“Nature is in Our Backyard” Colorado Woos Canadians at Toronto Event

Smiling Coloradans (and their Canadian colleagues) spreading the word

More than snow: Canucks love summer in this outdoorsy state.

Some of Colorado’s biggest fans swooshed into town on 06FEB to host a raft of Canadian travel media in Toronto’s uber-cool Distillery District. They provided insights into the state’s charms – which can be enjoyed year round. As we learned from the Colorado Tourism Office team and several of its partners, the state (about half the size of Manitoba and with a population of some 7 million), punches well above its weight in natural and man-made attractions.

Royal Gorge Route Railroad

“Nature is in our back yard,” Julie Dufault, International Promotions Manager told me. In fact, Colorado is home to some 28 ski resorts and 12 national parks. Add an average of 300 days of sunshine a year and you’ll see why outdoorsy types love it. (As do the locals: Coloradans have not just the lowest rate of obesity in the country, they are also the longest-lived.)

Just nine miles from legendary, luxe Aspen, the resort of Snowmass (Aspen’s laid-back “little sister”) has four ski mountains and many ski-in ski-out resorts. “We like to say that in Aspen you go to see and be seen, but in Snowmass you go out and do,” said Sara Stookey Sanchez, Snowmass Tourism’s Public Relations Manager. Come summer, Snowmass visitors enjoy weekly rodeos and live concerts.

Proud to represent Snowmass: Sara Stookey Sanchez

I was surprised to learn that more Canadians travel to CO in the summer than winter – fully 75% of the state’s visitors come in spring, summer and fall. Again, Mother Nature is the main attraction with mountain biking, hiking and even surfing (in a reservoir!) on offer.

And what about the great indoors? Dining is more than just apres-ski nibbles, with some 44 Michelin-awarded restos. And the whimsically-named “Liquid Arts” are alive and well with 400 breweries, 140 wineries and 100 distilleries. Fort Collins is proud to be named the Craft Beer Capital of Colorado.

AC’s Andrea Arkell with Caroline Campbell of Visit Denver

Since tourism is so dependent on lift, there’s also good news for agents interested in selling Colorado. DEN is well served with non-stop flights on Canadian carriers: AC from YYZ and YVR (twice daily) and YUL (daily); and WS (daily from YYC). “We’ve got a very stable, year-round schedule,” AC’s Andrea Arkell told me. And the train from airport to downtown Denver will set your clients back just $10. Find out more at Colorado.com.

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