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The Center for the Arts Crested Butte. Rendering courtesy of Holtzman Moss Bottino Architects

Experience Art and Adventure in Colorado Mountain Towns

New reasons—for both the arts-buff and the adrenaline junkie—to head west this summer.

By , |

For the Arts Lover

Craggy peaks, aspen-lined trails, and brilliant wildflowers—these are a few of our favorite things about Colorado’s mountain towns. For both locals and tourists, though, another category of entertainment is moving up the marquee. “A lot more people [are coming] to Crested Butte not for the recreation opportunities but for the arts,” says Jenny Birnie, executive director of Center for the Arts Crested Butte, which recently started an expansion. And Crested Butte isn’t alone: Two other mountain towns are opening or expanding arts properties this summer. We pull back the curtain on what’s to come.

Crested Butte
Annual patronage at the 30-year-old Center for the Arts Crested Butte rose 17.5 percent in 2016 to 47,000 visitors. This month, the CACB will break ground on an 18,000-square-foot new building to serve that crowd. When it’s completed in July 2018 (phased construction will allow the CACB’s existing venue to stay open throughout the process), the $10 million addition will include a larger theater, two dance studios, an art studio and gallery space (that will now be ADA accessible), and a kitchen for culinary demonstrations by area chefs.

Silverthorne
Long considered a pass-through town and shopping destination (hello, Coach, J.Crew, and three dozen other outlet stores), Silverthorne is hoping its new multipurpose arts space will change its reputation. The 16,000-square-foot Silverthorne Performing Arts Center opens this month. In addition to art exhibitions, the year-round venue will house the Lake Dillon Theatre Company, the only professional theater troupe in Summit County—and one that’s outgrown its current home in Dillon.
If You Go: Sister Act, June 23 to August 13 at the Silverthorne Performing Arts Center, $29 to $46

Winter Park
Winter Park is becoming more than just a much-loved ski destination. The debut of the Hideaway Park Stage, a new permanent outdoor stage designed by Denver’s Semple Brown Design, means visitors will also have many more reasons to head downtown. In the summer, those reasons include festivals (like the weekend blues festival following the June 22 ribbon cutting), free yoga, and concerts (capacity: 5,000 people). Come winter, the stage will serve as a home base with sweeping panoramic views for families zooming down the adjacent sledding hill.

For the Adrenaline Junkies

Prefer a heart-pounding adventure to a heart-rending performance? Three new mountain thrills will get your ticker thumping in no time.

Breck-Fun-Park
The new gold runner coaster coming to the Breckenridge Fun Park. Image courtesy of Vail Resorts.

Outlaw Mountain Coaster
Opening June 30, Steamboat Resort’s monster of an attraction will descend 400 vertical feet over more than a mile of twisty track. That will make it the longest mountain coaster in North America—until Copper Mountain unveils its new ride in summer 2018.

The Haunted Mine Drop
When Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park’s newest ride opens this summer, visitors might get so caught up in the retelling of a fictional 19th-century mining accident they don’t notice the floor slowly dropping away. They’ll realize what happened, though, after they plunge 120 feet into Iron Mountain.

Epic Discovery
This month, Vail Resorts’ summer concept will expand to Breckenridge, where adventures include the Expedition Zip Line Tour and the Alpineer Challenge Course. Guests can purchase a day pass ($40 to $82) or go à la carte.

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