now to get to the top. But I still get to share them with my dog when we go on our walks.”
Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post archive

If you’re like a lot of Front Range residents, you’ve taken the highway exits for Breckenridge, Keystone and Vail, some of the state’s biggest ski resorts. But you might not know much about Leadville, a mountain town with a rich history, some one-of-a-kind gems and uncrowded skiing.

Horace Tabor — the “Silver King” — helped turn Leadville into a booming mining town in the 1870s and later served as the state’s lieutenant governor before losing his fortune in the 1890s silver crash. Several historical structures here still bear his name. And before Molly Brown became “unsinkable” on the Titanic, she lived in Leadville from 1886 until 1894. Leadville also is said to have been a stop for Jesse James, Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday.

In Leadville, you can immerse yourself in that history, but you can also ski, shop and revel in small-town hospitality. Here are some of the best things to do while you are in town.

The Lake County board renewed Ski Cooper's lease with the current operators for 15 years.
Ski Cooper is invited to skiers and riders of all skill levels. ( RJ Sangosti, The Denver Post)

Ski at Cooper, the “local’s mountain”

The slopes at Ski Cooper, known fondly as the “local’s mountain,” feature an average of 260 inches of natural snow each year and attract a friendly crowd of skiers and snowboarders. It’s a great spot for families, as lift prices are low and there’s fun for everyone on these 480 acres. Skiers and riders looking for more challenging terrain can catch a ride on a snowcat. Not one for the slopes? Grab a pint at Katie O’Rourke’s Irish Pub while the rest of your party heads down the mountain.

Après-ski where “Doc” Holliday gambled

What makes Leadville so special are the quaint downtown’s hidden gems. One such place is the Silver Dollar Saloon, where it’s said “Doc” Holliday would try his luck at cards when he was in town and play the black piano still sitting at the back of the saloon. Formerly known as the Hymam Saloon, the Silver Dollar features the original bar from the 1880s and the windbreak – which keeps out both the blowing, cold temperatures in winter and prying eyes. It’s said the windbreak kept wives from seeing their husbands on their midday visits back in the day, perhaps saving a few frontier marriages.

Read the full story at DenverPost.com.

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